- 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, January 25, 2012

Wilson, Honda, Pappas Join Coyne

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UPDATE (1/25 5:58pm) Dale Coyne Racing has confirmed the addition of Justin Wilson and engineer Bill Pappas to the teams 2012 plans.

“I am really excited as to how all of this has come together,” Wilson said.  “Dale is committed to win, and it shows by him bringing back my 2009 engineer Bill Pappas, the level playing field of a new car and the much appreciated continuation with Honda engines should make 2012 a very exciting year for all of us.”

The trio of Wilson, Pappas, and Coyne put together three top 5's and the teams first win at Watkins Glen in 2009.

 “I want to thank Dale for being able to put this combination back together,” said Pappas.  “I think the world of Justin and his abilities and now we can seriously get after the challenge of winning more races.”

The team's second car and driver combination will be announced in February.

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Honda Performance Development announced Wednesday the partnership with Dale Coyne Racing to power the teams two-car 2012 effort.

“Dale Coyne Racing has been one of IndyCar’s most durable teams, with a history that extends
for nearly 30 years.” said HPD president and VP of corprate planning & logistics for American Honda, Erik Berkman. “It’s great to have them racing with us in 2012. Dale’s team has made great strides in recent seasons, and he has made moves this off-season to further improve. We’re looking forward to continuing our association with him in 2012.”

The signing of Honda should also be followed in the coming days by the announcement of the readdition of veteran Justin Wilson to the team, as first reported by SPEED TV's Robin Miller.

“We have felt a part of the Honda family from their first days in CART back in the early 1990s till
today," commented DCR team owner Dale Coyne. "We are very pleased to enter this next
stage of IndyCar history with a company so dedicated to winning and rich in successful
motorsports heritage like Honda. Together we hope to accomplish great things in 2012."

Coyne will be joining the flagship team Chip Ganassi Racing, as well as Rahal Letterman Lanigan, A.J. Foyt Racing, and Sam Schmidt Motorsports under the Honda banner in 2012.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Racing Memorabilia Show 20th & 21st

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January is here, and for many race fans in central Indiana that means - in addition to the ice and snow - that the 45th annual Hoosier Auto Show & Swap Meet is here.

Held January 20th, and 21st at the IMS Brickyard Pavilion (down the steps, on the east side of the building) dozens of dealers will be on hand offering anything and everything under the sun when it comes to racing memorabilia. One of those dealers will be Mike Thomsen

"The shows are really cool because it brings people who care about the Speedway and the racing together, so you never know who your gonna meet next," said Thomsen. "I've met a couple people who are relatives of former drivers who are like, 'I can't believe you have a picture of my brother!' and their face lights up when your selling them a $5 photo. It means something to them."

Growing up in Toledo, Ohio, Thomsen's first memories of fandom came at the age of five.

"We grew up in the era when [the Indy 500] wasn't on T.V. until the night time. So we listened to the race on the radio during the day and made our charts and do all those type of things and have a BBQ, then the race itself would come on T.V. later at night. It was kind of an all-day family event, so I got really hooked on it."


"I kept begging my uncles and my dad saying: 'Hey, I wanna go to the Speedway' and they wouldn't let me go, they said you had to wait until you were 12. So I spent the time from when I was 5 to 12 studying the math, studying the history, and learning about it., and they finally brought me. 

Fast forward 29 years and he's living Indianapolis, Speedway to be exact. But what brought him to the area, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway of course.

"I wanted my entire life to have my address say Speedway, Indiana, and it does," Thomsen said.

Thomsen has taken the term 'fan' to the next level.

"Right now, as of this second, everyone alive who has raced in the Indy 500, I have their autograph. But, next year when there are new rookies again, I need those guys. There is only one person who raced from 1946 on who I don't have. Les Anderson. If you had to ask who my holy grail of autographs are, the big five, they are the four winners and Les Anderson. [laughs]"

The four winners Mike speaks of are the four he doesn't have. Of the sixty-seven Indianapolis 500 champions, Thomsen has the signature of all but Dario Resta ('16), Howdy Wilcox ('19), Gaston Chevrolet ('20), and Jimmy Murphy ('22).

Les Anderson on the other hand is a completely different animal. Of the 737 men and women to start the race, he has the John Hancock of 553, including everyone from the Hulman era ('46-current), sans 1947 & 1948 pilot Les Anderson.

While always on the search for missing pieces to his collection, the 41-year-old appraises (contact HERE), and sells & trades as well.

"What's cool about my booth this year is people know me for my autograph collection, but that's not really going to be the focus of my booth this time"

Spanned across his tables will be everything from race programs & tickets to Clymer & Hungness books, and from one of A.J. Foyt's awards to an old Gilmore helmet, and everything in between.

"I bought a racing uniform patch company that went out of business - they would actually sew the patches onto the uniforms - so I bought their entire stock of patches. I've got old Firestone patches, all stuff that was real uniform patches from the 60's, 70's and 80's. I've got some promotional decals that were given away from the Parnelli Jones turbine in '67. I have a real neat diverse group of items this year so I'm pretty proud of it."

The show starts Friday at 5 p.m. running 'till 9, and opens back up Saturday at 8 a.m. closing up shop at 5 p.m.. Admission is $5.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Servia In At DRR

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Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced today the signing veteran Oriol Servia to run full-time in 2012.


"I couldn't be more excited, for many reasons. DRR is a team that I raced against since 2008 and they've always shown to be very professional at the racetrack," said Servia. "Although I knew the owners, I didn't know them very well, to be honest. Before signing with the team, like everybody else, I did my research and I couldn't find one individual that didn't speak highly of Dennis or Robbie, which gave me a lot of confidence. I went to the team's sponsor summit last week and met all of their partners that they have been involved with for many, many years, which was another clear sign that they are good people"

The Catalonia, Spain native came to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2008 with KV Racing Technology, finishing 9th in the season ending standings. Servia moved over to Rahal Letterman Racing in 2009 for the Indianapolis 500, before running four of the last five races of the season with Newman Haas Lanigan. After a ride less 2012 season, the 37-year-old returned to Newman Haas competing full-time, finishing 4th.

