INDYCAR News and Notes – August 10, 2012Press Release
Today’s IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:
1. Veach earns Firestone Indy Lights test with Andretti team
2. Racing For Cancer making a lasting imprint
3. Dixon supports Teens Living with Cancer
4. War hero to serve as Baltimore Grand Marshal
5. Sonoma tabs Sacramento mayor as grand marshal
6. Of note
1. Veach earns Firestone Indy Lights test with Andretti team: Andretti Autosport will test Star Mazda Championship driver Zach Veach in one of its Firestone Indy Lights cars on Aug. 13 at Putnam Park Raceway near Indianapolis.
“I’m beyond excited and thankful for this amazing opportunity to test the Indy Lights car,” Veach said. “It’s such an honor to be part of the Andretti Autosport family and I’m as committed as ever to make it through the full Mazda Road to Indy ladder with an ultimate goal of reaching the IZOD IndyCar Series and qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. Testing the Indy Lights car is a great step to achieve my dream, and I can’t thank the team, K12 and all of my partners enough for the continued support of me and my career.”
Veach is in his second season with Andretti Autosport, competing full-time in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. The 17-year-old from Stockdale, Ohio has six top-10 finishes and a runner-up result on the Streets of Toronto, putting him 10th in the championship points. He started 2012 off by capturing the Formula Car Challenge Winter Series Championship by using four race wins and four pole positions to secure the series title.
“We’re always impressed with Zach and how he handles himself both on and off the track,” said Michael Andretti, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Andretti Autosport. “We’ve been working with him for a couple years now and he has shown great promise. I think he will adapt well to the (Firestone) Indy Lights car; this test is the next step for him as he works his way up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder and the team and I look forward to being a part of his development.”
Veach will be the first driver who began at the USF2000 level of the Mazda Road to Indy to test a Firestone Indy Lights car. The Mazda Road to Indy is the official developmental system of INDYCAR and is designed to advance drivers from grassroots to the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. The initiative was launched in 2010.
“Watching Zach take another step towards continuing his movement up the Mazda Road to Indy is special, because it’s exactly what the ladder system is all about,” said Tony George Jr., Director, Firestone Indy Lights. “He’s seen success in USF2000 and Star Mazda, and we’ve watched him develop both on and off the track. Not only is he talented in a race car, he’s also built a recognizable brand for himself, which is very important in motorsports. It’s very apparent that we have some huge talent in Star Mazda this year, and we’re looking forward to having many such drivers join Firestone Indy Lights in the near future.”
2. Racing For Cancer making a lasting imprint: Ryan Hunter-Reay is quick to point out to a group in the Mid-Ohio paddock that the No. 28 affixed to either side of his race car’s rear wing carries a special meaning. It’s a display of support for the estimated 28 million people living with cancer.
As co-founder of Racing For Cancer as well as its global ambassador, Hunter-Reay is passionate to promote awareness, early detection and prevention. He knows first-hand its affects not only on the patient but the extended family as his mother battled colon cancer until succumbing in late 2009.
The organization, co-founded by Tom Vossman in July 2010, recently was named a Recognized INDYCAR Charitable Partner.
“I very much appreciate INDYCAR’s support of Racing For Cancer,” said Hunter-Reay, who’s second in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings heading into the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 24-26 and was in New York on Aug. 10 for interviews with major media outlets. “To be able to support the global fight against cancer in the sport that I love and to know the same athletes I compete with week in and week out support me in the fight is a dream come true.”
Racing For Cancer will team up with LIVESTRONG and the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults to play host to The Yellow Party – Baltimore (Aug. 30) as part of the Grand Prix of Baltimore race weekend. It hosted a similar event in May in Indianapolis.
Added Vossman, who in 2011 embarked on a 28-day, 2,800-mile bicycle ride to promote Racing For Cancer’s initiatives and raise funds: “In just two short years we’ve come a long way, and we have a long way to go to make the kind of lasting impact in the fight against cancer,” he said. “Our motto is ‘Picking Up the Pace … One Fan at a Time.’ If every IndyCar fan donated just $28 per year we could raise over $28 million. With the support of INDYCAR, the drivers, and the fans, we will make a difference.”
3. Dixon supports Teens Living with Cancer: Two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon has teamed up with Teens Living with Cancer to bring awareness to and offer support to the estimated 15,000 American teenagers each year being treated for cancer that are caught between pediatric and adult medicine.
Dixon has previously worked with a similar group called Can Teen in his native New Zealand.
“That is where there is a loophole in the treatment of cancer,” Dixon said. “The teens are going through so many hormonal changes already and trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives after completing school, and then they have to deal with cancer on top of it.”
For a comprehensive resource for patients, their families and healthcare providers visit www.teenslivingwithcancer.org.
4. War hero to serve as Baltimore grand marshal: Col. Gregory Gadson will serve as grand marshal for the Grand Prix of Baltimore on Sept. 2, 2012.
Col. Gadson, who has served in every major American conflict of the last two decades, is a decorated war hero who is a recipient of the Legion of Merit, three Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. During his service in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007, Gadson was severely injured, losing both legs above the knee and severe damage to his right arm.
Gadson continues to inspire, remaining on active duty in the U.S. Army serving various leadership positions. In 2011, he received the American Legion Patriot Award, in addition to other prominent civilian awards such as the NCAA Inspiration Award in 2010 and the 2008 Hero of the Year Award from Reader’s Digest. He played a featured role in the recently released film, “Battleship.”
“Greg Gadson is an American hero,” said John Lopes, President of Andretti Sports Marketing and a former U.S. Army Captain. “We are proud for his affiliation with the Grand Prix of Baltimore.”
5. Sonoma tabs Sacramento mayor as grand marshal: Kevin Johnson has proven his ball-handling skills on both the college and NBA hardwood. He’s also shown he wields a mean gavel as mayor of Sacramento.
When the IZOD IndyCar Series visits Sonoma in a few week, Mayor Johnson will show whether he has what it takes to fire up a full field of Indy cars.
Johnson, who gained national prominence for his exploits on the basketball court, as a four-year starter at the University of California and then during a stellar 12-year NBA career with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns, will be the grand marshal of the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.
“The raceway in Sonoma has an international reputation for hosting world-class events and this year’s GoPro Indy Grand Prix continues that rich tradition,” said Johnson. “As a native Northern Californian, I am honored to serve as grand marshal of a major motor race being held in my backyard. I’m counting the minutes to the green flag!”
Johnson was named grand marshal at the invitation of raceway president and fellow Cal alum, Steve Page.
“Kevin Johnson is a true sports legend in Northern California and he holds a special place in the hearts of Cal basketball fans,” said Page. “We’re very excited to have Mayor Johnson with us for the INDYCAR weekend and to have him play a big part in the event festivities.”
6. Of note: Sebastien Bourdais has teamed with Alex Popow this weekend to co-drive a Starworks Motorsports car in the GRAND-AM race at Watkins Glen International. They recently won the Brickyard Grand Prix, which helped seal the inaugural North American Endurance Championship for the team. … ESPN motorsports reporter Jamie Little and her husband, Cody, welcomed their first child, a boy (Carter Wayne Sellman) on Aug. 9.
The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series race continues with the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 26 at the raceway in Sonoma. The race will be televised by NBC Sports Network at 4 p.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Grand Prix of Baltimore on Sept. 2 on the Streets of Baltimore.
Source: INDYCAR, Press Release
Article Tags: Andretti Autosport, Firestone, Firestone Indy Lights, IICS, IndyCar, IZOD, IZOD IndyCar Series, Mazda, Mazda Road to Indy, Zach Veach