- Jacques Villeneuve will attempt to make Indianapolis 500 starts 19 years apart, bettering Cy Marshall & Roland Free's 17-year gap set in 1947.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Andretti Signs '500' Deal

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(Photo courtesy of the IZOD IndyCar Series)
As first reported by Robin Miller, John Andretti has now been confirmed to pilot a 5th Andretti Autosport entry at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. Andretti will run the #43 Window World entry in conjunction with Richard Petty Motorsports beginning at Kansas on May 1st before attempting to qualify for his 11th '500'. The Dallara will carry a similar livery to last years Dreyer & Reinbold design with "Petty Blue" and "Day Glo-red".

"It would be difficult to script a scenario any better than the one we have here. The relationship I have with Richard, the respect I have for Michael and his team, the partnership I enjoy with Window World and all of it focused on the Indianapolis 500 - it's really a perfect situation. I can't wait to get in the car and get to work. May can't get here soon enough." - John Andretti

"We're thrilled to be back at the Indianapolis 500 with John Andretti. We've had the pleasure of working with John for a few years now, and we are big fans of his - both on and off the track. John's talent combined with a strong team of Richard Petty and Andretti Autosport are sure to make for a great race for the #43 Window World car this May." - Window World President, Blair Ingle

"I'm excited to be a part of this venture with John, Andretti Autosport, and Window World for the Indy 500. There is so much history around this event and the Andretti's have such a rich tradition in racing. I'm looking forward to watching John hit the track in May." - Co-Owner #43 entry, Richard Petty

"I'm really excited to be able to be a part of this. Richard Petty is one of the true legends in our sport and someone I have always admired. Window World deserves a lot of credit for bringing all of this together.

"I have a lot of respect for John's talent - I always have. I really think he will fit in very well at Andretti Autosport and can be a factor during the month of May." - Michael Andretti

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Junqueira Signs With FAZZT

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Brazilian native Bruno Junqueira has signed on to pilot a 2nd FAZZT Race Team Dallara in this years Indianapolis 500, #33. Bruno will run alongside the teams full-time driver Alex Tagliani, who replaced Junqueira in his Conquest ride last May after Alex failed to qualify for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

"I am thrilled with the opportunity to compete for the FAZZT Race Team at the Indianapolis 500. The team will give me the resources and support to compete in a car that has the capabilities of winning at the Indianapolis 500. To win at Indianapolis has always been a dream of mine. I've had some very competitive opportunities at Indianapolis and in each year I've led laps and scored two top-five finishes at the speedway. I hope that in 2010 I am able to complete my dream of a win at Indianapolis since I have been so close in the past." - Bruno Junqueira

"Because we have enough sponsorship to run a second car at Indianapolis, we felt it important to give that chance to Bruno. Last year with Bruno as the second driver in the team I was at, he let his spot in the field go after I had a mishap in qualifying. And it turned out, I had a pretty good race at the Indy 500 so it is nice way to say thank you to Bruno for what he did for me last year." - Alex Tagliani

McIntosh & Ashmore On Autosport Radio

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Check out the latest addition of Don Kay's Autosport Radio show, with guests Shannon McIntosh and Bruce Ashmore. In the first half of the program Shannon talks about her past, present and future dealings in the racing world. Bruce Ashmore of BAT Engineering finishes out the show speaking on his 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series chassis design.

Friday, March 26, 2010

de Ferran Elected To Committee

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Gil de Ferran, co-owner of de Ferran Luczo Dragon Racing has been elected by the majority of the IZOD IndyCar Series owners to the newly formed ICONIC (Innovative, Competitive, Open-Wheel, New, Industry-Relevant, Cost-Effective) committee. The remaining members which will be made up of a league representative, an engine expert, a marketer/promoter, and a racing engineer will be chosen by the IRL's new CEO Randy Bernard, and announced next week. The committee will then present their suggestion to Mr. Bernard who hopes to make the final decision in the next 90 days.

In a teleconference just after the announcement that de Ferran Motorsports and Luczo Dragon would merge, Gil was asked how excited he was about the new chassis and he answered:

"I think very excited. Certainly I think it gives everyone an opportunity to kind of reset the button in a way. We've been using the same equipment now for several years. Certainly there's a lot of teams that have amassed a huge amount of data and experience with that equipment, and it's a good way to gain a competitive advantage.

I think our job over the next couple of years is to try to make up that difference, but also at the same time create those tools and processes that would hopefully get us out of the blocks very quickly here with the new car."

He was then asked which chassis proposal he liked:

"Well, to be honest, I mean, I've been keeping kind of a somewhat of a distance. I think certainly the DeltaWing proves to be a radical concept, shall I say, a great departure from what we're used to seeing, and there's certainly very interesting aspects to it. But I think there's some interesting aspects to all the other proposals. I look forward to seeing what the final decision is.

I think it's important for us that whatever decision is made that Indy car retain its what I believe is its true nature. The cars have always been the fastest cars on the planet. In many ways I think IndyCar was the original extreme sport. The cars were known as the fastest cars, and I think hopefully that has to be part in my mind of the future of IndyCar. They have to retain that value."

Lotus Livery Finished

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Above is the original rendering of Takuma Sato's Lotus livery for this weekend and beyond. Notice the 'Lotus - Cosworth' on the upper part of the sidepod. Below is the actual car, and Cosworth is no where to be seen. It looks like Honda, who has clear connections to Sato, may have had a little something to say about it.


