Archive for the ‘IZOD IndyCar Series’ Category


Dreams to Realities …

October 12, 2012

Well, well, well … I leave a blog alone for 6+ months, and it gets all dusty on me. I know, I know … here I start my own, personal INDYCAR-based blog, and then I leave it alone through the entire 2012 IZOD IndyCar Season. Plus, all my proposed in-session tweets, and humor, and “GREEN BEANS” commentaries disappear. Kinda surprised there haven’t been APB’s put out for me.

Allow me to explain – strike that – too long to explain. Allow me to summarize myself. Even that may be too long.

Back in February, I wrote a blog entry called “Making INDYCAR better … personally“. In a nutshell, I was invited to interview for a new “webmaster” position within INDYCAR. Out of countless people whom submitted resumés for this position back in May/June 2011, along with several personal recommendations provided by my “insider” contacts, not to mention my racing friends, I lived out a dream. An interview. With a company I believe in. In a sport I have an insatiable passion about.

On the morning of February 28, 2012, I received a call from INDYCAR thanking me for my interviews. While I did make their selection extremely difficult, I was the 2nd overall selection for the position. Disappointed & heartbroken? Absolutely. But I wasn’t bitter, to be honest. I knew I gave INDYCAR my best, and I was proud of the time/effort/money I spent for this opportunity. I really felt I made INDYCAR better.

On February 29th, things got weird. I don’t mean weird in a strange way, but weird in a “even-Hollywood-couldn’t-dream-about-imagining-this” kinda way.

That morning, my great uncle (and the man whom my middle name comes from) passed away after a long illness. I’m honored to carry his name as my own. As family gathered over the next few days, my job search temporarily stopped. I needed to be with my family, not only to mourn my uncle, but also reflect on my interview process with INDYCAR. Did I flub something? What could I have said or done differently? Sometimes, self-reflection is good, but you can’t beat yourself up on it too long. My uncle did know about my interviewing with INDYCAR, and he was thrilled for me, wishing me luck before my first interview.

In remembering my uncle that week, I could see that I had adopted a few of his personality traits. He loved the outdoors. He loved woodworking as a hobby. He had a passion for cars – although his flavor were in Model-T’s and the classic cars. I also believe he was a reserved, quiet person. I wouldn’t call him shy by any means, but – I dunno – my impression was that he might have been a little difficult to get to know on a personal level, but once one broke through that shell, he was one of the best human beings one could ever want to meet. I think I’m the same way. Perhaps wrongly, I tend to keep my feelings/emotions really bottled up in check, esp. if they involve personal issues, which may be why starting close friendships is much more difficult for me than just making acquaintances with people. As much as I try to be an extrovert, I’m probably an introvert by nature. It is for this reason that something tells me “higher powers” began the day he passed. Something clicked that day. Something completely, and to this day is still, unimaginable. Something … well … divine.

My uncle’s funeral was held the following Monday (March 5th). As family members began their journeys home the following day, I recall helping my father at his real estate office. That afternoon, while uploading photos for appraisals, I received an email from INDYCAR. Something happened, and they wanted to know my availability for a phone call 1st thing Wednesday morning, March 7th. My schedule became instantly cleared.

On Wednesday, I had a phone call with INDYCAR. Long story short – the person whom INDYCAR selected over me for the new webmaster position had accepted another position March 1st, not 72 hours after accepting the position. INDYCAR was now in a bind, and needed to bring someone in. Would I still be open to the opportunity on a 90-day-trial period? A new website was scheduled to be launched in 2+ weeks, and they desperately needed someone to get them through at least the Indianapolis 500. After the 500, INDYCAR would take a benchmark to see whether they’d continue with me as their employee, and vice-versa – whether I would want to continue with INDYCAR.

I think the words I said were: “Um … uh … yeah, I’m still interested.”

The next words on the other side of the phone call were: “That’s the best thing we’ve heard all week. When could you be in Indianapolis to start?”

