I have to admit, one of the best perks of working for INDYCAR is getting the wardrobe. The day my order came in and I got my shiny variety of IZOD apparel was one of the happiest days of my life (exaggerating, but it was really cool). A few weeks later, I walked into a Macy’s store and saw a large display of the brand in the racks, and didn’t think much of it until I continued to notice IZOD popping up all over the place. Whether it was on TV commercials or around the tracks, IZOD is definitely serious about promoting the IZOD IndyCar Series, and we should send them a little thank you!
The IZOD look
Lucky for you fans, there is a new, interactive way to do that. Fortune Magazine has a new reader poll out that allows people to vote for what they think is the brand getting the most recognition out of their sponsorship dollars. IZOD is running in third-place behind AON, insurance giant on all Manchester United jerseys in the Champions League Finals in May, and NIKE, sponsor of NBA Finals stars Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade. Give them a boost by clicking here and voting today!
No, he wasn’t wearing the hat or the shades, and he didn’t have a proton-pack strapped to his back, but Dan Aykroyd could have been wearing pajamas and I still would have been honored to shake his hand. I got the opportunity during the pre-race festivities for the Honda Indy Toronto, when Aykroyd met up with driver and fellow Canadian James Hinchcliffe.
Chatting with Dan
The experience was one to remember. Firstly, I was so excited for the chance to interview him that I didn’t realize I was standing in the middle of his golf cart’s parking spot. I nearly avoided that disaster when someone yelled, “Look out!” just in time for me to jump out of the way. And yes, if I had gotten hit, I would have bragged that I got hit by a golf cart carrying Dan Aykroyd.
After shuffling my feet for a bit, I mustered up the courage to be the first to interview him. After the glorious hand shake, I asked him about being an INDYCAR fan, what he liked about Hinch and if he was looking forward to his experience as grand marshal. He was a true professional, answering every question with the fervor of an INDYCAR fan and the pride of a Canadian.
As I thanked him and stepped away, indycar.com editorial director Dave Lewandowski congratulated me on my brush with fame. IMS and INDYCAR photographer Chris Jones let me know he snapped a picture of my interview and would email it to me later, officially becoming my hero for the day. I take comfort in the fact that if my computer ever crashes, the photo will forever be memorialized here on the link to this blog.
I’ve been told many times by professors not to use Wikipedia as a valid source when researching, but since we at IndyCar have entered the Wikipedia world I’m not sure why it wouldn’t be the first online stop when researching absolutely anything. There is a huge misunderstanding when it comes to the way Wikipedia gathers its information. Yes, anyone can contribute to it, but there are Wikipedians out there that are watching your every move. Anything added with bad intention will be caught and deleted in a matter of minutes. Every edit must have legitimate sources behind it. Editing Wikipedia is not something to be taken lightly.
Dario Franchitti's Wikipedia Page
In the past couple weeks we have dived right into the world of Wikipedia in hopes of spreading the knowledge we have of open wheel racing. We plan to share our links for external sources so that Wikipedia users can refer to our sites as an additional source of information. By adding in our indycar.com links and YouTube videos we’re hoping to improve the Wikipedia experience for every one. We are also being careful not to violate the Wikipedia Conflict of Interest policy (another reason Wikipedia editing shouldn’t be taken lightly).
Dario Franchitti's IndyCar Driver Page
This project will be on-going and we are definitely newbies when it comes to Wikipedia. We have much to learn but have high hopes for the future of open wheel racing knowledge that will be spread due to this project. My entire opinion of Wikipedia has been changed and I plan to refer to it more often in the future for whatever I may need information on.
How often do you use Wikipedia? What do you usually use Wikipedia for?
Well, the season is here, congratulations, you made it. It’s time for racing. It’s time for racing updates. It’s time for lots and lots of racing video content.
Back in January, we pitched a new video series to you – something we called 11 in 11. It was a simple premise. We would gather 11 of our favorite fan submitted questions and ask as many drivers during the 2011 season. 11 in 11, get it?
You responded with lots of suggestions, lots of questions. You left comments on our blog. You tweeted at us, you wrote on our Facebook wall. As always, you surprised us with your passion and enthusiasm for the sport.
Today we’re bringing you the first video in this series, featuring Target Chip Ganassi Driver, Scott Dixon.
Scott Dixon posing during an IZOD shoot
What were the questions we ended up with? Here’s the general outline:
• Which race are you looking forward to this year and why?
• Talk about circuit layouts— what makes for a challenging course?
• Talk about the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500 and what it means….
• From Paige: If you were a cartoon character, who would you want to be?
• From Ken (possibly in Idaho): What retired Indycar driver do you respect/admire the most, and why?
• From Gina: which type of track do you prefer- ovals or road courses and why?
• From Neil: What is your biggest challenge now that you’ve made it to the pinnacle of racing?
• From Canada: what’s the best prank each driver has played on other drivers/crew members?