Veach Signs With Andretti

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Just a couple weeks after the announcement that Andretti Autosport has signed Sage Karam to the newly formed USF2000 team, today it was announced that 15-year-old Zach Veach will join the team as well. Veach, who was signed on to pilot an Atlantics car this year before the series cancelled the 2010 season, will debut in the series May 29th at O'reilly Raceway Park.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Robin Roberts To Pilot Pacecar

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This morning on ABC's Emmy-winning morning news program 'Good Morning America', Helio Castroneves was live from New York to announce the 2010 Indy 500 Pacecar driver. For just the 2nd time in History a woman will be pacing the 33-car field to the green flag with Robin Roberts behind the wheel. ABC's bio of Robin Roberts

"I am thrilled beyond words to be the Pace Car driver for this year's Indianapolis 500. I've watched the race for years, and never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be starting one of the premier American sporting events. If you see an extra car in the field, it will be me!" - Robin Roberts

"We're thrilled to welcome Robin Roberts as Pace Car driver for the 2010 Indianapolis 500. She is an inspiring and popular personality with tremendous enthusiasm for 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." - IMS President and CEO, Jeff Belskus

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Make Your Pick

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The 2nd round of the 16th And Georgetown Fantasy League presented by the Indy Racing Experience is underway. Your selection for the Streets of St. Pete can be made HERE.

After just one week, the standings are obviously very tight, with 27 players tied for P1.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

St. Pete Entry List

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IZOD IndyCar Series 24 cars:
#2 Raphael Matos - Luczo Dragon Racing/de Ferran Motorsports
#3 Helio Castroneves - Team Penske
#4 Dan Wheldon - Panther Racing
#5 Takuma Sato - KV Racing Technology
#6 Ryan Briscoe - Team Penske
#7 Danica Patrick - Andretti Autosport
#8 E.J. Viso -KV Racing Technology
#9 Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing
#10 Dario Franchitti - Target Chip Ganassi Racing
#11 Tony Kanaan - Andretti Autosport
#12 Will Power - Verizon Team Penske
#14 Vitor Meira - A.J. Foyt Enterprises
#18 Milka Duno - Dale Coyne Racing
#19 Alex Lloyd - Dale Coyne Racing
#22 Justin Wilson -DRR
#24 Mike Conway -DRR
#26 Marco Andretti - Andretti Autosport
#32 Mario Moraes - KV Racing Technology
#34 Mario Romancini - Conquest Racing
#37 Ryan Hunter-Reay -Andretti Autosport
#67 Graham Rahal - Sarah Fisher Racing
#77 Alex Tagliani -FAZZT Race Team
#78 Simona De Silvestro - HVM Racing
#06 Hideki Mutoh - NHL

Changes of note from Brazil: No Beatriz, Rahal Added.

Firestone Indy Lights 16 Cars:
#2 James Hinchcliffe - Team Moore Racing
#4 Carmen Jorda - Andersen Racing
#6 Junior Strous - HVM Racing
#7 J.K. Vernay - Sam Schmidt Motorsports
#10 Gustavo Yacaman - Cape Motorsports/Wayne Taylor Racing
#11 Pippa Mann - Sam Schmidt Motorsports
#17 Jan Heylen - Team E
#18 Rodrigo Barbosa - PDM Racing
#22 Adrian Campos Jr. - Team Moore Racing
#26 Charlie Kimball - AFS Racing Andretti Autosport
#27 Martin Plowman - AFS Racing Andretti Autosport
#28 Stefan Wilson - Bryan Herta Autosport
#29 Sebastian Saavedra - Bryan Herta Autosport
#40 Jonathan Summerton - Walker Racing
#49 Philip Major - Sam Schmidt Motorsports
#77 James Winslow - Sam Schmidt Motorsports

Monday, March 22, 2010

IndyCar Confirms 2012 Formula Committee

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In the wake of yesterday's announcement on Wind Tunnel by newly named CEO Randy Bernard that the IZOD IndyCar Series would create a committee to help select the 2012 formula, the series has confirmed it today.

The advisory board will include a league representative, a team owner, an engine expert, a marketer/promoter and a racing engineer. The project will be named the ICONIC (Innovative, Competitive, Open-Wheel, New, Industry-Relevant, Cost-Effective) IZOD IndyCar Series Advisory Committee.

The board will be led by 4-Star Air Force General William R. Looney III, who will report all of his findings to the IRL's CEO Randy Bernard. The rest of the committee will be chosen by the new CEO, with the exception of the team owner. Each full-time IndyCar entry will receive one vote to select an owner to represent them on the board. The recommendation from the committee, which is expected within 3 months, will then be presented to Mr. Bernard for the final decision.

"The Indy Racing League always has taken pride in its role in automotive innovation. The search for a new chassis and engine has been about enhancing innovation in our sport and renewing the IZOD IndyCar Series as the automotive industry's proving ground.

"As the league moves closer to making a decision regarding our new chassis and engine platform, we need to continue to have an articulate process in place that sets the criterion in a timely manner while taking into consideration the core areas of car development in our sport: competition, marketing, engineering, engine development and team ownership.

