Archive for October, 2013

GU1M1323INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Oct. 28, 2013 – Mike King will step down as chief announcer of the IMS Radio Network on Nov. 1 to focus on his family and other business responsibilities.

King has served since 1996 as the chief announcer of the IMS Radio Network for all IndyCar Series events other than the Indianapolis 500. He became the lead announcer for the Indianapolis 500 broadcast starting in 1999. King joined the network in 1995 as a pit reporter.

“I would like to thank the Hulman-George family and the entire INDYCAR family for an incredible 19 years with the IMS Radio Network,” King said. “Calling the Indy 500 and every other IndyCar Series race has fulfilled so many of my hopes and dreams. I loved every second of it, especially that special connection with the fans over the airwaves. But I’m also looking forward to this next phase of my life, including dedicating more time to my family, which always has been so understanding and supportive while I was on the road working with the network.”

DSC_2923- jim hainesKing and his wife, Nicole, and their family live in Terre Haute, Ind., where King serves as marketing and public relations specialist at Union Hospital in Terre Haute. “The demands of the new, compressed IndyCar Series schedule and my full-time duties at Union Hospital would be extremely difficult to juggle,” King said. “My performance at both would be impacted negatively.”  A search for a new IMS Radio Network chief announcer will begin immediately. 

“Everyone in the INDYCAR community owes Mike King their congratulations for nearly two decades of excellence with the IMS Radio Network,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “His passion for open-wheel racing is evident to all listeners from the start of every one of his broadcasts. We appreciate all of his significant contributions to the growth of the IndyCar Series since its inception and respect and understand his desire to focus on other areas of his life.”

Source: IMS

Photos Courtesy of IMS & IndyCar — Jim Haines

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NEW CASTLE, Ind. (Sat., Oct. 26, 2013) – With two laps to go in the Dan Wheldon Pro Am Karting Challenge, five karts had a chance to come away with the victory.

But shortly after the white flag, the lead three karts made contact, sending two into the grass and allowing Big Machine Records’ Marino Franchitti and Machine of Awesome’s Ed Carpenter to sneak by and take the checkered flag.

“I saw they had a bit of an issue in the front and it was able to get me back in the lead and that was enough to hold on,” said Franchitti, who was filling in for his brother Dario. “It was just great racing all days and a great way to celebrate Dan and his life. I just wish he were here racing with us because he would have been kicking all of our arses.”

16C_0797Though Franchitti’s kart — which he shared with Big Machine CEO Scott Borchetta, Mark Borchetta and Clive Wheldon, father of Dan Wheldon — was the first to take the checkered flag. Officials originally ruled it had short cut the course on the final lap. 

After determining that the Big Machine kart had not been the offending team, officials declared both Big Machine and Machine of Awesome co-winners of the 100-minute charity race, which saw each team compete in four segments driven by a different Pro or Amateur driver.

Scott Dixon“We got second,” said Carpenter, who teamed with Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew members Blair Julian and Adam Rovazzini and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports crew member Taylor Kiel. “There was a timing issue at the end. It was really good racing. It was a really good event and something we can continue for a long time.

16C_0295“We raced against each other all year long, but this is a more relaxed setting and we were able to raise money for a charity that Dan loved — The Alzheimer’s Association. I feel like we did a lot of good today.”

In describing his day racing, 2013 IndyCar Champion Scott Dixon noted”It was fun and a bit crazy. We had a good start and got up to fourth with some hard racing. I just caught a bit of the edge of the track in the last corner and spun, so I had to chase my way back to the front. It looked like a good show, especially in the final segment and good for everyone to watch. To race for Dan and Susie and with all the sponsors on board, is what it’s all about.

Teams were allowed to buy their way back on to the lead lap by donating to the Alzheimer’s Association, which helped cause further confusion over the final segment.

