News for the Month of December 2016

Blackstock to compete in Castrol Toyota Racing Series – Belardi Auto Racing Indy Lights driver Shelby Blackstock will drive in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series, a single-seater racing series in New Zealand. The five-round series takes place in January and February 2017. – Castrol Toyota Racing Series – (12/30/2016)

Belardi adds Urrutia to ’17 Lights lineup – Belardi Auto Racing announced Santiago Urrutia as the driver of their No. 5 entry in Indy Lights for 2017. “We have a really strong crew and I believe that we are going to have one of the greatest teams in the paddock,” said Urrutia. “I am very happy to sign with Belardi, as I was fighting with the team’s drivers all year in 2016. I have only one goal, and that is to win the championship, and I am going to try to win every race for the team.” – Indy Lights – (12/30/2016)

Miller’s Mailbag 12/28/16 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (12/28/2016)

Hinch and Helio added to ROC lineups – James Hinchcliffe and Helio Castroneves have been added to the driver lineup for the Race of Champions in Miami in January. Full release at the link. – ROC – (12/27/2016)

CGRT to field many IndyCar drivers in Rolex 24 – Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe, and Tony Kanaan will all be driving as part of the four-car lineup for Chip Ganassi Racing Team’s Rolex 24 Hours of DAYTONA effort. Full lineup at the link. – Ford Performance – (12/23/2016)

Miller’s Mailbag 12/21/16 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (12/21/2016)

RACER update on KV Racing’s status – RACER’s Marshall Pruett has a report on the current status of KV Racing as the team’s future remains in question after the departure of former co-owner James Sullivan. Possibilities include finding a new partner to continue the current team, Kevin Kalkhoven taking sole possession of the team, or an auction for the team’s assets. A rumored deal with Carlin has stalled according to Pruett. Find the must-read full story at the link. – RACER – (12/20/2016)

Local investigation yields more embarrassment for Boston GP – WCVB5 out of Boston has posted a story on the suspicious financial activity of the Boston Grand Prix promoter. Too much going on to even try to shorten. Full story at the link. – WCVB5 – (12/20/2016)

INDYCAR continuing research on head protection –’s David Malsher has a report on INDYCAR’s continued efforts to better drivers’ head protection. “Some sort of windscreen is currently the one we’re researching the most,” said INDYCAR VP of competition and race engineering Bill Pappas. “We think if we can get something that gets the driver’s head below whatever we have in front of them – a windscreen – that should act as a deflector.” Full report at the link. – – (12/19/2016)

Harvey closes in on IndyCar dream – Former Freedom 100 winner Jack Harvey told his local newspaper, the Lincolnshire Echo, that he’s made considerable progress on a potential deal to race in the Verizon IndyCar Series next year. “It’s been incredibly hard work, but we believe we are very close to raising an amount of money which could secure one of the deals which are on the table,” Harvey told the Echo’s David Marshall. “It is not going to mean a complete season, because that is just out of our reach financially. But at least it might get us a drive in a limited programme, perhaps one which would include driving in the Indianapolis 500.” Full story at the link. – Lincolnshire Echo – (12/19/2016)

Report: Pigot to return to ECR No. 20 on road/street courses –’s David Malsher reports that Spencer Pigot will return on the No. 20 car for Ed Carpenter Racing on road and street courses. Full story at the link. – – (12/16/2016)

Announcement makes Herta/Steinbrenner/Andretti Lights deal official – “Two names rich in heritage and synonymous with winning have partnered to bring a successful legacy into the world of American-open wheel racing. Newly launched Steinbrenner Racing will join forces in 2017 with racing veterans Andretti Autosport to field an entry in the open-wheel “AAA series” of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires….Completing the entry will be second-generation racer Colton Herta as he joins the Andretti Steinbrenner team to pilot the No. 98 Mazda for his rookie season of Indy Lights competition.” Full release at the link. – Andretti Autosport – (12/15/2016)

Steinbrenner Racing to team up with Andretti Autosport for Indy Lights program – According to the New York Times, Colton Herta will be racing in Indy Lights next year for the newly created Steinbrenner Racing team. From The New York Times: “Steinbrenner Racing, which will be run by George Michael Steinbrenner IV — Hank Steinbrenner’s son and a grandson of the longtime Yankees owner George Steinbrenner — is teaming with Andretti Autosport to race next year in Indy Lights, a developmental circuit under IndyCar.” “The Andrettis want to be partners with Steinbrenners; the Steinbrenners want to be partners with the Andrettis,” Hank Steinbrenner said. “It’s a natural match.” Full story at the link. – The New York Times – (12/15/2016)

