Posts Tagged ‘ IndyCar ’

@, #hashtag, RT, FF

Posted on: May 14, 2011 | Comments (1) | Drivers, Fans, New Media | By: Daniel

It’s an odd post title, but it’s a fitting one for a discussion on Twitter. Twitter has hit it’s stride this season with more and more teams, drivers, journalists and sponsors joining the online dialogue. The most pleasant surprise are the amount of driver’s genuinely using Twitter to reveal their personalities. A video interview in pit lane isn’t always the best way to know someone. 140 characters in a tweet on the other hand…

TK Tweet

TK ready for Indy

Twitter is obviously on the rise. It’s a social tool that people are finally understanding and utilizing. IndyCar blogger, @pressdog wrote a four-part series earlier this year, illustrating it’s growing importance within the sport. Followers of @IndyCar have grown over 300% in just over a year. It’s become a more accepted method of communication and we use it to share race updates, official results, news stories, videos, Flickr images, blog posts and lots more.  There are now multiple voices around the INDYCAR experience. We are listening.

Yesterday, we interviewed James Hinchcliffe (video below). It got me thinking about driver’s that are web savvy. I remember watching Hinch last season and being impressed by his personal online strategy. His site, videos, and use of Twitter were exceptional. He was ahead of the game. And now, the game has caught up with him and embraced the web community. In my opinion, it’s the most important way we (and I mean ‘we’) can help grow the INDYCAR brand. We all have a voice to help grow this sport.

There have been lots of memorable Twitter moments recently. These are bringing the online world into the at-track world. They are bringing together the personalities of the sport into a new environment. They are giving our faithful, loyal fans new ways of connecting to the speed and racing action. Twitter is removing traditional walls. Some quick examples -

Tomas Scheckter’s blog post last December got some real chatter online and then on Twitter.

Most races are followed by some interesting driver banter – all before our Twitter eyes.

Today, Scott Dixon gave away a watch to one lucky fan. All of this was done through Twitter!

Scott Dixon & a deserving fan

Tweet with drivers and you could win!

And a current contest from Ryan Briscoe: “Who wants to win a trip and be my guest at this years Indy500? Guess my qual speed to win! Go to www.ryanbriscoe.com for details”.

For fans, I can’t think of a better way to follow the sport or a favorite driver. You can tweet directly at them and there will be a lot of chatter this month of May. What are you waiting for?

So – we’ve created a full listing of IZOD IndyCar Series drivers on Twitter for you HERE.

Check them out, follow their tweets, join the conversation and as always, let us know what you think.

You can follow @IndyCar, here.

The 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 has been touted at The Most Important Race in History. Okay, okay, marketing pitches aside – everyone is upping their game to create the very best fan experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month.

Enter Verizon. Specifically, Verizon with an extensive, interactive QR code experience placed at locations all around the Speedway and guiding fans through exclusive content for the Indianapolis 500. But here’s the big question that fans have got to be asking: why bother checking this out?

This blog post is all about taking a step back and sharing what a QR code is, what application you’ll need on your mobile device to access a code, and an explanation of what “lives behind” the code itself. Think about exciting videos, driver commentary, track history, crew interviews, special information and offers… just like anything incredibly special and worth seeing, it’s always more fun when you know that others don’t have the same opportunity as you to see it. You’ve made it to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 100th Anniversary Race. You’ve managed to scrape together your pennies and  own a pretty decent Verizon mobile phone (Warning: will not work on Zack Morris-style cellular devices). Consider the Verizon QR Code Experience your reward this May.