"Terry Angstadt and Brian Barnhart have done an outstanding job researching and developing the future car for the past two years. Now we would like for the members of the advisory committee to review the research and make a collective recommendation, utilizing their respective industry sector's point of view.

"Just as equally important in this process are the drivers and fans. The advisory committee will be encouraged to reach out to the drivers for their feedback and opinions about the engine and chassis. Additionally, we are currently conducting surveys to receive fan input on the new chassis and will look for similar ways to incorporate their voice into the committee's research in the future."

"Gen. Looney represents many of the characteristics that are important to this process and his Air Force background provides familiarity with speed, safety, technology and integrity. We are grateful to have someone with his vast experience serve as chairman, and I'm confident that he will set the appropriate procedures to oversee the advisory committee and facilitate a recommendation in a timely manner. Having an industry outsider chair should prevent any bias toward any certain industry sector when overseeing the advisory committee.

"Our objectives for the chassis remain the same as they were when the league first began the process of developing its next car: safe, raceable, cost-effective, American-made, less mass/more efficient, relevant technology, modern look and green. - IRL CEO, Randy Bernard

Baguette Signs With Conquest

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In a somewhat of a surprising move, Belgian driver Bertrand Baguette has signed on to run full-time with Conquest Racing beginning at Barber Motorsports Park on April 11th. Bertrand, who was rumored to to join Conquest at Indianapolis for a run at the Borg Warner, will pilot the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium’s (RACB) branded Honda-Powered Dallara. The RACB is the Belgian motorsports governing body.

“I have always been attracted to racing in America. American open wheel has a rich heritage in competitive races and legendary drivers, and I couldn’t be happier about following in their footsteps. Racing in the US is a fantastic opportunity for me, and I am excited about entering into this next step of my career.

I am looking forward to the 15 races this year with the IndyCar series and I am thankful to the sponsors and for the support of the RACB National Team that have made this possible. I will carry the yellow color of the Belgian National Team with dignity and pride, especially during the legendary Indianapolis 500. To run this race in front of 400,000 spectators will undoubtedly be a big moment of emotion for me as a driver and Belgian countryman. I will be counting on the experience of my new team owner, Eric Bachelart, to help me enter successfully into this new world of racing." - Bertrand Baguette

"I am completely confident in the capacities of Bertrand to quickly adapt to the IZOD IndyCar Series car and the North America road and street circuits. I followed his 2009 season and was impressed by the excellent degree of competitiveness and maturity he showcased on his way to becoming Formula Renault 3.5 Champion. Because of his ability to adapt well to new formula, I am confident that he will also learn the art of oval track racing relatively quickly.

I am really looking forward to becoming more familiar with him during the upcoming race in St. Petersburg. It will be good for Bertrand to be able to attend an event, understand the communication between driver and team and get acclimated to IZOD IndyCar Series racing without the pressure of also having to learn the cars on the same weekend. This should make Bertrand’s debut event at Barber much smoother for him and for the team.” - Team Owner, Eric Bachelart

Friday, March 19, 2010

IMS Bronze Badges On Sale

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One of the best deals in all of sports, the 2010 Indianapolis 500 Bronze Badges have gone on sale. Giving you both track admission and garage access from opening day to carb day, this years design depicts the 1960's style front gate at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The badges can be purchased on a first come first serve basis at IMS beginning April 26th, or you can request an order form by calling 317-492-6500 until April 12th.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ratings Are In

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The ratings are in, and although not great, the opening race did show an improvement over 2009. The inaugural Sao Paulo 300 was the 3rd highest rated IZOD IndyCar Series race in VERSUS history, scoring a .4 national household rating, peaking from 2:15-2:30 with a .6. With an average of 411,000 viewers throughout the broadcast, ratings were up 30% over last seasons average of 315,000, and up 76% over the 2009 opener in St. Pete of 233,000.

With last nights announcement that VERSUS would return to DirectTV immediately, look for the Barber ratings to sore even higher when the Honda-Powered Dallara's turn their first competitive laps around the Birmingham, Alabama road course next month.

Monday, March 15, 2010

VERSUS Back On DTV

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Direct TV has announced that they and VERSUS have come to an agreement. Starting no later than 7pm est. tonight VERSUS can be seen on the same packages that they were on last August when the two split, on channel 603.

"I would like to thank Derek Chang (executive vice president of content strategy and development of DIRECTV) along with Jamie Davis (VERSUS president) for working diligently to getting this deal done. Everyone wins - DIRECTV, VERSUS and most importantly the fans of the Indy Racing League." - IRL CEO, Randy Bernard

"We are pleased that both sides were able to work out a satisfactory deal to bring this programming back to our customers," - DirectTV executive vice president of Content Strategy and Developlment, Derek Chang

"We're excited that we were able to come to a fair agreement that puts VERSUS back in millions of homes with DIRECTV in time for our busy spring programming schedule. We look forward to super-serving these fans with NHL regular-season and playoff coverage, our first live UFC event and much more." - President of VERSUS Jamie Davis

Radio Le Mans Podcast

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Be sure to check out the latest Radio Le Mans podcast, where they go in depth into the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series. The superb 2.5 hour show features interviews with many of the 2012 chassis engineers and an hour long chat with Randy Bernard.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

KVRT & Lotus Cosworth Announce Partnership

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KV Racing Technology announced today a technical and commercial partnership with both Lotus and Cosworth. Takuma Sato will pilot the #5 Honda-Powered Dallara with the Lotus Green and Yellow livery, starting in St. Pete.

