News for the Month of October 2014

INDYCAR still planning on international expansion – While the much-rumored race in Dubai didn’t make the schedule this year, Mark Miles stressed on Thursday that the series is still planning on staging multiple races in international locations in February and March in the future. “We’ve said for some time that I think there’s the potential for maybe four international races in the period after the [NFL] Super Bowl in early February into as late as the middle of March,” Miles said. “Then once we get to that point, this schedule moves the series into North America and stays there until the finale and the championship is decided. – RACER – (10/31/14)

2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Schedule Released! – The 2015 season will open in Brazil and end at Sonoma Raceway. The proposed Dubai event did not make the calendar. Video release here. – INDYCAR – (10/30/14)

Quicken Loans to sponsor Belle Isle – “Quicken Loans has announced that for the third straight year, it will sponsor the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.” “The Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans was the first IndyCar doubleheader race weekend hosted by the series in 2013 and we’re excited that our event will continue as the only twin race weekend in 2015,” said Bud Denker, chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. – The Detroit News – (10/30/14)

AJ Foyt Racing makes 2 cars in 2015 official – Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth will drive for AJ Foyt Racing in 2015. Sato will pilot the No. 14 and Hawksworth will drive the No. 41. ABC Supply Co. will sponsor both cars after extending their sponsorship deal through 2016. “This is a great opportunity for me,” says Hawksworth. “Ultimately, I want to win races and I feel that this is the place I can do that. We’ve got everything in place, a great sponsor in ABC, and good people who build quick cars, so we have the potential to build something really special. That’s what excites me. It’s a growing project and I want to grow with it, be a part of it and be a part of its success.” – AJ Foyt Racing – (10/29/14)

SPM adds Ringel to Lights lineup – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced today that Ethan Ringel will drive for the team’s Indy Lights program in 2015. The 20 year old has raced in the Atlantic Championship Series and GP3 in recent years. “It’s time for me to step up to Indy Lights in 2015, and there’s no better team to drive for in the series than Schmidt Peterson Motorsports,” Ringel said. “They have talented mechanics and engineers, and their winning record speaks volumes.” – SPM – (10/29/14)

Bird working on IndyCar move? – Englishman Sam Bird tweeted he was in Indianapolis on Tuesday night after announcing that he was about to “meet some very interesting people” leading MotorSportsTalk’s Tony DiZinno to speculate that Bird may be working on securing a seat in the Verizon IndyCar Series. As Tony points out, Bird was often mentioned as a candidate to take over Dario’s ride at this time last year. – NBC Sports – (10/29/14)

Foyt Racing to expand to 2 cars in 2015 – According to the Indianapolis Star’s Curt Cavin, A.J. Foyt Racing will announce later today that they will field two cars in 2015. Takuma Sato will continue to pilot the No. 14 and Jack Hawksworth will drive the No. 41. – Indianapolis Star – (10/29/14)

INDYCAR Toronto event remains downtown in June in 2015 – The 2015 Honda Indy Toronto will remain in downtown Toronto from June 12-14 in 2015. There was concern the event would be moved to another venue or dropped all together due to a date conflict with the Pan Am Games in July. – Toronto Sun – (10/29/14)

Miller’s Mailbag 10/29/14 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is excellent as always. – RACER – (10/29/14)

Photo of the Week – This week’s photo comes from qualifying for race two in Detroit. Jack Hawksworth had a stunning car this year and it looks even better in the early morning sunshine. Hope you enjoy the photo! – (10/28/2014)

The Hawk - GPofDetroit

Pruett feels INDYCAR should stay away from Dubai – RACER’s Marshall Pruett published a strong editorial today on his stance that INDYCAR should keep the rumored Dubai race off the calendar due to the presence and actions of ISIS. It’s a strong take on a race that has many fans excited. The piece does include quotes from others within the INDYCAR community that share some of the same concerns though they don’t appear to be as strongly opinionated. Here’s a sample of the piece: “Just as we won’t find entries for a German Indy car race during World War II or the Vietnam Indy Grand Prix in the 1970s, we need to keep the Dubai IndyCar race out of the history books until ISIS is an afterthought.​” – RACER – (10/28/14)