Team Pelfrey moves USF2000/Pro Mazda ops to Indy – Team Pelfrey announced on Thursday morning that they’re moving their USF2000 and Pro Mazda teams to Indianapolis from Palmetto, FL. Their Indy Lights program will remain in Florida for now. – USF2000 – (12/15/2016)

Miller’s Mailbag 12/14/16 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (12/14/2016)

Trackside podcast 12/13/16 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 12/13/16 is a great listen as always. The pair are joined by Robin Miller and Oliver Askew, the 2016 Mazda Road to Indy Scholarship Shootout Champion. – 1070 The Fan – (12/14/2016)

Schmidt to compete in iRacing Pro Race of Champions –’s David Malsher reports that Sam Schmidt will once again race in the iRacing Pro Race of Champions. This year’s race will be held at a virtual Phoenix International Raceway on Wednesday and Schmidt’s competitors include Will Power, Oriol Servia, and Rubens Barrichello among many others. Full story at the link. – – (12/12/2016)

Wilson likely to make second Indy 500 run – RACER’s Marshall Pruett has a nice update on Stefan Wilson’s plans to race in the 2017 Indy 500. “Everyone we talked to is really keen to put the program back together for 2017,” Wilson told RACER. “We had some really great meetings last week with the Indiana Donor Network and they want to see the partnership continue. And that is pretty much what everyone, all of the partners who helped me in May, have said. So now it is a case of finalizing everything and finding a team to partner with.” Full story at the link. – RACER – (12/12/2016)

Kaiser returns to Juncos for Lights in ’17 – “Juncos Racing is excited to announce American Kyle Kaiser will continue his hunt for the Indy Lights Championship with the team for the 2017 Indy Lights season. Kaiser proved to be one of the strongest contenders in the 2016 Indy Lights Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, taking third in one of the closest driver’s championship battles on record.” “I’m excited to announce I’ll be back with Juncos Racing for the 2017 Indy Lights season,” said Kaiser. “Ricardo (Juncos) is an extremely passionate and dedicated team owner, and it has been a privilege to drive for him the past three years.” Full release at the link. – Juncos Racing – (12/12/2016)

Larson reiterates desire to race in Indy 500 – Kyle Larson told RACER’s Robin Miller that he still wants to drive in the Indy 500. “I definitely want to run the Indy 500 for sure, so I’m going to bug Chip about it,” Larson told RACER. “I wanted to do the 100th running [this year] but I guess 101’s just as good!…I just feel like the more I race, the sharper I stay. This year they [CGR] let me run a lot more – last year I think I ran one or two dirt races, and this year I ran 20-something and I had my best season ever in Cup. So I hope he [Ganassi] realizes that.” Full report at the link. – RACER – (12/12/2016)

Rain postpones final IndyCar test of ’16 – Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and Dale Coyne Racing were set to test at Sebring International Raceway on Friday in the final Verizon IndyCar Series test of 2016 but rain forced the postponement of the test. Each team “vowed” to come back next month. The test was CGRT’s first chance to try out their new Honda equipment after switching to Honda for the 2017 season. “It’s so disappointing when you come to the racetrack and you’re unable to run,” said Mike Hull, managing director at CGR. “You’re being tugged by the fact the racetrack is sitting there and you know sooner or later it’s going to be dry. But I think you have to weigh all the alternatives, and in this case you can’t buy more test days. They only give you so many…It will be worthwhile to do what we’re doing today.” More at the link. – INDYCAR – (12/9/2016)

Indy to once again host NYE IndyCar drop – Once again this year a Verizon IndyCar Series replica car will “drop” to ring in the new year in Downtown Indianapolis. See the latest version of the car at the link. “CBS4 is a proud sponsor of the 3rd Annual Downtown Indy Inc.’s New Year’s Eve Celebration, which is from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday, Dec. 31. The event is free and open to the public.” – CBS4 – (12/9/2016)

Hunter-Reay and Rahal to be Rolex 24 teammates at MSR – “Indianapolis 500 winner and IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay will join Verizon IndyCar Series race winner Graham Rahal to complete the Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 driving lineup at the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in January. The IndyCar veterans will join a strong driver lineup that includes full-season Michael Shank Racing drivers Andy Lally, Katherine Legge, Ozz Negri and Jeff Segal as well as endurance event drivers Tom Dyer and Mark Wilkins, aboard the No. 86 and No. 93 Acura NSX GT3s.” Full release at the link. – Michael Shank Racing – (12/8/2016)

USAC Silver Crown joins INDYCAR during Phoenix weekend – The USAC Silver Crown Series will race at Phoenix International Raceway the same weekend as the Verizon IndyCar Series Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix on Saturday, April 29, 2016. – USAC – (12/8/2016)