"Racing has always defined Lotus and on many occasions in motorsports history Lotus’ numerous innovations have re-defined racing. It’s only fitting that as the Lotus Racing name re-enters Formula 1, we will also race and innovate again in IndyCar. The Lotus name will, once again compete in the top two open-wheel racing series for the passion and enthusiasm of car fans around the globe.” -CEO of Group Lotus plc, Dany Bahar

“We are delighted to be part of Lotus and Cosworth’s return to the IndyCar Series, and with Takuma at the wheel of the classic racing green and yellow Lotus Cosworth race cars, we expect to be formidable competitors this year.” - KVRT co-owners, Kevin Kalkhoven & Jimmy Vasser

“This is fantastic news for everyone. It is exiting for me to be a Lotus driver and I’m really looking forward to great success with this new project.” - Takuma Sato

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Make Your Pick

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With the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series less than 72 hours away, the deadline to sign-up for the 16th And Georgetown fantasy league is quickly approaching. But, you still have time! The deadline to both sign-up and make your pick for Brazil is Saturday at 12:00pm (Noon) est., just prior to qualifications.

Be sure to check out the Indy Racing Experience online and follow them on Twitter!

Moraes Confirmed With KVRT

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Mario Moraes has signed to return for a second season with KV Racing Technology. The Brazilian native will run the #32 Banco Panamericano Honda-Powered Dallara alongside teammates E.J. Viso and Takuma Sato.

This move seems to leave James Rossiter, who tested the #32 last month at Barber, out of the loop.

“We are very pleased to have Mario back in the seat with KVRT. Mario showed last season he can be very competitive and is in the process of becoming one of the top talents in the series. He has grown and matured on and off the race track over the last year due in part to the support of his family and the many positive influences in his life. Mario finished the 2009 season with very strong results and I would expect more of the same starting this weekend in SaƵ Paulo.” - KVRT General Manager, Mark Johnson

“I want to thank Kevin Kalkhoven, Jimmy Vasser and my sponsor Banco Panamericano for helping me and giving me this opportunity. Being in the car to start the season is very important for me especially since the first race is in my hometown. KVRT is one of the best teams in the IZOD IndyCar Series and I am looking forward to working with everyone on the team again. Hopefully we can continue the success we enjoyed at the end of last season.” - Mario Moraes

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rahal Lands A Ride

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Sarah Fisher Racing has now confirmed the deal saying.....
"We are all very enthusiastic about having Graham in the seat for the two road course races that start off our season. He has incredible talent. When it was brought to my attention that he was available, I reached out to Dollar General who was in full support of our decision to give Graham the opportunity." -Sarah Fisher

"Sarah has clearly done an impressive job building Sarah Fisher Racing and I really thank her, the team, and Dollar General for this opportunity to compete in St. Pete and at Barber Motorsports Park. I can't wait to get behind the wheel of the Dollar General No. 67 car and hopefully contribute to the success of SFR." - Graham Rahal

"Dollar General would like to welcome Graham to our racing family. We look forward to supporting him and cheering him on in the Dollar General No. 67 Honda." - Dollar General Chairman and CEO, Rick Dreiling
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According to the always reliable Curt Cavin, Graham Rahal has landed a ride in 2010, all be it for just 2 races. According to Cavin, Graham has signed with Sarah Fisher Racing to pilot the #67 Dollar General entry at both St. Pete, and Barber.

The official announcement should come tomorrow.

HUGE props go out to Sarah and SFR for getting the 21-year-old in a car!

Lloyd Confirmed With Coyne

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Alex Lloyd has been confirmed to pilot the #19 Boy Scouts of America Dallara for Dale Coyne Racing in the inagural Sao Paulo Indy 300. This will mark Lloyd's first IZOD IndyCar Series road or street course race after competing in 2 Indy 500's with Chip Ganassi, and the 2009 season finale with Newman/Haas/Lanigan. Unlike teammate Milka Duno, it's not clear if Alex's contract is full-time, however it looks like an announcement will be made in St. Pete when the IZOD IndyCar Series races in the States for the first time in 2010.

HVM Signs Junior Strous

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HVM Racing has signed on Junior Strous to pilot the teams Firestone Indy Lights entry in 2010. Strous who was released from Team Moore just days after signing earlier this year, will run with Shell and Car Channel Television sponsorship. Car Channel Television is a European based network that recently secured the broadcasting rights for the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights in the Netherlands.

"Junior is a proven talent. He's won races, so we know he has good skills behind the wheel. We will start him in a (Firestone Indy) Lights car and plan to do some testing with him in the big car at some point this season also. I have no doubt that with continued development he will be in an IZOD IndyCar Series car in the future." - HVM Owner, Keith Wiggins

"I'm now closer to reaching my ultimate goal and that's racing the big IndyCars. If I have a chance to improve my position, I'll always go for it. The HVM partnership offers me good opportunities both for the short and long term in my racing career. HVM is the place to be to achieve my goals." - Junior Strous

"The IZOD IndyCar Series has a large fan base in Europe. Junior driving for Keith Wiggins and HVM is a great development for European televisions viewers, who will get a better understanding and feeling for the fast and exciting Indy Racing League. We will follow Junior and the team on and off track. It will be an exciting racing season in the highest level of motorsports." - CEO of Car Channel, Etienne Marijnissen

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Q&A With Townsend Bell

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(All Photos courtesy of Indycar.com)
16th And Georgetown: Heading into May you'll have 2 teammates in Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon with a combined 13 Indianapolis 500 starts, each of which with a victory that you can go to with questions or suggestions. How beneficial do you see it being to have 2 very experience guys to go to throughout the month?