CFH uses test to get familiar with new arrangement – CFH Racing, the newly merged team of what was Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing, had their first test day at Barber yesterday. The experience was Josef Newgarden and the No. 67 crew’s first opportunity to use the Chevy engine in action. The No. 20 team had JR Hildebrand in the car as they evaluate options in the event that Mike Conway’s schedule won’t allow him to be the team’s road and street course driver next year. Ed shared his thoughts on the situation, “I want Mike to come back, though I’m not going to enter into an agreement with somebody if we’re going to lose him for a couple of races.” – INDYCAR – (10/28/14)

Abt enjoys first IndyCar test day – 21 year old German Daniel Abt tested for Andretti Autosport at Barber yesterday and enjoyed his experience. “I’m just at a certain stage of my career where I want to take the next step and IndyCar is certainly a great option so that is why I’m here…I think INDYCAR is a great series, and racing in the U.S. is different I have to say. It’s a whole new style of everything, but when you race in Europe your entire life it’s interesting to see something new, meet new people and go to new tracks.” – Andretti Autosport – (10/28/14)

Testing today at Barber – Barber Motorsports Park is hosting Verizon IndyCar Series testing today. Ed Carpenter, JR Hildebrand, Josef Newgarden, and Graham Rahal are all in action. As is Daniel Abt with Andretti Autosport (picture here). UPDATE: Rahal did NOT test. – @BarberMotorPark – (10/27/14)

2015 schedule to be announced Thursday – In his fan Q&A for today, the Indianapolis Star’s Curt Cavin reports that the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule will be released on Thursday, October 30th. Cavin doesn’t expect the Dubai race to be on it but does report that the race is marked unconfirmed for February 22 on Carlos Huertas’ website. That at least puts a potential date on it. – Indianapolis Star – (10/27/14)

Conquest Racing set for Lights return in 2015 – Conquest Racing will return to INDYCAR in 2015 with an entry in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. “We have been active recently – we moved to a new shop, remodeled everything, and we’re definitely going to go racing in Indy Lights next season so the new shop will be perfect for this project,” owner Eric Bachelart said. – RACER – (10/24/14)

DCR working on updgrades for 2015 – Dale Coyne Racing is putting a lot of work into it’s Illinois shop this offseason in an effort to improve its Verizon IndyCar Series program. The team is keeping all staff on board, dedicating a DW12 to pit stop practice, and working on an “aggressive” shock program. They are likely to feature a new driver next year. “I’ve always enjoyed that part of it—the development of a driver, the psychology of a driver, and by the time they’ve reached IndyCar, they’ve probably won at every level, so as a former driver, I really enjoy giving young drivers a shot and helping them to make it in IndyCar,” said owner Dale Coyne. – RACER – (10/24/14)

Photo of the Week – Over the past year Open Wheel has already accrued a vast library of photos that we would like to share. Each week a new photo, or at least a good old photo will be shared in all its high-res glory! In this first “Photo of the Week” installment we have a Helio pulling into his pit stall at this years Pocono 500.  (Click on photo to save in high-resolution)

Helio - Pocono500

Clearplex joins RLL as associate sponsor – “Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that ClearPlex®, makers of leading auto­mo­tive glass protec­tion film, have entered into a multi-year agree­ment as an asso­ciate sponsor of their Verizon IndyCar Series and Tudor United SportsCar programs. In addi­tion, ClearPlex® was named the Offi­cial Wind­shield Protec­tion of RLL, with their propri­etary films to be installed on all team vehi­cles and trans­porters providing an instant proving ground.” – RLL – (10/22/14)

Miller’s Mailbag 10/22/14 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is excellent as always. – RACER – (10/22/14)

Fontana race rumored to be 6/27/15 – According to local sports writer Louis Brewster, the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA will be held on June 27, 2015 in between races at Toronto and Pocono. – @LouBrewsterSpts – (10/22/14)

