Chaves Confirmed To '500' Ride With New Team

The worst kept secret in INDYCAR was finally announced...

Napa Returns With Rossi

A.J. Foyt Racing announced...

Carpenter Signs Pigot

Ed Carpenter Racing announced...

Friday, February 26, 2010

BHA & Skip Barber Partnership

Bryan Herta Autosport, who recently released their 2010 2-car Firestone Indy Lights lineup of Stefan Wilson and Sebastian Saavedra, announced today a partnership with the Skip Barber Racing School. Starting this season, BHA will host BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda drivers at FIL events. The 2010 Skip Barber National Champion will then receive a Firestone Indy Lights test with BHA

“Bryan Herta is a prime example of a driver who started in the Skip Barber Racing School system and worked his way up to the highest levels of motorsport. Now that he is a team owner he hasn’t forgotten his roots as an up and coming driver,” - Chairman and CEO of Skip Barber Racing School, Michael Culver

“We want to thank Bryan and Steve for enabling our drivers to be embedded into their team and thus accelerate their learning and maturation.” - VP of Competition at Skip Barber, Todd Snyder

“Having started the car chapter of my racing career with Skip Barber Racing School in 1989, I know the program works; it helped launch me. Steve Newey, me and the rest of the race team are excited to assist IndyCar’s future drivers and give them a taste of racing on this level.” -Bryan Herta

TCGR Debuts Enormous Driving Cart

Yes, that is a 10ft. tall, 5ft. wide, 13ft. long driving Target Cart, and it could be coming to a track near you. Target Chip Ganassi Racing will be debuting the beast this weekend at the stock car race in Las Vegas, but it'll make it's way to a few IZOD IndyCar Series races this year as well, including Infineon on August 22nd. It can travel up to 35mph and will distribute coupons and samples of Target brands such as Glad, Energizer, Breathe Right, Gillette, Air Wick, Nicorette, Armor All and TUMS.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

DFLDR Confirms Hamilton

(Matos, Hamilton & de Ferran - Photo courtesy of de Ferran Luczo Dragon Racing)
Davey Hamilton has been confirmed to pilot a 2nd Dallara for the newly named de Ferran Luczo Dragon Racing in 2010. Hamilton, who was part of the team that recently purchased Menards Engine Group, will compete in 3 races with the 2nd year organization including Indianapolis, Texas, and one other oval.

De Ferran Luczo Dragon’s sponsors in 2010 include HP, McAfee and Bell Micro. The team also provides an unsolicited donation of the United States Air Force sponsorship as a show of support for the Armed Services personnel.

“I am really looking forward to the opportunity to work with de Ferran Luczo Dragon team. They have proven in a short time that they have what it takes to be competitive, and I believe this is a great opportunity for me to put a strong showing at the Indy 500. Raphael Matos is a great talent and I look forward to being his teammate and working together to help improve our on track performance.

I will have mixed emotions for sure going to Texas and competing on that track for the first time since the accident, but it is important for me to return to Texas and to finish that race,” -Davey Hamilton

“I have known Davey for many years and he still harbors strong ambitions as a driver particularly regarding the Indy 500. He has also shown a keen interest in helping develop our team and young drivers. He is a highly experienced oval driver that can not only bring us a good result, but very importantly, can help bring us a point of reference and lift the whole team’s performance. His presence in the team I am sure will be beneficial to Rafa, who for the first time will have a teammate in IndyCar.

We have been working hard on expanding our program. We wanted to make sure we were expanding in the right way with the right amount of funding so that we make the right investment and make it worthwhile for everyone involved. Our sponsors were the key to making this happen.” -dFLD President and Managing Partner Gil de Ferran

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Conquest Confirms Romancini

Conquest Racing has now jumped on the driver announcement wave as they have now confirmed Mario Romancini for 2010. The 20-year old Brazilian will pilot the #34 full-time in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

"We are thrilled to announce we have reached an agreement with Mario for the full year. He is a young, talented driver who performed exceptionally during his 2009 rookie year in the Firestone Indy Lights Series, with particular excellence on ovals. Mario fits in well with our quest to develop new and promising drivers in the next step of their career. We look forward to helping him advance successfully in the Izod Indy Car Series this season.

We are very excited to bring another Brazilian driver to the fans in Sao Paulo. Having a native rookie driver will definitely inject more excitement into the race. Brazilian culture has become increasingly important to the series, and our team is looking forward to learning more about it from Mario in his hometown. -Owner Eric Bachelart

"I couldn't be more excited to move up to the Izod IndyCar Series with a team like Conquest. I have been talking with a few teams since last October when the season ended, but after my first contact with Eric I knew we could make something really good happen. We know we will have a lot of work to do. We will be competing against very strong teams and experienced drivers, but with all the support from Eric and the Conquest team, I am confident that with every race we will get better.

