We’re rounding the fourth turn of the off-season, and the start of 2014 IndyCar action is in our sights. With the announcement of Verizon as title sponsor, the return of drivers like Jacques Villenueve and the debut of drivers like Kurt Busch, this season is shaping up to be an exciting one. Don’t miss out on a second of it!
IndyCar at Texas Motor Speedway in 2013
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This past weekend we were lucky enough to catch up with Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and SuperCross star Trey Canard at the Honda Performance Development simulator. Josef and Simon invited fellow Honda Athlete and SuperCross rider Trey to the HPD headquarters in Brownsburg to give their impressive simulator a try.
For Trey’s laps they chose Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Simon and Josef spent a few minutes with Trey going over the track map, gear selections for each corner, braking points, and some other subtle aspects of driving an INDYCAR.
It was clear immediately that Trey is a racer. He found the correct line for many of the corners immediately and wasn’t too far off the pace from the real world drivers. After a few runs he ended up just about 10 seconds off of Simon’s lap time. Simon put down an impressive lap that, if done in real life, would have broken the track record. After Trey’s simulator runs conclude we caught up with him and Josef for some one-on-one time.
You’re probably wondering why Josef and Trey are wearing scarves throughout the interview. Trey’s signature apparel is a scarf. Josef jumped at the opportunity to learn a bit more about his neckwear and here’s the end result:
Checkered flag for another Rolex 24 and another INDYCAR champion in Daytona. Sebastien Bourdais and his ActionExpress Racing teammates drove an incredible race and it paid off. They are the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona champions. Now, in 6 of the last 11 years an INDYCAR driver has been on the winning team at the twice-round the clock classic in Florida.
Overall, what an event. Tons of incredible action and every single one of the INDYCAR drivers performed well. Unfortunately, as is often the case in endurance racing, the cars didn’t hold up. Here’s how the drivers representing the IndyCar Series finished in the 2014 Rolex 24:
Sebastien Bourdais – P1 Overall, P1 Prototype Class
Simon Pagenaud – P11 Overall, P7 Prototype Class
Ryan Hunter-Reay – P12 Overall, P3 GTLM Class
Graham Rahakl – P14 Overall, P4 GTLM Class
Scott Dixon/Tony Kanaan – P15 Overall, P8 Prototype Class
Mikhail Aleshin – P21 Overall, P4 GTD Class
Sage Karam – P43 Overall, P11 Prototype Class
Justin Wilson – P47 Overall, P12 Prototype Class
James Davidson – P48 Overall, P22 GTD Class
Tristan Vautier – P56 Overall, P13 Prototype Class
James Hinchcliffe – P57 Overall, P14 Prototype Class
Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P58 Overall, P8 LMPC Class
Gabby Chaves – P61 Overall, P16 Prototype Class
Sebastian Saavedra/EJ Viso – P62 Overall, P17 Prototype Class
We’re still buzzing a bit from that finish. More importantly, we can’t wait for the start of the INDYCAR season.
We’ll have quotes and updates from Sebastien in just a few minutes.
Sunday – Jan. 26 – 1:45pm
Just about 25 minutes remain and the #5 being co-driven by Sebastien Bourdais currently leads the Rolex 24. Sebastien drove a very fast stint to put the car up front and Joao has been the model consistency since he jumped in the car. It’s looking more and more like we’re going to see another victory by an INDYCAR driver at the Rolex 24. Dixon and his #02 teammates were having another strong run as well. Unfortunately, the floor of the car began to unravel and it was considered unrepairable. Apparently, Dixon could see the track surface beneath his feet. Crazy!
It’s going to be a fight to the finish. The top two cars are only 10 seconds apart and you can be sure the #10 being driven by Max Angelelli is pushing as hard as possible!
Sunday – Jan.26 – 12:35pm
We’re officially under two hours remaining in the race. What does that mean? Aggression! These drivers are pushing the cars to their absolute limits in order to make a charge to the front and the potential win. Currently Sebastien Bourdais leads the field in the #5 ActionExpress DP. 2013 INDYCAR Champion Scott Dixon is back behind the wheel of the #0 and is turnining some of the fastest laps on the track. He’s currently listed as 1 lap down. If a caution comes out, Scott could potentially get his lap back and be in contention for the victory. Ryan Hunter-Reay’s #91 Viper is currently 3rd in class and teammate Marc Goosens is driving. Dirk Werner is currently at the helm of the machine he’s sharing with INDYCAR star Graham Rahal they are in the 15th position overall, 4th in his class. Justin Wilson is in the seat of the #60 but is currently P47 overall.
It’s bound to be an incredible finish. Don’t miss these final 90 minutes!
Sunday – Jan.26 – 11:07am
Sage Karam just recently turned the car back over to Scott Pruett and stopped by the media center to chat. He mentioned that prior to the start of the race he’d only had 1 hour in the car. He spent roughly 6 hours in the car across his two stints this weekend. Driving these cars require heavy focus and Sage told us that he was so focused on his pit stop/drive change and hitting his marks that he forgot to undo his belts to get out of the car. This was Sage’s first experience with pit stops, sports car racing, sharing cars with teammates, and a car with a roof. Needless to say, it was a big learning experience for Sage. He did a great job during his stints and this young driver is sure to have a great career ahead. He’s excited to have got the opportunity to work with Chip Ganassi Racing this weekend is hopeful that an opportunity will present itself for him to have a full-time ride in 2014.
