News for the Month of November 2016

Andretti confirms Sato as driver of No. 26 for ’17 – “Racing veteran Takuma Sato will take the wheel of the No. 26 Honda-powered machine as he joins the Andretti Autosport stable for the team’s 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series effort. Sato’s open-wheel experience, paired with the veteran driving force of Andretti, position the four-time championship team as top competitors amongst the IndyCar field.” “I am extremely excited that we were able to work out a deal with Michael and Andretti Autosport,” said Sato. “With Honda an integral part of Andretti Autosport, it seemed like a great fit.” Full release at the link. – Andretti Autosport – (12/2/2016)

Staff shuffles more than just a driver at Andretti – NBC Sports’ Tony DiZinno has a nice recap of the staff changes at Andretti Autosport this offseason now that the addition of No. 26 driver Takuma Sato is official. The additions of Eric Bretzman and Jeremy Milless to the engineering side of their INDYCAR program could also lead to a reshuffle on which strategist works with each driver. Full story at the link. – NBC Sports – (12/2/2016)

Miller’s Mailbag 12/1/16 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (12/1/2016)

Trackside podcast 11/30/16 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 11/30/16 is a great listen as always. The pair discusses the potential ramifications of James Hinchcliffe’s excellent showing on Dancing With the Stars and all of the latest INDYCAR news. – 1070 The Fan – (12/1/2016)

Jamin named as ’17 Lights driver for Andretti – “Andretti Autosport has announced that Frenchman Nico Jamin will join the team’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires roster for the 2017 season. The Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires standout will pilot the No. 27 Mazda for the schedule’s 16 races alongside Canadian Indy Lights sophomore Dalton Kellett.” Full release at the link. – Andretti Autosport – (11/29/2016)

Juncos names Dapero as ’17 Lights driver – “Juncos Racing is pleased to announce young Argentinean Nicolas Dapero will return to Juncos Racing and move up to the final step of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder for the 2017 Indy Lights Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. Dapero is the first driver to commit the championship winning team’s Indy Lights line-up. Nicolas Dapero (Buenos Aires, Argentina) joins the Indy Lights series after a successful rookie season in the 2016 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires with Juncos Racing. Dapero recorded one win, multiple podium finishes, and earned the fastest lap in the final race of the 2016 season.” Full release at the link. – Juncos Racing – (11/29/2016)

GP of Indy no longer sponsored by Angie’s List – Tony DiZinno of NBC Sports reports that the Verizon IndyCar Series road course race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to kick off the “Month of May” will no longer be sponsored by Angie’s List. The race was called the “IndyCar Grand Prix” in a release from IMS this morning about ticket sales. More at the link. – NBC Sports – (11/28/2016)

Tickets on sale for 101st Indy 500 – Tickets are on sale now for the 101st Running of the Indy 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. They can be purchased at the link. – IMS – (11/28/2016)

Belardi confirms Blackstock for ’17 Lights season – “After winning six races during the 2016 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship, Belardi Auto Racing has by no means lifted off the throttle as they focus on the upcoming year. The 2014 championship winning squad has been aggressive in post-season testing and has put a trio of drivers through the paces, all while also working with Cooper Tires to develop next year’s spec tire compounds and construction. Based on this aggressive testing effort, the team is now pleased to confirm the signing of their first driver for the 2017 season. Nashville, Tennessee’s Shelby Blackstock is a Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires veteran and will bring his considerable experience and engaging personality to Belardi Auto Racing for the coming season. The talented American will be gunning for podiums and his first series win.” – Indy Lights – (11/23/2016)

Hinch finishes P2 on DWTS – James Hinchcliffe and dance partner Sharna Burgess finished second in the Dancing With the Stars finale on Tuesday night. Gymnast Laurie Hernandez won. – USA Today – (11/23/2016)

Miller’s Mailbag 11/23/16 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (11/23/2016)

Trackside podcast 11/22/16 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 11/22/16 is a great listen as always. The pair on joined on the show by Dave Furst, Aaron Teilitz, and Townsend Bell. – 1070 The Fan – (11/23/2016)