Townsend Bell: It's always a big help, for sure. Those guys have won a lot of races, and they've both won an Indy 500, so I'll look for any support where I can get it. Can't do much better then 2 Indy 500 Champions to lean on.

16th And Georgetown: Herbalife was your helmet sponsor in 2008, your primary last year, they've worked with E.J. Viso as well, and they're coming back as your primary sponsors for the '500'. Obviously times are tough for everyone, but especially in the racing world, what kind of feedback have you heard from Herbalife about their experience with the series?

Townsend Bell: The Indy 500 is still the biggest race in the world and it gets a good global television coverage. They certainly like the fact that the event is not only high profile in the U.S., but it's high profile around the world as well. For me personally it's tough racing once a year, but right now that's the event that makes the most since for them. I'd love it if the rest of the IndyCar calender would see a big bump in the coverage and the following, it would certainly help me do some more races.

16th And Georgetown: In just 3 Indy 500 starts you have 2 top 10 finishes and have ran pretty well at IMS. Is there anything specific about the track it's self, or your driving style, or maybe the amount of preparation leading into the race that lends it's self to some of your solid runs?

Townsend Bell: I feel really comfortable there, I have since the first time I took laps around the track. It's incredibly smooth, and I've had good cars there. Not necessarily the fastest straight line, but from a handling stand point I've always come in with a pretty good package on race day and have always had something that worked pretty well. So hopefully this year with the combination of my experience, the great partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing and a really slippery car in a straight line it'll be even better.

16th And Georgetown: Last May you had a second week program, which meant the best you could of qualified is 23rd. I believe you wound up 24th and moved your way up to 4th through the race. If you would of had a full month to qualify a little higher and work on the car a little more, how would it of affected the end result?

Townsend Bell: What hurt us last year was not necessarily starting the race 24th, it's where you sit on pit lane. I didn't realise that until things played out. That's as far back as I've ever started, I think I've started 12th & 15th the previous two times. The biggest problem was that by the last 50 laps, last 2 pit stops, everybody that I was racing with on track which was Danica, Wheldon, & Helio, they are all pitted at the sharp end of the grid, down towards turn 1 and I'm all the way at the back. So regardless of how quick the pit stops were, the KV guys did a great job in pit lane after we made a few adjustments. The biggest challenge then is if I get done with my stop, and say it's a 10 second stop and Danica does a 10 second stop way down at the other end of pit lane, I'm coming down pit lane at 60 mph, all she has to do is pull out to the high line straight from her box, and I've got to lift to avoid running into her. That's what hurt us, just the situation of getting blocked going down pit lane with the people we were racing with, apposed to being somewhat near them in the box and being able to race them out of the pit stall. That's the only thing that would of changed. If we would of qualified a little higher, lets say top 12, top 11, top 14, whatever it probably would of helped us a bit. I don't think we would of been able to cover Helio, but I passed Wheldon and Danica I think each of them twice on the racetrack. Certainly Wheldon twice, and it was frustrating to lose it back in the pits, but all in all it was a pretty good day for us.

16th And Georgetown: A few months ago IMS announced changes to the May Schedule. They basically just dropped 2 qualification days, added an extra practice day, and squished everything together. What are your thoughts on the revamped schedule?

Townsend Bell: You know, the first time I went to the Indy 500 I was 10-years-old and that was 1986 and I distinctly remember the tradition of the Indy 500 being a month long experience, but there was a reason for that. There were different motor and tire combinations, and chassis combinations, it really seemed like people needed the time to develop their packages around the unique track. Today we run in a spec series. The cars are the same, the situation is the same if you had a 2-day event at Kansas as you do at Indianapolis, so it really just isn't necessary to have that much track time. For me as a one off obviously it's better for me to have more track time, just to shake off the cobwebs and get up to speed. It doesn't take me 5 days to get up to speed, it might take half a day, but just to get comfortable in traffic and all of that and to just get back into the rhythm of things helps. But as you pointed out, I think there is only 1 fewer actual day on track, it's just in a more concentrated schedule. It's kind of a shame not to have what it used to be which was a real sort of R&D exercise, but I think it makes since to condense things given the current formula.

16th And Georgetown: For anybody that follows you on Twitter or YouTube, they know that your love to work out in all sorts of ways from boxing, to skiing, to biking and everything in between. On one of your YouTube videos, your on an IndyCar simulator. I know guys like Tomas Scheckter, and Justin & Stefan Wilson are big iRacing fans. How much do you find that the simulators actually help the on track performance?