Moving up to the IndyCar Series is already a feeling that is difficult to describe. I've been working really hard to be here since I started in go karts, To have my first race in my hometown, in front of all my people, my family, and friends will be amazing! I am very excited for this moment and for sure couldn't ask for a better place." -Mario Romancini

Saavedra Signs With BHA; "500" Entry

After running a very strong rookie season with AFS/Andretti Autosport in 2009, Sebastian Saavedra has signed on to run a 2nd Bryan Herta Autosport entry full-time in the Firestone Indy Lights Series. Saavedra will pilot the #29 and will be joined by Stefan Wilson who was signed earlier this year. The 19 year-old Colombian native will also be entered into the 2010 Indianapolis 500 with BHA.

“This is a very proud day for Bryan Herta Autosport. Sebastian and Stefan will make a very formidable driving team and will help to raise our program to the next level. I know they will be pushing us and each other all season long. And to be able to announce our entry into the Indy 500 this year is another step in the plan Steve and I set for the team when it was formed just one year ago. There is much work ahead for us but today we want to take a breath and enjoy this moment. We can’t wait for the season to get started.” -Co-Owner Bryan Herta

“I have been talking to Bryan for some time and now everything is underway and I am very excited,” said Saavedra. “The program looks amazing. It is something we can build on for the future. It will be great to have Stefan as a teammate and to work with Bryan and Steve who know what winning is like. I will be working hard to be the best-prepared mentally and physically. My goal for the championship is to bring the gold home.

Obviously, the Indy 500 is an important event for me. It is an honor as only the third Colombian to do it. Bryan has raced at Indy five times and it is a great relief to have someone who knows what to do to guide me through this important occasion. I will be very focused to do a good job.” -Sebastian Saavedra

“We are thrilled to have Sebastian join the team,” said Newey. “I was extremely impressed by his performance last year. He was very competitive at every race. I am glad he is on our side now and we don’t have to compete against him. We plan to give Sebastian the opportunity to showcase his talent and compete for the championship.” -Co-Owner Steve Newey

Beatriz Signs with DRR

Firestone Indy Lights veteran Ana Beatriz has signed with Dreyer and Reinbold Racing to compete in the inaugural Sao Paulo 300. The Brazilian native will run the #23 alongside teammates Justin Wilson and Mike Conway.

According to the release Beatriz will skip the Barber test and instead run at Sebring on Friday and Saturday.

"I'm very happy because I drive the fastest car on the planet and it will debut at Indy[car] in my country and my city." -Ana Beatriz

Monday, February 22, 2010

Barber Test Entry List

22 cars in all, noticeably missing is the #4 Wheldon/Panther Racing entry (testing Fri. & Sat. at Sebring) and the two Coyne cars that should be announced very soon.

#2 Matos - de Ferran Luczo Dragon Racing
#3 Castroneves - Team Penske
#5 Sato - KVRT
#6 Briscoe - Team Penske
#7 Patrick - Andretti
#8 Viso - KVRT
#9 Dixon - Ganassi
#10 Franchitti - Ganassi
#11 Kanaan - Andretti
#12 Power - Verizon Team Penske
#14 Meira - Foyt
#22 Wilson - DRR
#24 Conway - DRR
#26 Andretti - Andretti
#32 TBA (Probably Rossiter) - KVRT
#34 TBA (Probably Romancini) - Conquest
#37 Hunter-Reay - Andretti
#67 Fisher - Fisher
#67 Howard - Fisher
#77 Tagliani - FAZZT
#78 TBA (Possibly de Silvestro) - HVM
#06 Mutoh - NHL

FIL Entry List:

#2 James Hinchcliffe - Team Moore
#5 Carmen Jorda - Anderson Racing
#7 TBA - Sam Schmidt
#10 Gustavo Yacaman - Cape Motorsports W/ Wayne Taylor Racing
#11 Pippa Mann - Sam Schmidt
#17 Jan Heylen - Team E
#18 Rodrigo Barbosa - PDM
#22 Adrian Campos Jr. - Team Moore
#26 Charlie Kimball - AFS/Andretti Autosport
#27 Martin Plowman - AFS/Andretti Autosport
#28 Stefan Wilson - Bryan Herta Autosport
#29 TBA - Bryan Herta Autosport
#36 Richard Kent - Genoa#49 Philip Major - Sam Schmidt

NHL Confirms Mutoh

Hideki Mutoh, who has ran the last 2 seasons with Andretti Autosport, will run the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. Mutoh will pilot the #06 entry sponsored by Formula Dream/Panasonic.

“Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing has always been known for their success and I am proud to add my name to all of those who have driven for the team before me. I started watching Indy car racing when Nigel Mansell came to race in the United States from Formula One so I am happy to be racing for the same team he raced for. I already have taken my picture with his race car that is in the lobby of the team’s race shop. I’m looking forward to starting the season.” -Hideki Mutoh

"Hideki has shown he is able to adapt quickly to new challenges by finishing second overall in the Firestone Indy Lights series in 2007 when he competed on an oval for the first time. The 2008 battle for the IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year in the newly-unified series was very close with Hideki emerging as the winner. In his two years in the IndyCar Series he has earned several podium finishes and we are looking forward to adding more." -Co-Owner, Carl Haas

KVRT Confirms Viso

Just a few days after E.J. Viso tested with KV Racing Technology, and a couple days before the league wide open test, E.J. has now been confirmed for 2010. Viso will run the #8 KVRT entry supported by PDVSA, Herbalife, CANTV, SBA Airlines and team partner Plantronics.