Hinch to compete in DWTS on Tuesday night – James Hinchcliffe and dance partner Sharna Burgess advance to the Dancing With the Stars final episode to air on ABC at 9PM ET Tuesday. Hinchcliffe and Burgess will learn of their final results and standing by the end of the episode. See their dances from Monday night at the link. – INDYCAR – (11/22/2016)

Pruett updates on status of KV Racing – RACER’s Marshall Pruett has a nice report on the current status of KV Racing. Too much information to shorten so check it out at the link. – RACER – (11/22/2016)

Hinch to compete in DWTS finale Monday & Tuesday night – James Hinchcliffe and dance partner Sharna Burgess will compete in the Dancing With The Stars two-part finale this week live on ABC at 8PM ET Monday and 9PM ET Tuesday. – INDYCAR – (11/21/2016)

Hawksworth talks Foyt struggles – RACER has posted an interesting interview with Jack Hawksworth as he begins his new role as a driver for 3GT’s factory-aligned Lexus RC F GT3 program in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and reflects on his struggles with AJ Foyt Racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Here’s a small taste but the full must-read piece is at the link: “[The problem] wasn’t the engineering department when I was there. It’s the fundamentals of the team that are poor. If you have reliability issues at every race, it doesn’t matter how clever an engineer you are, or what set-up you put on the car. If stuff’s breaking, or you ask to have this put on the car and instead something else is put on the car, it doesn’t matter if you have the best engineer in the world.” – RACER – (11/18/2016)

Rossi to be unveiled on Borg-Warner on 12/7 – “Don’t miss your chance to see history unveiled at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum on Wednesday, December 7 at 5 p.m. Champion of the 100th Running of the Indy 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, Alexander Rossi, will have his likeness unveiled on the coveted Borg-Warner Trophy during a special ceremony on the museum’s main floor. Fans are invited to attend with paid admission to the museum. Parking is free and is located in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum lot. Fans can enter through Gate 2 located off of 16th Street. Fans who are not able to attend this event can stream the ceremony online at Fans can also join the conversation by following IMS on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.” – IMS – (11/16/2016)

SPM confirms Lights departure – “Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) announced today that it will cease operations in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires Series, starting in 2017…The team’s presence can be seen in the forward progress of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system, with nine of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series drivers having competed for SPM at some time in their racing careers. Team co-owner Sam Schmidt considers this a benchmark of the team’s legacy and cites economics as his decision to withdraw from the series.” – SPM – (11/16/2016)

RLL announces United Rentals as primary sponsor for two race weekends – “Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that United Rentals Inc., the largest equipment rental company in the world, has extended their agreement with the team with a new multi-year agreement. United Rentals will be again be the primary sponsor for the No. 15 Verizon IndyCar Series entry of Graham Rahal in the Chevrolet Duals in Detroit, June 3 and 4, and has added primary sponsorship of the No. 15 entry at Phoenix International Raceway on April 29. The agreement also calls for United Rentals to be a major associate sponsor on the team’s entry for Rahal during the 2017-2018 seasons and continue on as the Official Equipment Partner of the Verizon IndyCar Series.” – RLL – (11/16/2016)

Miller’s Mailbag 11/16/16 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (11/16/2016)

Trackside podcast 11/15/16 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 11/15/16 is a great listen as always. Newly announced AJ Foyt Racing driver Conor Daly and Dale Coyne Racing rookie Ed Jones join for portions of the show. – 1070 The Fan – (11/16/2016)

Foyt announces Munoz and Daly as drivers for ’17 – “Two young drivers, Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly, have been hired to drive the No. 14 and No. 4 (not 41) ABC Supply Dallaras in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The No. 4 team will be based in A.J. Foyt’s Speedway, Indiana race shop. One aspect that isn’t changing is the team’s red, white and blue colors because sponsor ABC Supply has renewed its contract with the Texas-based team for another two years. The 2017 season will be the 13th consecutive season that America’s largest wholesale distributor of roofing has sponsored AJ Foyt Racing, making ABC Supply the longest active primary sponsor among teams in the Verizon IndyCar Series.” Full release at the link. – AJ Foyt Racing – (11/15/2016)