"With a new engine, new chassis and a revamped engineering department, we believe it is crucial to have a highly talented veteran driver to be able to develop these new components," said team co-owner, Dennis Reinbold. "Oriol has always been a smart driver and has always put himself and his team in a position to win races. We are going to have to be well prepared to take advantage of his abilities and we look forward to the challenge."


Servia and a yet to be announced teammate will run Lotus powered engines.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wheldon's Sculpture Unveiled On Borg-Warner

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Wednesday night, 227 days after crossing the yard of bricks, Dan Wheldon was honored for his second Indianapolis 500 win. Susie Wheldon, the widow of the late champion, along with Bryan Herta Autosport co-owners Steve Newey and Bryan Herta were presented with their 'Baby Borgs', a mini replica of the famous Borg-Warner Trophy.

With 2010 Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti to his right, and an empty square reserved for the 2012 winner to his left, Dan Wheldon's 2011 depiction was also unveiled on the 5 foot tall, 76-year-old Borg-Warner.




In comparison, Wheldon's 2005 winning sculpture to 2011.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hinch In At Andretti

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Andretti Autosport has officially made official the signing of sophomore pilot James Hinchcliffe to run the teams Go Daddy sponsored ride in 2012.


"I'm so excited to be driving with the Andretti Autosport team and representing Go Daddy next season," said James Hinchcliffe. "Go Daddy is one of the best sponsors in sports, in terms of their activation execution ... plus Go Daddy is a world leader in just about everything they do. I have to thank Michael [Andretti] and Go Daddy for providing me this opportunity to compete for the championship and an Indy 500 victory."  

Following the exit Go Daddy sponsored Danica Patrick from the IZOD IndyCar Series, former Andretti Green driver Dan Wheldon was set to return to his 2005 Indianapolis 500 winning team taking over the black and green Dallara. Soon after signing, Wheldon was tragically killed on the 11th lap of the season finale in Las Vegas.

Reigning Rookie of the Year winner James Hinchcliffe seemed to have been set alongside Oriol Servia for a return to Newman Hass Racing where the duo was very competitive in 2011. That was until the first of December when the legendary team announced their withdraw from IZOD IndyCar Series competition, leaving both Hinchcliffe and Servia ride less.

"I saw an article that said 'Hinch was a cinch' to drive our Go Daddy car," said Go Daddy, Senior Executive VP & CMO, Barb Rechterman. "I guess the many reasons Go Daddy wanted to put James behind the wheel are obvious ... he's tech savvy, personable, edgy and 100 percent competitive ... just like Go Daddy!" 

The Go Daddy sponsored car shifted from the #7 to the #27, giving the teams confirmed full-time entries Marco Andretti's #26, Hinch's #27, and Ryan Hunter-Reay's #28.

"James is a perfect addition to our team for next year," team owner, Michael Andretti, said. "He's got a lot of talent and we believe he will be great for our driver chemistry. He will definitely grow and thrive with Andretti Autosport. Even in his rookie year in IndyCar, he proved to be a great competitor. I look forward to seeing what he is capable of in the next few months."

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tagliani In At Herta

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2011 Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter Alex Tagliani has been officially confirmed to pilot Bryan Herta Autosport's IZOD IndyCar Series entry this season.

"I'm really happy to drive for BHA," said Tagliani. "Having known Bryan for a long time, I recognize that he's a nice guy with genuine integrity. I believe that he and Steve Newey deserve to own a great IndyCar team, and I'm honored to be part of the building of BHA's 2012 program.  It's also a great honor for me to represent the Lotus brand as a factory partner. Lotus has so much history in the world of motorsports. As a team, we have a lot of work in front of us and while challenging, it will be fun to be at the core of both engine and team development. BHA has a great group of people and I'm looking forward to working with them."


Todd Malloy, a member of the Bryan Herta Autosport/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Indianapolis 500 winning engineering crew, will lead Tagliani's engineering department.

“We are very proud to have Alex Tagliani join our team for our first full season of Indycar competition. He brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the program, and is the perfect fit for us and our sponsor partners,” said Herta. “Together with Todd Malloy and Brian Page in engineering, and the Don Lambert led crew, Alex has the full support of a very talented group of professionals behind him.”


According to the BHA release a sponsorship announcement is expected Thursday.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Barfield Named Race Director

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Just over a month after Brian Barnhart left the IZOD IndyCar Series' race director chair, the seat was filled today when INDYCAR announced the addition of Houston native, former Formula Ford 2000, and Indy Lights driver Beaux Barfield.

"I grew up around racing, so I've been involved in it all my life," Barfield said. "The one thing that I wanted to do as a racing driver growing up in America was to be involved with the Indy 500. When my driving career took a change of course and I found myself officiating, it was still a goal of mine to get to Indy car racing and the Indy 500. In that regard, it represents the pinnacle of my aspirations as a race official. I'm truly honored to be a part of INDYCAR."

Barfield previously held the position of race director for both the Atlantic and Trans Am series from 2003-2008 when he also served as a steward for Champ Car, before moving on as race director for the American Le Mans Series since 2008.

"Though Beaux's most recent experience is in sports car racing, his roots are in open-wheel racing," said INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard. "He has built a strong reputation as a race director with ALMS and bringing him on board ensures that INDYCAR has a dedicated Race Director with the right level of expertise for the IZOD IndyCar Series."

The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season kicks off March 24th, in St. Pete.

 
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