“I was planning on being in Indianapolis tomorrow anyway for the Big Ten Basketball tournament, but I don’t have a ticket yet. To be honest, I could start tomorrow.”

“Sounds good. 8am. See you tomorrow.”

On March 8th, 2012 at 8am Eastern … I began my career as the new Director of Online Strategies for INDYCAR.

I’ll stop there for now. Over the next few days/weeks, I’m going to try to start piecing together the last 6 months (March-September 2012) over a few blog entries. I won’t give inner-workings of INDYCAR … some things need to be private and confidential, so I hope you understand. However, what I hope I *can* provide is a broad picture of the biggest whirlwind adventure I’ve ever been on. How I’m going to blog this adventure, I don’t know. How long it’s going to take – again, I don’t know. Just know this … if you’ve read this far, then you know I have a few stories to tell, recalling “pinch-me” moments, but similarly, times where I wanted to shake my head, scream, break down and leave this sport altogether.

But think of this for 10 seconds … an INDYCAR fan – just like yourself, just like several of Twitter followers you may be following, just like a few other INDYCAR bloggers you may already read – was given the keys to in 2012.

Now, isn’t that worth another blog entry (or two, or three) to read? I hope so. Stick around.


Rubens Barrichello … moving the needle?

March 2, 2012

I’ve promised myself … a maximum of 1,200 of my own words after this paragraph … Verbosity, thy bad name is me. Here goes nothing …

On Thursday, March 1st, 2012, Rubens Barrichello inked a one-year deal with KV Racing Technologies, driving Car #8, sponsored by BMG / Embrase (LINK HERE), teaming with Tony Kanaan and E.J. Viso. Barrichello is a 19-year veteran of Formula One, with 322 career starts (#1 all-time) and 11 victories, including the 2002 U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis, finishing 2nd twice and 3rd twice in the overall Drivers Championship standings.

But will he move the needle for North American motorsports, particularly INDYCAR?

(Why do I feel like I just jumped into a lion’s den wearing boxer briefs made of raw Porterhouse steaks?)

Don’t get me wrong here … I get the hype. BELIEVE ME – I do. Rubens is as talented a driver as we have ever seen. (And there’s a period after that statement, mind you). He’s driven for 19 years, count ’em 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19!, in Formula One. He has a fan base that makes most in motorsports – hell, ANYONE in motorsports – jealous. Look, here is the current list of 24 known 2012 Izod IndyCar drivers and their Twitter follower counts (numbers as of March 1st, 2012 @ 6pm Eastern)

  • Ryan Briscoe: 20,593
  • Helio Castroneves: 53,353
  • J.R. Hildebrand: 10,985
  • E.J. Viso: 16,069
  • Katherine Legge: 4,438
  • Sebastien Bourdais: 630, but 0 tweets since Feb 2010 … <sad trombone>
  • Scott Dixon: 20,488
  • Dario Franchitti: 50,227
  • Will Power: 23,196
  • Mike Conway: 9,436
  • Takuma Sato: 9,760
  • Justin Wilson: 15,689
  • James Jakes: 2,802
  • Ed Carpenter: 9,248
  • Oriol Servia: 9,673
  • Marco Andretti: 38,519
  • James Hinchcliffe: 12,066
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay: 19,143
  • Graham Rahal: 22,871
  • Josef Newgarden: 2,510
  • Simon Pagenaud: 4,020
  • Simona de Silvestro: 15,561
  • Charlie Kimball: 5,035
  • Alex Tagliani: 25,092

Let’s add up the numbers so far, shall we? That’s 401,404 followers … and let’s be honest. Many of us are following more than just one driver, right, so several of those numbers are duplicated eyeballs.

Oh, wait … whoops … I forgot a 25th driver:

  • Tony Kanaan: 448,438

Yes … T.K. has more followers as the other 24 drivers combined. Your total is now 849,842 followers. But then … today happens …

  • Rubens Barrichello: 1,473,315 (!!)