What Is A QR Code? According to the top Digital Media resource Mashable, a QR code (short for Quick Response) is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

What Do I Need to Do to Access a QR Code? To access the Verizon QR Code Experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, you’ll need a Verizon Mobile Device. You’ll also need an application on your mobile device that will read QR Codes. And I’ve been there — the hesitation, the lack of interest in seeking out a scanner, downloading it, and figuring out how to use it. But- I’ve also gone through it and can assure you that the process is painstakingly simple and only takes a few minutes. I can also share that it’s worth your while to download a QR Code application prior to heading out to the track (it can be harder to view your phone’s screen outdoors, especially when sunny and, as we all know, every day in May is a perfect 80 degrees, clear skies and sunshine). Once you have it downloaded, you open the application and, similar to taking a picture, scan the image. Once you’ve obtained a QR code reader, go ahead and try this one.

How does it work? Picture a package sent in the mail with a barcode sticker slapped on the outside of the box and scanned in at each facility so that you can track its delivery online. In theory, it’s a similar concept — scan the QR code and useful information is delivered.

Where Do I Get Started? Visit Verizon in the INDYCAR Fan Village and find out more about accessing QR code content or look for specific QR code signage around the IMS campus.

What’s In It For Me? Verizon’s calling it Scan. Watch. Win. Every code you scan is another opportunity to win great INDYCAR prizes, including a trip to the IZOD IndyCar World Championships.

So get started now by browsing through a smartphone applications marketplace and downloading a QR code reader to your mobile device. Come prepared to see more of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway than even some of the other fans around you — it’s going to be an incredibly special experience and a unique way to commemorate the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500.

Still mildly confused? Shoot us a Tweet @INDYCAR and we’ll make sure you’re good to go.

Inside Shot: Sao Paulo

Posted on: May 11, 2011 | Comments (1) | Flickr | By: Chris Jones

This entry is one in a continuing series which typically discusses images from the IndyCar.com photo gallery.  This entry reviews the story behind a photo taken at the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle on May 1, 2011.
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Each race weekend we shoot over 1,000 images.  Only a small portion of our photos are featured in the Photo Galleries at IndyCar.com or on the IndyCar Flickr site.  In addition to the photos at those sites, we also load some photos to a Media only site each day.  From the Media Site, authorized media and team personnel can download high-resolution images for editorial use.  Although the picture above was not in the IndyCar.com gallery or on the IndyCar Flickr site, you may have seen it on J.R. Hildebrand’s Facebook page or some other media web-sites.

During pre-race activities, the drivers rode in the back of pick-up trucks for a lap to greet the fans.  I was fortunate enough to be allowed to jump in the back of the truck with Tony Kanaan and J.R. Hildebrand.  It was amazing to see (and hear) the reaction Tony received from his home-country fans in Brazil.  As we would round a corner and the crowd could see Tony, the cheers started building.  Even the corner workers, concession stand workers and ambulance drivers were cheering for Tony.  I could tell that Tony truly appreciated the cheers from his fans.  It was unfortunate that he, and the other Brazilian drivers, encountered problems during the race.

I have to admit that this shot is slightly staged.  For most of the lap, the Tony and J.R. were facing forward, which limited the photo opportunities.  When we hit the long back-stretch where there are no stands, I asked the drivers to turn towards me and act like they were waving to the fans.  That is when I captured this image.  Shortly after this photo was taken, the rain started coming down, and all three of us got totally drenched in the back of the truck.  Thank you Tony and J.R. for allowing me to the share the pre-race lap with you.

Iowa Improvements

Posted on: May 11, 2011 | Comments(2) | Race Tracks | By: Iowa Speedway

For this month’s blog from Iowa Speedway we are switching it up a little.

We normally would talk about all the great racing you will see for the 2011 Iowa Corn 250 presented by Pioneer, which is under the lights this year, but instead we thought visuals would be short, sweet and to the point.

Lets start with parking as that is typically the first impression of the speed factory here in Newton, Iowa. The biggest improvement in the parking lots this year is the addition of more than a dozen 20 foot tall polls in and around the parking lots with numbers and letters to help identify where your at. Many of our fans have said it has been hard to find their car post race and we listened.

