Posts Tagged ‘ izod indycar series ’

With the Indycar season opener at St-Petersburg right around the corner, ArtRotondo.com is hard at work making sure that our INDYCAR drivers have the finest and most original looking helmets on the grid. Through our previous IndyCar.com blogs we have been documenting our latest works for our Indycar drivers which follows with these newest creations. (Check out past posts here)

We’ll start with Belgian driver Bertrand Baguette who impressed many last season with his end of season surge to the front pack. He returns this year with his classic helmet design but this time on the brand new Schuberth SF1 carbon fiber helmet which is one of the most worldwide renowned and sought after helmet in all of racing. He will be sporting these tremendous lids throughout his 2011 season.

Bertrand Baguette's 2011 helmet design

Bertrand Baguette's 2011 helmet design

Another one of our latest works is for the “comeback kid” himself, Mike Conway. Mike will be making his return this season with none other than Andretti Autosport and will be sure to make his comeback memorable. For the occasion, we tweaked Mike’s design just a tad to give him that extra “out of the box” look than his previous design from last season. To all who thought his helmet couldn’t get any nicer, well I think the pictures speak for themselves. It is simply a true honor to be doing Mike’s helmets and especially this year after all the rehabilitation and courage he showed after his major incident at the Indy 500, a true remarkable story which can only get better.

IZOD IndyCar Series Driver, Mike Conway's helmet

Mike Conway's 2011 helmet

IZOD IndyCar Series Driver, Mike Conway's helmet

Mike Conway's 2011 helmet

Finally we wanted to stay in the Andretti Autosport stable and present to the Indycar fans, the one that many believe to be the next American born open wheel prodigy Sage Karam. This season will be Sage’s first season in the Star Mazda series, after winning every championship in every category he has ever driven, Sage looks to continue his streak in the Star Mazda series in 2011 and to continue his climb in the Indycar ladder system.

Star Mazda Series Driver, Sage Karan's helmet

Star Mazda Series Driver, Sage Karan's helmet

Star Mazda Series Driver, Sage Karan's helmet

Star Mazda Series Driver, Sage Karan's helmet

Our crazy pre-season helmet rush is far from being over, we’re still creating unique designs for our Formula 1 drivers, Nascar drivers, ALMS drivers and, of course, for our IndyCar drivers,  so keep on checking back on the Indycar.com blog for all of our Indycar Series drivers helmets to come!

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

A birds eye view of the new headquarters

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

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

Ryan Briscoe on Twitter

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

Justin Wilson on Twitter

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

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

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

Honda Grand Prix of Alabama Groupon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball

Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball

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

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

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

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

Graham poses with his new sidepods

Graham Rahal poses by his new sidepods

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

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

Crew members hard at work

Hard at work in the shop

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

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

Earlier this week, on Facebook.com/IndyCar we posted a photo and asked fans to provide captions for the image. We’ve selected the top five submissions (from a total of 213 comments) and are now asking fans to vote for their favorite. The winner with the highest number of votes by 11:59PM EST will receive an IndyCar Prize Pack. Fans can Tweet @IndyCar their favorite caption or leave their choice below. Watch for another photo caption contest and your chance to win a prize from IndyCar next week!

 Sarah Fisher Racing Caption Contest

1. Bradee Beard- “No, no no. The memo distinctly said ‘yellow pants, black top!’

2. John Fisher- “What do you bet the person taking this will put it on Facebook?”

3. ‎Jake James- “You’re right, we do look like bumblebees.”

4. Colleen Ney McGuire- “I don’t care if you say ‘pretty please.’ You’re not driving the car!”

5. Vince Van der Steeg- “We’re all just bricks in the wall.”

It’s not every day that we start working with a driver new to the team. When we do though, it’s always an adjustment for everyone involved—the driver, the crew, engineers and the whole team. The driver relies on not only his skills on the track during a race; he also puts his life into the hands of the team’s crew, engineers and equipment every time he straps into the car.

It starts with building the relationship between the driver and the team. There are usually 10-12 new faces, from the strategist to the engineers to the over-the-wall guys. Because the driver is in constant contact with the strategist during races, it’s always helpful to make sure everyone is on the same page before even getting into the car. The same goes for spotters and me—the crew chief. We, as a team, talk to the driver a lot about his expectations and what he wants to get out of the season.

There are physical differences for the driver, too. Each IndyCar team operates in its own way and sets up its cars slightly differently. The layout of the cockpit and even the placement of the steering wheel may be specific to the team. We spend a lot of time with the new driver to make sure he is comfortable with the car so he can control it on the track.