SPM to shut down Lights program – TSO Ladder reports that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports will shut down its Indy Lights program for 2017. Owner Sam Schmidt told TSO Ladder that it had to be done for financial reasons. “I think the majority of the reason is simply just economics on both sides,” said Schmidt. “Things are going so well on the IndyCar program; the commercial side is doing well, the team doing well, and given the complexity and the size and scope of those programs, I felt guilty splitting my time between Indy Lights and IndyCar. So much more at the link. – TSO Ladder – (11/15/2016)

Pocono announces “Worry-Free Weather Guarantee” – “Following a tough year with three Sunday rain outs, we are proud to introduce our weather guarantee program. We will now literally cover your costs* if one of our future Sunday NASCAR or INDYCAR races are postponed due to inclement weather. The Worry-Free Weather Guarantee ensures fans that purchased Sunday tickets directly from Pocono Raceway in advance will be reimbursed the face value if weather postpones the race and they are unable to make the re-scheduled event. Additionally, Pit/Paddock Passes will also be eligible for reimbursement if it coincides with the purchase of Sunday Grandstand ticket.” Full release and information at the link. – Pocono Raceway – (11/14/2016)

DCR confirms Jones as driver of No. 18 – “Dale Coyne Racing has completed its full-time 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series driver lineup with the addition of reigning Indy Lights Champion Ed Jones as the driver of its #18 entry.” “I’m hugely excited about stepping up to the Verizon IndyCar Series next year with Dale Coyne Racing,” said Jones. “To reach an agreement as early as we have done is great news as it gives me plenty of time to settle into the team and get to know everybody properly so we can prepare as well as possible for the season ahead.” Full release at the link. – Dale Coyne Racing – (11/14/2016)

RLL working on second car for Servia – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports that Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is working on a full-time entry for Oriol Servia to serve as a teammate to Graham Rahal. “All we can say right now is we’re hopeful to put something together with Oriol on a season-long basis, even though the odds on doing a full year might be slim right now,” Bobby Rahal told RACER. “We’ve always said we’d only look at doing a second car if it added something beneficial to the entire team; Oriol is certainly someone who can do that. It’s just a matter of putting it all together, but we’re not there yet.” Full report at the link. – RACER – (11/14/2016)

Carpenter wants more ovals – Ed Carpenter told David Malsher of that he’s happy with the direction INDYCAR is heading but he would like to see more ovals on the calendar. “I really like what IndyCar, Mark Miles, Jay [Frye] and the entire team have been doing with the schedule. Really it was a change of pace a little bit when we condensed things and took that approach. But I think it is paying off…Kentucky was a place that I always enjoyed going to. It’s been repaved. It would be interesting to see what we look like there now. Milwaukee is always interesting. It’s sad that we’re not there. I guess there’s reasons for that. [And] I think Chicago would be a fun place to go.” Full story at the link. – – (11/14/2016)

Serralles happy with first IndyCar test – Felix Serralles tested with Andretti Autosport on November 10th at Sebring International Raceway in his first Verizon IndyCar Series test. “It was good,” Serralles said. “We had a small issue with the seat. I wasn’t really that comfortable since we were using my Indy Lights seat, but overall it was pretty good day. I mean, for what we had with the seat and the small issues of what we were going through, I couldn’t be any happier because at least I got to drive an Indy car.” – INDYCAR – (11/14/2016)

Hinch’s DWTS partner Burgess to return next week – James Hinchcliffe’s dance partner, Sharna Burgess, will return from a two-week absence with an injury next week on Dancing With the Stars. “The last two weeks were really tough, but certainly worth the wait and getting healthy,” Sharna told E! News in an exclusive statement. “And now I can officially say I am back! I am feeling great and so excited to be back dancing with James this week! It has been amazing to watch him deliver such great performances these past two weeks, but I am so excited to be back in for the semi-finals and take James to the finale!!” – E! News – (11/10/2016)