Now … I used to be a college math maj … HOLY SMOKES – DAT’S AN ARMY! I’d also be willing to bet many of those followers have only watched INDYCAR from an extreme distance, as I’m guessing many of his followers are either European and Brazilian. Again, not that it’s a bad thing.

But will he move the needle for North American motorsports, particularly INDYCAR?

History states that Formula One drivers have had well-received introductions to open-wheel racing in the United States. I’m not going to go back into the encyclopedia to note all the F1 drivers whom have raced in the Indy 500, or for that matter any of USAC/CART/CCWS/IRL/INDYCAR races. Each driver brought a legion of fans (remember Nigel & Emmo?), and became rather popular here in the States. That’s great, but that’s also ancient history to the new breed of North American motorsports fans: those that laid witness to (a) the split of CART/IRL, and (b) the meteoric rise of the 1800-lb buffalo in the room, NASCAR.

Rubens is immensely popular in European countries, in Brazil & South America, and pretty much any country with Formula One. But … here in the States, where Formula One has struggled mightily to establish a solid foothold? Yes, he’s a well-known name Formula One driver, and U.S. Formula One fans, even many of us INDYCAR fans, know of him and his wonderful (deserved) accolades in racing. However, fans of that 1800-lb buffalo in the room may have heard of him, but also may not really care. He may not “move their needle” as INDYCAR might hope … unless they cast Rubens himself as Jean Girard in “Talledega Nights 2 – The Ballad of … well … Some Character Played By Steve Carell”.

But will he move the needle for North American motorsports, particularly INDYCAR?

When Randy Bernard took office two years ago (to the day, if I recall), one of the things he mentioned was trying to bring the motorsports fan, sponsors, and media back to INDYCAR. The “split” was pure hell for them, and they migrated to other forms of racing, be it NASCAR, NHRA, USAC, Formula One, whatever. How do we bring those people back? Similarly, how do we introduce INDYCAR to fans, media, and potential new sponsors whom have not experienced this form of racing, where it’s been marketed having the most talented, versatile drivers in the world on a variety of courses, from small ovals to road courses to super speedways to street circuits to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

As I sit here and think about it, just the addition of Barrichello to the grid actually boosts the second portion of Randy’s direction. Not only do we (INDYCAR) want to bring fans affected by the “split” back to enjoying INDYCAR and open-wheel racing, but INDYCAR also needs to grow in directions the sport has not had in almost two decades. Do you think there are going to be more eyes watching Rubens and INDYCAR this year? Um – 1.4 million followers on Twitter alone?!?!? You better bet your sweet bippy there’s going to be! “Danicamania” level? Perhaps not necessarily here in the U.S., but potentially yes, Danicamania level – outside of the U.S., all without the pictorial spreads. That, to me, is rather intriguing, because with non-U.S. eyes comes non-U.S. opportunities. More people and media worldwide – now starting to pay (or pay more) attention, which could potentially equate to more sponsors (foreign & domestic alike) paying attention. This has the makings of a calm-before-the-storm moment in INDYCAR, but more for international audiences.

But will he move the needle for North American motorsports, particularly INDYCAR?

That my friends, will be a $64 question for 2012. There’s been a stigma of F1 and its drivers that there’s some stuck-upity-ness in the series. Personally, I blame Bernie Ecclestone and the powers that be in regards to how F1 is so locked down regarding personalities and passion. I’ve seen more personality shown by a piece of Saran wrap than by F1. Rubens Barrichello, in my mind, doesn’t have this stigma. Every time I’ve seen him on television, he seems laid back, enjoys life with his family, and knows when the visor goes down, he will give no quarter. He seems quite outgoing, and personally, I can’t wait to meet him & shake his hand, welcoming him to INDYCAR. I think fans will really latch onto Rubens, and to be honest, I really hope Rubens latches onto INDYCAR fans. If that happens, then yes – the needle can be moved positively. I do not think the needle gets pegged on any readout, per sé, but additional movement in the positive, in conjunction with INDYCAR’s positive movement over the last 2 years, is a welcome addition.