IMS Museum to host memorabilia auction Saturday – “The Indiana Racing Memorial Association and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum have collected some exciting items for a silent auction that will be part of IRMA’s first fundraiser ever this Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., at the museum on the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The event, called “A Night to Remember,” is open to the public. Tickets can be obtained for a $100 donation to IRMA via credit cards or PayPal on the group’s Web site at, or by visiting the museum’s ticket counter. Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the event.” – RACER – (10/22/14)

Hamilton close to INDYCAR return as an owner – Davey Hamilton has finished his deal with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and is close to a deal with a current Verizon IndyCar Series team to return to INDYCAR as a co-owner. “I have a show car, two complete racecars, I own a full hospitality unit, and I have a lot of the equipment to be a true co-owner, and I’ve built that up over the last few years. I have a vested interest in the series and want to continue to invest in IndyCar.” – RACER – (10/21/14)

Aero kit intrigue brings “spy games” back to INDYCAR – Fantastic piece from RACER’s Marshall Pruett on the re-introduction of spy shots in INDYCAR due to the addition of manufacturer aero kits for 2015. Too good to shorten but highlights each manufacturers efforts to both hide their own and learn the other’s secrets as they begin testing. – RACER – (10/21/14)

SPM officially back in Lights for 2015 – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has purchased two Dallara IL-15 cars to remain in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires for the foreseeable future. “SPM is the only team that has competed in Indy Lights since its inception,” team owner Sam Schmidt said. “We believe that the series is a vital step to reach the Verizon IndyCar Series, and the number of current IndyCar drivers who previously participated in Indy Lights is proof that the system works. We are proud to announce our official entry into the series for 2015 and look forward to the incredible competition that will be created by the new chassis and its formula.” – SPM – (10/21/14)

RACER Q&A with Gabby Chaves – Excellent Q&A with Indy Lights champion Gabby Chaves from RACER Magazine. On his 2015 plans Chaves says, “I’m open-minded at the moment. I have a scholarship that ensures me the Indy 500, so I’ll definitely be doing that. Anything else is up for grabs.” – RACER – (10/20/14)

Indy brewery enjoys success with Hinchcliffe-themed beer – Flat 12 Bierwerks out of Indianapolis has enjoyed considerable success with its Hinchtown Hammer Down beer, a product made in collaboration with James Hinchcliffe. “We came up with something that’s clean, light and easy drinking,” Hinchcliffe said. “That’s one of the reasons I think it’s popular. It has a broad appeal. You can drink a couple of them and not feel like you’ve eaten a three-turkey meal.” – IBJ – (10/20/14)

INDYCAR still working on replacing Barfield – Derrick Walker told RACER the following in regards to INDYCAR’s search to replace former race director Beaux Barfield: “I don’t think it’s going to be difficult to have a complete team in race control for next year. We’ve identified some additions to race control, and we obviously need to fill the race director role. We’re well on our way with our plans, yet we’re not ready to talk specifically about it. We changed the system this year, adding the steward’s participation, and we’re continuing in that trend and keeping the race director position. Even though Beaux left, the structure that we had and the plans we had introduced will continue to be developed. It will more than compensate for what we’ve lost when he left.” – RACER – (10/17/14)

Indy NYE celebration to feature an IndyCar drop – The City of Indianapolis announced today that they will host a New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown Indianapolis on Georgia Street featuring the drop of an IndyCar at midnight. – Indianapolis Star – (10/17/14)

2015 Sonoma weekend to be August 28-30th – The release of the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge schedule has revealed that the Verizon IndyCar Series’ race weekend at Sonoma Raceway will be August 28-30, 2015. That’s when the PWC will race at Sonoma and it’s noted as a weekend that the series will race with INDYCAR. – sportscar365 – (10/17/14)

Chevy aero kit test pics available – Grainy pictures from Team Penske’s test of the new Chevy aero kits for 2015 at COTA have been released on the internet. Pictures at the link. – RACER – (10/15/14)