Second-place was awarded to the American Honda team of Josef Newgarden, Dave Furst, Dan Layton and 16-year-old kart racer Chase Jones. Third-place was the SG Football Helmets/AL Consulting team of Tristan Vautier, Anton Julian, P.J. Chesson and Mark Dismore Jr.

checkThe biggest winner, of course, was the Alzheimer’s Association, which was the beneficiary of the $100,000 raised by the event’s sponsors and participants.

“Overall, I’m so happy and just feel blessed to be part of this and carry on Dan’s legacy in so many ways, no only his passion for racing, but also to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s,” said Wheldon’s widow, Susie, who organized the event.

James Hinchcliffe in discussing racing in the event said “It’s an honor to come out here and participate in something Dan loved doing and for a cause close to his heart. It means a lot to all of us. We’re a close community and to see everybody come out after the season is done. Basically they took our Indy cars away from us and we needed something else to drive. This was a good excuse to get everyone together again and it’s a great cause. It was kind of Susie to invite us all to drive.”

Photos Courtesy of IndyCar – Photos by Chris Owens

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By: Dave Lewandowski — IndyCar.com 

A week after dueling for the Firestone Indy Lights championship at Auto Club Speedway in California, Sage Karam and Gabby Chaves will be karting teammates in the inaugural Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Challenge at New Castle (Ind.) Motorsports Park.

The timed 2-hour race Oct. 26 beginning at 12:30 p.m. (ET) features INDYCAR drivers, team owner Bryan Herta and special guests comprising 12 teams competing on the one-mile serpentine circuit. Admission is free and competitors will participate in an autograph session at 11:45 a.m.

Also, a silent auction will include a karting suit worn and signed by Wheldon. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association, a cause Wheldon worked to raise awareness for after his mother was diagnosed in 2008. 

“It’s a fitting tribute as Dan was a great champion of our work and took great interest in the programs for individuals in the early stages of the disease,” said Heather Hershberger, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter. “While saddened that Alzheimer’s has personally touched his family, we are inspired by this generous and moving tribute.”

Marino Franchitti will substitute for his brother Dario, who was injured Oct. 6 in a race incident in Houston, while reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon (a teammate of Wheldon’s at Target Chip Ganassi Racing) also will compete. Other INDYCAR drivers participating:

James Hinchcliffe
Simon Pagenaud
Josef Newgarden
Tristan Vautier
Alex Tagliani
Conor Daly
Bryan Herta
Jay Howard
Sage Karam
Gabby Chaves
Zach Veach

Also scheduled to compete are Scott and Mark Borchetta of Big Machine Records, members of the Wheldon family, Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee and former IndyCar driver PJ Chesson — See Listing Here

The pro-am challenge will be part of the 10th RoboPong 200 race weekend, an endurance karting event that Wheldon won in 2005 – the same year he won the Indianapolis 500 and the IZOD IndyCar Series championship.

Many of the same INDYCAR drivers competing in the challenge will participate in the RoboPong 200, including former race winners Carpenter and Howard plus Will Power, Simona De Silvestro, Stefan Wilson, James Davison, Matthew DiLeo and Logan Gomez.

Admission is free. The race starts at noon (ET) Oct. 27.

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Less than 24 hours after winning his third IZOD IndyCar Series championship, Scott Dixon got his chance to celebrate.

Dixon and Firestone Indy Lights champion Sage Karam – along with other drivers, teams and manufacturers – were recognized during the INDYCAR Championship Celebration at the Globe Theatre at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR, presented Dixon and team owner Chip Ganassi with a $1 million championship bonus check and replicas of the Astor Challenge Cup, the IZOD IndyCar Series championship trophy.

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“It still feels surreal because it was such an up-and-down year,” Dixon said. “I think the other times, getting so close, you feel like you’re never going to get there again. To go through the trials and tribulations of the year and for the team to pull through and try to get back to the top and win, this one feels pretty special and very different from the other two we’ve won.”

In addition to the championship bonus, Dixon accepted the Jostens Champions Award, a ring valued at $10,000.

