Archive for July 7, 2016

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Stepping into the breach left by promoter Boston Grand Prix – when it failed to fully refund ticket purchasers after the cancellation of its planned race – INDYCAR announced today it would contribute $925,000 to help make fans whole.

“I appreciate INDYCAR’s willingness to step up for their fans and help resolve this problem,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a news release earlier today. “They’ve gone above and beyond to be a productive part of this solution, and their fans will reap the benefits.”

In May of last year, INDYCAR entered into an agreement with race organizer Boston Grand Prix for races to be run in Boston annually from 2016 through 2020. But on April 29, BGP unilaterally canceled the race scheduled for Labor Day weekend and its plans to stage races in Boston in the future. According to news reports, the amount BGP has refunded to ticket holders to date is insufficient to make full refunds.

Attorney General Healey announced earlier today that her office has filed suit against Boston Grand Prix and its CEO John Casey to pursue the remainder of refunds owed to ticket purchasers.

“We enjoy some of the most loyal and devoted fans in all of sports, and so we are pleased to work with the Attorney General and contribute in her efforts to protect ticket buyers,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We want our fans to know that we share their disappointment that the race won’t take place. And we also want to join them in expressing our appreciation for Attorney General Healey’s work on their behalf.”

Ticket purchasers that are owed a refund should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (617) 727-8400. Customer service representatives will be on standby to assist with the process for securing refunds. 

 

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Carl Hass’ incredible journey came to a peaceful end on June 29, 2016, at his home that he loved, surrounded by family.

Carl Haas’ vast array of involvement in the motorsports industry has garnered him acclaim from USA Today, who has called him “one of the most powerful men in the history of auto racing” as well as earned him a place on the “50 Newsmakers of the Half-Century” list compiled by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) in 2004. The same organization also presented him with their prestigious “Pioneer in Racing” award for his contribution to motorsports at their annual banquet on January 12, 2008 and in August of the same year he became the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America’s ninth recipient of the Bob Russo Heritage Award for his contribution to motorsports. To close out that same year, he accepted Autosports Magazine’s prestigious John Bolster Award in London in December “for technical achievement on behalf of Newman Haas Racing’s IndyCar team.” Over the years Haas has been a race car driver, race team owner, racing car/parts distributor, event promoter, advisor and visionary. His experience in these diverse areas provided him a unique insight into the sport of auto racing.

Carl’s journey began when he first started racing himself in 1952 and won ten races at the Milwaukee Mile racetrack, which forty years later, he would successfully operate from 1992 – 2002. In 1955, Carl won one of the inaugural races at the Road America race circuit and many years later would serve on their board of directors, helping to grow the facility into one of the premier racetracks in the United States.

Before focusing his business skills as a team owner, Carl began as a race car driver and joined SCCA in 1952, an organization he would later serve as a board member and subsequently chairman. In 1985, Carl received SCCA’s highest honor – The Woolf Barnato Award and in 2007 Carl was inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame.

While racing overseas in the late 1950’s, Carl recognized a business opportunity and became the U.S. distributor for several lines of race cars and race car replacement parts. Carl bought an Elva Sports Racer in 1959 and Frank Nichols invited Carl to drive in the Tourist Trophy Race at Goodwood in the U.K. Carl and Frank then agreed to distribute Elva’s in the U.S. through Haas Auto Imports. While at Goodwood, Carl was introduced to Mike Hewland, Hewland Engineering. Carl recognized Mike’s engineering talent and began representing Hewland in the U.S., a relationship that still exists today. At Goodwood, Carl also met Eric Broadley, the owner and chief designer of Lola Race Cars. In 1967, Eric recognized that Lola would best be represented by Carl A. Haas Automobile Imports, Inc., and Lola became the dominant race car in the U.S. for thirty years. Carl’s innovative concepts allowed Carl’s distribution business to blossom. Fifty five years later, Carl A. Haas Automobile Imports, Inc. still sets the gold standard; distributing cars and replacement parts for the racing industry.

In 1967, Carl started his own race team and over the next forty four years Carl’s teams won sixteen championships and over 140 races. Carl’s amazing ability to select drivers and engineers was a major factor in his team’s success.

Carl’s experience in team ownership included owning and operating: a Can-Am Formula 5000 team in the 1970’s; a Formula 1 team in the 1980’s; a NASCAR team in the 1990’s; the Milwaukee Mile race track: the Houston Grand Prix race from 1998-2001; and creating, owning and operating one of the most successful Indy Car Teams, Newman Haas Racing, from 1983- 2011, where Mario Andretti spent the last eleven years of his illustrious racing career.

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Carl will be greatly missed by all those lives he touched.

In lieu of flowers, a contribution can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at 8430 W. Bryn Mawr, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60631 (847/933-2413) or The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp at www.HoleintheWallGang.org

 

Information supplied by Carl Haas Companies …

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Tony Stewart did not want rocking chairs and other tchotchkes from racetracks on his final tour of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The Hoosier just wanted to go about his business without additional hubbub.

But a gift he could race on? That’s one Tony will accept every time.

On Tuesday, at the end of his media day promoting the Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard, the 2005 and 2007 champion headed out to Turn 3 of the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval to see a little slice of heaven – a 3/16ths-mile dirt oval laid on the infield. And he never stopped smiling.

“Did you think you’d ever see this in your lifetime?” Stewart said to one veteran journalist who knew him since the USAC dirt days.

Long before Stewart was a three-time Cup champion and an Indy Racing League champ, the now-45-year-old ruled on dirt. He won the USAC National Midget championship in 1994 and the USAC Triple Crown in 1995. But even as his pavement career flourished, he still kept wheels in the dirt, either through car ownership (Tony Stewart Racing), track ownership (Eldora Speedway) or racing himself.

He hadn’t run a midget in a couple years – and joked that fitting into one was a challenge in itself – but the opportunity to run on dirt at the “Racing Capital of the World” was irresistible.

“I was dead set I was not going to get in anything but … I’m addicted,” he said.

And with that, he jumped into his Sprint Cup suit and helmet and grabbed the wheel of Carson Macedo’s midget and took hot laps with Bryan Clauson and Sarah Fisher, two other drivers cut from the Smoke cloth of “drive anything, anywhere.”

“This is cool for everybody involved, especially the short track racing community,” said Clauson, a three-time Indy 500 starter and one of four USAC regulars who turned laps in the exhibition.

“Tony, he cares so much about short track racing. He could easily spend his (free) time on a boat or out hunting, but he chooses to work and play at the short tracks. That says a lot about what this means to him.”

And maybe the Crown Royal 400 won’t be the Columbus native’s last race on the IMS grounds after all, if a dirt track becomes part of the IMS calendar.

“It wouldn’t hurt my feelings (having a race here),” Stewart said. “It’s a short drive up here.”