Sunday – Jan.26 – 10:45am
Just over 3 hours remain in the Rolex 24. The pace continues to increase as we approach the final laps of this event. Sebastien Bourdais just climbed in the #5 and is dealing with a clutch/gearbox issue. His teammate Christian Fittipaldi said it was an issue but was manageable. Sebastien’s pace doesn’t appear to be effected by the issue. Indianapolis 500 Champion, Tony Kanaan is in the 4th position about a minute behind Bourdais. Ryan Hunter-Reay is running in the 4th position in the GTLM class, he’s looking strong in these last hours. Sage Karam is back in the #01 and after several issues over the night they’re in the 9th position in the Prototype class. A full-course caution has just been waved after the #18 GTD Porsche spun in turn 2. Make sure you tune in and follow along here to see the sprint to the finish!
Sunday – Jan.26 – 7:30am
The sun is out. The cars are green. There’s been no cautions for fog. All in all, a fantastic start to the last hours of daylight for the Rolex 24. The INDYCAR drivers continue to make fans proud. Currently Scott Dixon sits in the 2nd position in the #02. Simon Pagenaud is running P19, Vautier P52, Hinchcliffe P55 (out of the race), Saavedra P58 (out of the race). Ryan Briscoe and his beautiful #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R made the tough decision to call it quits overnight due to an overheating motor. Conor Daly and Alex Tagliani unfortunately retired from the race after teammate Rusty Mitchell made contact with the barrier. James Davison is behind the wheel of the #007 and is in 47th position.
We’ve taken a brief nap, changed clothes, and had a fresh cup of coffee. We’re ready to dive back into the coverage of this twice-around the clock classic. The pace is picking up and racing is become more ruthless. Drivers aren’t as patient or passive as they were in the past 18 hours. It’s sure to be battle to the end. Who’s your pick for victory?
Sunday – Jan.26 – 1:32am
We’re just shy of the half-way point and it’s been quite an experience so far. We’ve seen a massive accident, several multiple car accidents, debris scattered all over the track and a total of 9 full-course cautions. Currently, we’re operating under a caution after the #87 spun off the track and subsequently caught fire.
INDYCAR drivers continue to showcase just how talented they all are. Scott Dixon was listed as the leader prior to this caution. He exited the pits after a yellow flag pit stop in P4 overall. Ryan Briscoe is behind the wheel of the #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R and sits in P14 Overall, P5 in the GTLM class. We did just receive a report that they are dealing with a water leak and have made several pit stops since the yellow came out. Alex Tagliani is back behind the wheel after Conor Daly completed a 3 hour stint. Currently the #08 is in P28 overall and P6 in the GTLM class. Simon Pagenaud is on-track again and is currently running in P37 Overall and P9 in the Prototype class. Tristan Vautier and Sebastien Saavedra are in P57 and 58 respectively.
We inch closer and closer to the half-way point and there’s a ton of action still to go. We’re still going strong and will continue to update you through the night.
Saturday – Jan.25 – 8:38pm
As promised, here’s the quick update regarding Gidley and Malucelli… both of the drivers have been admitted to the local hospital here in Daytona. They are awake and communicative. As more information is made available we will pass it along.
Saturday – Jan.25 – 8:11pm
2013 Indianapolis 500 Champion, Tony Kanaan, just stopped by the media center after his impressive stint in the #02. Tony had some issues at the start of his stint but stated that he decided that he at least had to return the car in the same position as it was when got in. The result was a spirited charge to the front of the pack that featured some outside passes and very close, wheel-to-wheel racing. Tony truly is one of the greatest drivers, not only in INDYCAR, but in any car. He mentioned that he’d only had a few laps prior to his stint in the race tonight and that he felt there was quite a bit of pressure as his teammates were all successful endurance racers. He also let everyone know that Chip told him, “Unless a meteor hits the car, everything else would be my fault.” That received quite the round of laughter from the crowd here in the media center. Tony is someone to keep an eye on over the next 18 hours. He’s made it clear he’s going to be extremely aggressive behind the wheel. After their pit stop, and subsequent driver change, the car sits in the P8 position with Kyle Larson in the seat.
Saturday – Jan.25 – 7:37pm
Graham Rahal just swung through the media center to update everyone on his stint. He mentioned that adapting to this style of racing has been an interesting experience for him. Traction control which is not a feature of the INDYCAR, is something the drivers utilize heavily in sports car racing. Graham stated that he’s used to using his right foot to control the car and it’s taken a bit of time to get used to leaning on the traction control. He mentioned that the cars were much heavier than the IndyCar’s that he’s typically used to driving and it doesn’t quite suit his driving style. However, he said that he’s been having a blast at the wheel of the #56 BMW. He’s hoping that the Viper’s have some trouble over the next few hours as they seem to have the most outright speed. He’ll be back in the car later this evening for a longer stint of night driving. He’ll get about a 3 hour break and then he’ll jump back in for another 3 hour stint. His team is currently running P6 in the GTLM class.