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Next is the fan walk which runs behind pit road and by victory lane. Casey’s General Store has come on to sponsor the fan walk and the things which are going to take place there are just too many to list. So that means you’ll have to come out to take in all the experiences!

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Do you have a motorhome or tailgating bus? Why not get your party moved inside the fence with one of our new RV spots. We have over 100 of these spots on the back stretch and located off turn four 20 more RV spots have been added for this 2011 season.

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Lets finish off this article with the Pizza Ranch Victory Lane and a picture of the construction going on there as this is where a driver wants to end up at the end of the race. In the past the winner has drove down the fan walk three foot away from fans on either side. Yes this was cool, but a huge safety hazard.  Starting this year the driver will now come in behind victory lane. Make sure to come down to the Casey’s Fan Walk following the Iowa Corn Indy 250 to enjoy victory lane. Maybe you will even get a slice of Pizza Ranch Pizza from the winner as winners have done that in the past!

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Thanks for reading (viewing our pictures). Please keep your comments and suggestions coming. We’re listening – and thanks again for the support!

This entry is one in a continuing series which discusses the images from the IndyCar.com photo gallery.  This entry reviews the story behind a photo taken at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 16, 2011.

MLB Legend Randy Johnson shooting some photos of the on-track action

At each IZOD IndyCar event, it is not unusual for us to shoot photos of celebrities.  On some occasions, the celebrities are there are to promote their latest television show, movie or album.  Other times, it may be a local celebrity or sports star who is there to cross-promote another event in the area.  Some examples this season include Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey Player Vincent Lecavalier, who exchanged jerseys with Alex Tagliani at St. Petersburg, 2003 American Idol Winner Ruben Studdard who sang the National Anthem at Barber, and Chef/TV Host Gordon Ramsay who was the Grand Marshall at Long Beach.

During IndyCar Qualifying at Long Beach, I went out to an area we refer to as the “peninsula.”  From this area, you can see the cars after they exit turn 9, work through turn 10, and take the final hairpin corner as they head down the main straight.  As I walked towards the hairpin, I noticed a photographer was on one knee shooting through one of the photo holes.  Some people have to lean over a little to shoot through the photo holes, but I have never seen a photographer so tall that they had to get down on one knee to shoot.

As I got a closer, I realized who it was.  It was retired Major League Baseball pitcher Randy Johnson whose nickname is “The Big Unit.”  For those of you not familiar with Randy, he was in the Major Leagues for 22 seasons.  He was a 10 time all-star and a 5 time Cy Young award winner (awarded to the top pitcher in his League).  During his career, he threw 2 no-hitters including a perfect game, and he was co-winner of the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 2001.  Also, he stands 6 feet 10 inches, thus the need to get down on a knee to shoot through the photo hole.

I had the opportunity to talk to Randy during a break in qualifying.  He wasn’t there to promote anything; he was simply there to be one of us – a credentialed event photographer.  Randy took photo journalism classes while he was at USC, and since his retirement from baseball after the 2009 season, he re-discovered his passion for photography.  I learned this was his first time to shoot an IndyCar event, but he has shot a NASCAR race and an NHRA event.  We talked a little about his minor league days with the Indianapolis Indians, and he said while he was with the Indians he attended an Indy 500 practice session.

Randy, if you happen to read this, we are glad you joined us at Long Beach, and we hope you enjoyed the weekend. Leave a message below if you’re interested in sharing some of the photos you shot over Long Beach weekend with our fans on IndyCar.com.

We’re asking fans to help decide which web writers will rep best at this year’s Virtual Indy 500 competition (Read more about the competition here). Any web writer ready to stake their claim will be put in front of our esteemed panel of sharp, clever, witty and good-looking judges (A.K.A. – you!).

So take a look at this entrant and leave your comments and likes here or hit us @INDYCAR with a tweet if you think OpenPaddock will provide fans with the best Virtual Indy 500 coverage this May and keep your eyes peeled for information on how fans can win a seat to race against up to three INDYCAR drivers at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway next month!