Now, can Rubens win a race this year? Hmm … I don’t know, to be honest. Looking at his F1 career, he does have 3 wins in Monza, Italy, which is a permanent old-school road course. So, if I were to toss a dart for a Barrichello win in 2012, I’ll go with Mid-Ohio, which has the flavor of Monza – long straights, sweeping turns, a couple technical areas. In fairness, though, adding Rubens to the KVRT lineup should make Tony Kanaan wickedly better – and wouldn’t it be a site to see Rubens & T.K. on the same podium somewhere? Don’t count THAT out either.

But will he move the needle for North American motorsports, particularly INDYCAR?
He will move the needle for North American motorsports, particularly INDYCAR!


2012 Cars – IZOD IndyCar Series

February 19, 2012

A few weeks ago, I recall tweeting an initial breakdown of car/driver/engine combinations. Of course, I swapped one team’s engine contract, and was electronically backhanded for my faux pas (Thanks, Pippa! I owe you). So, I came up with a spreadsheet of my own, so that I can see the combinations on my own. As of today, we are roughly 5 weeks from the start of the INDYCAR season in St. Petersburg, FL, so it may be high-time for my breakdown of current car combinations.

Here is what I will do. Below are the combinations that are known, sorta-known, and unknown. I am going to try to keep this list as up-to-date as possible, such that when we have additions/inclusions/updates, you’ll see them here. The FIRST line you will see below is the last update date/time, so keep your eyes peeled – if you see/hear any changes needed, send me a comment (right-hand column) or put one below. I will, of course, provide recognition for those whom help. For simplicity purposes, I will order this list by known car number. If a team has a car signed/sealed/delivered, but no car number, I will note it at the end of the list.

Finally, I am also going to *attempt* to put known livery photos as well, because pictures are worth 1000 words, especially in racing. Since I haven’t seen the DW12 in action with my own eyes (*yet*), I’m only going to show pictures that I can properly give full credit to, in order to give credit where credit is due. Kapish? OK – let’s do it.

-MAR-2012 at 12:30PM Eastern Standard Time (US)

Car #2 – Ryan Briscoe

Team: Penske Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: IZOD (though could have other associate sponsors with one- or two-off liveries)

Update (27-FEB-2012): Better photo taken from this weekend’s test at Infineon Speedway

Image of Car 2 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: Kevin Toy (@KevinToy888), via Flickr

Car #3 – Helio Castroneves

Team: Penske Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: Shell V-Power (though could have other associate sponsors with one- or two-off liveries)

Image of Car 3 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: LAT Photo (, via

Car #4 – J.R. Hildebrand

Team: Panther Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: U.S. National Guard

Image of Car 4 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: LAT Photo (

Car #5 – E.J. Viso

Team: KV Racing Technologies
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: CITGO / PDVSA (along w/ associate sponsors Herbalife, Mindeporte CANTV, SBA Airlines)

Update (27-FEB-2012): We had seen both Rubens Barrichello & E.J. Viso in KV’s test Car #5, so now we’ve received the official word from them. No livery to make of just yet, but expect something CITGO-ish with the red/blue/white combinations. Seeing E.J.’s test helmet, though – oh, baby. Vertigo! So … for now, we’ll move Rubens down below. (DC)

Car #6 – Katherine Legge

Team: Dragon Racing
Engine: Lotus
Sponsor: (believed primary sponsor, but not 100% confirmed)

Car #7 – Sebastien Bourdais

Team: Dragon Racing
Engine: Lotus
Sponsor: TBD

Notes: My guess would be Sebastien will drive Car #8, which Dragon Racing holds rights to. This would equate to Dragon Racing having Cars #6 & #8, and we all know how sexy single-digit numbers look.

