News for the Month of November 2014

Aleshin unlikely to return to INDYCAR due to funding issues – According to Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star, Russian rookie Mikhail Aleshin is unlikely to return to the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2015 not because of his injuries but due to funding issues. Aleshin’s sponsors were hit by the sanctions placed on Russian businesses by the US Government amid tensions in the Ukraine. As was thought at the time SMP Bank’s funds are now frozen and Sam Schmidt says they’re behind on payments. – Indianapolis Star – (11/26/14)

Foyt still hospitalized following surgery – From Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star: “A.J. Foyt remains in a Houston hospital, his IndyCar Series team said today, due to a post-operative complication which has been resolved. Foyt, who turns 80 on Jan. 16, had triple bypass surgery Nov. 12 at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston. The catheterization two days prior showed blockages in several stents from past procedures, most recently in March 2010. He was expected to remain in the hospital until Nov. 17. “He’s getting better,” Foyt’s son, Larry, told The Star today. “(He’s) still in the hospital but improving every day.”” – Indianapolis Star – (11/26/14)

Pagenaud’s Indy 500 Senna tribute helmet up for auction – The amazing Ayrton Senna tribute helmet that Simon Pagenaud wore in the 2014 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race is up for auction. The auction benefits the Ayrton Senna Institute and ends at midnight between December 7th and 8th. – – (11/26/14)

Miller’s Mailbag 11/26/14 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is excellent as always. – RACER – (11/26/14)

RHR to be unveiled on Borg-Warner on Monday – ” The bas-relief image of 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay will be unveiled on the world famous Borg-Warner Trophy at 5 p.m. (ET) Wednesday, December 3, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. Hunter-Reay’s image will be the 101st face to appear on the iconic trophy. The Borg-Warner Trophy features the face of the winner of all 98 Indianapolis 500 Mile Races, including two years in which co-drivers assisted the primary driver to Victory Lane, and former IMS owner Anton “Tony” Hulman. Hunter-Reay, IMS President J. Douglas Boles and BorgWarner Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing Scott Gallett will be available for interviews after the ceremony. Fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #Borg101 when posting about this event on social media.” – IMS PR – (11/26/14)

Valsecchi confirms SPM test – Davide Valsecchi has confirmed a Verizon IndyCar Series test with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports at Sebring on December 16th. The 2012 GP2 champion was a test driver for Lotus F1 in 2013. – @davidevalsecchi – (11/25/14)

2015 INDYCAR calendars now on sale – “THE OFFICIAL INDYCAR® CALENDAR, in its seventh year of production, has become a must-have for any racing enthusiast!…Most importantly, the Official INDYCAR Calendar benefits THREE racing-related charities, voted on by the fans: Racing For Cancer, IndyCar Ministry and Indy Family Foundation. By purchasing the calendar, you’re doing your part to support three great charities that are making a difference in the world of racing.” – INDYCAR – (11/25/14)

Simona hoping for INDYCAR return – Simona de Silvestro is disappointed her Formula 1 role with Williams failed to turn into a seat in the series but is hoping to get back into the Verizon IndyCar Series. “I took one year away, but America is where my career has been and where I want it to be,” Simona told RACER. “It was really nice to drive with a team like KV, and I think it showed a lot of what I’m capable of as a driver. We had very good results in my first year with them, and I know I improved a lot on ovals.” – RACER – (11/20/14)

Valsecchi claims upcoming INDYCAR test – Former GP2 champ Davide Valsecchi tells an Italian site that he will test for an INDYCAR team in December. Here’s his quote via Google translate: “I’m satisfied – David says – because I just reached an agreement with an American team, of which I can not name. In mid-December I will leave for the United States to take a test with a car Indycar. There will also be other drivers, but I can not wait to be able to drive and play my cards.” – – (11/20/14)

Brabham to race for Andretti Formula E team this weekend – Andretti Autosport Indy Lights driver Matthew Brabham will drive for the team’s Formula E program this weekend in Malaysia as regular driver Charles Pic is in Abu Dhabi with Lotus F1. – RACER – (11/20/14)

Franchitti Bloomberg interview – Interesting interview by Bloomberg’s Pimm Fox with Dario Franchitti and what he’s been up to since his incident in Houston. – Bloomberg – (11/20/14)

Miller’s Mailbag 11/19/14 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is excellent as always. – RACER – (11/19/14)

Andretti Autosport and Butterball team up to provide 500 turkeys to the Midwest Food Bank – Butterball CEO and president Kerry Doughty and Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti partnered together to distribute 500 turkeys to Indianapolis-area food pantries. Zach Veach and members of Andretti’s No. 28 Verizon IndyCar Series crew helped deliver the turkeys. – INDYCAR – (11/18/14)