Saturday – Jan.25 – 7:00pm
We’re fully back into racing and it seems with every second there’s something new developing on-track. Most recently, the Delta Wing, currently being driven by Indy Lights runner-up Gabby Chavez, had a brief off and nosed the car into the tire barriers. They quickly returned to the pits and changed out the nose bodywork on the car and are back on-track. They currently are running in the 15th position in the Prototype class.
Indy 500 champ, Tony Kanaan, is currently giving chase to the leader from the 2nd position. Justin Wilson is in the seat for Michael Shank Racing and is making a charge from the 6th position. Viso, in the #78, is holding steady in the 9th position, one lap down.
The circuit is currently under a full-course yellow condition after a spin by the #09 LMPC spinning in the International Horseshoe. The #09 is the sister car to the #08 being driven by Alex Tagliani and Conor Daly. They currently are in the 24th position overall and are running 4th in their class. Unfortunately, Conor’s team was penalized due to an improper pass during the wave-around after the red flag situation earlier.
We’re heading back out to grab some more photos from the evening. We’ll be back with those and quotes from the steady stream of drivers we’ll begin to see in the media center here shortly. Tweet us your questions or leave them below and we’ll do our best to answer them!
Saturday – Jan.25 – 6:00pm
After an extended red flag for the accident earlier involving Memo Gidley and Malucelli, we’re approaching a return to green flag racing. We can’t provide much of an update other than that both drivers have been transported to the local hospital. When more information is passed along we’ll be sure to include it in an update.
As we prepare to return to racing here’s a run down of where the INDYCAR drivers and their teams are currently positioned:
Sebastien Bourdais – P1 Overall (Fittipaldi is behind the wheel at this time).
Tony Kanaan – P2 Overall
Saavedra/Viso – P4 Overall
Sage Karam – P6 Overall (Rojas is in the car).
Ryan Hunter-Reay – P11 Overall, P1 in GTLM Class (Farnbacher is in the car).
Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P 16 Overall, P1 LMPC Class (Cummings is in the car).
Ryan Briscoe – P18 Overall, P6 GTLM Class (Garcia is in the car).
Graham Rahal – P19 Overall, P7 GTLM Class
James Davison – P51 Overall, P22 GTD Class (Davis is in the car).
Unfortunately, there’s not much more to report at the moment. We’ll be back with more action in a bit. Don’t forget to send us your tweets and show your support for the INDYCAR drivers in the Rolex 24!
Saturday – Jan.25 – 4:15pm
This continues to be one of the more intense starts to the Rolex 24 in recent memory. The #01 car that will soon be driven by Sage Karam came in for a stop earlier. Unfortunately, the car was dropped prior to the left rear wheel being secured and in the chaos the driver made contact with one of the crew members. Thankfully, everyone is ok. An interesting stumble early in the race.
There’s been quite a bit of contact as well. None of the INDYCAR drivers have made contact so everyone continues into the late afternoon.
Alex Tagliani is behind the wheel for his first stint in the #08 LMPC. His team appears strong and it should be exciting to see 2013 Indianapolis 500 Rookie, Conor Daly, get behind the wheel later this evening. They are currently leading their class.
Scott Dixon continues to lead the Prototype class in the #02. Graham Rahal’s #56 car just entered pit lane for a driver switch and Graham will now be behind the wheel. Currently they sit in 9th position in the GTLM class.
Ryan Briscoe’s team is sitting one position ahead of Graham in the 8th position in the GTLM class. James Hinchcliffe is in the #70 LMPC. Unfortunately, the team seems to be struggling and they are currently running in the 62nd overall position.
Saturday – Jan. 25 – 3:15pm
GREEN FLAG! We’re off and running. Just over 1 hour into the race. Scott Dixon is still behind the wheel of the #02 and is currently running in 1st position. The ActionExpress Racing DP is running in 9th position, Sebastien Bourdais has not been in the car yet. The #01 car, currently driven by Scott Pruett, that will later feature Sage Karam at the helm is currently running in 11th position overall, roughly 58 seconds behind the leader. The Delta Wing that will later be driven by Gabby Chavez sits in the 1oth position overall, Justin Wilson’s teammate, Oz Negri Jr sits directly behind them in the 12th position. The rest of the drivers and their respective teams are in the following positions:
#70 – Tristan Vautier/James Hinchcliffe – P 61
#2 – Simon Pagenaud – P44 – Contact with the barrier just a moment ago with Van Overbeek behind the wheel.
#78 – Sebastian Saavedra/EJ Viso – P11
#08 – Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P16, P4 in LMPC Class
#3 – Ryan Briscoe – P27 Overall, P8 in GTLM Class
#56 – Graham Rahal – P30 Overall, P10 in GTLM Class
#91 – Ryan Hunter-Reay – P18 Overall, P2 in GTLM Class
#007 – James Davison – P56 Overall, P27 in GTD Class
It’s sure to be an exciting race as there has been a ton of action already. Simon Pagenaud’s team is working to repair their damage. The INDYCAR group is looking strong with Dixon in the lead. More coming soon!