Ricky Davis, chief mechanic for Dixon’s #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, accepted the IndyCar Series Chief Mechanic of the Year Award. Scott Harner and Barry Wanser of Target Chip Ganassi Racing accepted the Team Manager of the Year Award.

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Tristan Vautier of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports accepted the $50,000 IZOD IndyCar Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, while Josef Newgarden won the Tony Renna Rising Star Award.

Jim Campbell, Chevrolet’s vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports, accepted the manufacturer’s award on behalf of Chevrolet.

Helio Castroneves of Team Penske was honored as the 2nd place finisher in the championship while Simon Pagenaud of Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports was honored for finishing third.

Karam accepted the mini Firestone Firehawk Cup, the Firestone Indy Lights Rookie of the Year, a Jostens Champions Award valued at $5,000, an original artwork by motorsports artist Jim Swintal commissioned by Firestone

“When I woke up this morning and it really hit me. I was like, ‘Wow, we did it,'” Karam said. “The season went well and we had an awesome time and I learned a lot. We had some bad luck, but turned it around and came out on top. I love my team at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. They do an awesome job and it’s an incredible team to be part of.”      `

Carlos Munoz was awarded the $3,000 “Securing Tomorrow Award” from Gregory & Appel Insurance for winning the most races, while Peter Dempsey was named the winner of the Greg Moore Legacy Award.

Derrick Stepan, chief mechanic for Karam’s No. 8 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb Agajanian entry, accepted the Firestone Indy Lights Chief Mechanic of the Year Award.

The Mazda Road to Indy also presented Matthew Brabham, champion of the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tiers, and Scott Hargrove, champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda, with Jostens Champions Awards valued at $4,000.

— IZOD IndyCar Series award winners — 

Championship driver (Astor Challenge Cup): Scott Dixon

Jostens Championship Driver Award (ring): Scott Dixon

Championship team (Astor Challenge Cup): Target Chip Ganassi Racing

Championship team sponsors: Target                                        

Championship team manager: Scott Harner and Barry Wanser

Chief Mechanic of the Year Award: Ricky Davis

Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award ($50,000): Tristan Vautier

Second place championship driver: Helio Castroneves

Second place championship team: Team Penske

Third place championship driver: Simon Pagenaud

Third place championship team: Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports

Tony Renna Rising Star Award: Josef Newgarden

Verizon P1 Award: Dario Franchitti

Manufacturers Championship: Chevrolet 

— Firestone Indy Lights award winners —

Championship driver (mini Firehawk Cup): Sage Karam

Jostens Championship Driver Award (ring): Sage Karam

Championship team (mini Firehawk Cup): Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb Agajanian

Chief Mechanic of the Year: Derrick Stepan                                          

Firestone Indy Lights Rookie of the Year ($15,000): Sage Karam

Greg Moore Legacy Award: Peter Dempsey

Gregory & Appel “Securing Tomorrow” Award ($3,000): Carlos Munoz

— Mazda Road to Indy award winners —

Jostens Championship Driver Award (ring): Matthew Brabham (Pro Mazda Championship); Scott Hargrove (USF2000 Championship).

Information and Photos Courtesy of IndyCar.com — Photos by Chris Jones

2013 IndyCar Champs

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2013 IndyCar Final

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For the full stories of the IndyCar Fontana Race Weekend … CLICK ON THE INDIVIDUAL IMAGES ….

All photos courtesy of IndyCar.com — Photos by Chris Owens and Richard Dowdy

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After a grueling weekend of racing in Houston and several off-track developments within the IndyCar community, the 2013 season has now reached its climax …

Houston’s doubleheader two weeks ago ended with Penske Racing’s Helio Castroneves surrendering his substantial championship points lead due to a series of gearbox related problems, along with another stellar driving effort by Target Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon. Starting Saturday night’s IndyCar Championship final, Dixon will be leading Castroneves by 25 points.