Hinch takes Deadmau5 for a two-seater ride – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe took music producer/performer Deadmau5 for a two-seater ride around IMS today in the rain. The event was highly updated on social media providing plenty of exposure for INDYCAR in what’s otherwise a quiet time as we wait for the schedule to come out. – @SPMIndyCar – (10/15/14)

Miller’s Mailbag 10/15/14 – Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is great as always. This week is largely focuses on INDYCAR scheduling and desired venues. – RACER – (10/15/14)

MRTI 2015 Winterfest schedule set – The 2015 Mazda Road to Indy Winterfest schedule has been set. The three series will kick off their 2015 season at NOLA Motorsports Park on February 18-20 and will head to Barber Motorsports Park February 24-26. Indy Lights will have 14 hours of testing time while USF2000 and Pro Mazda will have three races each. – NBC Sports – (10/15/14)

Venue proximity limits INDYCAR schedule possibilities – Mark Miles tells Bruce Martin of FOX Sports that overloading a region with too many races isn’t possible due to adding new markets to the sport or the negative effects of current promoters. “It’s (COTA) not just a question for Eddie although Texas Motor Speedway has been an important part of IndyCar for a very long time and we would like it to continue to be,” Miles said. “But it’s also this question how many races should you have in the same region?…If we got the television ratings up enough to drive sponsorship levels higher than the number of races could increase. But for now we are about the right number. So the first thing people have to think about is if we are going to add a race now we have to take one out. We try to be good partners and doesn’t mean we wouldn’t do that but we wouldn’t do that lightly. The second dynamic is how do we spread our finite races around the country? We have to be very thoughtful about oversaturating.” – FOX Sports – (10/14/14)

Milwaukee still evaluating 2015 date options – Milwaukee will be on the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule but the exact date is yet to be determined. Race general manager Kevin Healy of Andretti Sports Marketing told MotorSportsTalk’s Tony DiZinno, “I can tell you it will be between March and September.” There are definite possibilities in July, August, and September (as the season finale). The event isn’t worried about their date constantly changing. “Date equity is a mantra for every promoter, but I don’t think date equity is an issue for Milwaukee yet because we haven’t found the right date yet. This is one market where it walks and talks and acts differently than others.” – NBC Sports – (10/14/14)

RHR named to local HOF – Ryan Hunter-Reay was named to the Broward County Sports Hall of Fame 2014 class last Friday. The official ceremony will be on October 28th. – SunSentinel – (10/14/14)

Honda knows a big challenge is ahead for 2015 – After struggling in the latter half of 2014 and losing star drivers Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden to Chevy, Honda acknowledges they’re going to need a strong improvement in 2015. “It’s certainly going to be more challenging when you look at the lineup Chevy has for next year,” said HPD vice president Steve Eriksen. “Our best chance is going to be to work with the teams we have and raise their games as much as possible. We have to provide them the best product possible and the tools to get the most out of it. We can only hope to overcome the seemingly stacked deck through smart use of the resources we have.” – RACER – (10/14/14)

CFH Racing now under one roof – Newly merged Verizon IndyCar Series teams Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing are officially operating under the same roof after ECR completed their move. “You don’t want to call it anything but CFH Racing. We’re trying to get everybody’s minds wrapped around it and make it one, to have them all working together,” co-owner Sarah Fisher said. – INDYCAR – (10/13/14)

Zanardi completes Ironman Kona – Former CART champion Alex Zanardi finished Ironman Kona over the weekend. “I am very proud of my performance,” said Zanardi. “The last 300 meters were worth everything, they were worth being here for. I don’t know if everybody got cheered the same way, but when I passed down that narrow lane, I have never experienced anything like that. It was amazing. I was always close to crying. I am not an emotional guy for these types of things, but this was very special.” – INDYCAR – (10/13/14)

Aleshin married over the weekend – SPM rookie Mikhail Aleshin got married over past weekend. The Russian’s recovery efforts are coming along nicely and he’s expected to be named to the team for 2015 soon. Picture at the link. – SPM – (10/13/14)

