Archive for September, 2013

IZOD IndyCar Series (4C) 5in 300dpi

INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, Sept. 27, 2013) – INDYCAR announced today that IZOD will conclude its sponsorship of the IndyCar Series after the current season.

“We are proud of our partnership with IZOD over the past six years and we’re grateful to PVH Corp., owner of the IZOD brand, for its support, creativity and vision,” said Mark Miles, chief executive officer of Hulman & Co., the parent company of INDYCAR. “But circumstances change and now we’re seeking new partnerships with brands looking to align with the fastest, most versatile form of racing.

“We are combining and strengthening our commercial functions at INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which will allow us to more aggressively pursue new opportunities for our sport.”

IZOD joined the IndyCar Series in 2008 as its official apparel provider and became the series entitlement holder in 2010.

“After an exciting relationship that has been as enjoyable and fast-paced as INDYCAR itself, PVH Corp. has made the decision to not continue IZOD’s title sponsorship with IndyCar beyond the 2013 season,” said Mike Kelly, Executive Vice President, The PVH Marketing Group. “As we and our retail partners shift the IZOD brand’s product focus, we need to shift our marketing spend to complement it. We would like to thank the IndyCar community, from the amazing fans, to the incredible drivers, to the entire series, for their partnership. We wish the series all the best and we look forward to finishing out the 2013 season with much success.”

With a new approach to scheduling, dynamic drivers, racing on distinct oval, street and road courses, and renewed focus on innovation, speed and safety, INDYCAR’s trajectory is up.

“Our on-track competition is at an all-time high and INDYCAR offers a unique activation platform with brand attributes of speed, technology and innovation. With changes we’ve made to our overall company structure and the master facility plan underway at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we’re heading into discussions with some very creative opportunities,” Miles added.

For further information … CLICK HERE

IMS Est 1909

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 – An IZOD IndyCar Series race will take place in May 2014 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, an event approved Thursday, Sept. 26 during a meeting of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC board of directors.

The race will be contested on the opening weekend of Month of May activities at IMS leading into the 98th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25. It will be the first time the IndyCar Series has competed on the Speedway road course, which will undergo reconfiguration this fall and next spring to create more passing zones and fan-friendly vantage points.

“This event will bring even more energy and action to the Month of May for fans and create another showcase for the diversity and excitement of the Speedway and the IndyCar Series,” said Hulman & Company Chief Executive Officer Mark D. Miles. “The new road race will further enhance the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the premier motorsports destination in the world and direct an even brighter spotlight on the Indianapolis 500.”

More details about the new race, reconfigured road course and other plans for the Month of May will be announced at a media event Tuesday, October 1st at IMS.

For more detailed information … CLICK HERE.

juan-pablo-montoya-425team penskeEarlier today, Penske Racing released to the press the following statement …

Team Penske announced today that Juan Pablo Montoya will join the team in 2014. Montoya will drive the No. 2 Team Penske IndyCar for the full season as he will join Will Power and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves in the team’s IZOD IndyCar Series lineup beginning next season.

Montoya, 37, is a native of Colombia and he is one of the most accomplished drivers in the world. His career highlights include race wins in Formula One, NASCAR and the CART Indy Car Series. He is the only driver to produce victories in the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the Monaco Grand Prix. Montoya earned 11 IndyCar wins over two seasons as he captured the CART Series title in his rookie season of 1999 followed by a victory in the Indy 500 in 2000.

“I am really excited to join this legendary team beginning next year,” said Montoya. “I have had the opportunity to drive for some of the best racing teams in the world and I have always admired Roger Penske and his organization. I consider it an honor to be offered the opportunity to drive for Team Penske.”

“Juan is a proven winner at all levels of motorsport,” said Roger Penske. “He has won a lot of races and championships and he has an extremely passionate fan base. We look forward to building on his successes together and we believe he will be a great addition to Team Penske.”

Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Competing in a variety of disciplines, cars owned and prepared by Penske Racing have produced 377 major race wins, 433 pole positions and 24 National Championships. The team has also earned 15 Indianapolis 500 victories in its storied history.

Later in the day, a Media Teleconference was held offering more insight into the new IndyCar race team to be assembled in 2014.

Penske Racing president, Tim Cindric and Juan Pablo Montoya commented on their coming to terms, enabling Montoya to join the IndyCar team of Penske Racing in 2014.