For example, Mike Conway came into the shop this week for his seat fitting. The seat fit is a big part of adjusting the car for the new driver. Race car seats aren’t ‘one size fits all.’ If you’ve ever had the chance to sit in a race-ready IndyCar, you know what I mean. Each seat is designed and molded individually for the driver. We also check the height of the seat, the position of the pedals, and the position of the mirrors.

Andretti Autosport's Josh Freund

Josh Freund prepares for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season at Andretti Autosport

For the team, it’s not just the driver-crew relationship that has to work. All of the crew members must gel together in order for a good team to form at the shop and track. It takes time and sometimes rearranging to get the right mix of guys. Our team manager Kyle Moyer looks at a lot of aspects to build a good crew: experience, practice, over-the-wall timing and the general chemistry. Some mechanics go over the wall while some don’t, and vice-versa. From season to season, Kyle typically keeps the same guys on the same crew for consistency. However, when a new driver is added to the team lineup, there can be some shuffling necessary to get the right mix.

This year, I will be working with Ryan Hunter-Reay. Though he’s not new to the team this year we haven’t worked together as crew chief and driver, which means we’ll go through some of the same adjustments as Mike and his crew chief, Jeff Simon. Even though there’s always a learning curve, I think we’ve got the right tools and people to get good results right away.

Andretti Autosport's Josh Freund

Josh Freund prepares for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season at Andretti Autosport

Iowa Speedway – the IndyCar Series’ shortest circuit – emerged, literally, from a corn field.

Small wonder, then, the Iowa Corn Growers Association has been the title sponsor of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 – which will again bring the established stars and hungry upstarts of the IZOD IndyCar Series to Newton’s fast 7/8-mile tri-oval on June 25.

We’re proud of our agricultural roots, from the rich soil beneath the facility to the high-performance fuel powering the car engines.

Iowa Speedway

A fan demonstrates their pride for Iowa Speedway's agricultural roots

Extreme excitement – from the grandstands to the garage – has rippled through the first four renditions of the popular event and the spirited crowd has topped the 35,000 mark each time.

Drivers hail the 7/8-mile Rusty Wallace-designed track as racy, ultra-demanding, and a pleasure to navigate.

“I love the track and I love the fans at Iowa,” Tony Kanaan, who won the 2010 Iowa Corn Indy 250 after three hard-luck runs/DNFs at Newton. The place is always packed – beyond packed – with people everywhere.  It is a track that races both like a short track and a super-speedway, so it is a lot of fun to drive.”

Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves at Iowa Speedway

Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves jokingly celebrate at Iowa Speedway

And despite being carved out of prime farmland, there’s plenty of fun - racing and otherwise – to be found in Newton and within a half hour or so from here. The venerable “Sprint Car Capital of the World,” Knoxville Raceway, surrounds a hallowed half-mile ring of dirt a mere 30 miles from Iowa Speedway. Iowa’s capital city, Des Moines, is about the same distance away and a straight shot on Interstate 80. We draw from central Iowa and beyond – with fans from 26 states enjoying the speedway.

And rest assured, if there’s a race, Iowans line up to attend.

They tailgate enthusiastically. They get involved – cheering, discussing, dissecting the day’s (or night’s) action. They’re knowledgeable, but not snobbish about it. They’ll say, ‘Hi,’ and ask how you’re doing with a genuine interest in your answer. You’ll feel right at home here, on IndyCar’s only short track of less than a mile in length – nestled in small town Iowa, but criss-crossed by well-traveled, coast-spanning interstate highways.

Yes, there’s that corn, both around the track and fueling the car’s engines. And that’s a good thing – for the economy, for the environment, and for performance.

We think when you come see us, you’ll heartily agree. We look forward to seeing you all at our facility, and are determined to help make the 2011 Iowa Corn Indy 250 the best one to date. So tell us your ideas below– Have you attended a race at Iowa Speedway? Tell your fellow fans what sets Iowa Speedway apart!

Similar to other Midwestern cities this week, Indianapolis was slammed with ice and snow storms causing team shops and even the INDYCAR offices to take a snow day. Despite the weather (and a newly formed ice rink in the INDYCAR parking lot) nothing can stop the momentum towards an exciting 2011 season.

Fans can now follow Verizon Team Penske driver, Will Power, on Twitter @12WillPower

Fans can now follow Verizon Team Penske driver, Will Power, on Twitter @12WillPower

Let’s start with Social Media (I might be partial) this week Verizon Team Penske driver, Will Power joined Twitter as @12WillPower. I know, I know, this is not the biggest news in racing per-say. BUT, it is a big deal when you consider the fact that now IZOD IndyCar Series fans can get live updates directly from Will. There’s nothing cooler at the track than an all-access pass, right? Well consider this piece of news to be your year-round all-access pass to learning more about one of your favorite drivers. This week, Will Power could also be found blogging on SpeedTV.com (check it out here). In the blog, Power shares what he’s been doing in the off-season to physically and mentally prepare for the 2011 season.