Update (22-FEB-2012): Well … Katherine just spilled a few beans via Twitter (Link Here). She now states Sebastien will be driving Car #7, rather than Dragon’s original #8. This makes me wonder if they still have rights to the #8 … which might be another story in-and-of-itself, but I won’t go digging too much. I think Jay’s going to be quite content with two cars in 2012. (DC)

Car #8 – Rubens Barrichello

Team: KV Racing Technologies
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: BMC | Embrase

Update (01-MAR-2012): AND BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE! On behalf of IndyCar fans worldwide, welcome Rubens Barrichello to the series. There is little doubt this makes a few drivers, teams, fans stand up and say “S*** just done got real.” There was a rather grainy picture of Rubens livery scheme … looked mostly blue with black, which should look sharp, but might look relatively similar to the *proposed* livery colors of Team Barracuda – BHA.  In either regard, this is gonna get goooooooooood. (DC)

Car #9 – Scott Dixon

Team: Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: Target

Image of Car 9 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: LAT Photo (, via

Car #10 – Dario Franchitti

Team: Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: Target (though, knowing TCGR, there may be multiple liveries for Dario)

Image of Car 10 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: LAT Photo (, via

Car #11 – Tony Kanaan

Team: KV Racing Technologies
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: Going to put GEICO down, as well as Itiapava as an associate (thought probably a primary for Sao Paolo race).

Notes: (22-FEB-2012): I have (still) yet to see an official announcement from either KVRT or TK. Below is a picture from Tony rolling around Texas yesterday, so as far as we all know, he’s all but signed/sealed/delivered. And I don’t know about you … this may be the first car visible from space. Can we run a night race using black lights? (DC)

Image of Car 11 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: Tony Kanaan (@TonyKanaan), via YFrog

Car #12 – Will Power

Team: Penske Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: Verizon (I’ll wager this stays constant through 2012)

Image of Car 12 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: LAT Photo (

Car #14 – Mike Conway

Team: A.J. Foyt Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: ABC Supply

Image of Car 14 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: Steve Swope Photography (

Car #15 – Takuma Sato

Team: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: Mi-Jack (known to be one sponsor, but not sure if it’s full-time primary, or just associate sponsor)

Notes: (22-FEB-2012): Car #15 was announced in the press release. Yesterday, the team sent out some initial photos of Takuma’s livery. Car is a little “plain” looking, but it’s a start. Once we see a few more sponsor decals, I’ll update accordingly. (DC)

Image of Car 15 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (@RLLracing), via Facebook

Car #20 – Ed Carpenter

Team: Ed Carpenter Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka

Image of Car 20 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: Ed Carpenter Racing (@ECRIndy), via

Car #22 – Oriol Servia

Team: Lotus DRR
Engine: Lotus
Sponsor: Lotus / Telemundo / RollCoater / WIX Filters / Valspar / Charter / etc. (Expect rotating primary sponsors, but confident color schemes will remain black/gold)

Notes: (22-FEB-2012): Lotus DRR unveiled the black/gold #22 yesterday afternoon, and it’s a sweetie. Gracias to the outstanding PR staff at Lotus DRR, Liz & Brie, for the photos. (DC)

Image of Car 22 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: Lotus DRR (@LotusDRR), via TwitPic

Car #26 – Marco Andretti

Team: Andretti Autosport
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: RC Cola (part of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, so expect multiple liveries this year)

Car #27 – James Hinchcliffe

Team: Andretti Autosport
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: GoDaddy

Car #28 – Ryan Hunter-Reay

Team: Andretti Autosport
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: TBA (but expected to be SunDrop soda & DHL, similar to 2011 – waiting on official announcements)

Car #38 – Graham Rahal

Team: Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: Service Central (can envision one-off liveries, depending on geography, for NTB, Tire Kingdom, & Big O Tires, but Service Central expected to be primary)

Image of Car 38 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: LAT Photo (, via

Car #67 – Josef Newgarden

Team: Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: TBD

Notes: (24-FEB-2012): Hurray! Press release makes it official. Josef will be driving Car #67 for SFHR. And, with an agreement with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team will be not only a Honda team, but also will be full time. Josef has been saying time-and-time again that the team will be ready … who am I to argue. Great news all-around. We’ve seen a few pictures of a previous IC-03 with the Walgreens livery scheme, but nothing with a DW12. So – let’s hold off on sponsor/livery until the official announcements are made. (DC)