Viso will be joined by F1 vet Takuma Sato, who was announced last week, to run full-time in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Although unconfirmed it looks like Paul Tracy will return to run a limited schedule with the team, and rumors are out there that James Rossiter could be signed as well.

“I want to thank Kevin Kalkhoven, Jimmy Vasser, Mark Johnson and my valued partners PDVSA, Herbalife, CANTV and SBA Airlines for making it possible for me to race with KV Racing Technology this season. As I have said before KVRT is an outstanding team and I think joining them is the best thing for my racing career right now. I believe the structure KVRT has in place will provide for a very productive 2010 season.” -E.J. Viso

“We are very excited to have E. J. join our driver line-up for 2010. We have been in talks with E. J. for quite some time now and successfully tested him at Sebring. Over the last two seasons he has impressed both Jimmy (KVRT co-owner Jimmy Vasser) and I with his race craft and growth as a driver. E. J. brings IndyCar and oval experience to our team, which will be extremely valuable as we progress through the season. I would also like to welcome commercial partners PDVSA, Herbalife, CANTV and SBA Airlines to the KVRT organization. We look forward to working with all of them.” -General Manager, Mark Johnson

Voice Your Opinion

As first thought of by Pressdog and later picked-up on by Jeff of My Name Is IRL and George of Oilpressure, I'll continue the "Letters to Bernard" trend.

As I'm sure most of you know, soon to be ex-Professional Bull Riders CEO Randy Bernard has recently been hired on to head up the Indy Racing League. With this being such a crucial time for the IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights, and American Open-Wheel racing in general, this seems to be a spectacular opportunity for you to voice your opinion.

Over the next several months both the 2012 chassis and engine makers will be chosen, the 2011 schedule will be unveiled, and the direction of the IZOD IndyCar Series under the new CEO will be decided upon. If you would like your ideas and opinions to be considered or if you just want to wish Mr. Bernard luck, I'd suggest sending him a little note.

If you feel so inclined, you can either send the letter electronically, or you can follow in the P-Dog's footsteps and send it old school style to:

Randy Bernard

CEO, IZOD IndyCar Series

4790 W 16th Street

Indianapolis, IN 46222

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sato Confirmed With KV

(Photo courtesy of KVRT)
After months of speculation, ex-Formual 1 pilot Takuma Sato has been confirmed to pilot a KV Racing Technology Dallara in 2010. It's still unclear as to the number Sato will use and how many, if any teammates he'll have. E.J. Viso tested with the team earlier this week and Paul Tracy is likely to return with a limited schedule.

As seen below, Sato first entered the IZOD IndyCar Series picture last May when he showed up at IMS reportedly in talks for a possible ride. Since, the 33-year-old has been rumored to be connected with several IndyCar teams including de Ferran and Newman/Haas/Lanigan.
“We are very excited to have been able to put this deal together with Takuma and his group. I can't wait to see what I know will be a extremely fast pace by Taku on the road courses and look forward to working with him and getting him up to speed on the ovals. I have no doubt that Taku will be right on the pace immediately. Taku's knowledge and experience will be a great asset and his great sense of humor and easy manner will add positive energy to our team" -KVRT Co-owner Jimmy Vasser

“This is a very exciting time for me and all my supporters. I have really missed racing last year and can’t wait to get started in this new challenge with such a great team. To me, KV Racing Technology is a team with massive potential and great team spirit. With such a great champion as Jimmy leading the team, I am really confident that we will soon be a strong combination. I am also really motivated by the chance to be fighting at the front of the field, something I have missed in recent seasons. I want to thank sincerely everyone who has continued to support me through difficult times and look forward to enjoying success together very soon.” -Takuma Sato

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Menard Engine Group Sold

The 3 owners of the Indy Racing Experience , Indy Parts and Experiential Marketing Incorporated, Scott Jasek, Joe Kennedy, and Jeff Sinden alongside IZOD IndyCar Series veteran Davey Hamilton have purchased Menard Engine Group (MEG).

"This is an exciting time for Scott, Jeff, Joe and myself as we expand our interests in the racing industry. While my time in the cockpit is limited, this opportunity gives me the ability to maintain and strengthen my relationships within the racing community. MEG will be a separate entity and will be run as such, but there is no doubt its products and advancements will help provide technical and operational assistance to our ownership's current interests." - Davey Hamilton

Luczo Dragon & de Ferran Merge

Luczo Dragon Racing and Gil de Ferran Motorsports have merged. de Ferran is now co-owner, Managing partner and President of Luczo Dragon Racing/de Ferran Motorsports.

More info should surface later today.