Saturday – Jan. 25 – 12:45pm
It’s almost go time! We’re putting our camera equipment together and scouting locations for where we’re going to head for the start. There’s going to be some great racing at the start of this event (and throughout for that matter. Make sure you’re tuned in earlier. Part of the culture of this event is the preparation prior to the start. Not just the cars, the teams and the drivers but the media and fans. We spent some time at Target last night picking up coffee, red bull, sunflower seeds and an assortment of other items to keep us going during the 24hr stint. Now, we want to see your setups and preperation! Marshall Pruett, from RACER.com, posted a tweet earlier today asking you to send us your photos. So, get to sending those in and we’ll retweet and reply.
Who’s setup and stocked up for 24 hours of racing? 15 Red Bulls? Multi-screen viewing. Send photos our way to @RACERmag@IMS & @IndyCar
Speaking of Marshall, he recently did some in-depth research on the new Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. The same car that Ryan Briscoe will be driving in the Rolex 24.
There is some seriously cool technical information contained within his presentation, like the fact that the engine had to be DETUNED from the production model to meet up with the IMSA regulations. That’s quite the statement. Head over to Road&Track.com and check out the rest of the presentation now!
Saturday – Jan. 25 – 11:30am
We’re creeping closer to the green flag and the excitement is ramping up here at Daytona. There has been a multitude of press conferences in the media center, some vintage track laps, and the autograph session is about to begin. The autograph session is one of the coolest parts of the Rolex 24. All the drivers are lined up in front of their garage with their teammates for a full-field autograph session. It’s probably one of the only opportunities you can get autographs from so many champions from so many different series and disciplines in on one location. We’ll be posting a few pics later.
One of the questions we’ve been asked is in regard to which INDYCAR drivers are starting for their respective teams. Scott Dixon will be starting in the #02, Alex Tagliani will be starting in the #08, and James Davison will be first behind the wheel in the #007. The remainder of the INDYCAR pilots will be stepping into the car later in the 1,440 minute event.
Again, we’re going to be here for the entirety of the event and will bring you all the content we can. It’s important we hear from you as to what you’re looking for from us! So tell us what you want to see, stories you want to hear, etc. We’ll get out there and get it done!
Saturday – Jan. 25 – 9:45AM
It’s officially Race Day! We’re beyond excited to get this thing off and rolling and get the party started. We heard some of your requests for a spotters guide that is specific to the INDYCAR drivers competing in the event. So, here you have it. You may notice that the #78 doesn’t feature Sebastian Saavedra or EJ Viso. Due to the late nature of their entry they were not a part of the spotters guide. Rest assured that they are in fact racing in the #78 Starworks Daytona Prototype. We hope you find it helpful!
At the end of the day, RACER.com writer, Marshall Pruett caught up with Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and their TUSC teammate Memo Rojas. The subsequent interview is quite hilarious. Over the course of such a long race these drivers seem to get a bit bored outside the car. As a result, interesting antics ensue.
So, we’ve spent the past couple of days here and we’re feeling pretty confident in picking our favorites for the race. Before we do that we want to hear your favorites and dark horses. Send along your predictions in the comments below. We’ll post another update later this morning. Happy Race Day!
Friday – Jan. 24 – 2:10PM
Final practice for the Rolex 24 is complete. Richard Westbrook turned the overall fastest lap in the final session with a 1:38.964 in his Corvette DP. The INDYCAR drivers and their respective teams rounded out the session in the following positions:
Sebastien Bourdais – P3 Overall – 1:39.665 (Christian Fittipaldi turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Scott Dixon/Tony Kanaan – P4 Overall – 1:39.822 (Scott turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Sage Karam – P5 Overall – 1:39.835 (Memo Rojas turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Simon Pagenaud – P12 Overall – 1:41.528 (Johannes Van Overbeek turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Justin Wilson – P13 Overall – 1:41.675 (AJ Allmendinger turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P21 Overall, P6 PC Class – 1:45.349 (Conor turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Ryan Briscoe – P26 Overall, P3 GTLM Class – 1:45.934(Jan Magnussen turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Graham Rahal – P30 Overall, P7 GTLM Class – 1:46.309 (Dirk Mueller turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Ryan Hunter-Reay – P33 Overall, P10 GTLM Class – 1:46.435 (Marc Goosens turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Mikhail Aleshin – P51 Overall, P17 GTD Class – 1:49.495 (Sergey Zlobin turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
James Davison – P54 Overall, P20 GTD Class -1:49.830 (Al Carter turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Gabby Chavez – No laps turned.
Tristan Vautier – No laps turned.
With the final session often being a simple shake down to make sure things are prepped for the big show tomorrow the results aren’t necessarily a prediction for the race. Especially considering many of the teams used the session to get drivers who hadn’t had as much time in the car to get prepped. Still, it’s impressive to have 6 drivers from INDYCAR inside the top 15 positions.