OpenPaddock | WebsiteFacebook Twitter | Flickr “Motorsports Commentary for Fans, by Fans.”

OpenPaddock.net is a website built by fans for fans of motorsports. What makes our site unique is the coverage we give to each facet of racing. So whether you are a fan of INDYCAR, rally, formula or sports car racing, you can get your fill and meet great fans just like you who have a genuine passion for racing. Who knows, you may begin watching a new series and learning even more about one that you currently follow!

Created by Shaun Pechin and Mike Whitesell in February of 2009, the site has expanded in the couple years since its inception. Shaun focuses his efforts on the IZOD IndyCar Series, Rally America and the World Rally Championship. Mike also focuses on the IZOD IndyCar series while also writing on Formula 1. The third addition to the crew was our chief photographer Doug Patterson. While away from the track, he also gives full coverage to the Mazda Road to Indy program and the Firestone Indy Lights series. Ken Poe is the man behind Le Mans and the American Lemans Series coverage. A passionate sports car fan, Ken brings unique insight into the world of class endurance racing. Spike Rogan offers a weekly INDYCAR column and fantasy racing insights, while Kristi Welch serves as our fan ambassador providing fan guides to each IZOD IndyCar Series race event.

OpenPaddock is also partnered with IndyCar Garage, and works extensively with INDYCAR’s official fan club, INDYCAR Nation. Both avenues allow OpenPaddock to connect with fans of the series and allows for the open exchange of ideas and opinion. OpenPaddock also allows for fans to submit their own opinion-driven editorials to be published on the site for the world to read. Have an opinion on a hot topic? Submit an OP-ed segment for the world to read!

There are many awesome plans coming together for OpenPaddock.net and we want you to be here for the evolution of this site and us as fans. We want to genuinely thank you for stopping by and hope you will tell your friends about us. The only thing we ask here at this site is that you keep the posts clean of derogatory language and treat everybody as a person. There are a number of sites on the web today that belittle those with an opinion and we want to be a safe haven where all can participate in an online community populated by sound, reasoned, passionate and courteous motorsports fans.

It’s evident when driving through the streets of Sao Paulo that Brazilians are extremely passionate about motorsport.   Ayrton Senna murals are painted on building sides and under bridges all over this massive city.  As a result this South American country has not only produced the world’s most legendary driver (Senna) but also some great racing circuits and outstanding INDYCAR drivers.

One of my favorite racetracks is here in Brazil.  Without a doubt, it was one of the most unique ovals ever built (the exception being Trenton, NJ). The Circuito de Jacarepaguá in Rio was quite a site to be seen in the mid-90’s when INDYCAR came to town.

Rio, in every definition of the word, was a Roval.  Turn 1 was a sharp corner, requiring the drivers to get on the brakes, downshift once (maybe twice) and jump back on the throttle. Turn 2 was wide open all the way to turn 3 which was full throttle for some drivers and then back on to the brakes for turn 4.  The layout produced great passing and promoted aggressive driving.

Rio was also the site of one of the most spectacular shunts in INDYCAR history.  Mark Blundell essentially tore down the outside wall in Turn 1 when his brakes failed going down the front stretch.  He made an attempt to collect his teammate to help soften the impact but he just  barely missed.  The resulting impact is terrifying and miraculously Blundell emerged from the car unscathed.  Fast forward in the above video to the 10:40 mark for video of the incident.

The list of Brazilian drivers who have driven in INDYCAR is long and prestigious.  With names like Fittipaldi, Kanaan, and Castroneves, Brazilian drivers have proved that they are and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.

Emerson Fittipaldi, one of the greatest drivers in any car, was one of my favorite drivers growing up. “Emmo” was fast, brave, and exciting to watch.  Below is video from one of Emerson’s hard fought battles with Nigel Mansell.