“We have been talking to Gil about this for some time and we felt this was the perfect opportunity to combine our resources. Gil has the experience of working with major manufacturers and leading racing teams all over the world and we feel we can bring the essential business acumen and managerial expertise to the operation. Our skills are highly complementary and we all have the same vision and ambitions. We’re very excited about the direction of our team." - Steve Luczo

“Gil and I have known each other for 10 years – when he started racing for my father. Gil has always had ambitions outside of the car and Steve and I have been talking to him about working together for some time. Luczo Dragon Racing and de Ferran Motorsports will live together. We all share the same vision for the future in this industry and with our combined skills we are confident that we can make a real success story of this new venture. We have the resources and the knowledge to build a great motorsport organization together.” - Jay Penske

“This is a hugely exciting announcement. Our aim is to put together a state-of-the-art motorsports operation with a sharp focus in high technology and developing the science of performance. We have a very talented driver in Raphael Matos who has been a winner at every level he raced and showed great potential already last year, becoming rookie of the year. The foundation is set and with our collective resources and leadership we hope to break new ground and become one of the most competitive teams in the IZOD IndyCar series.” -Gil de Ferran

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lola's 2012 Concepts

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fantasy League Sign-Ups

Sign-ups have begun for the 2010 16th And Georgetown fantasy league presented by the Indy Racing Experience. The winner will take a few laps around your choice of either the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or Walt Disney World Speedway in a purpose built Dallara 2-Seater. You can get more info and sign-up HERE.

Be sure to check out IRE on the web and follow them on twitter.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

2010 VERSUS Broadcast Schedule

With over 100 hours of IZOD IndyCar Series coverage, VERSUS has released their 2010 broadcasting schedule. Like last year, VERSUS has scheduled a 3-hour block for each of it's 12 races and a 1-hour qualification show slated to air the day before. There will also be a 2-hour re-air of the races the following day, with the exception of Kentucky which will be shown on Wednesday, September 8th. Brazil and Chicagoland will be replayed at 10pm, Motegi and Homestead at 7pm and the remaining 8 races will be played at 4pm.

The programing will kick off on Saturday, March 6th with two back-to-back 1-hour specials. The first is set to begin at 2pm and is entitled "Danica's Decade", the second is a 2010 preview show. A 1-hour mid-season review will air Saturday, August 14th and a Championship preview will be shown the day before the season finale on October 1st at 4pm.

All times are EST.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Delta Wing Covered Up

UPDATE: Although still covered, a photo from the front of the Delta Wing. Be sure to check back tomorrow from 12-12:30 for full (uncovered) shots of the chassis.

(Photo: Mark Bilek)

As seen in the above photo, the Delta Wing is ready for the unveiling at tomorrow Chicago Auto Show. Curt Cavin reported several weeks ago that it draws a strong resemblance to the Spirit of America (below), and judging by the outline of the covered up chassis, I see the similarities.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Swift Unveils More Info

"Our goal is no less than for the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500 to be run exclusively with Swift chassis. We are very proud to release come of our conceptual designs today that were developed specifically for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series program. IndyCar fans love to see the engines and mechanical bits normally shielded behind bodywork. These concepts incorporate retro-styling cues that harkens to the 50s, 60s, and 70s IndyCar eras. Our wind tunnel tests have shown the engine cover has very little effect on aerodynamics compared to most other components on the car. We saw an opportunity to showcase the engine and other 'jewelry' while preserving efficiency with a much smaller fairing" - Swift's director of motorsports, Casper Van der Schoot
"As we listened to the IZOD IndyCar Series they also challenged us to help evolve the fan's racing experience. The Mushroom Buster will promote closer racing and passing, but we also wanted to help communicate the car's critical information in real time to the fans. To-that-end, we are pioneering a new lighting technology which we've dubbed 'SwiftLights'. SwiftLights will display car information like throttle, brake and fuel levels as well as race position. Our light sheets are made from a 1mm thick clear plastic which can be molded over complex shapes like an IndyCar's bodywork. Swiftlights are light-weight, efficient, inexpensive, safe and extremely bright. TV-like sheets have also been demonstrated with this technology, offering amazing possibilities for team and series sponsors" - Swift's chief Scientist, Mark Page
"Whatever our final IndyCar concept design Swift will incorporate its pioneering new technology to improve passing, which we've named 'Mushroom Busters' in reference to the mushroom shape of a car's aerodynamic wake signature. The 'busters' sweep up the wake behind the leading car, thus improving the handling of the following car. We have already effectively utilized Mushroom Busters in our Formula Nippon car design, the 017.n and believe we can now take the technology much further on the IndyCar" - Swift chief designer, Chris Norris

Huge thanks to Swift's Kanna Place for the information

Swift Unveils 2012 Concept

Just days after Dallara released their concepts for the 2012 IndyCar, and 2 days before DeltaWing is slated to show off their chassis, Swift has released their design.

Concept 1
Concept 2: Notice rear wing, sidepod, and front wing changes

"Given Swift is the leading U.S. race car design and manufacturing company and our 27 year history was founded in motorsport, it is only natural that we aspire to partner with the nations' premier open wheel formula, the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Individually, each one of these partnerships is critical to Swift's continuing commitment to motorsport; however, collectively and in conjunction with one another they will help us set new industry standards in innovative design, manufacturing and support.