Here is a summary of the race weekend at Houston … 

The key to Saturday evening’s 2013 IndyCar Championship is simple — Scott Dixon needs only to finish 5th or better to become the 2013 series champion.

Friday’s qualifying resulted in a 25 car line-up for the IndyCar World Championship 500 mile race

Changes following qualifying include 10 grid spot penalties for the following cars:  #3 Castroneves, #6 Saavedra, #9 Dixon, #14 Sato, #15 Rahal and #67 Newgarden. These penalties are a result of new engines being installed relative to both maximum mileage and test usage totals.

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Another interesting story line for Saturday night’s race is Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan and Pocono IndyCar 400 winner Scott Dixon are both in the running for a $250,000 bonus offered by Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka. Earlier in the year, Fuzzy’s announced the renewal of a longtime IndyCar tradition with the Fuzzy’s Triple Crown Award, in which $1 million would be awarded to a driver who could win the Indianapolis 500, Pocono IndyCar 400 and the MAVTV 500.  A driver winning two of the three races will receive a check for $250,000.

Here is more to look for on Saturday night …

Developments in the IndyCar Series continue to come at a frenetic pace with the 2013 season ending this weekend …

First, following his wreck at Houston, where he suffered a concussion, a spinal fracture that required no surgery and a fracture to his right ankle, Target Chip Ganassi’s Dario Franchitti underwent his second successful ankle surgery this past week.

In other news, changes in sponsorship, drivers and teams for 2014 abound as …

Target Chip Ganassi Racing stunned the IndyCar paddock by announcing they’re ending their long-term relationship with Honda Racing Development and will begin running Chevy power in 2014. This move precipitates another engine supplier move, with Andretti Autosport returning to the Honda engine stable for next season.

It has been reported that Panther Racing, through a bidding process, has lost the National Guard sponsorship they have held since 2008. Estimated to be worth $10-13 million, the sponsorship package is headed to Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing with Graham Rahal’s car the likely destination.

It’s also been reported that Hewlett Packard’s primary sponsorship of the #77 Schmidt Hamilton Racing car is ending, according to SHM co-owner Davey Hamilton.

Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner is leaving the KVSH Race team and has agreed to join Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

Past Indianapolis 500 winner, Juan Pablo Montoya returns to IndyCar agreeing to drive a third 2014 season entry for Penske Racing.

Sebastian Bourdais is leaving the struggling Jay Penske-owned Dragon Racing and has committed to fill Kanaan’s seat at KVSH Racing.

Andretti Autosport, losing GoDaddy as a primary sponsor for the #27 car driven by James Hinchcliffe, appears to have acquired new primary sponsorship that will be announced a little after 2pm (PST) Saturday in the Auto Club Speedway Media Center by team owner Michael Andretti. It’s expected that Andretti will also announce the signing of James Hinchliffe to another multi-year contract.

Another Andretti Autosport development was a news report from Racer.com, that late Thursday, driver E.J. Viso informed the team that he wasn’t well enough to drive the #5 Andretti car in Saturday’s race. Carlos Munoz, who as a rookie, finished 2nd in this year’s Indianapolis 500, filled the seat vacated by Viso and qualified to start in the 14th position.

Lastly, IndyCar earlier this week announced their 2014 calendar. The addition of a May road race at Indianapolis, a handful of date changes and the season ending in late August highlight the schedule. The new configuration of race dates, resulting in an 18 race schedule, allows for additional race venues to be added in 2015, something many IndyCar fans have been hoping to see.

For information regarding the 2014 IndyCar Season schedule …. CLICK HERE

For information on the 2014 IndyCar Race Venues …. CLICK HERE

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For much more detailed information on Saturday’s Race …. CLICK HERE  and  CLICK HERE

For a “Look Through the Lens” of the IndyCar Grand Prix of Houston ….  CLICK HERE

For more detailed insight into Today’s Sunday Race ….  CLICK HERE 

To view the Highlight of the Firestone Indy Lights Support Race ….  CLICK HERE 

All Video and Photography Courtesy of IndyCar

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For further IndyCar information … CLICK HERE

For further information on the Grand Prix of Houston … CLICK HERE

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INDYCAR ROAD RACE MAY 8-10 AT IMS TO ELEVATE MONTH OF MAY ACTION

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 – The Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the new IndyCar Series event May 8-10, 2014 on the reconfigured Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, will jump-start Month of May activities at IMS and build toward the 98th Indianapolis 500 later in the month.