Townsend Bell: Well, first I want to say thanks for following me on twitter because I think I've only got about 40 people on there right now. For any of your audience that can get on @TownsendBell99 on twitter and bump up my numbers. It's embarrassing that I've got 40, and Paul Tracy's got 4,000, so we need to increase our numbers a bit there. I just started using it about a week ago though, but I like it. But anyways, the simulators are cool. They've come a long, long way. Obviously in Formula 1 they started getting serious about those several years ago and they've got some amazingly robust simulators over in Europe for the Formula 1 teams. Then there's what anybody can do by just going out and buying a computer, and steering wheel and pedals. Then there is a mid-tear range, with professionally engineers simulators that are available to the consumer or a racing driver and that's what I've been using. I use a company called CXC, which is hear in southern California. What really kind of helps is track knowledge. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway hasn't really changed in the last 3 or 4 years, so track knowledge isn't necessarily the main focus there, I use the simulators more on some of the road courses. Like I've been playing a lot on Barber Motorsports Park, where I've never been, but just looks like a really cool track and I enjoy the challenge of learning to driver there. The software accuracy, the track model accuracy seems to be pretty impressive. For me it's just kind of sharpening my skills, the steering wheel functionality is similar and just little things like going through the process of leaving the pits, going through your shift patterns on out laps and those sorts of things. It's just one less thing I'm going to have to worry about when I get there in May. It's a big help to be able to keep yourself sharp on a simulator. Shifter carts are also a great way, I'm waiting for my engine to get back from my engine builder, but that's something I'll be doing over the next few weeks.

16th And Georgetown: Obviously, over the last couple months all of the potential 2012 chassis' have been unveiled. What are some of the traits that you'd like to see in the next generation car and is there a particular chassis that your drawn to?

Townsend Bell: What I'd like to see in the car is a significant change from what we've had, in that were driving stuff that's been around ever since when I was a kid going to the Indy 500. The basic equipment is pretty much the same, nothing has really changed. The technology and the rapid development, and the pushing of the envelope and all of that, that really got me as a young kid and as a teenager excited about being and IndyCar driver, frankly that's kind of gone away. It's funny, a couple years ago at a race team that I was driving for they had a mid 90's CART car, like a '95, '96 Lola that one of the mechanics was restoring. We had 6 Dallara-Honda chassis' that were being prepared for the race, and I found myself being constantly drawn to the older car because it was sleeker more compact, more efficient looking, much more sinister. I miss that, I miss that about IndyCar racing, it was pushing the limits and really driving technology forward. When I was a rookie coming into CART, there was still quite a bit and those cars were beasts it was close 900 horsepower and real hand full just to come to grips with the power and handling and all of that. I sort of miss that challenge, we've been stuck in this rut of the same old thing and we've lost fans because of it and we've lost attention because of it and all of that. More than anything, I want to see in the new car is something that really inspires thought, debate, a new challenge, and a new frontier if you will that really differentiates IndyCar racing. The only new car concept that I've really studied closely is the DeltaWing concept because there is a lot of information available from Ganassi and Mr. Bowlby and their thought process going into the car. If you forget about what it looks like for a second, because it's not like were driving the most beautiful race car now anyway, and just look at the technical rational and the design concept and the thinking behind it, to me it all makes a lot of since, it's hard to argue with the logic. The one thing that I think is missing in all of this is power to weight should still be sensational. The specification that I've seen there, it would be nice to see a lot more horsepower involved given the weight. Top speed is one thing, but 0-150 or 50-150, that's the spectacle that is really going to get people excited about IndyCar racing from a street circuit and road course perspective. As a race car driver I want to feel like I'm getting strapped into a rocket ship. Something that is really going to blow me away in terms of performance. In my opinion I want something that feels like a really animal that your trying to harness.

16th And Georgetown: Over the last several years the IZOD IndyCar Series has gone through a ton of changes. If you were king of American Open-Wheel for a week, what are some of the changes you'd like to make?

Townsend Bell: I'd be looking for another job. No, I don't know. First thing is, you've got to acknowledge reality which is that outside of the Indy 500 and even including the Indy 500 the sport is pretty flat, I think we all acknowledge that. Television ratings are way down, sponsorship revenue for the teams are down. There are some highlights like IZOD coming in, which I think is fantastic. The job that Terry Angstadt and his team did to secure a title sponsor in the current environment, and not just a sponsor but somebody that really seems to acknowledge where IndyCar racing is as a sport right now and where it needs to go, I think is huge. But, as an industry it's pretty soft so I think acknowledging that reality is important. Taking some bold decisions about how your going to reinvigorate the sport, the fan base in a way that acknowledges reality, meaning you can't fall off the floor. So lets get aggressive and do some things that really shake it up. When I really listen to some of the people in the business that I respect the most, their opinions about where things need to go, what I hear more and more is 'lets be aggressive, lets be bold, lets push the envelope here, because we don't have a lot to lose'.

Brazil Entry List

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24 cars:
#2 Raphael Matos - Luczo Dragon Racing/de Ferran Motorsports
#3 Helio Castroneves - Team Penske
#4 Dan Wheldon - Panther Racing
#5 Takuma Sato - KVRT
#6 Ryan Briscoe - Team Penske
#7 Danica Patrick - Andretti Autosport
#8 E.J. Viso -KVRT
#9 Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing
#10 Dario Franchitti - Target Chip Ganassi Racing
#11 Tony Kanaan - Andretti Autosport
#12 Will Power - Verizon Team Penske
#14 Vitor Meira - A.J. Foyt Enterprises
#18 Milka Duno - Dale Coyne Racing
#19 TBA (Probably Lloyd)-Dale Coyne Racing
#22 Justin Wilson -DRR
#23 Ana Beatriz -DRR
#24 Mike Conway -DRR
#26 Marco Andretti - Andretti Autosport
#32 TBA (Probably Rossiter or Moraes)-KVRT
#34 Mario Romancini - Conquest Racing
#37 Ryan Hunter-Reay -Andretti Autosport
#77 Alex Tagliani -FAZZT Race Team
#78 Simona De Silvestro - HVM Racing
#06 Hideki Mutoh - NHL

Monday, March 8, 2010

ESPN's :30 Sec. Promo

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The following is a new :30 second promo spot put out by ESPN starting today.