Speed to market is critical in any business, but probably more so in racing as the green flag doesn't wait for anyone," Refsdal said. "Rapid development is just as much about the speed and quality of the design process as it is manufacturing. We are evolving our four year exclusive certified composite repair relationship with Mark One Composites, Inc. to provide further manufacturing and inventory support directly to teams from its Indianapolis based facility." - Jan Wesley Refsdal, Swift President

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stock Car Star Looking To Attempt IRL Race

It appears that a stock car star could soon be making his debut in an IZOD IndyCar Series race, just not Indy. This from motorsports writer, Norris McDonald:

....Yes, some pretty good open-wheel people have had difficulty making the adjustment to stock cars. Dario Franchitti just couldn’t do it, that’s true. But the rest of them acquitted themselves pretty well, in my books (okay, they didn’t win races but when was the last time Dale Jr. was in Victory Lane?)

My point – yes, there’s one coming – is that we’ve never had an example of anyone going the other way. We’ve never (in recent years, anyway) had a stock car racer of the first rank switch over and try to drive open-wheel cars.

Until now.

The news today is that – although I can’t name the driver and I can’t name the series and I can’t name the team – is that one of the stars of NASCAR (hint: he’ll be one of the 24 racing in the Budweiser Shootout, a.k.a. Bud Crashfest, at Daytona tonight – FOX, TSN2 at 8 p.m.) is negotiating with an open-wheel team to drive in a race sometime this season.

The deal is in the early stages, but the driver has told the team owner that he’s always thought about doing it and the only condition is that it would have to be at a track he’s familiar with so he could just pretty much jump in the car and get out there.

A deal is still not set, but it's still a very interesting scenario. After counter checking the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule with the Cup schedule, only a couple races make since:

Brazil - Not Familiar
St. Pete -Not Familiar
Barber - Not Familiar
Long Beach -Not Familiar
Kansas - Cup Race Same Day
Indy - Cup Race Same Day
Texas - Possible but Cup Race Next Day
Iowa - Cup Race Same Day
Watkins Glen - Possible but Cup Race Previous Day
Toronto -Not Familiar
Edmonton - Not Familiar
Mid-Ohio - Not Familiar
Infineon - Possible but Cup Race Previous Day
Chicagoland - Possible With Off Week For Cup
Kentucky - Possible but Cup Race Next Day
Twin Ring Motegi - Not Familiar
Homestead - Possible but Cup Race Next Day

Assuming he'll want to race on an oval, only Texas and Chicagoland meet the drivers criteria, and if it's a race early in the season like the article said, only Texas makes since. Remember, in 2008 Earnhardt jr. was offered $100,000 by Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage to run the tracks Open-Wheel round.

Drivers in Bud Shootout without previous IndyCar experience:
  • Kevin Harvick
  • Kasey Kahne
  • Jamie McMurray
  • Kyle Busch
  • Denny Hamlin
  • Jeff Gordon
  • Joey Logano
  • Brian Vickers
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • Jeff Burton
  • Jimmie Johnson
  • Ken Schrader
  • Greg Biffle
  • Matt Kenseth
  • Carl Edwards
  • Bobby Labonte
  • Ryan Newman
  • Mark Martin
  • Michael Waltrip
  • Kurt Busch
  • Derrike Cope

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dallara: New Car To Be Built In Speedway

Just a day after the first images of Dallara's 2012 concept car was first publicly shown on IndyCar blogs, a little more information is coming out. According to Dallara founder Mr. Gian Paolo Dallara: ”The new Dallara Indy car will be built in Speedway, Indiana and it will set new standards in terms of safety, fuel efficiency, raceability, technology performance and cost containment. We can achieve all of these objectives. Dallara as a company, a trusted, credible, stable and loyal partner for the Indy Racing League for the past twelve years, commits to support, service and develop this new car by locating a dedicated facility near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway”

More angles of the concepts have also been released:

Stay tuned over the next few days as I hope to release photos of the DeltaWing, Lola, and Swift 2012 concept cars as well.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dallara's 2012 Concepts

Dallara will officially release these concepts tomorrow

The chassis will:

  • Ligher and more efficient
  • Built at a much lower cost
  • Manufactured in the United States
Stay tuned, as I hope to post more concepts from other manufactures over the coming days.

IndyCar Announces Chassis Criteria

Just days before the unveiling of the Delta Wing, the IZOD Indycar Series has finally released some information on what they are looking for in the new 2012 car. They confirm that they are in talks with Dallara, DeltaWing, Lola and Swift to develop, manufacture and supply the new chassis.

The series also released the following objectives for the chassis:

-Safe: The new chassis must adhere to the league's already high safety standards while exploring new technology to improve safety in all aspects of the car.

Raceable: The new chassis must continue to produce the exciting racing that has become signature of the IZOD IndyCar Series while not affecting other cars on track (i.e. less sensitive to the turbulence).

-Cost-effective: The league continues to work to reduce the cost of participation for teams in the IZOD
IndyCar Series, which remains an important priority in this economic climate. The new chassis must have a price point that adheres to that goal.

-American-made: The new chassis must be built in the U.S., preferably at an Indiana-based facility.

