Archive for September, 2014

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Winning Racer Will Drive Team’s Fourth Car in Verizon IndyCar Series Beginning Next Season

MOORESVILLE, NC (September 29, 2014) – Team Penske announced today that race-winning driver and perennial championship contender Simon Pagenaud will join its ranks beginning with the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

The 30-year-old Pagenaud is a four-time race winner in the Verizon IndyCar Series and one of the most sought-after talents in open-wheel racing. Under the terms of a multi-year agreement with Team Penske, Pagenaud will drive the Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet beginning next season. With today’s announcement, the most successful program in the history of North American open-wheel racing will field a formidable four-car lineup moving forward.

SimonPAfter finishing among the top five in the championship standings each of the last three seasons, Pagenaud has established himself as one of the top drivers competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The native of Poitiers, France earned two wins, one pole, three podium finishes and eight top-five results in 2014 while finishing fifth in the title chase.

“Simon Pagenaud is a very talented, focused and determined driver,” said Roger Penske, whose team won the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series title with driver Will Power. “We know how tough he has been to compete with over the last few seasons and we are very happy to welcome him to Team Penske starting in 2015. With Simon coming on board to join Will, Helio (Castroneves) and Juan (Montoya), we feel we have four drivers very capable of winning on any given weekend and four guys who are legitimate championship contenders.”

Pagenaud joins Team Penske with a championship history. He won the Champ Car Atlantic Series open-wheel title as a rookie in 2006 and he produced four wins en route to the American Le Mans Series sports car LMP1 crown in 2010. With a diverse background that includes racing in the European Formula Renault series, Pagenaud has also excelled in sports car competition with starts at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as the Rolex 24 at Daytona on his resume.

“Getting a chance to race for Team Penske is almost like a dream to me,” said Pagenaud. “I have always admired the team and everything that Roger Penske has accomplished in racing. I am so excited to become a part of Team Penske and I can’t wait for the 2015 season to start.”


Ontario County, New York District Attorney Michael Tantillo conducted a press conference at 3pm this afternoon at the Ontario County Courthouse regarding, as he put it; the Tony Stewart matter as submitted before the Grand Jury.

The Grand Jury found that there was no basis to charge Tony Stewart with a crime in the race track death of Kevin Ward Jr., during a sprint car race at the Canandaigua, (NY) Motorsports Park on August 9th.

After a brief prepared statement; DA Tantillo answered questions, covering differing aspects of the case as presented.

DA Tantillo noted that some two-dozen witnesses (including drivers, track workers, accident investigators and police) along with two separate videos (one from race track personnel) and photographs were presented to the Grand Jury.

In the case of the videos, a second video (not found on YouTube) were enhanced, examined in detail and showed “no aberrational driving by Tony Stewart.”

One previously unreported aspect of the matter was found to be the presence of enough Marijuana in the system of Kevin Ward, Jr. “to impair judgment.”

The District Attorney says law enforcement never requested Tony Stewart to undergo alcohol/drug test, after assessment on-site that he wasn’t suspected to have used.

DA Tantillo noted that he thought the fact that Kevin Ward Jr. running down a “hot” track played “a big big factor” in no charges being leveled against Stewart.

The DA said that his office had submitted charges of Manslaughter in the second degree and criminally negligent homicide for consideration by the Grand Jury.

The DA also stated that there were varying versions of what had taken place and several witnesses chose not to talk to police. As a result Tantillo was forced to subpoena them to Grand Jury.

The Grand Jury deliberated for less than one hour.


venue-indianapolisThe Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s (SVRA) Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) for the second consecutive year, with more than 500 of the world’s finest and most historic race cars competing on the recently reconfigured road course and running exhibition events on the famed 2.5-mile oval from June 11-14, 2015.

The races will showcase a wide variety of cars including those that competed in past Indianapolis 500s, NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, Formula One, Grand-Am, SCCA and Trans-Am. In addition, American racing cars makes including Chevrolet, Ford, GM will compete with race cars from Ferrari, Porsche, Jaguar, MG and many others in 12 racing groups. A special class will also feature open-wheel race cars with Indianapolis 500 or other historic racing backgrounds.

The Charity Indy Legends Pro-Am race will return to run on Saturday June 13, pairing former Indianapolis 500 drivers with amateur racing partners for a 45-minute race on the 2.43-mile road course. The cars used in the Charity Legends Pro-Am race will be 1963 to 1972 vintage Chevrolet Corvettes and Camaros, and Ford Mustangs. Al Unser Jr. and his partner Peter Klutt won the inaugural race that included Eliseo Salazar, Willy T. Ribbs, 1996 winner Buddy Lazier, Scott Goodyear, Dick Simon, Lyn St. James, Mark Dismore, Johnny Parsons Jr., Alex Lloyd, Pete Halsmer, Robby Unser, Rocky Moran, Jaques Lazier, Robby McGehee, Spike Gehlhausen, Billy Roe, Scott Harrington, Rick Treadway, Tom Bagley, Bob Lazier, P.J. Chesson and John Martin.