AJ Foyt Racing moves to Speedway – AJ Foyt Racing announced that they have signed a lease for a 45,000 square foot building at 1180 Main St., Speedway, IN as an expansion to their current facility in Texas. This move will put the team close to the new Dallara factory and the headquarters of newly-merged CFH Racing on the same Speedway street. “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway holds a rich part of my history and future,” said A.J. Foyt. “During the racing season, it makes sense for our team to operate close to the track where my name was made. I remember what Main Street looked like when I first came to Indy and the Commission has managed to modernize it but retain the area’s history too. We’re happy to be part of Speedway’s redevelopment.” – AJ Foyt Racing – (10/9/14)

Miles confirms 2015 schedule will be released later this month – On the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, Mark Miles told Bruce Martin of FOX Sports: “We’ll put it out one way or another by the end of the month.” Miles highlights that fans shouldn’t view the Labor Day finish as shorter season, but should instead focus on the earlier start if a possible race in Dubai is added to the calendar. A post-season “all star race” is being thrown around as an idea to keep the series relevant after Labor Day. – FOX Sports – (10/8/14)

Hornish confirms Cup ride for 2015 – 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish, Jr. has completed his wish to return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series after being announced as the new driver of Richard Petty Motorsports No. 9 machine. This move likely removes any remote possibility of Hornish returning to the Verizon IndyCar Series in some capacity. – NASCAR – (10/8/14)

Miller’s Mailbag 10/8/14 – Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is great as always. – RACER – (10/8/14)

SPM close to naming 2nd driver – At the Hinch announcement Schmidt Peterson Motorsports General Manager Rob Edwards said the team will field a second car in 2015 and that it will likely be Mikhail Aleshin. “Talks are ongoing with Mikhail and his management, but those discussions have been made a bit harder with him going back to Russia to continue his recovery,” Edwards told RACER. “It was a lot easier when he was here in Indianapolis, obviously, but the goal is still the same: He wants to be here, we want him to be here, and if he hadn’t had his accident, it would probably be a done deal by now so that had put us behind.” – RACER – (10/8/14)

Karam the favorite to join Ganassi – While a deal isn’t necessarily imminent, it’s believed that Chip Ganassi is trying to sign Sage Karam to his No. 8 car for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Ryan Briscoe car drove the car last year. – RACER – (10/8/14)

Hinch moves to SPM – Canadian James Hinchcliffe will drive the No. 77 car for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in 2015 on a “multi-year” deal. Sponsorship will be announced at a later date. “Despite being around in Indy Lights for years, SPM is a relatively young team in the IndyCar paddock,” Hinchcliffe said. “To see what they have accomplished in the last few seasons has been incredible. Winning races, being competitive at all tracks and finishing in the top five in the championship against more experienced teams at this level is impressive. Because they are young, there is still room for them to grow and improve, and that’s an exciting thought for me.” – SPM – (10/7/14)

Riley named INDYCAR Director of Engine Development – Marvin Riley has been named INDYCAR’s new Director of Engine Development. Riley has been with Honda Performance Development for the last decade. “More importantly because of how competitive it is, INDYCAR is willing to push the boundaries of motorsport,” said Riley. “It is the fastest motorsport in North American by far. It’s technically compelling and challenging and has some of the best racing, and that’s what appeals to me.” – INDYCAR – (10/7/14)

Briscoe still pursuing an IndyCar ride – In case his intentions were in question… Ryan Briscoe had this to say: “My goal and ambition is 100 percent with IndyCar.” In an interview with RACER, Briscoe reflected on how he has always been a professional driver and the Penske ride potentially needs a driver that can bring more money to the table. “I was really hoping to continue in the No. 8 car after all we built this year with new guys, and on my side, we were trying to be conservative as we got everything in place for 2015. But as the discussions have gone on, the team told us how the car has needed more money to continue, and I’ve always been in the pro driver sector where I haven’t brought money to the table. It’s a bummer, but we’re starting to talk to teams and will keep working to put something together for next year.” – RACER – (10/6/14)