He has the name, the car and the number. Meet James Davison (“license to thrill”). Davison, a Firestone Indy Lights race winner who competed in two IndyCar Series races last season for Dale Coyne Racing, is co-driving the No. 007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage for TRG-AMR in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The team had a bit of James Bond fun in the garage area, posing in tuxedos with the car. Davison, 27, of Australia, said he’s cautiously optimistic of making his Indianapolis 500 debut in May.
We managed to gather most of the drivers this afternoon for aquick group shot. Unfortunately, many of them weren’t able to make it. Still, it was a great opportunity to get the INDYCAR contingent together for a few minutes. There was quite a bit of handling discussions as well as tips on properly navigating slower traffic.
Here’s how the INDYCAR drivers will start tomorrow for the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona:
Sebastien Bourdais – P3
Scott Dixon/Tony Kanaan – P5
Gabby Chavez – P7
Sage Karam – P8
Justin Wilson – P9
Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P19
Ryan Hunter-Reay – P24
Graham Rahal – P30
James Davison – P35
Mikhail Aleshin – P40
James Hinchcliffe – P59
Tristan Vautier – P60
Ryan Briscoe – P62
Sebastian Saavedra – P65
Action for the Rolex has come to a close for today. So, we’re going to head over to Target and get our equipment for the long haul tomorrow. We’ll update with a few more photos this afternoon. Don’t forget to let us know what you’re hoping to have us show you over the next few days. We’ll do our best to get out there and find it for you. Overall, we’re excited and can’t wait to get this thing started!
Friday – Jan. 24 – 10:00AM
Good news race fans, RACING IS BACK! The Rolex 24 marks the kick-off of the racing season and we couldn’t be happier to be here. This year features not only one of the strongest fields in recent memory but there is a massive contingent from the INDYCAR paddock taking to the track this weekend. Drivers from Indy Lights to the IndyCar Series are piloting cars in several different classes. Overall, 30 competitors in this years event have competed in an INDYCAR race. 16 of those 30 have won at least 1 race in the IndyCar Series. While that’s certainly impressive in its own right, what really shows the strength of INDYCAR drivers in the Rolex 24 is the fact that in the last 10 years INDYCAR drivers have won five of the races.
What does all that mean? We’re in for quite the show! I’m beyond excited to get this event started. Not only is it great to see all the incredible drivers from the IndyCar Series behind the wheel this early in the year but the merged sports car series with new cars and drivers should be spectacular to follow. So, here’s our plan… we’re going to bring you all the inside info and behind the scenes images from this event. Starting today and going through the checkered flag on Sunday (yes, all 24 hours of the race) we will be providing frequent updates to this post. So bookmark it, tweet it, share it on Facebook, email it to your friends. This will be the one-stop shop for all things INDYCAR at the Rolex 24. Are there things you want to see or information you’re looking for? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll get out there and find it for you!
Greetings from Homestead, Fla., where it is NOT in the single digit temperatures like it is in Indianapolis! I arrived yesterday for the first Firestone Indy Lights open test in advance of 2013, and currently have a great view of the road course from race control. I’m usually sitting in the media center in the infield where I don’t have a clear shot of the full track, so our Timing & Scoring staff are giving me a treat this time around.
We have nine awesome drivers out here today. Star Mazda (now Pro Mazda) is really representing, with last year’s champion Jack Hawksworth, 2012 standouts Zach Veach and Gabby Chaves and former competitor Peter Dempsey running in the top five this morning. Carlos Munoz, who’s going into his second season in Firestone Indy Lights, has been fastest all day. Check out this story on him and his quest to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 this year AND earn the Firestone Indy Lights title.
It’s great to see some familiar faces on the INDYCAR tech side and the team side. Chatting with one of them during the lunch break today, I was asked, “So…what is it you actually do here?” It’s funny how much time we spend around each other without asking that, so I didn’t mind.
During a test, I find a good place to camp (qualifiers: wi-fi, a decent view, safe to leave my things behind) with a radio so I can keep posted on what’s going on. I still have to do the things I do on a daily basis, like post to our Facebook and Twitter pages and respond to my email. Also, if we have any media attend, I work with them to make sure they have what they need and get to talk to the drivers they want interviews from. This test, we weren’t able to bring a photographer out, so I went up to the spotter stands to test my artistic abilities so I can have photos to post with web stories I’ll file after the day is over.
After the session is over and I see who’s fastest, or who went notably fast, I hunt them down during the lunch break and conduct interviews. I try not to interrupt debriefs or meal time, but I’ll take an interview with food rolling around in their mouths over no interview any day! We usually haven’t seen each other in a while, so it’s also a great time to catch up for a bit before the afternoon starts up. Today’s lunch break included new photos of Zach Veach’s puppy that he’s about to get.
From there, it’s back to my post to write and prepare stories for the new www.IndyCar.com/RoadtoIndy, where we’ll be posting all of the latest Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy news from now on. Hope you enjoy its new home, our web staff did a great job getting it up and ready, and we’re excited to get more news flowing through it about these great, up-and-coming drivers.