Courtesy: Andy Hall of ESPN

Friday, March 5, 2010

Romancini's Brazil Livery

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5th Chassis Released

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Led by Bruce Ashmore, Alan Mertens, Tim Wardrop, (BAT) Engineering, the 5th proposed chassis manufacturer has released images and more information today. Ashmore, part of the 1990 Indy 500 winning team and 4 consecutive IndyCar Championships has past experience working at both Reynard and Lola. Mertens' designs have won 6 Indy 500's, 4 poles and the CART Championship in '85 & '86. Wardrop, helped design the first two generations of the G-Force chassis for the IRL and aided in Arie Luyendyk's record breaking runs in 1996.

It seems the key to the new chassis is safety. The BAT team has met with well known surgeon Dr. Terry Trammell and IndyCar's safety and technical directors to put together, what they believe, is an incredibly safe and reliable design.

You can get more information on the BAT concept and team HERE.

VERSUS' Promo

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Andretti Autosport Enters USF2000

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(Photo courtesy of SageKaram.com)
Andretti Autosport has signed on 15-year-old Sage Karam for a USF2000 entry this season. Karam, a Nazareth, Pennsylvania native will have sponsorship from Comfort Revolution and The Michael Fux Foundation.

USF2000 was recently announced as part of the new "Road to Indy" ladder system.

"The opportunity to drive for my mentor, Michael Andretti, has always been a dream of mine. I've worked very hard to get to this point, but I know I have a long way to go. Driving in the USF2000 with Andretti Autosport is the best way to reach my ultimate goal: racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series and winning the Indy 500." -Sage Karam

"We look forward to bringing Sage on board as Andretti Autosport's first USF2000 National Championship driver and hope to make him the first driver to go all the way through the 'Road to Indy' program - all the way to the IZOD IndyCar Series. I've watched him grow to become an accomplished young driver, and I think his experience in karting and Skip Barber will serve him well this year in the USF2000 series. I'm very confident Sage will be successful with Andretti Autosport." -Michael Andretti

Duno Signs With DCR

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(Photo courtesy of Milka Duno)
3-year IZOD IndyCar Series vet Milka Duno has signed with Dale Coyne Racing to compete full-time for the first time in 2010 . Duno is slated to run the #18 Honda-Powered Dallara, and will be joined by a teammate who will pilot the #19 and be announced next week. Dale Coyne Racing who won it's first race in it's 25-year history last season will mark the 3rd team in which Duno has competed, alongside SAMAX Motorsports and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.

“I look forward to competing with Dale Coyne Racing. I’ve had the chance to speak with Dale and the team to discuss goals for the season and we are in harmony in all areas. For the past three seasons I’ve only run partial schedules and I’m anxious to be competing in all the races this year. Doing so builds momentum and maintains consistency that I feel is a key factor to good results. The full schedule includes seven races at tracks that I have yet to compete on so I will be doing my absolute best to learn these new tracks as quickly as possible. This full season will be challenging – but I’m very thankful for the opportunity!” -Milka Duno

“We are very excited about the challenges and rewards that lie ahead for Milka. We have seen Milka’s competitiveness on the ovals and now we look forward to focusing on the road course effort on a full time basis in 2010.” -Dale Coyne

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

2010 Indy 500 Ticket Unveiled

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The 2010 Indianapolis 500 ticket was unveiled today at Gate 2 of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, just off 16th Street. Like normal, the likeness of the previous years champion is prominently displayed. 74 days and counting until opening day....


Monday, March 1, 2010

De Silvestro Confirmed Full-Time

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Simona De Silvestro has been confirmed to run with Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing full-time in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2010. Simona will pilot the #78 Dallara sponsored by Stargate Resistance and associate sponsorship from Bernard Richards Manufacture (BRM), FireSky, Cheyenne Mountain Games, and Cardinal Technologies.

“Racing in the IndyCar series, alongside the class of competition that I will be racing with is a true honor. I am very grateful for this opportunity and for the type of team that I will have alongside me. I am equally grateful for the support that I have from my sponsors, family, friends and fans. I am very eager for my debut in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar season" - Simona De Silvestro

"From the first day of the first test, we knew she could drive. The longer we worked with her, the more she impressed us. I think she has a great future in this series. She made a lot of history in the Atlantic Championship and we expect her to make some waves in IndyCar now that she’s here.” - Team Principle, Keith Wiggins

“This is yet another significant step in Simona's career. We have had a very fortunate few years that have led us here and I could not imagine being able to form this new relationship with a better person than Keith. I am greatly appreciative of every single person and every company that has helped make this possible and look forward to a successful 2010" - Team Principle, Imran Safiulla

De Silvestro Confirmed For Brazil

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UPDATE: According to Robin Miller, Simona will be announced full-time tomorrow

Simona De Silvestro has been confirmed to pilot the #78 Honda-Powered Dallara in Brazil for HVM Racing. The Atlantics vet posted the 16th quickest time at last weeks Barber test, one spot higher then Andretti Autosports Danica Patrick.