The moderator opened the teleconference asking: “Tim, today’s announcement took a few people by surprise.  Can you talk about how the opportunity to bring Juan to the team came about and what will he will bring to Team Penske starting next season?”

Tim Cindric went on to say:  “Really, I guess there wasn’t a lot of discussion about it because it all came together pretty quick.  I think Juan and I actually ran into each other on the grid in Michigan.  And you know, it was as simple as, “Hey, I heard ‑‑ obviously you’re not with 42 (team), what are you up to?”    Juan replied “Not sure.”    And I said, “We ought to put you in that IndyCar sometime.”  And he replied, “Let’s talk about it.”

“From then on, it was kind of casual conversation; it turned into the real deal.  That’s really how we started and how we ended up here today.”

Juan Pablo Montoya commented:  “I’m really excited.  If you really dream of any ideal position for a driver, and you could say, you could race for Penske, I think that would be No. 1.  And you know ‑‑ when I heard and it was announced that I wasn’t going to be in the 42 car next year, my No. 1 choice was going to be in a winning car.  I really wanted to be in a winning car.  As Tim said, when this opportunity came around, you know, you didn’t even have to think about it.  It was something that it was a great opportunity.  Having Helio and Will as teammates, two great guys, guys that ‑‑ one is leading the championship and the other guy has so much speed and so much potential that between them, I think they can help me a lot get up to speed.  You have to remember, I’ve been out of the open‑wheel for a while, so I’m going to have to get up to speed with everything again but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Asked if there was  any sponsorship in place for Montoya’s ride yet?  Cindric replied: “That’s a good question.  I think we are asking ourselves that same question. The approach that we took, because obviously it was a pretty short time frame ‑‑ once it got to the point where it was something that really looked like we could put it together, it really came down to Roger’s commitment to the sport and Roger’s commitment to winning, and the approach that we have taken, really, is let’s put the competitive piece in play first, and then hopefully we can sort the rest of it out.  And I guess that’s one of the advantages we all have working for Roger is his commitment to winning comes before everything else.  You know, the answer to your question is, no, we don’t have even one sponsor for one race as we sit here today, but, you know, I’m confident that will change as things go along.”

When asked how quickly Montoya thought he’d come up to speed, he replied “To be honest with you, the oval side I’m not too worried about it.  I’m not worried at all to be honest with you.  I think having the seven years of NASCAR and then my open‑wheel experience before that, I think I’m pretty excited about going to the ovals.  I know we don’t go to a lot, but you know, the one you want to win, it’s an oval.  You want to win the Indy 500.  I’m excited about that.  I have the opportunity to be in the car at Indy and I think with Penske it is going to be huge.  And I think the other one is going to be a process.  I normally pick up things really quick; all my career I have.  As I said before, having Will and Helio as teammates helping me out is going to really help me get up to speed.  I’m going to have to learn a lot again, but I’m up to the challenge – that is the No. 1 thing.”

The question regarding any opportunity to get Montoya in an IndyCar in 2013 for the season-ending race at Fontana was answered by Cindric saying:  “From my perspective, yeah, I’d love to run him in Fontana, but something tells me Chip’s probably not going to let that happen. We already talked about the fact that he’s got to stay focused and the commitments that he has on the 42 car there.  We’re certainly not going to get in the way of any of that, and there’s a seat for him here as soon as he’s able to take it.  But no, there’s no plans for that as we sit here.”

When asked what Montoya’s biggest challenge transitioning back to IndyCars, as far as the driving and/or conditioning, he replied: “The conditioning is a big part of it.  You know, since the moment I became a free agent, I wanted the opportunity in open‑wheel and I’ve been training really hard. I know I have a long way to go to where I want to be.  I know what it takes to be in the shape that you need to be in to win and be a champion. So I’m working towards that goal, and the good thing is that we’ve got a lot of time until the first race, so I’ve got a lot of time to prepare myself physically and mentally for it.”

Cindric was asked is there would  be any consideration in bringing Juan in for any NASCAR races, particularly Daytona, the road courses or the Brickyard? He replied:  “I’ve learned in this business never to say no; never to say never.  We certainly haven’t had any of those discussions, but just like with all of our drivers, if there’s something that makes sense out there, we certainly wouldn’t close the door on it. But certainly, his focus will be on IndyCar racing with us.”