For many people when they think of the IZOD IndyCar Series they think of Helio Castroneves.  The personable, excitable, and energetic Brazilian 3-time Indianapolis 500 winner has been a staple of the IZOD IndyCar Series for many years now.  His personality, passion for racing, and on camera antics have been great for the sport.  What some seem to miss, especially lately, is how impressive Helio is behind the wheel.

Tony Kanaan is without a doubt one of the fiercest competitors in the IZOD IndyCar Series.  The tough driver from Salvador, Brazil has proved this year that just because he’s changed teams it doesn’t mean he can be ignored.  Taking KV Racing Technologies to some of their best finishes in recent memory TK has proudly positioned himself in 3rd position in the overall points standings.  If you watched the Indianapolis 500 last year and didn’t pay attention to Kanaan’s drive you missed one of the most exciting and entirely legendary performances a the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Starting 33rd and passing 22 cars to finish in 11th position was nothing short of miraculous.  TK showed once again that he’s not lost a step and certainly hasn’t lost any of his nerve, the man is still a master of the outside pass.

Drivers pay tribute to Senna

Posted on: April 28, 2011 | Comments(14) | Drivers | By: Arni

Ayrton Senna's gravesite

SÃO PAULO –Racing drivers tend to avoid hospitals and graveyards because those places can remind them of the dangers of the sport.

Those reminders, however, didn’t stop two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon from paying his respects to Ayrton Senna, the legendary Brazilian racing champion, who is buried in São Paulo’s Morumbi Cemetery.

“Popped out to see Senna’s grave,” Dixon wrote on Twitter. “Very quiet in a busy city. What a legend!”

Senna remains a hero to many drivers from around the world but no place more than in his home country. The fact that the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle occurs on the 17th anniversary of his passing (May 1) provides extra motivation to the five Brazilian drivers in the field.

“It would be an extremely important win to me because he was a hero not only to me, but for all of Brazil,” said three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. “(Winning on Sunday) would be a memorable day for me not only to win here in Brazil, but on a very special day to many Brazilians. I am going to do everything I can to make sure that can happen.”

Like Castroneves, Ana Beatriz considers Senna her hero, even though she had only begun to race go-karts a few months before his death.

“Senna means a lot to me,” said Beatriz, who like Senna is a native of São Paulo. “He is still a big reference when I think about the sport. We can still watch his races on video and we can see his determination and focus when he raced. He’s still a big hero in Brazil and everyone remembers the anniversary of his death and his birthday.  Racing on May 1 and maybe winning the race in Brazil will be the perfect way to say thank you to him for all he did for us. “

Vitor Meira will carry a very personal tribute to Senna during the race weekend. Meira had his helmet painter Art Rotondo paint a mural of Senna’s racing accomplishments on the back of the helmet he will use in the race.

“I remember May 1, 1994, when he unfortunately passed away,” Meira said. “It’s just a way to say he’s still in our minds. I put him on my helmet and wanted to do something individually out of respect to what he meant to me.”

We’re asking fans to help decide which web writers will rep best at this year’s Virtual Indy 500 competition (Read more about the competition here). Any web writer ready to stake their claim will be put in front of our esteemed panel of sharp, clever, witty and good-looking judges (A.K.A. – you!).

So take a look at this entrant and leave your comments and likes here or hit us @INDYCAR with a tweet if you think Auto Racing News will provide fans with the best Virtual Indy 500 coverage this May and keep your eyes peeled for information on how fans can win a seat to race against up to three INDYCAR drivers at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway next month!

AUTORACINGNEWS.ORG | WebsiteFacebook Twitter “Off-the-beaten path features, analysis and storytelling of lesser-known or hidden aspects of the IZOD IndyCar Series.”

Auto Racing News is a multidimensional media outlet committed to not simply informing IndyCar fans about Series developments, in the way that traditional sports journalists do, but going beyond race results and driver statistics by engaging fans on an emotional level through provocative and unique content.