Let me know in the comment section below anything you’d like to see from our time here at Homestead and I’ll do my best to get it to you in the second day of testing tomorrow! We have a gallery of photos up on our Flickr page. — Kate
This coming week will mark the IZOD IndyCar Series’ final round of the season at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. For the occasion the boys at ArtRotondo.com decided to break the walls down and unleash one of their finest works yet — Graham Rahal’s Sin City helmet.
This helmet was produced to pay tribute to the Indycar’s arrival to the city and to the city’s great attributes. Hoping that this helmet will be enough of edge that Graham will need to lead the final lap of the race and take the checkered flag to end his 2011 on a high note.
The end of season marks a lot of other end of season helmets for many others, including Vitor Meira’s latest helmets that he will also be sporting in Las Vegas along with Sebastian Saavedra’s upgraded more colorful Colombian influenced helmets.
In the DTM series, Mercedes top driver Gary Paffett unveiled his end of season helmets which include a special matte “Bizarro” version of his classic helmet which is already making head waves throughout the racing world.
Finally US racing prodigy Alexander Rossi hopes to finish on top of his World Series by Renault season with his brand new modified helmet style complete with his trademark ghost pattern palm trees to pay tribute to his native of California, so that the entire world see’s what he’s accomplishing and most importantly where he comes from as being the only american with a valid Formula Super License in the world.
The end of season is always a sad time for us as before everything else, we are avid racing fans, but work never stops and which is why you have to stay posted on the Indycar blog throughout the off season for our full updates on all of our upcoming projects and remember to also check in to www.artrotondo.com for day to day updates and on our Twitter and Facebook fan pages.
As I head into the last race of the season at the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, I reflect back to the start of this season and the whirlwind it’s been.
In addition to the close of the season, I have the opportunity to reflect on the recent end of the Seventeen magazine “Pretty Amazing” contest, which has been one of the coolest experiences of my life. This contest was different than anything I’ve ever done. It is a huge accomplishment to be one of the top-five finalists (out of 35,000 who entered) in the competition where one of us would be on the cover of Seventeen, a magazine that reaches 13 million monthly readers!
At the beginning of the season, everything was extremely hectic and I was fully focused on the start of my first full season since 2006 in a new series, learning a new craft. It was March and we were entering our second race of the season when my management group, BRANDed, came to me with yet another opportunity! Some of you may remember the video contest we did a year ago encouraging YOU to turn OFF your cell phones and “Don’t text and drive”. In all honesty, I wasn’t super enthusiastic about it because I was focused on the start of my season and my performance on the track. However, I went ahead and came up with a short essay and we went ahead and submitted an entry. Here’s what I wrote:
At age five, my family and I entered a world that would later shape my life, character, personality and future forever. The industry was racing and I would start driving racecars the same year I began Kindergarten in Miamisburg, Ohio. I was the kid at the front of the line, the kid who won the fundraising competitions, participated in Student Government, was involved in my school, graduated in the top ¼ of my class, was elected for homecoming court and a two year National Honors Society member. But I was different than everyone – always have been, always will be and that is something that has stuck with me, defined me and given me confidence. At age five, I won my first race and never looked back. At the age of fourteen, I started realizing I could pursue racing professionally. Between now and then, I’ve been through nonstop ups and downs giving it my all to find sponsorships, connections and the means to be a professional racecar driver. Today, I am a fully funded and paid racecar driver continuing the pursuit of being a professional driver in the Indianapolis 500. My dreams have fueled me and will continue to be the seed beneath my life motto, never ever ever give up.
Soon thereafter, we got a call back from Seventeen asking for a 20-minute video answering questions about myself, my family, my background and what I do. They also wanted to see my bedroom and a little bit more about my personality. The funny thing was, I had just gotten to Indianapolis for the month of May and was living in a short-term lease, white walled, and generally furnished apartment that would show none of my personality! So, I sat on the bed with a comforter that I’d never choose, bare white walls and explained to Seventeen about my crazy life, why I was where I was, and what I was doing.
After a string of a few more calls and videos, Ann Shoket, the magazine’s editor-in-chief “skyped” me and told me the great news. I was one of the five finalists and would be making the trip to NYC for a week where I’d do a top of the line cover photo-shoot, meet the other finalists and experience all kinds of awesome stuff.
Between the trip to New York City and the time that I found out, I was really too flat out with racing and concentrating on that to really think about what the trip would entail. MTV came to Milwaukee to do some filming prior to the race weekend and I also kept myself busy with other racing related “activities”.
Finally, the time came to go to NY and I finally spent some time “offline” and enjoying being a girl. From the time I arrived at one of the swankiest hotels in SoHo until the time that I departed, cameras followed close behind. The first night, us girls got to meet each other and have a surprise dinner together. The following day was the beginning of nonstop activities that Seventeen and Neutrogena would keep the five of us busy with.