Montoya was then asked about doing the double over the Memorial (Day) weekend racing in the both the Indy 500 and the Coca‑Cola 600. He answered by restating his commitment to IndyCar saying: “Right now we are focusing on the IndyCar program for next year, and as Tim said, if something comes up and something makes sense that we can work, we’ll do it. But I’ve really got to focus in on what I’m going to do next year.  I don’t want to be too distracted.  We didn’t come here to play.  We came here to get the job done and that’s what we want to do.”

For a quick review of Montoya’s Career Fact Sheet  …  Click Here 

Baltimore

For Immediate Release

INDYCAR WILL NOT RETURN TO BALTIMORE IN 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, Sept. 13, 2013) – INDYCAR announced today that it will not return to Baltimore in 2014.

“After a successful visit to Baltimore, which included record attendance, we are disappointed that our schedules will not align to host an event in 2014,” said Mark Miles, chief executive officer, Hulman & Co., the parent company of INDYCAR. “This was simply a matter of trying to find the best date that worked for all parties, since Labor Day weekend was not an option in 2014. We are thankful to the city of Baltimore, Race On and Andretti Sports Marketing for their support and enthusiasm for the event over the years.”

Miles added: “We continue to finalize our 2014 schedule and anticipate announcing it prior to the end of our 2013 season.”

Further reports out of Baltimore via the Baltimore Sun, can be viewed by …. CLICKING HERE

By the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Media Staff

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 – Six IZOD IndyCar Series teams and Firestone Racing officials kept an eye on the present and future of the Indianapolis 500 on Tuesday, Sept. 10 during a Firestone tire test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Six drivers turned laps on the 2.5-mile oval, and engineers from teams and Firestone pored over the extensive data with the long-term goal of developing tires that will help drivers break the all-time speed records for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” set in 1996 by Arie Luyendyk.

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Drivers participating in the test were three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi Racing), reigning 500 Mile Race winner Tony Kanaan (KV Racing Technology), Will Power (Team Penske), Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport), Simon Pagenaud (Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports) and Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne Racing).

The test will resume from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11. Fans may watch the action for free from the South Terrace Grandstand and Turn 2 viewing mounds. Thursday, Sept. 12 is the designated rain date.

Hulman and Company Chief Executive Officer Mark Miles and INDYCAR President, Operations & Competition Derrick Walker in May announced the intent to see Luyendyk’s four-lap (236.986 mph) and one-lap (237.498 mph) qualification records surpassed. The goal is to challenge those speed records during the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2016.

“Certainly we’re trying to lay a good foundation for being able to run laps like that for the future, and it’s going to involve a lot of work between ourselves and INDYCAR to make sure we understand the targets and that we’re working to achieve the same goals together,” said Dale Harrigle, Firestone Racing chief engineer.

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2006 Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookie of the Year Andretti is happy to pursue record speeds at Indianapolis and appreciates the challenge.

“Bring it on, man,” Andretti said. “I’m always for that, for sure. I think for four laps in qualifying it would be fine. Ten miles an hour is easier said than done once you get above the 230 (mph) range, but it’s average 10 miles an hour, not just 10 miles an hour, so you need to be like 15 to 20 miles an hour quicker, so that makes a heck of a difference, but that’s why they pay us the big bucks.”

Franchitti also is intrigued by the run for the records and pointed out that Firestone has the acumen to develop a safe, consistent tire for the challenge.

“Derrick Walker and his team have talked about going after the speed record, and that would be interesting,” Franchitti said. “Obviously, the cars and the engines need a little bit of work to get there, but it’s nice to see there’s a plan in place to kind of make that a reality. Every time we run on track they learn something, so Gil (de Ferran) did a 242 (mph) average at Fontana (241.428 mph in 2000), so they know how to make a tire that can exceed the track record here.”

“I think the aim is to start heading toward that by 2016, which is very achievable with this car for sure,” Power said. “Obviously, you’ve got to keep safety in mind, but also we do want to break that record. So as the safety improves, we can bump the speed up.”

Testing this week at IMS also will give the participating drivers and teams a head start on the 98th Indianapolis 500 next May. 

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“This kind of test is huge, especially for a driver and a team, because when we come away from here with a tire choice, and they let us know which one we’re going with for 2014, the guys testing here today will have a bit of a head start,” Andretti said. “Obviously there’s plenty of track time come Indy, but to have a day over the rest of the people really helps.”