Racing at IMS will be virtually non-stop each day from 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. The cars will be on display in the infield and garages and open to all fans providing up close access to the race cars, drivers and crews. “Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans appreciate and enjoy the history of racing and the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational showcases great historic racing cars in a setting unlike any in the world,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “The positive feedback from fans and drivers following the inaugural event earlier this year was overwhelming and the 2015 event will be even better! In addition to the great racing on track, the fan access to these historic race cars, owners and drivers makes this a must-attend event for anyone that enjoys racing or cars. This will quickly become one of the best events of its kind anywhere in the world.”

“We are extremely pleased and excited to return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said SVRA President and CEO Tony Parella. “The event was phenomenal this year and we’re definitely looking forward to building on that success for the next season. The fans in Indy are so knowledgeable and interested in vintage cars, the culture and racing in general that it’s an absolute honor to come to town and share our love of vintage car racing with them.”

A complete racing schedule for the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational will be announced at a later date. The event will begin with a practice day on Thursday, June 11 with free admission for everyone, with racing throughout the weekend beginning on June 12.

Fans have three quick, convenient methods to buy tickets:
• Online: Visit Tickets are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
• Phone: Call 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
• In Person: Visit 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.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at 866-221-8775 for more information.



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Familiar names and new faces will converge on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend for the fourth annual Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Open Test. Named in honor of the former team manager for multiple Indy Lights championship-winning Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian who passed away in September of 2011, the two-day test will feature all three levels of the highly acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course as well as demonstration laps of the Dallara IL-15 Indy Lights Car to be driven by Verizon IndyCar Series driver Josef Newgarden

In addition to serving as a jumpstart to established campaigns, the test serves as an “audition” for teams and drivers working on new programs in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. The Speedway road course venue will host double-header rounds for all three series in 2015.

Many drivers will be turning their first laps in their respective next steps on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder including reigning Pro Mazda champion Spencer Pigot, who will be running with the Schmidt Peterson squad as the team also welcomes NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie Parker Kligerman and former Atlantic Series regular Alan Sciuto at the outing. Dalton Kellett, who contested the Toronto round of Indy Lights competition last year, will return with Pabst Racing.

In Pro Mazda, 2014 USF2000 champion Florian Latorre will test the waters with his multiple championship-winning Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing team as several surprises dot the entry lists. Reigning champions Juncos Racing will roll in with series regular and race winner Jose Gutierrez, who will be joined by Garett Grist – who won two races as a rookie in 2014 with Andretti AutosportAustin Cindric, who finished on the podium in this year’s USF2000 Night Before the 500 race, and newcomer Timothe Buret. Neil Alberico will run under the Andretti Autosport awning with a yet-to-be-announced teammate at the test while Team Pelfrey will campaign Augie Lerch, Peter Portante, Patricio “Pato” O’Ward and Jeff Garibotti, and Michael Johnson returns with his JDC MotorSports team.

Cape Motorsports is on deck with three USF2000 entries for series sophomores Nico Jamin and Adrian Starrantino, and Canadian karting standout Parker Thompson – who will also test with JDC MotorSports – as is Afterburner Autosport who will see Jordan Bernloehr and Christian Ross join team regular Victor Franzoni. Jake Eidson will align with Will Owen in the Pabst Racing camp while ArmsUp Motorsports returns with James Dayson and a second driver to be announced.

IndyLights2All three ladder series will share equal track time with individual one-hour sessions in the morning, followed by 75-minute sessions in the afternoon on each of the two days. A detailed schedule is available on each of the series’ respective websites as well as live Timing and Scoring throughout the test.

The Turn 2 Viewing Mounds and South Terrace Grandstands will be open to the public.

“We are very pleased to offer our teams an earlier test date this year as they focus on their 2015 programs and to open the test to the fans who can come out and meet some of our rising stars,” said Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “This test is a great introduction to the ladder program for new drivers and also gives our current drivers the opportunity to sample the next step as well as other programs. With the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course a staple on our schedule, it is added value for both teams and drivers.”

chris-griffis-test-schedule1Photo & Data Courtesy of 


IndyTech 101 …

Posted: September 11, 2014 in Uncategorized




Indianapolis (September 10, 2014) – Many of the INDYCAR drivers will have one more race to compete in before their off-season begins. On Sept. 20, The Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Challenge will take place at New Castle Motorsports Park where participants will race to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association, a cause that became close to Wheldon after his mother was diagnosed in 2008 and sadly passed away from the disease in April.