Kellet named to Andretti Autosport Pro Mazda program – American Dalton Kellet will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in 2015. The 21-year-old will drive the No. 28 K-Line machine for the Indianapolis-based team for his sophomore season in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires. “It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to join Andretti Autosport for the 2015 Pro Mazda season,” Kellett said. “I anticipate that we will have a successful year, and I am looking forward to the start of the race season! I was able to get to know the Andretti crew at a post-season test where I immediately felt like we were a good fit. They are a very professional team and I feel like we work well together.” – Andretti Autosport – (11/18/14)

Andretti talks NOLA sponsorship and MRTI plans – Good interview on with Michael Andretti on his new race in New Orleans and his plan for 2015 for his MRTI teams and drivers. Andretti says he’s trying to work out a deal to field Brabham in Indy Lights again and that Zach Veach has no interest in racing Lights again so they’re working on a IndyCar deal for him. – – (11/17/14)

Fisher to drive Santa into Indy-area mall in an IndyCar – Sarah Fisher will drive Santa Claus into Clay Terrace Mall in Carmel, IN in an IndyCar two seater.”The event is sponsored by IU Health and Century 21 Scheetz and will include face painting, a balloon artist, and live holiday music from “Santa’s Jingle Bell Singers.”” – Current In Carmel – (11/17/14)

Photo of the Week – This weeks photo comes from Mid-Ohio Qualifications, where Tony Kanaan pulls out of the warm-up lane on a damp track. (11/13/14)

TK - Mid-Ohio - 2014

Brasilia race in jeopardy after construction bidding suspended – Reports from translated articles and various mentions on Twitter show that bidding for construction updates for the circuit the Verizon IndyCar Series is intending to race at in Brazil has been suspended. One further article goes on to mention a “Plan B” should the original choice fall through as now expected. More details on that track, Autódromo Internacional de Goiânia – Ayrton Senna, here. – Grande Premio – (11/13/14)

Simona open to IndyCar return – Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star reports that former IndyCar driver Simona de Silvestro is “interested” in a return to the Verizon IndyCar Series. “She’s keen to return,” IndyCar president Derrick Walker said. “I’m trying to help her spread the word.” Walker said De Silvestro is “the most talented female driver in open-wheel racing, period.” – Indianapolis Star – (11/13/14)

F1 alcohol sponsorships under threat – highlights that recent threats to the possibility of bans of alcohol sponsorship in Formula 1 are much like what they were before tobacco ads were banned from the sport. What that means for racing in North America is uncertain but it certainly wouldn’t bode well for the future of alcohol advertising in all forms of racing. – – (11/13/14)

A.J. Foyt Undergoes Successful Triple Bypass Surgery in Houston – “Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt underwent successful coronary bypass surgery today in Houston after being diagnosed with blockages on Monday. Foyt, 79, had been admitted to the Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center on Friday with intermittent chest pains but initial testing results were inconclusive. However, a cardiac catheterization procedure performed Monday revealed blockages in arteries where Foyt had several stents from past procedures, most recently in March, 2010. The triple bypass surgery was performed by renowned cardiothoracic surgeons O.H. “Bud” Frazier, MD, Director of Cardiovascular Surgery Research at Texas Heart Institute (THI) and Chief of Transplant Service, St. Luke’s Medical Center and William Cohn, MD, Director of Minimally Invasive Surgical Technology at THI. Both men trained under artificial heart pioneer Dr. Michael DeBakey while Dr. Frazier also worked with Dr. Denton Cooley, a former partner of DeBakey’s and founder of the Texas Heart Institute.” – A.J. Foyt Racing – (11/12/14)

Teams place deposits on new aero kits – “Verizon IndyCar Series entrants have submitted a 25 percent deposit of the $75,000 package price with their aerodynamic bodywork kit order to respective suppliers Chevrolet and Honda. Manufacturer track testing of prototype components opened Oct. 6 and continues through Jan. 18, 2015, which is the same date as homologation. Production will ramp up to meet the March 1 deadline for one road and street course/short oval kit to be delivered to each entrant. The speedway aero kit, according to the INDYCAR timeline, will be delivered by April 1. The balance of the package cost is due before delivery. The initial team on-track test is scheduled for March 16-17 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., and the road/street course package will make its competition debut March 27-29 in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 24 will mark the debut of the speedway aero kit.” – INDYCAR – (11/12/14)

