Posts Tagged ‘ IndyCar ’

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. 

USF2000 Driver Shannon McIntosh

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.

Shannon McIntosh at Seventeen Magazine Photoshoot

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.

Shannon McIntosh at Seventeen Magazine Photoshoot

Shannon McIntosh at Seventeen Magazine Photoshoot

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.

See you this weekend at Baltimore!

Shann

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.  

Dario Franchiti at ICN Member event

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!

2-seater with Mario Andretti

Go to http://indycarnation.indycar.com to check it out. Here’s a little teaser of what you could be doing at IZOD IndyCar races in the next couple of months:

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.

Twinterns in Trois-Riveres

Posted on: August 7, 2011 | Comments(3) | Race Tracks, Road to Indy | By: Kate

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.

Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres

Spotted around Rues des Forges: Star Mazda drivers Sage Karam, Gustavo Menezes and Patrick McKenna; Indy Lights drivers Anders Krohn, Peter Dempsey, David Ostella and Gustavo Yacaman.

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.

Scott Dixon at the ArtRotondo.com stand

Mike Conway signing autographs at the ArtRotondo.com stand

Sebastien Saavedra signing autographs at the ArtRotondo.com stand

Scott Dixon signing autographs at the ArtRotondo.com stand

ArtRotondo.com stand at the Edmonton Indy

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 helmet

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.

Paul Di Resta helmet

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.

Lewis Hamilton helmet

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.

Custom helmet by JLF Designs

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.

Perks of the job

Posted on: July 21, 2011 | Comments(2) | Random | By: Kate

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!

Ryan Briscoe's new car

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!

Catching up with Dan Aykroyd

Posted on: July 13, 2011 | Comments (1) | Race Tracks | By: Kate

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.

Dan Aykroyd

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

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

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?

As a girl, using the phrase “I like to go fast” has a somewhat negative connotation. Get your mind out of the gutter, because when I say “I like to go fast” it’s really about how I drive my Ford Taurus through the streets of Indianapolis. So when the opportunity came up to jump in for a two seater ride here at the Honda Indy Toronto circuit, I of course said “Why yes, please.”

(Just HOW did the opportunity come up? I was working it to score a two seater ride for one lucky IndyCar.com blog reader…. keep reading to find out how you can be that person!)

Ready to go!

A driver with freckles? Nope, it's not Mike Conway....

Admittedly, I was the least excited in the group. It was an experience I was excited for, but had no idea how to display emotion towards. Was I nervous? Maybe. Did I not know what to expect? YES. Since going for the ride, most people have asked “How was it? I’ve always wanted to do it but haven’t had the opportunity.”

Getting into the car

It’s realistic. You get into the firesuit, shoes, gloves, head sock, and helmet and it’s hard not to feel a little bit like a real driver. It’s fast. Too fast even – after waiting most of the morning for my turn, the lap around the Toronto circuit flew by. The biggest challenge was trying to take everything in. One minute you’re accelerating, then breaking, then turning, then…

Off we go towards the Toronto skyline

It took me a minute or two to realize that I should use my body to resist the force knocking me around the seat. But once I did, the ride was comfortably bumpy. It felt like being inside a video game and I grew desperate to be the one behind the wheel. Of course, if my iRacing skills are any indication, it was probably for the best that I stayed in the passenger seat.

Not quite Danica, but wishing I had been the driver!

Not quite Danica, but ready to get behind the wheel next time

Okay, okay, the moment you’ve been waiting for. One lucky fan over the age of 18 will receive their own two-seater ride at Mid-Ohio (no travel or additional opportunities provided) – simply by commenting below with your comments and feedback on what you’ve enjoyed (or not enjoyed) on our Facebook, Twitter, and Blog this season. Give us your best (and worst) but be sure to share what you hope to see more of (we might just do it!).

Have you had the Indy Racing Experience? What was your two seater ride like?

The Driver Behind the Tweet

Posted on: June 30, 2011 | Comments(12) | Drivers, New Media | By: Cassie

Twitter allows drivers to better interact with their fans and a way to share a small piece of themselves and their teams. When a driver tweets, it gives us all a closer look at their personality. Some drivers tweet about things that keep followers up-to-date on their racing life, some tweet about their personal lives, some tweet mobile pictures (remember planking??), but no matter their intentions, some drivers make us LOL every time they tweet.

Danica Tweeting?

Danica Patrick Tweeting Away!

We’ve pulled together some of the funniest Tweets from the IndyCar world and listed them below. Each Tweet shows a bit of the Tweeters personality. Gather all of your IndyCar knowledge and take a guess at who the Tweeter might have been.

Guess away! Get your friends to play, and see who can correctly guess which drivers are behind these tweets:

1. Last night, one of our crew guys pulled me aside & said, “Stop being an a**hole.” That’s all the motivation I needed.

2. Anything better than putting on boxers fresh out of the dryer? I think not. #lovethelittlethings

3. I am at bucksstar ;) had to whisper 1 frappo no whipped cream to cashier make sure no one heard me.

4. “that’s the most passes 4 the lead that I can remember. Much better than just watching Dario go round & round.” SNAP

5. @dariofranchitti the pleasure was all mine! I was always told to be nice and polite to your elders!

6. For me boxing is the closest trainning for racing outside the race car…sometimes the punch feels like the wall.hehehe

7. Not entirely sure new yoga instructor tonight was overly impressed with a certain someone’s non existent levels of “bendyness”…!!!

8. My tomtom has @dariofranchitti voice…not sexy. Hahahaha

Hint: Not all of the Tweets are technically from drivers. Think of some of the most vocal INDYCAR tweeps out there and you might recognize 1 or 2 of their personalities as well. Leave a comment with your guesses below and we’ll keep you posted when the answers are revealed.  #goodluck