Car #77 –  Simon Pagenaud

Team: Sam Schmidt Motorsports
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: TBD

Notes: I would assume Car #77, but I’m not so sure. Haven’t really heard much from SSM regarding the potential deal w/ Davey Hamilton Racing, so I’m going to keep it off the list for now. Have this feeling HP Computers would be primary of 2nd car, and associate of Simon, but really, it’s unclear, and I’ve got to have something more concrete than what we currently have.

(22-FEB-2012): I’m moving Simon Pagenaud up to a believed-known car number. Simon tweeted yesterday (Link Here) regarding the “77”, and there *was* a picture of the 77 driving around Barber, though still un-liveried / un-sponsored. We all know that’s going to change sooner or later, so I’ll hold off putting a photo up just yet.

Car #78 – Simona de Silvestro

Team: HVM Racing
Engine: Lotus
Sponsor: Entergy / Nuclear Clean Air Energy

Image of Car 78 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: HVM Racing (, via Facebook

Car #83 – Charlie Kimball

Team: Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: Novo Nordisk / NovoLog FlexPen

Image of Car 83 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: Steve Swope Photography (

Car # 98 – Alex Tagliani

Team: Team Barracuda BHA
Engine: Lotus
Sponsor: Barracuda Networks

(27-FEB-2012): Dave Lewandowski reported on (Link Here) that Tagliani & Team Barracuda BHA will be in the #98. Not really a surprise, to be honest. As a sidenote – the livery will be “officially” revealed on 08-MAR-2012, so have your Depends ordered. (DC)


OK, with those listings out of the way, you’re probably thinking I’ve missed a bunch of listings. Not quite. Let’s take a look at some of the TBD’s in regards to car numbers, and some that are still up-in-the-air:

Car # TBD – Justin Wilson

Team: Dale Coyne Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: TBD

Notes: Wilson is going to drive for Dale Coyne again, that’s known. However, what car number he’ll be in is unknown. He won for Coyne at Watkins Glen in 2009 with Car #18. It’d be assumed Justin will drive #18, which seems to be Coyne’s primary car, and the 2nd car (if/when it is announced) will be Car #19. Also note – when Wilson tested in Sebring, he actually drove Car #19, which is why I’m leaving this one still TBD, especially since it was Coyne’s #19 that got the Leader Circle money. Sidenote – if Jakes gets signed, that’s the 2nd for Coyne, so don’t worry if I’ve only got one Coyne listed here temporarily. (DC)

Car # TBD – TBD

Team: Dale Coyne Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: TBD

Update (27-FEB-2012): I’m going to put Coyne’s 2nd car on the board. I have this feeling this one will be Jakes’s car. Sponsor/Car #/Livery are unknown at this time. To be bold honest, I can easily see Jakes retaining his Acorn Stairlifts Car #18 car, and have Justin Wilson drive the Boy Scouts of America Car #19. Again – a lot of guessing there, but let’s see how sponsorships play out. (DC)

Car #60 – TBD

Team: Michael Shank Racing
Engine: Lotus (at least that is what was announced, though things change)
Sponsor: TBD

Notes: Doesn’t sound promising he is going to be able to answer the bell at St. Pete. Still, I would not be surprised if you see a black/copper livery at Indianapolis in May. I’m going to move this car down into the TBD category, since it’s unclear whether they show. I need a warm, fuzzy feeling official statement stating their plans before moving them back up into the grid. (DC)

So … that’s what I’ve got … again, I will try to keep this as up-to-date as possible, once we start the avalanche of announcements and pictures over the next weeks or so, leading into St. Pete. If you’ve got an update, and you can send me official announcements and/or creditable pictures, let me know – I want this list to be a good working list for everyone, not just for my own party-of-one.

Thanks and enjoy! – DC