INDYCAR/IMS hosting retail sale this weekend – INDYCAR and IMS are hosting a merchandise sale on Saturday, Novemeber 15th, from 9:00am to 5:00pm at the Pagoda Plaza Pavilion at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Check out the link for details. – @IndyCar – (11/12/14)

Great profile of early Penske mechanic Karl Kainhofer – Must read article by Gordon Kirby on the first chief mechanic for Roger Penske’s race team, Karl Kainhofer. It’s far too good to shorten but it’s an excellent historical piece on an important piece of one of the sport’s most legendary teams. – Gordon Kirby – (11/12/14)

MotorSportsTalk early silly season rundown – Great piece by MotorSportsTalk’s Tony DiZinno recapping the action of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ 2015 silly season thus far and how it’s shaping up for the future. Must read. – NBC Sports – (11/11/14)

MRTI signs two year deal at Mid-Ohio, St. Pete, and Toronto – “Green Savoree Racing Promotions has signed a partnership agreement with Andersen Promotions that will see the complete Mazda Road to Indy series compete at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Honda Indy Toronto and Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio for the next two years. Comprised of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the ladder system provides an unparalleled training platform for the next generation of Verizon IndyCar Series stars. “The Mazda Road to Indy is a great developmental series that offers a spectacular glimpse into the future of INDYCAR racing,” said Kim Green, Owner, Chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Racing Promotions. “We’ve been longtime supporters of the program and appreciate all of Dan’s hard work and investment in the series. We’re delighted to welcome them to our racing events.”” – Indy Lights – (11/10/14)

RLL testing at Barber on Monday – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is testing at Barber Motorsports Park on Monday. Picture at the link. – @RLLRacing – (11/10/14)

Juncos names Pigot and Kaiser as Lights drivers for 2015 – Americans Spencer Pigot and Kyle Kaiser will drive for Juncos Racing in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires in 2015. The pair were excellent in the Pro Mazda series in 2014. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the strength and momentum that our team has built over the last few years,” said owner Ricardo Juncos. “Kyle (Kaiser) and Spencer (Pigot) experienced great success through the Juncos’ Driver Development Program” – RACER – (11/7/14)

Rahal announces engineering changes – After Bill Pappas and John Dick parted ways with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at the end of the 2014 season RLL had some very important decisions to make for 2015. Eddie Jones will be promoted to the No. 15 of Graham Rahal after serving as lead engineer on the No. 16 car last year. Former Rahal engineer Mike Talbott will oversee vehicle dynamics. Martin Pare, formerly of Ganasssi, will look over the damper department. “We’re understandably excited to have such high-caliber guys moving into positions that will take our IndyCar program to the next level,” RLL co-owner Bobby Rahal told RACER. “Eddie Jones has been one of the best in the business for as long as I’ve been in racing, and he and Graham get along really well, so we expect to see good things happening there. – RACER – (11/7/14)

Hawkworth helps Iowa Speedway sell tickets – As part of a promotion to encourage new buyers when tickets went on sale for 2015 on Wednesday, Jack Hawksworth joined the Iowa Speedway ticket staff in taking orders for race tickets. Hawksworth reflects on one of his orders: “She’s was excited and looking forward to coming back to the track,” Hawksworth said. “I think she was a little confused to hear me on the phone. Wasn’t quite sure who it was, but once she figured out I was a driver she was excited.” – INDYCAR – (11/7/14)

Belskus to retire from IMS/Hulman & Co. – Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced today that Hulman & Company President and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Belskus will retire in early 2015. “We’re so very grateful for all Jeff has done over these many years, and we wish him all the best in the future. He’s always been willing to step into any role to help us be successful and has made countless, lasting contributions,” said Mari Hulman George, chairman of the board of Hulman & Company. – RACER – (11/6/14)

Photo of the Week – This week’s photo of the week comes from Carb Day. It isn’t the usual picture we have shown on here, but it is pretty good nevertheless… PR in action I say! (11/5/14)

Grid Girls - Carb Day

Jalopnik Newgarden Q&A – Jalopnik, a popular internet site for all forms of auto-aficionados, hosted a fan Q&A with CFH Racing’s Josef Newgarden today. Check it out at the link. – Jalopnik – (11/5/14)

