Posts Tagged ‘ Chip Ganassi Racing ’

11 in ‘11 with Graham Rahal

Posted on: June 16, 2011 | Comments (0) | Drivers | By: Cassie

This season has been an exciting one for Graham Rahal. He is now a part of a new team, Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing. He is also currently 7th in the point standings and recently finished third in the Indianapolis 500.

Graham loves his social media. He’s an avid tweeter and has even been spotted at racetracks with his iPad. He is also the latest driver to be featured in our 11 in ‘11 video blog series on YouTube.

Rahal and an iPad
Graham took the time to answer 11 fan submitted questions during the 2011 IndyCar season. Get it? 11 in ‘11? Graham answers questions involving his race experiences, the 100th anniversary Indy 500, and even cartoon characters.

Check out the video below and continue to look for 11 in ‘11 videos for the rest of the 2011 season.

“This is definitely a lot different than golf,” Kelli Kuehne exclaimed as she stood in the bustling IZOD IndyCar Series garage area at Texas Motor Speedway.

Kuehne, a Dallas native and avid race fan, spent the afternoon learning about the ins and outs of the IZOD IndyCar Series with Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing driver Charlie Kimball.

Minutes later, the LPGA Tour pro suited up to take a high-speed ride on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval in the Indy Racing Experience two-seater with Mario Andretti as the chaueffer.

Both share having diabetes. Kuehne was diagnosed at age 10 and carries an insulin pump as a means to regulate her blood sugar levels. She credits technology and the input of doctors as her way to stay on top of the disease. Kimball was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2007, and after doctors gave him clearance to keep racing he relies on the technology available through his sponsor to maintain his blood sugar levels.

As a fellow professional athlete, Kuehne identifies with Kimball but also is sympathetic.

“Charlie’s out there going 225 mph. I’m on the green for 5-6 hours,” she said. “I can eat an apple going from the tee to the green or the green to the fairway. Charlie has to drive a car, push buttons, shift gears and worry about getting sugar water or Gatorade in his system. We both are athletes, we both do something very different, but we still have very similar things going on.”

Charlie Kimball hosts LPGA Golfer Kelli Kuehne

Kuehne and Kimball

Both see the responsibility and opportunity to inform and encourage people with diabetes and educate the public about the warning signs. Kimball’s desire is to let people know that diabetes doesn’t have to “slow you down.”

“You can still dream big and follow your dreams, even with diabetes,” he said.

“Getting the word out is my big platform,” said Kuehne. “I’m in the position to reach more people than the average person and I love to take that initiative and impact the lives of people.”

LPGA Golfer Kellie Kuehne goes for a two seater ride with Mario Andretti

Kelli experiences a two seater rider with Mario Andretti

Dario Franchitti sits down and tells CNN why he’s sticking with IndyCar. View video interview below. Full story available here.

“There are a lot of drivers that talk about wanting to race in INDYCAR. We believe that the skill set it takes and just the toughness and willpower to get behind the wheel of these cars is pretty amazing.” -Randy Bernard (Read more about the $5 Million Dollar Challenge at the IZOD IndyCar World Championships)

It’s your turn: tell us what skills a driver needs to be successful in multiple series. Are you a fan of drivers that compete in multiple series such as Danica Patrick, or do you prefer to see drivers stick to their “roots?” Which drivers do you think have what it takes to compete for the $5 Million Dollar purse at the IZOD IndyCar World Championships this October?

The week started with a celebration of life service for long-time Indianapolis Motor Speedway public address announcer Tom Carnegie. Fans could view Livestream coverage of the event, which included eulogies by Sarah Fisher and Ed Carpenter, online and archived footage of the event can still be viewed here. Fan memories and tributes from Teams, Drivers, former drivers and notable members of the racing community continue to pour in. Carnegie truly was a legend.

On Tuesday, fans were given the second photo in our series of photo caption contests. This time, Helio Castroneves could be found talking race strategy. While that’s what was really happening, fans submitted some clever, funny, and, at times, off-beat captions for what Helio could possibly be saying. From over 200 comments, tweets, and messages, the field of captions was narrowed to five. Congratulations to our week 2 winner, Jeff Chiszar who wins an IndyCar prize pack and, most importantly, bragging rights. Keep on submitting those captions, we have a good photo in store for you this week.

This weekend the iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Premier Series kicked off. Read more here about this INDYCAR sanctioned, 16-race, 36-week series contested online on oval road courses on alternating weekends.

In case you missed it, Chip Ganassi Racing followed up last week’s IndyCar.com race shop  (Read about it) visit with an updated Twitter handle this week. They can now be tagged @CGRTeams. Follow them for updates on @INDYCAR and drivers Scott Dixon, Graham Rahal, Charlie Kimball, and Dario Franchitti.

Speaking of Dario, the reigning IZOD IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 champion was inducted into the Motor Sport Magazine Hall of Fame during ceremonies this past week in London. Read more about the honor and find out which of your favorite drivers are also in the Hall of Fame by clicking here.

Franchitti is not the only driver picking up accolades this past week. Verizon Team Penske driver Will Power was voted Road Racer of the Year by the readers of RACER Magazine (Read more).

More signs of the season have emerged as work on the circuit layout  for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Read more here) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway announced plans to enhance the fan experience with more race footage and replays on a new, $1.2 million Panasonic scoreboard and video system in the middle of the infield (Full story here).

Conor Daly, Shannon McIntosh, and Bryan Clauson all found their way across the web this week. Shannon will join the Mazda Road to Indy in 2011 as part of the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda. She’ll drive the No. 2 Mazda for the 12 events for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing (More here). Bryan Clauson continued to catch fans up with an inside look at his experiences on the Mazda Road to Indy. Find out more about what he’s already doing to prepare for the season by reading BC’s Blog here. 2010 Star Mazda champion Conor Daly  (Twitter @ConorDaly22) is moving up to Firestone Indy Lights in 2011. Find out more about what the 2011 season looks like for the son of former Indianapolis 500 starter Derek Daly here. All three, Daly, Clauson, and McIntosh are drivers to keep an eye on.