-Less mass/More efficient: A lighter chassis with less mass that produces the same aerodynamic effect in an efficient way.

-Relevant technology: The league would like the new chassis to be relevant to the future of the consumer auto industry; innovative technology that is born on the racetrack and can translate to consumer cars.

-Modern Look: More space for sponsor logos, cars easily identifiable.

-Green: The Indy Racing League prides itself on its role in the greening of racing and wants to maintain its position as a leader in environmentally-friendly initiatives with this chassis.

"Two years ago the league engaged both the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena (Calif.) and College for Creative Studies in Detroit in conceptual exercises about the next generation of car. For the last year we have engaged in ongoing conversations with four chassis makers on two different design tracks. Now we are receiving concepts and will make a decision soon.

Our chassis is the most complex challenge in world motorsports because of the variety of race courses where we compete. It must be designed to run at 235 mph at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and protect drivers and spectators in high-speed crashes. It must be able to perform on superspeedways, speedways and short ovals well as natural terrain road courses and temporary circuits.

Our drivers take the greatest risks in the world of sports driving Indy cars and it is paramount we have the best safety features designed into this next generation of cars. It is also important that we continue to develop more relevance between the new generation of IndyCars and the cars that world manufacturers will be producing in the future. Finally, we have stipulated that the new chassis must be made in the United States, preferably Indiana, to take advantage of more competitive pricing and the existing American supplier network for parts and protect our team from issues with currency fluctuations." -Brian Barnhart

Q&A With Roger Yasukawa

16th And Georgetown: Among drivers your tied for 6th with an active streak of most consecutive seasons with a start dating back to 2003. So, what's the outlook for 2010, do you see the streak continuing?

Roger Yasukawa: Well, I'd love to have something to report at this point. Unfortunately, I don't have anything lined up as we speak, but I'm actively trying to pursue something for the 500 and the Indy Japan race. It's getting tougher every year, I still haven't given up by all means. I think trying to do the full season is pretty unrealistic at this stage, so I'm just trying to get something together in a competitive car for the month of May. Obviously reducing the schedule to a two week deal will reduce some cost, so hopefully I'll have something lined up withing a month or two.

16th And Georgetown: With the Month of May schedule change, a lot of teams in previous years would qualify their driver or drivers on the first weekend, then put together a late 2nd week program for a driver walking the garages. Now that it's down to just 1 weekend of qualifying, drivers and teams will have to have their plans finalized earlier, what kind of affect do you see the schedule change having on the ability for a driver to find a ride?

Roger Yasukawa: Right, to be honest for somebody like me it doesn't really help because most of the teams want to start in the first week and get all of their cars qualified and that'll give them the ability to run another car in the second week, then you could strike a deal. Now with it being just a two week deal, you literally almost have to do the whole thing. I think there's still a different engine package, so you could do it for a little bit less than last year from a second week prospective. But all in all, like you said it's not going to be easy for somebody like me to just try and do a one off because most of the teams are going to be tied up getting their full season car on the grid. You just don't have that extra week to think about running a second car, it's pretty much whether you come in with a full boat to run the whole thing or not. From that prospective I think it'll certainly be more challenging to find something.

16th And Georgetown: In February of 2008 which is nearly 2 years ago now, Champ Car and IndyCar finally merged. Obviously the economic downturn was just shortly there after, but have you noticed any changes in the search for sponsorship since the merger? Has it opened any more doors?

Roger Yasukawa: Well, I think more than anything the economy is certainly not helping the situation and that goes for everybody, not only in the racing world. Everybody is in the same boat in regards to that, and regards to the merger in talking with peoples it's certainly easier to explain to people about the open-wheel status now. I live on the west coast in L.A. and people know about the "500" but they relate more towards the Long Beach Grand Prix. When I go out and talk with prospective sponsors on the west coast they think it's the Long Beach race and I had to go through the whole long explanation between Champ Car and the IRL. Now it's all unified, so if I'm going to pursue a sponsor here locally I have another race that I could offer other than the "500". In regards to that perspective I certainly think it's great for the series, and it's gotten more competitive because all of the teams and drivers are merged together. So, all in all I think it's great and I'm just hoping the economy will pick up sooner or later.

16th And Georgetown: A few weeks ago you were on set with Danica to shoot an episode of CSI: New York, can you tell us a little bit about how that went?

Roger Yasukawa: Yea, I just got a last minute call to work with one of the teams that I help out in the Ferrari Challenge Series who actually put together the cars that were used in the shoot for CSI. Because they were filming just down the street from my house the team called me up and asked if I could help set up the car and everything else. So, I didn't even know it was a CSI shoot and I was pretty surprised. It was good to be here and to be apart of the whole Hollywood set was very amazing and it was a great experience to be apart of it.

16th And Georgetown: The next generation IndyCar has been a topic of much discussion over the last several months, what do you want to see in the 2012 car?