Andretti planning plenty of NOLA promotion this weekend – MotorSportsTalk’s Tony DiZinno reports that Andretti Sports Marketing has big plans for their promotion of the Verizon IndyCar Series race at NOLA Motorsports Park this weekend. They will have drivers and a showcar at the LSU/Alabama game on Saturday at Tiger Stadium. Will Power will be on the field before the Saints/49ers game on Sunday and there will be two-seater rides outside the stadium. Power and Michael Andretti will be at the track on Monday for a ceremonial ribbon cutting as tickets go on sale. Tony also points this out: “Although the Andretti release sent out listed (Justin) Wilson as driver of Dale Coyne Racing’s No. 19 entry, Wilson has no confirmed plans for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season – and his presence at an Andretti Sports Marketing event, considering Andretti’s No. 27 car is open for 2015, is one of those things that makes you go “hmmmm.”” – NBC Sports – (11/5/14)

Miller’s Mailbag 11/5/14 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is excellent as always. – RACER – (11/5/14)

Iowa adds MRTI events due to fan requests – Iowa Speedway is excited to host the Indy Lights and Pro Mazda series in 2015 to fulfill their fans’ requests for more on-track entertainment. “Fans asked for more on-track entertainment on INDYCAR race day, and we are pleased to be able to provide them with it,” said Iowa Speedway President Jimmy Small. “As a race fan myself, I’m excited to see the stars of tomorrow come to grips with the new Dallara on ‘The Fastest Short Track on the Planet.’ Iowa Speedway is the place for drivers on the rise to make a name for themselves, and we are delighted to be able to host the Indy Lights and Pro Mazda Championship here in Newton, Iowa.” – Iowa Speedway – (11/4/14)

Filipi hoping for full-time ride in 2015 – Luca Filipi is hoping to land a full-time ride in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2015 after impressing in a part-time role with RLL in 2014. “Ideally, I want to do a full season,” Filipi said. “It was nice, but it would be better to have a full buildup before getting in the car.” He is a little concerned about the new aero kits: “They have to be careful to not lose the competition (with the aero kits),” Filippi explained. “You have such a great championship and you can just get in, go, and become competitive. The platform is there to succeed right away.” – NBC Sports – (11/4/14)

Karam featured in new State Farm ad campaign – Sage Karam is being featured as part of State Farm’s new campaign to promote safe teen driving. The cool website is worth a look. – State Farm – (11/4/14)

Dixon forced to take driver’s test in NZ – Excellent profile from a New Zealand newspaper on Scott Dixon. Includes a funny story of Dixon being forced to re-take his written driver’s test due to speeding infractions. – The New Zealand Herald – (11/4/14)

Cavin Q&A 11/4/14 – Curt Cavin’s fan Q&A covers Kyle Moyer’s departure from Andretti Autosport, Conor Daly’s status, and more. – Indianapolis Star – (11/4/14)

Honda promotes Hinch as part of special concert promotion – Honda is hosting a special concert for deadmau5 later this month and has been using Jams Hinchcliffe’s friendship with the artist as part of the promotion. Good to see this kind of sponsor activation. – CNN – (11/4/14)

Howard to race the 500 with BHA – Jay Howard will drive for Bryan Herta Autosport in the 2015 Indianapolis 500. “We’re very pleased to announce Jay’s program, and to announce it this early,” said owner Bryan Herta. “It gives us a lot of time to plan and get ready, and we’re also planning to do more than just Indy if we can put all of the pieces in place.” Howard will drive the No. 97 Green1 entry. – RACER – (11/3/14)

Moyer to leave Andretti for Penske – Long time Andretti Autosport strategist Kyle Moyer will leave the team to join Team Penske according to Indianapolis’ 1070 the Fan’s Tony Donahue. Moyer was Marco Andretti’s strategist this past season. – @TonyD1070 – (11/3/14)

2015 MRTI schedule released – The 2015 schedules for each of the three Mazda Road to Indy series have been released. The highlight has to be that each of the three series will close the season at Laguna Seca from September 11-13. – Indy Lights – (11/3/14)

Cavin Q&A 11/3/14 – Curt Cavin’s fan Q&A covers plenty of questions on future scheduling. – Indianapolis Star – (11/3/14)

Hinch blog on “hero” Greg Moore – Too good to shorten. Excellent work by James Hinchcliffe on his hero Greg Moore on the 15th anniversary of Moore’s passing. – RACER – (11/3/14)

Kimball had the best positional gain in 2014 – In their recap of his 2014 season, INDYCAR highlights that Charlie Kimball had the best net positional gain in the series in 2014. That is defined by where a driver finishes relative to where he or she started. – INDYCAR – (11/3/14)

Cavin Q&A 10/31/14 – Curt Cavin’s fan Q&A covers the release of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. – Indianapolis Star – (10/31/14)

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)

News From Last Month