While the teams participating in the test are looking to gather all the information possible to gain an advantage for next year’s

Indianapolis 500, the tire data they accumulate at IMS will benefit all teams in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

“The most important thing here today and tomorrow is actually to help Firestone to pick up whatever they want to pick up as far as a tire compound,” Kanaan said. “We’re here for them. It’s actually unbelievable, and you guys probably don’t know this, but we’re through probably 25 sets a day as far as seven laps each, and tomorrow we’ll do long runs, so it’s a lot of work.”

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A surprising element during the test is unseasonably warm temperatures in the low 90s.

“We expected it to be a lot cooler,” Franchitti said. “We’ve tested this time of year before, and it’s not that relevant, really. (But) with 90-plus degrees and humidity, we’re learning a lot. Firestone is going to learn a lot, too, and Honda is finding stuff, as well, so it’s really a win for everybody. When you’re asked to come and do these things, it’s a request you can’t turn down.”

The 98th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 25, 2014

For more on the story … CLICK HERE

Photos courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

360

By the time Hoosier Ray Nichels got around to the Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1957, he had already set the racing world on its collective ear.

It started in February, when at the request of the Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen, the head of the Pontiac Division at General Motors, Nichels and his team of Dale “Tiny” Worley, Pat O’Connor, Dick Rathmann, and Ed Oldert ventured to Daytona. Once there, the Nichels Engineering team performed in record breaking fashion. Nichels and his two NASCAR drivers, Banjo Matthews and Cotton Owens, captured the Pole (Matthews) and won the race (Owens.)

His chief racing partner through this period was North Vernon, Indiana native Pat O’Connor, who Ray was introduced to as his new driver in 1955. O’Connor had made his Indy debut in the 1954 race and gained the respect of his racing peers by virtue of his performance. On top of his initial Indy success, O’Connor had built a stellar career as an AAA sprint car driver winning back-to-back Midwest Sprint Championships in 1953 and 1954, a feat never before accomplished. O’Connor was intelligent, articulate, tremendously talented and most of all, one of the smoothest drivers on the AAA circuit.

Nichels and O’Connor’s next stop was at the behest of Firestone in April. The two Hoosier racers were directed to go to Europe to do tire testing for a terribly important race that was scheduled to be run on June 29, 1957. A year earlier, Duane Carter, Dir. of Competition for USAC, and Giuseppe Bacciagaluppi, President of the Automobile Club of Milan, formulated a plan to pit America’s 10 best open-wheel drivers against 10 of their European Grand Prix counterparts. A competition like this had never before been attempted. With World War II just a little over a decade past, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to pit the world’s best drivers against one another. It was officially labeled the “500 Miglia Di Monza,” but it soon became known as the “Race of Two Worlds” or “Monzanapolis.”

The site of this epic challenge was the Autodromo di Monza, located on the former palatial estate of the King of Italy, about 12 miles north of Milan. The speed complex consisted of both a road course and a newly built speedway. The new high-speed track was just over 2.6 miles long, with two long straightaways held together by two 38-degree banked turns. By comparison, the banking at Indianapolis was only nine degrees, and the turns at Darlington were in their mid-20s. This was clearly the world’s first truly high-banked super-speedway. It was constructed of reinforced, precast concrete sections that had been erected to form the race circuit. The concern among the racing community was that the high speeds on the terribly rough Monza track might be too taxing on the tires. A resulting tire failure at high speed could be catastrophic at a track so highly banked. That meant that Nichels and O’Connor, under contract to Firestone, had to conduct tire tests at Monza to gain an understanding of the challenges of racing on such a circuit.

Over the course of the few days that they toiled at Monza, the Ray Nichels-prepped Hemi-powered Kurtis, in the hands of Pat O’Connor, eclipsed a series of world speed records. Pat ran a total of 226 miles at an average speed of 163.377 mph and for good measure O’Connor set the track benchmark when he turned a lap at a staggering 170 mph. When the news reached the outside world, there was a collective gasp. In the weeks following, the European race driver community slowly began to withdraw their commitments to race at Monza. Pat O’Connor and Ray Nichels had run so fast, they had put a chill into the Monza air. It soon began to appear that the only racers who were willing to run the high banks of Monza were Pat O’Connor and his American teammates.

With that task completed Nichels and O’Connor returned to the United States to America’s palace of speed, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 41st running of the Indianapolis 500, where they started from the Pole, completing an extraordinary four month racing run by any racers measure.