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Monday, December 20, 2010

Kanaan Signs With de Ferran Dragon

de Ferran Dragon Racing announced today at a Press Conference held in Brazil the signing of IZOD IndyCar Series veteran Tony Kanaan to compete for the team in 2011.  After 8 season with Andretti Autosport, Kanaan's long-time sponsor 7-11 decided not to return as the primary sponsor on the #11 entry, leaving the Brazilian ridless.

Kanaan's signing with de Ferran Dragon leaves the future of Raphael Matos in question. Matos, the 2008 Firestone Indy Lights Champion, competed with the team in both 2009 & 2010.

The sponsorship package allowing TK on track will be announced in 2011, according to Kanaan.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rahal, Kimball Land Ganassi Rides

IZOD IndyCar Series veteran Graham Rahal, and Firestone Indy Lights driver Charlie Kimball have both signed with Chip Ganassi for a 2011 full-season campaign.

The 25-year-old Kimball will pilot the #83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing entry, while Rahal will run the #38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara.

The 21-year-old Rahal signed on with TBC Retail Group, parent company of Service Central, Tire Kingdom, Big-O tires among others, last October to pilot a 2011 Service Central branded entry. Charlie Kimball, who became 1 of 23.6 million Americans with diabetes when he was diagnosed in 2007, brings sponsor Novo Nordisk to the IZOD IndyCar Series after many years of sponsoring the young American over the past couple season in Firestone Indy Lights competition.

The 2-car addition to Indianapolis 500 winner's Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti expands Chip Ganassi's stable to 4-cars, however Ganassi described the structure as two 2-car operations. Both Kimball and Rahal's entries will be ran out of NHRA legend Don 'The Snake' Prudhomme's shop in Brownsburg, just a hand-full of miles West of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In a Thursday afternoon teleconference, team manager Mike Hull said that the team had purchased additional equipment for the expanded operation.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hildebrand To Pilot #4 Panther Entry

2009 Firestone Indy Lights Champion JR Hildebrand has finally landed a full-time IZOD IndyCar Series ride.  Panther Racing made the rumors official today when the Indianapolis-based team confirmed the multi-year contract, handing over the wheel to the #4 National Guard entry to Hildebrand .

“I couldn’t be more excited to be at Panther Racing and a part of the National Guard,” the 22-year-old Hildebrand said. “This is my first full-time IndyCar ride and the Panther No. 4 car is one of the best seats in the IZOD IndyCar Series, so to be able to start my career with a team with this kind of pedigree is just huge.”

The California native tested at Phoenix International Raceway last week and will become the first full-time American Panther Racing pilot since 2003 when Sam Hornish Jr. drove the #4 Penzoil entry, and will try to top the team's 3-consecutive 2nd place finishes at Indianapolis in his rookie season.

“We took a very calculated and methodical approach to making this decision because anybody who represents the 350,000 Soldiers in the National Guard has a tremendous responsibility both inside and outside the racecar," said Panther Racing Co-owner John Barnes. "We feel like JR is going to be a tremendous asset to the IZOD IndyCar Series, and what really set him apart is his ambition and his intelligence – this is a kid who was a National Merit Scholar, and accepted to M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). We tested him at Phoenix last week and brought along my friend Al Unser Jr. to help us with the evaluation, and all of us knew by lunchtime of the first day that we’d found the next driver of the No. 4 car. We know we all have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but our expectations are very high for the 2011 season.”

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

AAA To Sponsor Castroneves

Just day's after announcing that Shell-Penzoil, Meijer, and IZOD have all jumped on board for Team Penske's 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series program, the 15-time Indianapolis 500 winning team adds another today.  Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) has signed on to become the primary sponsor for Helio Castroneves at both the Grand Prix of Long Beach and the doubleheaders at Texas.

"Expanding our relationship with the Penske Racing organization to include its outstanding IndyCar team allows us to reach a distinct, diverse fan demographic, and we expect great results there, too,”  said Thomas V. McKernan, Auto Club CEO.

Last week it was announced that Castroneves will be sporting a new primary sponsor on the sidepods of his #3 entry at Indianapolis in Shell-Penzoil .

“I am really excited to have the opportunity to drive the AAA car and represent the Auto Club,” said Castroneves. “We’ve won at both Long Beach and Texas in the past so hopefully we can welcome AAA to the team and the series with some victories in 2011.

Monday, December 6, 2010

IZOD To Sponsor Team Penske in 2011

In the wake of last week's announcements that both Meijer and Shell-Penzoil have jumped on board to sponsor Team Penske in 2011, today it was announced that IZOD will join the team as well.  IZOD will serve as the primary sponsor for Ryan at Indy, the season finale, and other select events.  The PVH brand also signed on as an associate sponsor for all three entries, Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Ryan Briscoe, for the full-season.

“The IZOD brand’s Team Penske sponsorship is a strategic decision to continue to build brand equity in the IZOD IndyCar Series and we are honored to join forces with such a storied operation,” said Mike Kelly, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Phillips-Van Heusen. “We intend to leverage this partnership to expand the reach of our brand not only through the relationship with Team Penske but also through cross-promotional activities with Team Penske’s other sponsors.”

IZOD who has been a personal sponsor of Ryan Hunter-Reay's since 2008, and the young American's primary sponsor at Andretti Autosport in 2010, enters their first season of the multi-year agreement with Team Penske in 2011.  Hunter-Reay's personal services contract with IZOD expires at the end of January 2011.

“Team Penske is excited to build this new relationship with Phillips-Van Heusen,” said Roger Penske. “As we saw in 2010, they have put the full strength of their IZOD brand behind growing the sport of IndyCar racing and we believe they will be a terrific partner with our team and our drivers for years to come.”

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Shell/Penziol To Sponsor Castroneves At Indy

Penske Racing announced today the return of Shell/Penzoil to Indy Car racing.  At a Las Vegas press conference, 3-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, unveiled his #3 Shell V-Power®-Pennzoil Ultra™ branded entry for the 2011 Indianapolis 500.

“I am very excited to be working with Shell and Pennzoil this season and I’m proud to have the opportunity to drive the beautiful Shell V-Power®-Pennzoil Ultra™ car in the 2011 Indianapolis 500 representing the No. 1 premium gasoline and Pennzoil’s most advanced motor oil in the U.S.,” said Helio Castroneves “Shell and Pennzoil have such a great history in IndyCar racing and they have certainly had some special moments with Penske Racing at the Indy 500.  I hope we can create a little bit more history together this May at Indianapolis!”

Although the Month of May is the only time Shell-Penzoil will have primary sponsorship on the #3 at this point, according to a team rep, 'there may be some other opportunities' down the road.

Yesterday Penske Racing announced the addition of Meijer as an associate sponsor for both Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves, and as a major associate for Will Power and the #12 entry.

Images courtesy: Autostock