The day started off with a trip to Hearst Corporation where we met Seventeen Editor-in-Chief, Ann Shoket, who told us we were going to be giving a short speech to an auditorium full of girls about our age, in thirty minutes! We all had a bit of time to come up with thoughts and most of the girls wrote their speeches on note cards. I wrote a few bullet points down but chose to speak from my heart and ditch the note cards. It was truly an inspiring moment for me to be able to tell my story to hundreds of girls who I’d never met but would possibly be able to make an impact on. After our speeches, we got to “meet & mingle” with all of the audience and then were told we’d be getting full-on makeovers. Seventeen created individual “looks” for each girl and mine was “Edgy Sweet.”
We went to a top-of-the line salon in the city and each of us got our trial looks in preparation for the following day; the photo-shoot! I got my hair colored a bit darker and trimmed. They also gave me some layers. It wasn’t a whole lot different but I definitely liked it.
The next day was day one of the photo-shoot and most definitely the best part of the trip. I don’t think I realized how big of a deal the whole thing was until I walked into the set and saw the professionalism and amount of people it took to put this thing together: a photographer with two assistants, a celebrity stylist and his two assistants, celebrity hair stylist and Herbal Essences spokesperson and his assistant, make-up artist and his assistant, nail artist, television crew, media, Seventeen executives, MTV executives, Neutrogena executives and tons of other random people which I had know idea who they were.
The process began and I started with make-up, went on to hair, then nails and stylists. They had the music up loud and the fans blowing (haha!). A few of the girls were super nervous but I was seriously excited and felt awesome, or should I say “Pretty Amazing”? The rest is hard to put into words so here are a few “behind the scene” photos.
That evening we met one of the judges, Jared Eng (founder of Just Jared—much like Perez Hilton’s celebrity gossip site) and had a dinner with him. We then had a somewhat early night to get rest for the second day of the shoot. The girls who hadn’t gone the first day went at the beginning of day two and in the afternoon we were surprised with the challenge of coming up with our own photo-shoot for all of the girls together. It was pretty fun and within an hour we had to make a set and come up with outfits. Check it out.
The final day was a red carpet luncheon and we started the day off with hair and make-up again. I got used to not having to do anything to get ready and after I returned from the trip wasn’t sure what to do without the pampering!! Speaking in front of a huge group of Seventeen and Neutrogena Executives about the amazing experiences of the week. We walked the red carpet, posed for the paparazzi individually and with actress and singer Miranda Cosgrove who was one of the contest judges. She was truly a sweetheart and really genuine. My speech went very well and it was a bittersweet ending to a great trip.
Of course all week, everyone was speculating who would win and wondering when they would tell us, but we heard that we wouldn’t find out until the “Pretty Amazing” special on MTV, which aired on August 30th at 8pm.
We were all asked who we’d want to win if we didn’t and without a blink of an eye I chose Zoe. We really hit it off and connected having similar stories of overcoming adversity. I am extremely happy and proud for Zoe because she is a very inspirational girl who has gone after her dreams and will do great things in her life.
Although I didn’t walk away with the cover, I walked away with a truly amazing experience and am proud to have been one of five out of 35,000 who applied.
I can’t thank all of the IndyCar community enough for all of your votes and encouragement throughout the whole thing. It’s been very humbling and an honor.
Personally, one of my favorite duties is sorting through the general email inbox. It’s a wide variety, from requests for drivers’ personal addresses to friendly suggestions on how to make the series better. And something that I hear a lot is that our fan group, INDYCAR Nation, is doing an awesome job at bringing fans closer to the action.
One of the most exciting things about the IZOD IndyCar Series is the up close and personal relationship it has with fans, like the all-driver autograph sessions at each race. You certainly don’t get that in any other professional sports league. INDYCAR Nation is a free source of fan news including weekly e-newsletters and exclusive editorials on the website. Sign up for FREE and you can also access Fantasy Racing and take advantage of coupons and discounts from our sponsors.
But the best value on the planet is the INDYCAR Nation Champion level…a.k.a. the INDYCAR fan club. Joining is like getting courtside seats all the time! Champion members pay a low price of $34.95/year and are exposed to a multitude of amazing experiences—including free credentials, travel packages, two-seater rides and personal meet-n’-greets with drivers.
This Friday in New Hampshire, for example, INDYCAR Nation Champion members have an opportunity to grab a beverage and hang out with all three Penske drivers—Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe and Will Power—at Draft’s Sports Bar and Grill. You wouldn’t even get that close to Dwight Howard’s sweat band unless you sold all your possessions.
We’ve heard there is a brand new Champion member who joined this week. Not only has he never been to an INDYCAR race, this will be his first motorsports race EVER. He joined the fan club so he could be eligible for pace car rides and pre-race access, but he ended up winning a free 2-seater ride on Saturday. Talk about the membership paying for itself in one click!
Infineon Raceway: Be on the lookout for details on…
Special offers and an exclusive Champion member event with 2011 Indianapolis 500 runner-up and Rookie of the Year candidate JR Hildebrand!