Roger Yasukawa: Well, I think that's something hard. It's definitely bound for a new car, since we've been using the same car since 2003 so sooner or later were going to have to change the car. When the car was originally designed we only had oval racing so it wasn't really suitable for road courses. Although the series definitely made it work on road courses as well. I think all in all they need to look at the bigger picture and your going to have to have a car that is more modern and something that fits ovals and road courses. I haven't done enough road coarse racing with these cars, so I can't speak on that. I kind of enjoyed more in 2003 when we had a bigger fuel cell. At that time it was about 35 gallons and now it's down to 22 gallons which it is about 30% less fuel capacity. I thought a bigger fuel capacity was more challenging to the drivers because the first couple laps the car would bottom out quite a bit more. Now with 22 gallons, it still does bottom out, but it's nothing compared to trying to handle the car during the first couple of laps. On top of that, you could play around with the fuel game ect. To be honest, the fundamental design of the car is something they'd have to look at. I'm not an engineer so I can't speak on that, but I enjoyed having to race with a bigger fuel capacity because there are more elements to the actual racing rather than trying to make up .2 seconds in the pit stop. But, I think a bigger fuel cell would allow different strategies throughout the race. That's something that I've always had in mind.

16th And Georgetown: You were slated to run the 24 Hours of Daytona this past weekend, but technical difficulties and were unfortunately unable to start race. Can you tell us a little bit about what happened?

Roger Yasukawa: We basically had a car that we put together for the Grand Am rules and unfortunately there are a couple thing that you have to change on the car. Like the Ferrari 430 Challenge car comes with a single lug nut wheel stud and the Grand Am rules in the GT class you have to run a 5 stud, like a Nascar style wheel hub as well as the wheel. On top of that we needed to downgrade the break callipers from the 6 piston to the 4 piston version. So, getting all of those changes done gave a lot of complications to the team where they had to fabricate their own parts. Basically the fundamental design of the wheel hub was not working well with the car and we had a pretty big vibration through the banking so the team opted to withdrawal from the race from a safety standpoint. We had a lot of mechanics from Indianapolis, from HVM in the past was an engineer on the car. Then a lot of guys that I've actually worked with at Team Rahal and other teams were involved in this whole thing so we had great guys, just not enough time to prepare the car right. We got the car on track, just didn't have enough time to get alternative parts to fix the problems. I think it was best for everybody, I mean 24 hours is a long race and if we don't have our stuff together right from the get to it's not even worth racing. Since we couldn't do the race we are seeing if we can do an alternative race down the line sometime this year, but that's still in discussion.

16th And Georgetown: There is a video on YouTube from possibly 2007 where your at a radio station and your changing a grown mans diaper? That had to of been one of the craziest things you've ever had to do in an interview, no?

Roger Yasukawa: Yea, absolutely. I think there is one or two other things you could look up on YouTube that has me in it and unfortunately I could go visit a sponsor and they could google me or look me up on YouTube and that's what they'd find. So maybe I should go talk to Pampers about getting me a sponsorship deal.

16th And Georgetown: Last November on your Facebook page you posted a photo of a F1 diecast that was destroyed by your son and you mentioned that he liked Lewis but not Heiki and a fan of Hideki but not Kouske. Obviously he's still young, but how big of a racing fan is he and would you like to see him maybe follow in your footsteps and become a racecar driver?

Roger Yasukawa: Yea, I think that's something he could end up choosing. I think all kids look up to their parents, and it's quite interesting that one of my sons good friends father is a karate instructor and he's more into Power Rangers and all that stuff. While my sons more into racing cars, trains in general so I think depending on what your father does gives them a different vision of what they like and what they want to do. If he wants to race I'll certainly deal with that and help him out as much as I can, but it's going to be his decision. It was the same way with me, my dads always been involved in racing, not as a driver but he was always involved with a Formula 1 team so I was always in that environment. He told me that if I wanted to do that he would support me, but it was all my decision. Again, if he has the will and passion to do it then great, but I'm not going to force him to do it.

I've gotta give a huge thanks to Roger for taking the time out of his busy day to do the interview. Be sure to check him out on the web, follow him on twitter, and become a fan of his facebook page.

All photos courtesy of of Indycar.com and Roger Yasukawa

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Letters Of Reference" On Fox

Vision Racing's "Letter of Reference" movement is really taking off. With several hundred letters in already, they're still being excepted. If you have yet to send one in, you really should, all the cool people are doing it. You can get more information here.

The latest publicity on the program came from the Indianapolis Fox affiliate, Fox 59.

Huge thanks to @rlaffen for the video link

Wilson Signs With BHA

(Photo courtesy of StefanWilson.com)
Stefan Wilson, younger brother of Justin has signed on to run for the 2010 Indy Lights title with Bryan Herta Autosport. BHA and the 20-year-old Sheffield, England native will announce their sponsorship package in the coming days, but they're still actively searching for secondary sponsors. The team is also in negotiations with a teammate for Wilson, with an announcement expected over the next couple weeks.