The event, in its inaugural year last year, raised over $100,000 to establish The Sue Wheldon Fund. The fund supported a New Investigator Research Grant and early-stage programs of the Greater Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. This year the Wheldon family will expand their scope of support to include programs of the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter.

“We at the Alzheimer’s Association Florida Gulf Coast Chapter continue to be humbled by the generous hearts of the entire Wheldon family,” said Gloria Smith, President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Florida Gulf Coast Chapter. “Even through their own tragedies, they continue to extend their hands of support to help thousands of other families living with Alzheimer’s disease. We value the friendship and support they have so graciously shown us and the community.”

The challenge will continue with the same format as last year with corporate-sponsored teams consisting of one professional driver and three amateur drivers for a timed 2-hour event beginning at 12:30 p.m. Gates open at 7 a.m. and admission is free. The pro drivers will also take part in an autograph session from 11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Because of the success of last year’s event sponsors from last year were eager to participate again.

“Dan meant so much to American Honda, and to the people of American Honda and HPD,” said T.E. McHale, Manager, Public Relations, American Honda. “It is no exaggeration to say that we miss him daily, and this is one of the several ways we can contribute to securing his ongoing legacy. We applaud the great work being done by Susie in his memory, and are pleased once again to support The Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Challenge in 2014. We are also delighted to welcome Dan’s sister, holly, to Team Honda, as we look to improve on our runner-up finish in last year’s event”

IndyCar standout Josef Newgarden was the pro driver for Team Honda last year and returns this year for the much anticipated event.

“The DW Pro-Am Challenge is a very special time for all the IndyCar family, and it’s a race I look forward to all year long, ” said Josef Newgarden, whose Honda-sponsored team took home a second-place finish last year. “I’ve been racing at New Castle since I was a little kid and it’s the first place I ever met Dan as a young racer. His love and energy for our sport was so captivating and he was truly an inspiration to me as a young racer. I always look forward to coming back and sharing his legacy with everyone and also using it as an opportunity to help a wonderful cause in raising money in memory of Dan’s mom.”

Big Machine Records took home top honors last year finishing first with Marino Franchitti, who stepped in for his brother Dario after he was involved in a serious accident during the Houston IndyCar race.

“To say it was an honor for the Big Machine Team to win the inaugural Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am, well, there are really no words to describe it,” said Scott Borchetta, President and CEO of Big Machine Label Group. “As we all know, Dan was a master on and off the track but it was always clear, he was at the track to win. To keep his legacy alive with a great win due to an incredible drive by Marino Franchitti and teammates papa Clive Wheldon, me and my brother Mark, well, we ‘kept it in the family’. This year Big Machine is adding super-driver Tony Kanaan to the team and we expect to compete for two consecutive wins! With Tony pulling down his first win in Dan’s former Target #10 at season’s end, it would only be fitting for TK and Big Machine to cross the finish line first.”

Other pro drivers/sponsors participating in the event are James Hinchcliffe, Ed Carpenter/Machine of Awesome, Sage Karam/Comfort Revolution, Jack Harvey/AL Consulting, Sebastian Saavedra/Firestone, Conor Daly/IMS, Ryan Briscoe, Jay Howard/Bell Racing, Marco Andretti/Motorsport Graphic Design, Performance Tire Service and CF Charities.

Scott Dixon, Wheldon’s former teammate at Target Chip Ganassi Racing, will compete in the event for the second year in a row with Target. Dixon is one of IndyCars most successful drivers, including an Indianapolis 500 win and 3 IndyCar Championship titles.

“I’m proud to be a part of the second annual Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Challenge,” said Dixon. “Last year’s race was a huge success, it was great to see so much support towards Dan’s lasting legacy. This year will be bigger and better as we continue to support the Alzheimer’s Association that Dan was very passionate about. Susie Wheldon does an amazing job, I hope you can come out and be part of a great day.”

Wheldon’s widow, Susie, created The Dan Wheldon Foundation following last year’s event as a way to keep her husband’s legacy alive and continue his work of giving back and support of the Alzheimer’s Association. Wheldon was killed during the Las Vegas IndyCar season finale in 2011.

“Dan was so giving of his time and resources,” said Wheldon. “I was completely blown away by the response last year and how much money we were able to raise and ultimately start a fund in Sue’s name. I knew I had to make this an annual event and maybe one day even have our boys Sebastian and Oliver participate. Dan will always be remembered as someone who had an immense passion for life and I want to carry on his legacy in the same way. I feel blessed to be able to give back.”

Wheldon’s 5-year-old son Sebastian started racing karts in April and will lead the field in a pace lap before the start of the race.

Each winning team member will receive a grand Turismo quartz chronograph watch from Ritmo Mundo, valued at $1200 and a room package complements of the Conrad Indianapolis.