Team Penske and Hitachi extend partnership – “Team Penske and Hitachi Group announced today that they have reached a partnership extension for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season. The familiar Hitachi branding will continue aboard the No. 3 Dallara/Chevrolet Indy car driven by three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves for eight races in 2017. Additionally, Hitachi will continue to serve as an associate sponsor on each of Team Penske’s other Verizon IndyCar Series entries for drivers Simon Pagenaud, the 2016 series champion, Will Power, the 2014 title winner, and newcomer Josef Newgarden.” Full release at the link. – Team Penske – (11/10/2016)

Team Penske and PPG extend partnership – “Building on one of the longest partnerships in motorsports, PPG Industries and Team Penske today announced a multi-year extension of their relationship….PPG Automotive Refinish will serve as a primary sponsor on one of Team Penske’s entries for four Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2017 and as an associate sponsor on all of the team’s cars and equipment. PPG enjoyed a remarkable track record of success in IndyCar competition this year as 2016 series champion Simon Pagenaud drove the No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevy to victory in three of the four races in which that car raced this season.” Full release at the link. – Team Penske – (11/10/2016)

Report: Jones to race full-time with DCR in ’17 – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports that Indy Lights champion Ed Jones “will join Sebastien Bourdais at Dale Coyne Racing in 2017.” Full report at the link. – RACER – (11/9/2016)

Rossi’s likeness to be unveiled on Borg-Warner trophy on 12/7 – From BorgWarner: “On December 7, we’ll unveil the updated Borg-Warner Trophy™ featuring the face of @alexanderrossi, winner of the 2016 #Indy500!” – Borg Warner – (11/9/2016)

Miller’s Mailbag 11/9/16 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (11/9/2016)

Trackside podcast 11/8/16 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 11/8/16 is a great listen as always. JR Hildebrand joins the pair for a portion of the show. – 1070 The Fan – (11/9/2016)

Report: Daly will partner Munoz at Foyt in ’17 –’s David Malsher reports that Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz will drive for AJ Foyt Racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2017. Full report at the link. – – (11/8/2016)

Hinch performs with substitute partner again on DWTS – James Hinchcliffe performed with substitute partner Jenna Johnson for the second straight week on Monday as his regular partner Sharna Burgess is injured. Full INDYCAR report at the link. – INDYCAR – (11/8/2016)

RHR flies with USAF Thunderbirds – Ryan Hunter-Reay got to fly with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds over the weekend and INDYCAR has posted a nice update on his adventure. “Since I was a kid, I wanted to be a fighter jet pilot or race cars and my dream came true to race cars,” said Hunter-Reay. “This today was like a whole new world had opened up for me. To experience what these guys do and what these men and women do on a daily basis to prepare these planes, and then to get your rear end in a seat and pull those G’s and do the cloud surfing as they were doing, this is something I will absolutely never forget and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever been through.” Full story at the link and a cool video here. – INDYCAR – (11/7/2016)

Rossi announces as ROC driver – “This year’s Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi and reigning Red Bull Global Rallycross Champion Scott Speed are the latest names to join the line-up who will compete at the first Race Of Champions on American soil – inside Miami’s new baseball stadium Marlins Park on January 21-22, 2017.” “I’m honoured to be invited to race in this year’s Race Of Champions,” said Rossi. “ROC is so well respected in motor sport, bringing together the best drivers from around the world and across every series. This international event is always ultra-competitive and I’m looking forward to the competition and the very first US race venue in Miami. It will also be great to race with my Andretti Autosport team-mate, Ryan Hunter-Reay. I can assure you, neither of us will be holding back.” – Race of Champions – (11/7/2016)