Schmidt hires development driver – Sam Schmidt has hired 18 year old Parker Nicklin of Las Vegas, Nevada to be a development driver for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Nicklin won’t be in Indy Lights right away but that seems to be the eventual plan down the road. Schmidt may have dropped a hint at Simon Pagenaud’s replacement went he said he couldn’t discuss the situation because “the sponsors like to bring in fine meats and cheeses and pretty girls dressed in form-fitting outfits.” James Hinchcliffe, of affiliation with UFD and their form-fitting grid girls, is still available… – Las Vegas Review Journal – (10/2/14)

Cavin Q&A 10/2/14 – Curt Cavin’s fan Q&A covers Simona de Silvestro’s situation with Sauber and her chances of a return to IndyCar, the No. 8 Ganassi car, and the promoters at Barber. – Indianapolis Star – (10/2/14)

Cavin Q&A 10/1/14 – Curt Cavin’s fan Q&A covers the FCC’s lifting of the NFL local blackout policy and silly season questions. Cavin doesn’t believe the Indianapolis-area blackout of the Indianapolis 500 will be affected for now based on a Doug Boles statement. “We are aware of the FCC’s decision today regarding blackouts and are working with our partners to define the impact of this action on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 broadcast,” Boles said in a statement. “Upon initial review, it appears unlikely that this will have any direct effect on (continuing) our past practice.” – Indianapolis Star – (10/1/14)

Miller’s Mailbag 10/1/14 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is great as always. Plenty of great information and terrific classic pictures. – RACER – (10/1/14)

de Silvestro’s contract issues will keep her out of F1 this year and next – Former IndyCar Series driver Simona de Silvestro has run into financial troubles pertaining to her contract with F1 team Sauber and that will keep her from competing for the team in Formula 1 in 2015 and out of any practice sessions this year. A team spokesman told AUTOSPORT: “Simona’s driving programme is not being continued due to financial reasons on her side. Everybody in the team who worked with her during the last six months is very disappointed it came to this point, because they liked working with her. We are now looking at other possibilities for Simona to continue working with the team, but that will take time.” – AUTOSPORT – (10/1/14)

Power officially takes the No. 1 car for 2015 – Will Power will officially exercise his right as the Verizon IndyCar Series Champion to drive the No. 1 car in 2015. Power has driven the No. 12 car since joining Team Penske. Picture at the link. – @PaddockInsider – (9/30/14)

Kimball married over the weekend with Hinch serving minister – Charlie Kimball was married on September 27th with James Hinchcliffe serving as the minister of the ceremony. “It’s something that Charlie, Kathleen and I joked about years ago, and after they got engaged they invited me to dinner and said, ‘Remember how we used to joke about you marrying us? Well, we’ve thought about it and actually would like you to do it,’ ’’ Hinchcliffe said. “In my mind, it’s about the greatest honor somebody could ask you to do so, of course, I accepted.” – INDYCAR – (9/30/14)

Gordon Pipers looking for funding for new uniforms – The Gordon Pipers Bagpipe Band are in need of around 30 new uniforms and are looking for help from the public. A long-time staple of the Month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the group is still using pieces of their original uniforms from back in 1962. Donations can be made at the link. – gofundme – (9/30/14)

Cavin Q&A 9/30/14 – Curt Cavin’s fan Q&A covers his thoughts on Pagenaud to Penske, aero kits, the 2015 schedule, and the status of Ryan Briscoe. Cavin reports that he’s hearing Sage Karam is close to a deal to drive the No. 8 car for Ganassi next season leaving Briscoe without a ride. – Indianapolis Star – (9/30/14)

Hawksworth parts ways with BHA; heading to Foyt? – RACER’s’ Marshall Pruett reports that Jack Hawksworth has “amicably parted ways with Bryan Herta Autosport” and is likely heading to A.J. Foyt Racing in a second car for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season. – RACER – (9/30/14)

News From Last Month