Late in the week, we let it leak that this Tuesday, IndyCar.com will give fans a chance to win something cool. Hundreds of messages poured in to say what the ideal prize for an IndyCar fan would be. Imagine our surprise when, yep, someone guessed exactly what we’re giving away. Glad to see we’ve nailed it and came up with a great prize, so stay tuned to IndyCar.com and our Facebook and Twitter pages this Tuesday to find out how you can win.

Racing is right around the corner — 32 days until the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg!

IZOD IndyCar Series drivers, Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball welcomed members of the INDYCAR staff to Brownsburg, Indiana for an inside look at the new Service Central-Norvo Nordisk Ganassi Shop. Read more about the visit and discover what their teams are doing to prepare for the 2011 season. There’s also a complete Flickr set available for fans with a photo tour of the shop.

A birds eye view of the new headquarters

Birds-eye view of the new Service Central-Norvo Nordisk Ganassi Shop in Brownsburg, IN.

It was a busy week for tracks with Iowa Speedway asking fans what they hope to see at this year’s Iowa Corn Indy 250, the series saying “Sayonara” to Twin Ring Motegi and drivers reacting to the newly unveiled Edmonton Indy circuit layout. Following the announcement, IZOD IndyCar Series driver Ryan Briscoe (@RyanBriscoe6) tweeted that the new layout looked great for passing opportunities.

Ryan Briscoe on Twitter

Are you on Twitter? Add us @IndyCar for more exclusive updates through the week!

Justin Wilson (@JustinWilson22) replied to agree with Ryan and add that the new layout will have some brake zones and looks like fun.

Justin Wilson on Twitter

Are you on Twitter? Add us @IndyCar for more exclusive updates through the week!

The online IndyCar fan community jumped on this week’s Photo Caption contest. Fans were asked to provide a caption to a unique Sarah Fisher Racing photo. Over 213 Facebook submissions were received and fans even saw Sarah Fisher Racing leave a message saying the contest was funny! The field was then narrowed down to the top 5 captions and fans voted for their winner (click here to see the final votes). Congratulations to Colleen Ney McGuire for her winning submission “I don’t care if you say ‘pretty please.’ You’re not driving the car!” Colleen will receive an IndyCar prize pack in plenty of time for the 2011 season.

The online community stayed busy with activity when news broke that Barber Motorsports Park was offering a special Groupon discount for fans of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Fans could save $110 on two, Sunday General Admission tickets when buying into the exclusive deal. The Groupon deal brought a subtle reminder that just 53 days remain until the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

Honda Grand Prix of Alabama Groupon

Fans could save $110 when purchasing Two, Sunday General Admission tickets for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

The racing community was rocked this week by the passing of long-time Indianapolis Motor Speedway public address announcer, Tom Carnegie (read more here).

“Tom Carnegie was a true gentleman and a legend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and throughout the state of Indiana.  For so many years his unmistakable voice signified the beginning of the month of May and the Indianapolis 500. We will certainly miss Tom and his spirit, his unique style of announcing and his passion for racing.” -Roger Penske

Click here to see more of what the IndyCar community has had to say about the track legend this week. There’s simply no more-fitting way, so I will close this week’s recap with a video tribute to Tom Carnegie:

Mitch Davis traveled to a garage sale in North Carolina to stock his garage in Brownsburg, Ind., aka Chip Ganassi Racing West.

There is a mountain of items to tackle in preparation for the IZOD IndyCar Series season, and the task  been compounded for the start-up teams for Graham Rahal (No. 38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing) and Charlie Kimball (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing) that were announced Dec. 16.

Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball

Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball

Fortunately for Davis, the team manager, items from workbenches to a refrigerator were available as a result of the merger of the Ganassi and Earnhart stock car operations. It was like tagging trees to cut in a forest; a shopping spree without being concerned about prices.

“Overnight, we were instantly a race team,” Davis says. “It’s all up and running. We’re crack checking parts and doing body fits on cars. The hardest part really is getting all the pit equipment and transporters painted and decaled and building all the spare wings. You can’t just have one front wing and bump the wall and say, ‘Oh, I need to buy another one,’ because it doesn’t exist. You have to buy all the components, have them painted and decaled and fit.”

Bell housings are lined up in one room. A stark white trailer occupies space near where a team member is assembling red cabinet drawers. Others are working on the electrical loom of Kimball’s Dallara chassis.

“To have gone from truck bays for an old race shop into a full IndyCar team, it all sets the stage for the season to come,” says Kimball, who’s moving up from Firestone Indy Lights. 

Graham poses with his new sidepods

Graham Rahal poses by his new sidepods

It’s a work in progress to be sure, but after only two months in existence the group has come a long way to being competitive out of the box in the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 27.

Davis, who returned to Chip Ganassi Racing “with a smile on my face” after three seasons with other IZOD IndyCar Series teams,  says 25 people are employed full time, with the two chief mechanics and two engineers moving over from the Target Chip Ganassi Racing operation in Indianapolis. Everyone that’s been hired has over-the-wall experience.

Crew members hard at work

Hard at work in the shop

“When I came to work for Chip the last time he was just getting started in IndyCar and wanted me to come over because I had been in (INDYCAR), and this is just the perfect opportunity to come back,” Davis says. “The economy is growing again and Chip is taking advantage of the market with four cars, getting ready for next year with the new car and new engine packages coming.

“You look at what Chip’s done setting this up for the future and it’s a dream come true.”