Will Power was not the only driver caught blogging this week. Ryan Briscoe shared his Super Bowl plans with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Australian ‘Cheesehead’ had plenty to say about the Packers and why he’s a fan. (Check out Ryan’s first post here and second post here). Read more about how Briscoe and his fellow Penske drivers, Helio Castroneves and Will Power, will be spending Super Bowl Sunday here.

Penske also announced new sponsors for their 2011 rides in Guidepoint and PPG. Check out two new schemes that will be on track this season:

Team Penske Guidepoint No. 6 car

No. 6 Guidepoint Team Penske IndyCar

Team Penske PPG No. 6 car

No. 6 PPG Team Penske IndyCar

From Social Media let’s jump over to this week’s announcement that Takuma Sato and E.J. Viso will return as anchors for the 2011 season at KV Racing Technology-Lotus (read more here). In the article, Viso shares the positive steps taken in 2010 that have the teamed poised for success in 2011. Lotus’ motorsport director, Claudio Berro wants fans to know that “last year was all about learning. This year, we would really like to achieve some podium finishes.”

Fans were excited to hear that Sebastien Bourdais spent this past week testing with Dale Coyne Racing along with Martin Plowman (full article here). Andretti Autosport unveiled that Mike Conway will be their fourth man in a 2011 line-up that already includes Marco Andretti, Danica Patrick and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Find out more about what Conway’s done to rehab from last season’s Indianapolis 500 injuries here.

Edmonton Indy promoters plan to unveil the race’s new circuit layout and ticket plans this Tuesday, February 8 (read more here). So far, they have only shared that the new layout places a few grandstands incredibly close to racing action — something that should get fans excited for Edmonton. Keep an eye on IndyCar.com for the new circuit layout as soon as it’s announced.

Today the Super Bowl takes place in Dallas, Texas, so I will close with a little humor from nearby Texas Motor Speedway which found itself covered in snow just a few days ago. Check out their Facebook page for a photo of the track.

We’re officially seven (7) weeks away from the start of the 2011 IndyCar season, what in the news this week has you most excited?

24 hours and 1,400 Followers later, Team Penske driver, Will Power, has already made a splash in the Twitter INDYCAR fan community. Fans on Twitter can follow the Verizon Team Penske driver @12WillPower.

Fans can now follow Verizon Team Penske driver, Will Power, on Twitter @12WillPower

Fans can now follow Verizon Team Penske driver, Will Power, on Twitter @12WillPower

“Yeah, I’ve finally joined Twitter-nation. Even in the first couple of days I can tell it’s a great way to connect with fans and friends and I’m having fun with it,” says Power. I hope I can share a little bit of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season with everyone and talk a little bit about myself and what’s going on with the Verizon Team Penske guys.”

Fans are already having fun tweeting directly at Will– and so are fellow drivers including Tony Kanaan (@TonyKanaan), Ryan Briscoe (@RyanBriscoe6) and Graham Rahal (@GrahamRahal).

Stay up-to-date on the IZOD IndyCar Series and Will Power by following us on Twitter @IndyCar or check out updates from all the Team Penske drivers @PenskeRacing.

Fans can now follow Verizon Team Penske driver, Will Power, on Twitter @12WillPower

Fans can now follow Verizon Team Penske driver, Will Power, on Twitter @12WillPower

In his 11 months as INDYCAR CEO, Randy Bernard has embraced Indy car racing and learned everything he can about the sport. This weekend, he showed a group of Indianapolis media, including me, what his past life was like by giving us a behind-the-scenes look the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series.

Randy Bernard being interviewed at PBR

INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard talks with local media at a PBR event

Being “Randy Bernard’s Guest” has its privileges in both places, but that’s not the only thing you get by hanging with him. You quickly find out why he’s been a success everywhere he’s been. Here’s a look at Randy’s two worlds:

PBR: The best bull riders in the world compete at events around the world and risk their lives for cash and prizes.

INDYCAR: Best race drivers in the world compete at events around the world and risk their lives  for cash and prizes.

PBR: Riders come from all over the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada and the U.S.

INDYCAR: Drivers come from all over the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada and the U.S.