Many officials and dignitaries unveiled details about the first IndyCar Series road race at IMS during a media conference Oct. 1 at the Speedway, including Hulman & Company Chief Executive Officer Mark D. Miles, IMS President J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, legendary IndyCar Series team owner Roger Penske, 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan and IndyCar Series race winner Graham Rahal.

“The Grand Prix of Indianapolis is all about elevating the Month of May, the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series with more thrilling content for our loyal supporters and new fans,” Miles said. “This will be a very different event than the ‘500’ and will be one of three major weekends of excitement at IMS in May, all leading into the 98th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25.”

ABC will televise the Grand Prix of Indianapolis live, building toward its 50th consecutive telecast of the Indianapolis 500. The race will feature a standing start and will run clockwise, the opposite of the Indianapolis 500, creating even more diverse competition during the month.

“With ABC televising the Indianapolis 500 for the 50th consecutive year in 2014, it’s only fitting that the historic first IndyCar race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course will also air on ABC,” said John Skipper, ESPN president and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks. “We’re honored to continue our long relationship with the Speedway and look forward to the Month of May in Indianapolis.”

The Month of May will begin with IndyCar Series practice for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis Thursday, May 8 on the new-look, 14-turn, 2.434-mile IMS road course. Practice and qualifying are scheduled for Friday, May 9, with the race Saturday, May 10.

All series in the Mazda Road to Indy will compete during the event, placing a singular spotlight on all levels of North American open-wheel racing throughout May at the Racing Capital of the World.

The first day of practice for the 98th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 11 on the 2.5-mile IMS oval.

The seating configuration for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis will be designed to provide the best sightlines of the course and affordable ticket prices for fans. New spectator mounds and new grandstands will be available in the infield section of the course to create exciting vantage points.

“Our approach is to create an affordable, fun, family-friendly opening event to kick off the excitement for the entire Month of May,” Miles said. “The most expensive ticket for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis is less than half the price of the costliest seat for the Indianapolis 500. Fans will get the best views possible of the exciting, side-by-side action created during this historic event on our new circuit.”

Tickets for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis will go on sale at 9 a.m. (ET) Monday, Oct. 14. Race Day reserved seat prices will range from $40-75. Existing ticket customers to any 2014 IMS event will receive a $10 discount on reserved seats ($30-65). Race Day general admission tickets are $25 for all customers.

All seating areas will be general admission Thursday, May 8 and Friday, May 9. Admission is free Thursday and $20 on Friday.

Tickets can be purchased at www.ims.com/tickets, by calling 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or by visiting the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.

A $5-million reconfiguration project is underway on the existing IMS road course that will transform the layout with more speed and more hard braking zones to create more passing and competitive racing.

Among the highlights of the new, 14-turn, 2.434-mile road course:

•A hard braking area and 90-degree right into Turn 1 exiting the historic front straightaway of the oval.
•A fast, new infield chicane that will comprise Turns 5 and 6 and lead to the back straightaway.
•A revision of the Turns 7-8-9 complex that will create more speed and passing.
•A hard braking area creating excellent passing opportunities leading into the new 90-degree right Turn 12, which enters the infield adjacent to Turn 1 of the oval and rejoins the main straightaway at Turn 14.

The reconfiguration plan also includes new spectator mounds in Turn 1 of the road course and new grandstands adjacent to Turns 5 and 6 in the infield. Expanded grandstands in Turn 7 – at the end of the back straightaway – also will be available.

For more information on the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, visit www.GPofIndianapolis.com