“Stefan showed great pace last year in his limited program, so when we had the opportunity to sign him for this season we did not hesitate. As this is our sophomore season in the Firestone Indy Lights Series, we know expectations will be higher for us and I’m confident that Stefan will deliver the results he and the team are expecting.” -BHA Co-Owner, Bryan Herta

“We are very excited to have Stefan join our team. His results while racing in Europe were very impressive. He also had some strong drives last year in the few Indy Lights races that he entered. He is a very talented young man and we are looking forward to competing for the 2010 championship.” -BHA Co-Owner, Newey

“I am so excited to be returning to the Firestone Indy Lights Series, especially with such a competitive outfit as Bryan Herta Autosport. I was very impressed by the team’s quick rise to the top last year. In their first year, they managed to win and score further podiums and I’m confident that the team will immediately demonstrate that same pace this season. I had a few good results in the small amount of races I was able to participate in and it was a good learning year. I want to build on that and go after race wins early in the season. That is the main objective initially, and then we will see how the championship plays out.”

“I was able to get to know the team really quickly, and we got down to some important testing work in the afternoon. I really liked the environment of the team and the car was already handling great. We have a few more tests lined up in the next month, so we should hit the ground running when we arrive in St. Petersburg for the first race.” -Stefan Wilson

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

IRL Confirms New CEO

In a press conference today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy Racing League confirmed the addition of Randy Bernard as the new CEO.  Bernard, who has been the CEO of the Professional Bull Riders for the last 15 years will begin his tenure with the IRL  beginning March 1st.
Speaking on the last 15 years Bernard said that he was "blessed to work with such a great sport, and I enjoyed the success that we all shared together.  But I was ready to make a change in my life. Josie George was determined that the change should be with the Indy Racing League, and after significant research I was excited about the opportunity.
I truly believe I can make a difference with the Indy Racing League, and I see tremendous potential. The IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights have intense action, high-stakes competition, extreme athletes, a diverse international schedule, great sponsors and a very passionate fan base.”
Bernard went on to thank the Hulman-George family saying: “for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of this great tradition. I have had the opportunity to meet with Ms. George, Josie, Nancy, Kathi, Jack Snyder and Jeff Belskus several times and really look forward to sharing their vision.
I also look forward to working with Terry Angstadt and Brian Barnhart. They both are highly regarded, and I am confident we will make a great team.”
“Our family has been the steward of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1945 and has owned and operated the Indy Racing League since its founding in 1994. This is our family business, and we have a new generation of family members beginning to be involved. I believe Randy is an excellent choice to head our growing IZOD IndyCar Series and assure that it will continue to be a positive asset for racing and for our family business.” - Chairman of the board, Mari Hulman-George
“Randy is the right person at the right time to head the Indy Racing League.  He brings a superb sports marketing and promotion background, proven CEO skills, energy and enthusiasm at a time when the IZOD IndyCar Series is positioned for growth.” -IMS President and CEO, Jeff Belskus

DRR Confirms 2010 Lineup

After days of speculation, today Dreyer and Reinbold Racing confirmed the return of Mike Conway and the addition of Justin Wilson to their 2010 lineup. Conway will again pilot the #24 Dad's Root Beer/Roll Coater Dallara as he did last season. Justin Wilson who is leaving Dale Coyne Racing will bring his 2009 sponsor along with him in Z-Line Designs and will run the #22. According to Dennis Reinbold the #23 of DRR was left open for the possibility of a 3rd full-time entry, and remember Milka always runs the #23.

At the beginning of last month Dale Coyne said that his 2010 lineup would be announced at the end of January, which has obviously come and past. The hold up could have to do with the Z-Line Designs move. In last months teleconference Coyne stated "Z-Line has been a great sponsor over the past 2 years and they plan to continue in 2010" However, today Coyne issued a press release saying that he is in the final stages of confirming next season drivers for a 2-car team. He also issued the released the following statement:

“I wish to personally thank Jim and Monica Sexton of Z-Line Designs for their support over the past two years. The new relationship and media aspect are great opportunities for Z-Line and their new partnership with Charter Communications and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.

I would also like to thank Justin Wilson for his contributions and efforts of the past year. It was great to get our first win with Justin last year at Watkins Glen. We again wish him the best and know that he will be a good ambassador for Z-Line Designs.” -Dale Coyne

"I'm very excited to re-sign again with DRR for the 2010 season. Last year there was a lot to learn and was a tough season, but now I'm more prepared and looking forward to the season ahead. Over the winter the team has been striving to build a better team and from what I have seen it all looks very exciting. I'd like to thank all of my sponsors for all their continued support and can't wait to get out and win races this year," -Mike Conway

"Obviously I'm very excited to join Dreyer and Reinbold Racing. I think that they are a great team and I really like the direction that DRR is headed in. They have put a lot of work in over the winter and that is very encouraging. I believe that we will be very competitive and my aim is to win the championship. I know it mayseem steep, but I feel that we have a very good chance and I'm ready to win some races. I also think that its great that Z-line Designs has chosen Dreyer and Reinbold Racing and I really look forward to working with them for a second year. It's going to be a good season," -Justin Wilson

"We are excited to be able to put a deal together, for both Mike and Justin. They are both really talented drivers and we believe that they will be great teammates. We made a number of productive changes over the off-season and as we continue to build our team we feel that we are making Dreyer and Reinbold Racing more and more competitive," - Dennis Reinbold, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing co-owner.