• From Joe: What are you most looking forward to in 2012 with the new car and engine?
• From Susan: Tell us about the first race that you won (no matter how old you were, what type of race it was) and how it made you feel.
• Megan wants to know: Everyone wants to win the Indy 500. After that what is the race you would most like to win?
And finally – here is the video. Enjoy. Lots more to follow throughout the season.
For us, the off-season is like pressing a “reset” button. After the checkered flag at the last race of the season, the cars usually aren’t in their full, recognizable, 100 percent form until the green flag of the next season’s opening race.
Attention to detail
It starts in the composite department of the shop with a body fit. To start, the car is stripped down to the bare carbon to check each piece’s weight and check for damage from wear and tear throughout the season. It’s like bringing the car back to square one. After the car is bare, the composite guys will start to glue the car back together. They make sure all of the pieces have nice seams, so the car is as smooth as possible to create better aerodynamics. The glue is a mixture of a high-solvent and resin, which holds each carbon fiber piece together. The carbon usually sets overnight or bakes in the oven for about 2 hours, depending on our time constraints.
Remember the fat kid in junior high that wore sweat pants all the time? The one that carried a Trapper Keeper stuffed full of very organized (and totally awesome) abstract art folders? Imagine if that kid’s name was really unique and rhymed with an orifice located at the very end of the digestive system. Hi. I’m Amos. I’m that kid.
Names are important. In some cases, names are exchanged before a hand is shaken. Fair or not, sometimes lacking all context, a name can be the first impression.
Imagine we just met (which we did). Your friend knows my wife whose cousin played soccer with your college roommate and we’ve gotten together at your favorite local establishment for a beverage.
“Hi, I’m Amos.”
“Hello. I’m John. Synthia mentioned you work in racing.”
“I do. I work for the Indy Racing League.”
“The what league?”
“The Indy Racing League. You know…INDYCAR.”
“Oh! Yeah, yeah. Like the Indy 500?”
Why not get straight to the point? Why not just call this operation INDYCAR? Why go with a first, middle and last name when you can go with just your first name? Mario. Coco. Prince. Oprah. They all worked it out. So — INDYCAR it shall be.
Do not fret Indy Racing League fans of yesteryear. It’s still us. We’re just a bit more fit (likely from turning left AND right now) and more prone to carrying iPads now. Yet still the fastest, most versatile athletes and race cars in the world!
It’s no secret that the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights is changing its name to INDYCAR (yes, all caps, but it isn’t an acronym) from the Indy Racing League.
“As I was talking to fans through the course of last season, I realized that we needed to make a name change to reflect the history and heritage of our sport,” said Randy Bernard, CEO of INDYCAR. “The INDYCAR name has more world-wide recognition and is in-line with our positioning as the fastest, most versatile racing and drivers in the world.”
The formal announcement will come Tuesday, Jan. 11, during the State of INDYCAR program in Indianapolis. Drivers — plus team, sponsor, racetrack representatives – will hear from INDYCAR principals about the momentum of the series, some tweaks to the competition side and a few surprise announcements.
Revisiting the name change, one unveiling will be the new logo for the sanctioning body. Stay tuned.
We’re all about the 2011 season, thinking about new things we can do online. We’re working on a lot of different digital projects including a revamped IndyCar Nation section to IndyCar.com, a new mobile site, new content and more interaction with our fans – You!
One thing we offer a lot of online is video. Our YouTube Channel has over 1200 videos. Here’s Danica Patrick talking about technology in one of our videos from 2010. My point is, we produce a lot of video, and that won’t stop.
For 2011, we want to try a new video series, called 11 in 11. We’re going to try and ask all of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar drivers the same 11 questions over the course of the season.
33 Indy 500 drivers at ESPN
Here’s where you become involved. We want you to come up with the selection of questions that would apply to any of our drivers.
Leave your general question as a comment on this blog. Or send it to us via Twitter (@IndyCar) or through our Facebook page. We need your suggestions by next Monday, January 10. Hey, we move fast.
We’ll pick the final 11 for 2011 and get started soon. You can expect to see these videos throughout the season and we promise to try and cover all of the drivers.
Day 2 of the IZOD Brave New World shoot continued today. The rock band may have left the desert, but we had new guests. In preparation for print, video and web content in support of the 2011 IndyCar season, IZOD was working with six current IndyCar drivers, a former Indy winner and more models. The edited piece will feature Weezer, all of the above, fast cars, rock and roll and some more surprises. Bring on 2011.
The day started in darkness. Teams of people worked in the cold desert as the sun slowly rose, bringing some much needed warmth. Lights were installed. Stands were built. Cameras were tested. Props were checked and double checked. Models got their hair done. And the radio chatter was constant with last minute instructions.
Early in the morning
When the sun did finally make an appearance, the California desert had been transformed by IZOD into an elaborate set featuring Ryan Briscoe’s Team Penkse car, historic Indy Cars, lots of fashion, a big stage and plenty of excitement.