Baltimore Race Weekend Travel Package
You don’t have to be a Champion member to purchase this special race weekend package for the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix. Complete with hotel, tickets, credentials, pace car rides, a private driver meet-n-greet and more, this package saves your nearly $800!
Kentucky bus trip and half off 2-seater rides
Watch the Member Alerts page for details on the annual bus trip from Indy to Kentucky Speedway. Champion members will get half off their race tickets and access to a special race-day tailgate with the drivers. Plus, Indy Racing Experience is setting aside 2-seater ride times for Champion members on Sept 30 (12-3 p.m.) and offering rides for just $250!
You asked for it! More spots added for the Indy 500 package
Due to popular demand, we’ve once again added sports to the 2012 Indy 500 VIP package for Champion members! Check out this ultimate fan weekend complete with tickets, credentials, pace car rides, hotel room, police-escorted transportation to the race and more.
My Public Relations twintern Emily Lewandowski and I hit the streets of Trois Rivieres Thursday night in an effort to give away 20 free tickets to the Grand Prix de Trois Rivieres. As my only foreign language is Spanish, the experience was a hilarious mess of me running up to random people asking “Parlez voux anglais?” in a Spanish accent. However, I got through to several people who did indeed walk away with a three-day pass to the event. My personal favorite, Rose, was an elderly (yet extremely hip) local woman who actually flagged me down and demanded tickets (a woman who knows what she wants). I also gave one to our very sweet waitress at dinner in a desperate effort for a free drink, which worked like a charm. Look for our video blog coming soon!
As I went through our adventure, the most amazing thing was how alive the city was. When we landed in Trois Rivieres and eventually trekked over to our hotel, the city seemed quiet and fairly unassuming. As evening hit, the city roared to life with a street festival that brought in hundreds of people of all ages. There was a swaying pirate ship ride, men on stilts walking the streets, street musicians and booths along the beautiful Rues de Forges. We learned that the festival runs the Wednesday through Sunday of the Grand Prix week, and is a major attraction of the area.
It’s a totally different experience than racing anywhere else on the schedule. People have no idea what the IZOD IndyCar Series is, so it gives them a bigger appreciation for the Firestone Indy Lights, which can often be overshadowed when scheduled with their big brother. The track is a first for all but five of the Indy Lights drivers, who raced here with Star Mazda. It was with a bit of pride that I observed the fans watching practice today, knowing they were getting their first look at an extremely talented group of drivers who deserve every bit of the attention they get this week.
Two weekends ago at the Edmonton Indy marked the first time that Motorsport Artwork company ArtRotondo.com and avid Indycar.com blogger Mauro Rotondo were present at an Indycar event with an official stand at the event. The ArtRotondo.com stand was a great display showcasing all of the world famous Art Rotondo’s works which have took the Motorsport scene by storm and also included an array of his custom painted racing helmets. What made this weekend even more special was the live autograph sessions being held inside the ArtRotondo.com stand by some of the Indycar greats names such as; Scott Dixon, Mike Conway, Sebastien Saavedra just to name a few and even local Indy Lights racer Stefan Rzadzinski all took part o the official ArtRotondo.com autograph session. This marked not only the first ever time that a Motorsport Artwork company had a live stand at an Indycar event, but as well as the first time a Motorsport artwork company had live autograph sessions by multiple Indycar stars throughout the same weekend in their official stand. A true historical event which prooved to be a true success for all and the especially the fans who got to be part of a great race weekend. Here’s a few pictures of the weekend at the ArtRotondo.com stand.
July turned out to be another busy month for the JLF Designs team. EJ Viso was making a flying visit to the UK so we arranged to have a helmet painted while he was here so he could take it back with him to the US. The design was another variation of the “Orbital” design EJ has been using which has proved very popular. This one had the concentric circles in the Lotus yellow and green to match his race car, with a matt finish.
EJ Viso's new helmet design
July is also the month of the British Formula One Grand Prix so we had special designs for our F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Paul Di Resta (cousin of IZOD IndyCar Series driver Dario Franchitti). Patriotic flags was the theme for these designs, with Lewis’s design featuring 3D Union Jack flags as well as the flag of Grenada where his family originally came from. Metalflake/sparkle paint was used almost everywhere – even on some of the logos, which made this design really stand out under sunlight and the garage lights.
Lewis Hamilton's new helmet design
Pauls’ design was a combination of the Scottish Saltire and the Union Jack with an outline of the Silverstone circuit on the back. Paul wanted a clean, classic design that would be recognisable from the spectator grandstands while still having a bit of airbrush flair.
Paul Di Resta's new helmet design
Also pictured is a helmet that we recently painted for a customer who wanted a design based on the BMW Art Car designed by Jeff Koons. Every stripe and colour was hand-painted on to give a design that is pretty different from most race designs on the track! We love getting unusual designs to paint and will be soon painting a helmet based on a psychedelic Cream album cover.
Helmet designed by JLF Designs team
The paintshop is as full as ever so we’ll hopefully have more photos to show soon. We’ve just received a helmet from the Indycar series organisers for Dan Wheldon to use in the test schedule for the rest of the year so the next blog should have photos of that helmet once it’s finished.