Rossi’s likeness unveiled on Borg-Warner Trophy – Alexander Rossi’s likeness was unveiled on the Borg-Warner Trophy on Wednesday night at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Read the full IMS release with pictures at the link. – IMS – (12/8/2016)

Ganassi announces return of Chilton and Gallagher for No. 8 entry – “Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) announced today that international insurance brokerage and risk management services firm Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. will return in 2017 as the primary partner with CGR’s No. 8 Honda driven by Max Chilton in the Verizon IndyCar Series.” Full release at the link. – CGRT – (12/7/2016)

Watch Rossi’s Borg-Warner Trophy unveil live – “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.” Watch it on the IMS Facebook page at the link. – IMS – (12/7/2016)

IMS adds karting event to summer schedule – “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and United States Auto Club announced today that a karting competition will be added to the schedule for the annual “USAC Battle at the Brickyard.” The 2017 edition of the event will take place July 6-9 and already features an action-packed schedule highlighted by the USAC Honda .25 Midget series…The race course will use the north section of the IMS road course and will include some of the widest sections ever utilized in kart racing. It will be just over 1 mile in length. There will be classes for drivers 12 & up including “club” and “national” level classes featuring Briggs & Stratton, Yamaha, Honda, Rotax and specialty karting engines. The event is closed to the public.” – IMS Press Release – (12/7/2016)

Report: Chilton to return to Ganassi No. 8 – RACER’s Robin Miller reports that Max Chilton will be named as the driver for the Chip Ganassi Racing Team’s No. 8 entry in the Verizon IndyCar Series for 2017. CGRT will make the official announcement on Wednesday, December 7th. – RACER – (12/7/2016)

Miller’s Mailbag 12/7/16 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (12/7/2016)

Trackside podcast 12/6/16 – 1070 The Fan’s popular Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 12/6/16 is a great listen as always. The pair are joined by Derek Daly and Dakota Dickerson. – 1070 The Fan – (12/7/2016)

RLL announces deal for Servia for 101st Indy 500 – “Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Oriol Servia will return to the team for the 2017 Indianapolis 500 with the hope of adding more races during the season. Servia competed for the team in the Indy 500 in 2009, the Indy 500 and three other races in 2014, the Indy 500 in 2015 and will return for the 101th Running of the Indy 500 on May 28, 2017.” Full release at the link. – RLL – (12/6/2016)

RLL adds German as engineering consultant – “Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that respected engineer Tom German has joined the team as an engineering consultant in a multi-year deal. In addition to other notable successes, German has participated in three Indy car championships and one in the NASCAR Nationwide series while with Penske Racing as well as five Indy 500 wins, most recently as 2016 winner Alexander Rossi’s race engineer.” Full release at the link. – RLL – (12/6/2016)

CGRT to name No. 8 driver on 12/7 – Per an INDYCAR release Chip Ganassi Racing Teams will name the driver of their No. 8 Verizon IndyCar Series entry on Wednesday, December 7th. – INDYCAR – (12/6/2016)

Final test of ’16 set for 12/9 – RACER’s Marshall Pruett previews the final Verizon IndyCar Series test of 2016 at Sebring International Raceway on Friday, December 9th. This will be the debut of Chip Ganassi Racing Team’s return to Honda and they will have four cars testing. Full preview at the link. – RACER – (12/6/2016)

Plans for ’18 aero kits could be unveiled this month –’s David Malsher reports that INDYCAR plans to announce details for the 2018 homogenized aero kit sometime this month. “We hope to have good news by the end of the year,” said INDYCAR president of competition and operations Jay Frye. “We’re aiming to announce the designer and the builder of the kit.” More at the link. – – (12/6/2016)

Andretti adds Ryan Norman to Indy Lights driver stable – “Ryan Norman will begin his Mazda Road to Indy career competing in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires with Andretti Autosport. The rookie will pilot the No. 48 Flip Side Mazda as part of Andretti’s 2017 stable.” “I’m very excited to join Andretti Autosport for the 2017 Indy Lights Season,” said Norman. “With their great success in IndyCar and Indy Lights, it is the perfect environment for me to learn and grow as a driver. I want to thank Michael Andretti and the rest of the team for this wonderful opportunity and I hope to bring great results to the team this coming year.” Full release at the link. – Andretti Autosport – (12/5/2016)

New sponsor for Texas race – The Verizon IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway has a new sponsor as the race will now be called the Rainguard Water Sealers 600. “We extremely pleased to have Texas Motor Speedway and “America’s Original Nighttime IndyCar Race” serve as the initial sponsorship venture into motorsports and sports in general for Rainguard Water Sealers,” Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. “We look forward to providing Rainguard with an exceptional first experience as an entitlement sponsor and help the company attain their goals through this sponsorship agreement.” See the link for more details. – Texas Motor Speedway – (12/5/2016)

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)

News From Last Month