Goodbye Houston — Hello Fontana … IndyCar season comes to a climax …

Posted: October 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

Fontana

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.

IndyCar Fontana Quals 2013-a

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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