Partnered with The Big Lead, an edgy sports blog (think Sports Illustrated meets The Huffington Post) that attracts more than 15 million unique visitors a month, Auto Racing News pads race coverage with off-the-beaten path features, analysis and storytelling (consider:  “What IndyCar Drivers Can Learn From Tommy Lasorda”, “Did IndyCar Break Up Motley Crue?”) of lesser-known or hidden aspects of the IZOD IndyCar Series.

New for 2011 is the loosely defined “Racing Reads” section that highlights books (old and new) that tell compelling stories about earlier days of racing or that bring to light cultural icons whose lives have intersected with open-wheel racing.  The “Behind the Scenes” pieces shed insight into unconsidered sides of the sport such as potential career paths for fans interested in combining their passion for IndyCar with employment opportunities.

IndyCar coverage on Auto Racing News is written by Robyn Lynne Schechter, a motorsports attorney and freelance writer, who lives in Los Angeles, California.  Unlike the well-established elements of IndyCar’s press corp, she enjoys complete creative freedom from Auto Racing New’s owner and editor-in-chief Dale Ford, and is not obliged to write six paragraphs each race about Danica Patrick regardless of where she places. With no political agenda to adhere to, a passion for storytelling and knowledge of the sport, Schechter is able to connect readers to the sport on diverse levels.

Auto Racing News readers can also feel good about this:  each time they read a story on autoracingnews.org, a child fighting cancer benefits.

All advertising revenue generated by Auto Racing News in 2011 will be donated to Racing For Cancer.  Racing For Cancer is a non-profit organization whose global ambassador is IZOD IndyCar Series driver, and recently appointed LIVESTRONG Global Envoy, Ryan Hunter-Reay.  Some of Racing For Cancer proceeds will be used to finance its “Children’s Cancer Fighter of the Race” program.  Through this program, one young child who is battling cancer is given an invitation to an IZOD IndyCar Series race and VIP treatment throughout the weekend at some of the races throughout the season. Other programs under development will be supported as Racing for Cancer expands its support to the cancer community going forward.

The perfect wedding gift for royals

Posted on: April 26, 2011 | Comments(2) | Drivers | By: Dave

Above gas prices and overspending for the 2012 Summer Games in London, the talk of the town in the United Kingdom is the Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29 at Westminster Abbey.

There’s a thriving business of commemorative items for sale — mugs with the mugs of the happy couple, thimbles, plates and T-shirts, etc. – and more than 4,500 street parties have been licensed.

So if IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights drivers who are subjects of the Crown were invited to the nuptials, what would they present as a gift? A sampling:

James Hinchcliffe (Canada): A gourmet bottle of maple syrup.

Alex Lloyd (UK): I would give the couple a pair of Indy 500 tickets. They can pay their own expenses, and get the opportunity to mingle with Mr. Trump. The Donald and Kate could enjoy a nice discussion about hair pieces.

Martin Plowman (UK): After thinking for a long time about what I would take as a wedding gift, I was torn between a toaster and a blender, as I’m unsure which one they needed more. On second thought, (girlfriend) Nicole is telling me that she would gladly be their ‘gift’ as she could fill in for Kate in all Princess roles.

Mike Conway (UK): Since they probably have everything, I’d take a certificate for a two-seater ride with me as the driver.

Paul Tracy (Canada): I’d bring a hockey stick for “Kate the Commoner” to whip out when William steps out of line.

James Winslow (UK): I’d probably take them a sponsorship package proposal … there are quite a few Brits here in Firestone Indy Lights and IndyCar, so it only makes sense for them to sponsor a team.

Stefan Wilson (UK): They’ll get plenty of nice china sets; I’d give them one of those souvenir Royal Wedding tea sets with their faces on it.

Justin Wilson (UK): I have no idea what I would get them.  (Wife) Julia is the gift buyer in the family.  I’m a guy; we’re lucky if we remember the day, so when it comes to the gift for the Royal Wedding I don’t have a clue what I would get.