Q&A With Shannon McIntosh

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With over 100 wins over the last 15 years, Shannon McIntosh has raced everything from Quarter Midgets to Micro Sprints and from USAC Ford Focus Midgets to Dirt Late Models. The 20-year-old Ohio native recently made the move to Indianpolis, the Racing Capital of the World, to help further her racing career.

16thAndGeorgetown: A few weeks ago you fled the freezing north for the slightly warmer temps of Florida, where you took some right turns behind the wheel of a formula car and dropped by Daytona. So, how'd it go?

Shannon McIntosh: It was awesome! It was my first experience on a road course and in a formula car and I loved it. I did a 2 day school with Skip Barber on the full course at Sebring. Coming from a strictly oval background…the transition was more than I expected. There were so many new elements between midgets on a ¼ mile oval and formula cars on a 3.7 mile road course! (three-point-seven-miles is a huge deal for me!) Some new things were the shifting, footwork, right turns, different style car and aerodynamics. The first night I spent studying the track, and watching in car videos. I got up to speed on day two and was able to focus on the new craft and get faster and smoother. It was a great experience.

After Sebring I did go to Daytona to attend the Lyn St. James Women in the Winners Circle Event where we unveiled the traveling exhibit that I was featured in. You can see more about it at Lynstjames.com. I also was fortunate to go to the track and check out the Duels. A very busy week to say the least!

16thAndGeorgetown: According to your bio, you began racing at the age of 5. If you could go back to 1995 and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Shannon McIntosh: Start making contacts now and hold on to them. You never know who might be someone you want to know. Everyone knows someone who knows someone.

16thAndGeorgetown: You mentioned in a recent Q&A with Pressdog that Lyn St. James has been one of your greatest mentors. As a veteran tweeter yourself, any advice you'd give Ms. St. James who recently joined the twitosphere as well?

Shannon McIntosh: Lyn knows how to market herself as well as anyone and better than most. I believe she’ll get the hang of it rather quickly... but maybe, don’t post too little and don’t post too much! (I post a little too often sometimes ;)

16thAndGeorgetown: The 2010 season is quickly approaching, how does it look like it's gonna shape up for you?

Shannon McIntosh: I’ve learned over the past few years that things don’t always happen how you plan and want, but I am positive that I have a great future in racing and even if I am only doing a partial season this year, I’m sure to be extremely busy. Nothing is set in stone yet but I’m optimistic!

16thAndGeorgetown: On your recent trip to Florida, you were lucky enough to get behind the wheel of a Lamborghini Gallardo. Not gonna lie, I'm more than a little jealous, how was it?

Shannon McIntosh: You should be jealous! It was amazing. As I was driving, I was telling the owner…never did I imagine I’d be driving a lambo at the age of 20! I think I made him a little nervous cause I wanted to feel the power a bit. I also got to drive one of the new Nissan GT-R’s and had a lot of fun with that one. Love me some sports cars!

16thAndGeorgetown: If you could roll into victory lane at any racetrack, with any car, anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Shannon McIntosh: Growing up I always said it was my dream to race at Eldora Speedway. Now, I’d say winning the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500 are my life goals... but I still want to win at Eldora Speedway in a USAC Midget. (Sorry couldn’t narrow it down!)

16thAndGeorgetown: You recently made the big move from Ohio to Indianapolis to help further your racing career. What are some of your first impressions of living in the the Racing Capital of the World?

Shannon McIntosh: Well, I already felt like Indy was my second home because I’m here all the time. But I absolutely love it. Everything is racing no matter where you go. Driving by the Speedway like it “aint no thang” is pretty cool… I don’t want to take it for granted!

16thAndGeorgetown: In a perfect world, 5 years from now you will be......?

Shannon McIntosh: 25. Racing in one of the highest forms of motorsports and winning. Influencing others and contributing to the world in a positive way as much as I can.

Word association......

16thAndGeorgetown: IndyCar

Shannon McIntosh: St. Pete in a few weeks! (I’m going)

16thAndGeorgetown: USAC

Shannon McIntosh: Forever love

16thAndGeorgetown: Nascar

Shannon McIntosh: Racing

16thAndGeorgetown: Formula 1

Shannon McIntosh: Elite

16thAndGeorgetown: DeltaWing

Shannon McIntosh: Batman

16thAndGeorgetown: Lyn St. James

Shannon McIntosh: Influencial

16thAndGeorgetown: Milka

Shannon McIntosh: Venezuela

16thAndGeorgetown: Danica

Shannon McIntosh: “Um, ya know”

16thAndGeorgetown: Shannon McIntosh

Shannon McIntosh: Determined

16thAndGeorgetown: Eldora Speedway

Shannon McIntosh: Home

16thAndGeorgetown: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Shannon McIntosh: Month of May!

Huge thanks to Shannon for taking the time out of her busy day to do the Q&A. Be sure to check out her website & blog and follow her on Facebook & Twitter.

All Photos are courtesy of Shannon McIntosh

 
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