Conseco Fieldhouse transformed for the PBR event

Conseco FieldHouse in Indianapolis, Indiana prepares for the Professional Bull Riders Event

PBR: Has a Briscoe (Travis)

INDYCAR: Has a Briscoe (Ryan)

PBR: There are two world-class athletes in every eight second ride – the rider and the bull.

INDYCAR: The driver is the only world-class athlete, but races last much longer than eight seconds.

Action shot at the PBR event

Action shot at the PBR event

PBR: Riders are encouraged to climb fences after their ride for safety. One Brazilian rider was called out for not doing so.

INDYCAR: One Brazilian driver doesn’t need encouragement to climb the fence after the race – as long as he wins.

PBR: Unique aroma in the “paddock” and you have to watch where you step.

INDYCAR: Just a unique aroma in the paddock.

A professional bull rider keeps his ride under control

A professional bull rider works to stay on his bull

PBR: Sometimes the bulls get into skirmishs after the event

INDYCAR: Sometimes, A.J. Foyt gets into skirmishes after the event.

PBR: Has a clown who entertains the fans during downtime.

INDYCAR: Ummm, no comment.

A PBR Rider is thrown

Things get rough at the PBR event

PBR: Robson Palermo of Brazil won the Indianapolis event despite a broken ankle. That’s tough.

INDYCAR: Buddy Lazier of Colorado won the Indy 500 a few weeks after breaking his back. That’s tough.

Racing, it seems, isn’t all that different from bull riding.

Kicking up dirt

More action from the Professional Bull Riders event

This week was full of signs of a quickly-approaching INDYCAR season. With IndyCars back on the track testing, Pace Cars on the move, and members of the Indy 500 Centennial Troops Tour making their way back to the U.S. from Europe and the Middle East, fans have plenty to be excited about.

The first open test is on March 14 at Barber Motorsports Park but some teams have already been out testing new drivers and new techniques. Photos and rumors circulated online this week with teams eager to get back on track for the 2011 season. Newman/Haas Racing completed a two-day test at the 1.65-mile Sebring International Raceway road course with Canadian rookie James Hinchcliffe (Read more here).

Milwaukee Mile embarked on bringing the excitement of their 2011 pace car to Milwaukee-area hotspots including University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. The event asks fans to find their Pace Car and e-mail of photo of you and the car. They will post the photos to their website and fans get a chance to win 1 race ticket. INDYCAR races at the Milwaukee Mile on June 18th and 19th, so fans have plenty of time to spot the Pace Car and win. See where the Pace Car has been so far, here.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Chevrolet unveiled the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, AZ. The car, a Camaro Convertible, was then auctioned off on Saturday, January 22 with live coverage provided by SPEED and proceeds benefitting the David Foster Foundation. The winning bidder (with a bid of $225,000 USD) also received the opportunity to drive the Pace Car on a Parade Lap at the Indianapolis 500. As one fan put it, “Only $225k for the chance of a lifetime? Now that’s a deal!”

Two-Time Indianapolis 500 Winner, Arie Luyendyk and David Foster

Two-Time Indianapolis 500 Winner, Arie Luyendyk, Prepares to Drive David Foster and the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car onto the Auction Block

Going from Pace Cars to politics, the Indianapolis 500 Centennial Troops Tour contingency has made their way back to the States after spreading goodwill to troops stationed in the Middle East and Europe. Amazing photo and videos emerged from the tour and can still be viewed on the IndyCar YouTube and Flickr pages. Through the tour, Mario Andretti provided continuous coverage for USA Today, Sarah Fisher for ESPN for Women, and Al Unser Jr. for ESPN. Their articles and a running story on IndyCar.com provided fans with an inside look at the tour.

Jack Arute, Martin Plowman, and Davey Hamilton pose with soldiers at the USO Warrior Center

Jack Arute, Martin Plowman, and Davey Hamilton pose with soldiers at the USO Warrior Center

Penske Racing driver, Helio Castroneves, jetted off to Brazil and spoke with the Mayor of São Paulo, Gilberto Kassab, and discussed the upcoming Sao Paulo Indy 300. “Mayor Kassab has always been open to suggestion on how to improve the Sao Paulo Indy 300,” said Castroneves. Read the full article here.

At the same time, IndyCar CEO, Randy Bernard, was sitting down with SPEED.com this week to explain oval restarts for the 2011 season. “We want to do what’s in the best interest of the series,” said Bernard. “I don’t think our drivers realized how many fans wanted this two-abreast restart and we want to make sure to do it in a way our fans approve.” See more of what Randy Bernard had to say here.

We might be a few months away from the official start to the 2011 INDYCAR season, but the signs of the season are everywhere and INDYCAR is sliding into gear.