ECR announces Hildebrand as driver of No. 21 for ’17 – “After serving as an integral part of the Ed Carpenter Racing organization over the past three years during the Month of May, JR Hildebrand will return to full-time Indy car competition in 2017. The 28-year-old has joined ECR as the driver of the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet for the entirety of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season.” “Honestly, I just couldn’t be more ready to get started!” stated Hildebrand. “I’ve been close to, but still outside of, this role for long enough to really understand and embrace the opportunity to be back in the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time.” Full release at the link. – Ed Carpenter Racing – (11/5/2016)

Report: ECR to name Hildebrand as driver of No. 21 for ’17 – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports that Ed Carpenter Racing will name JR Hildebrand as the driver of their No. 21 car for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series on Friday. Full report at the link. – RACER – (11/3/2016)

Trackside podcast 11/2/16 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 11/2/16 is a great listen as always. INDYCAR director of communications Mike Kitchel joined the show. – 1070 The Fan – (11/3/2016)

Miller’s Mailbag 11/2/16 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (11/2/2016)

Confirmed: Montoya will drive with Team Penske in ’17 Indy 500 – “Juan Pablo Montoya will return to Team Penske for the 2017 Indianapolis 500, team president Tim Cindric confirmed to INDYCAR today. It is currently the only Verizon IndyCar Series race that the two-time Indy 500 winner is scheduled to drive in the 2017 season.” “He didn’t want to leave the team but wanted to see what else was out there,” team president Tim Cindric told the INDYCAR Mobile app. “After giving it some thought, he told me the best opportunity was to run Indy with Team Penske, so if the offer still stood, that is what he wanted to do.” Full report at the link. – INDYCAR – (11/1/2016)

Report: Montoya to stay with Penske for 500 one-off in ’17 –’s David Malsher reports Juan Pablo Montoya will race for Team Penske once again in 2017. Montoya will drive a fifth car in an Indy 500-only program. Here’s what Team Penske president Tim Cindric told regarding Montoya possibly driving for someone else in the Verizon IndyCar Series part-time: “That isn’t something we’d be interested in being part of, no. I think it’s understood that if he were to drive Indy for us, that would be the extent of his IndyCar program for next year.” More at the link. – – (11/1/2016)

Report: Sato signs with Andretti for ’17 –’s David Malsher reports Takuma Sato has signed with Andretti Autosport to race in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2017. Here’s what Sato’s manager Steve Fusek told “We’re excited to put Takuma in as competitive a place as we can put him in and it’s an exciting prospect. We’ve had to scratch and claw for everything we’ve had before, so to join a team with the resources of Andretti Autosport is a special feeling.” More at the link. – – (10/31/2016)

Hinch’s DWTS partner out with injury – James Hinchcliffe’s Dancing With The Stars partner Sharna Burgess has been ruled out of the rest of the show with a knee injury suffered in training. Hinch will now be partnered with dance pro Jenna Johnson. – TMZ – (10/31/2016)

Pagenaud open to NASCAR “try” – Simon Pagenaud was at Martinsville Speedway over the weekend for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and told the assembled NASCAR media he’s open to an attempt in NASCAR somewhere down the road. “I’m obviously pretty open-minded as a driver,” said Pagenaud. “I’ve raced sportscars, I’ve raced in IndyCar, obviously. I’ve raced rally in Europe and I’m very open-minded to any kind of racing. I think there’s always something good in any sort of racing – advantage, disadvantage, different-size cars, different engine, different tires, and that makes it interesting for a driver to taste all those different things. So someday, yeah, I’d love to have the opportunity someday. Everybody asks me if I would want to drive a road course but I’d actually enjoy it more to try it on an oval.” – RACER – (10/31/2016)

INDYCAR to sanction MX-5 Cup – From RACER: “Mazda Motorsports and Andersen Promotions have reached an agreement for INDYCAR to sanction the Mazda MX-5 Cup series, the signature spec series for the Mazda Road to 24 sports car counterpart to the Mazda Road to Indy, beginning with the 2017 season.” Much more at the link. – RACER – (10/31/2016)

News From Last Month