INDYCAR News and Notes – March 21, 2013Press Release
Today’s IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:
1. Hunter-Reay’s role reversal: Underdog to the hunted
2. Novo Nordisk increases partnership involvement
3. Hydroxycut to support Kanaan, KV Racing in 2013
4. Vautier lands sponsorship for St. Pete race
5. Of note
1. Hunter-Reay’s role reversal: Underdog to the hunted: Asked by a reporter about having a target on his back Ryan Hunter-Reay jokes that he now knows what it’s like to be Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti.
Achievements are only as valuable as the vision they inspire.
Ryan Hunter-Reay has it mentally tattooed entering the 19-race IZOD IndyCar Series season – six months after exiting balmy Southern California with his first series championship in a hard-fought, season-long duel.
He’s back, driving the Chevrolet-powered No. 1 DHL car for Andretti Autosport — relaxed, rested and raring to back up the four victories and seven overall top-five finishes procured in the drive to the title won by a scant three points over Team Penske’s Will Power. It all starts with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg this weekend.
“The best thing about winning a championship is that it’s what I’ve been working for my entire life. It’s a dream come true,” says Hunter-Reay, 32, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., resident. “Nobody can ever take that away from me, from our team. It’s something that we accomplished. We earned it, straight up earned it.
“We’re starting new now. We’re the defending champions, and that does absolutely nothing for us when the green flag flies in St. Pete. We’re starting all over again. We have to go out there and live up to the No. 1 on the side of the car. That’s where the pressure comes from — living up to that No. 1.
“I know if we execute and put a decent car on the racetrack, we’ll be competitive, competing for race wins. Putting the package together is the tough part. That’s what we have to focus on.
We know how to do it from last year. We know where we need to be a lot better. Hopefully, if we do that we improve in the areas we need to, then we can make a serious run for this championship. I know one thing; it’s going to be interesting. (The title chase has come down to the) last race (for the past six seasons), and it certainly will this year. I guarantee it.”
Of course, he hopes to – expects to – be among the contenders. Hunter-Reay posted a pair of podium finishes in the first four races of 2012, including third place at St. Petersburg. Following mechanical issues at Indianapolis and Texas, he reeled off three consecutive victories to get back in the title picture. A victory at Baltimore in the penultimate race set up the duel with Power at Auto Club Speedway, where he accomplished all that was necessary.
“How do you follow up a year like last year? I really don’t have the answer for that,” Hunter-Reay says. “We’re going to have to be better than last year, that’s for sure. That’s what we’re looking to do, is come back and improve in our weak areas. We didn’t have too many weak spots last year, but if anything you can point out, the superspeedways. I guess the big tracks we need to step it up a little bit.
“But I think across the board we’re just going to have to be better than last year. It’s going to be a really tough season. I think this is going to be the tightest competition we’ve seen in IndyCar in a very, very long time.”
2. Novo Nordisk increases partnership involvement: Novo Nordisk, which became INDYCAR’s official diabetes care provider in 2012, has increased its promotion of the sport by sponsoring the Emergency Care Vehicle for 2013.
The company also will move its Race With Insulin display, designed to raise awareness of diabetes to visitors, into the INDYCAR Fan Village. Novo Nordisk is a global leader in innovative insulin delivery systems such as FlexPen, which is used by IZOD IndyCar Series driver Charlie Kimball.
“The Race With Insulin program is an important piece to Novo Nordisk’s involvement with INDYCAR and moving it inside the INDYCAR Fan Village will expose the program to many more race fans,” said George McAvoy, vice president of diabetes marketing for Novo Nordisk. “Our sponsorship of Charlie Kimball shows that having diabetes doesn’t have to slow you down on the track, and expanding our partnership with INDYCAR will bring that message to more race fans.”
3. Hydroxycut to support Kanaan, KV Racing in 2013:KV Racing Technology-SH announced today it has partnered with Hydroxycut, America’s top weight loss supplement brand to sponsor the No. 11 car driven by Tony Kanaan.
Kanaan, the 2004 IZOD IndyCar Series champion, will pilot the No, 11 Hydroxycut Chevrolet at the 2013 Indianapolis 500 plus 8 additional events over the course of the 2013season. The new Hydroxycut livery unveiled today is being referred to as one of the more aggressive liveries seen in the paddock.
“This is a great day for our team, and an even better day for INDYCAR fans,” said SH Principal James “Sulli” Sullivan. ”In celebration of the launch of the Hydroxycut Machine, they’ll be handing out free samples to IndyCar fans starting right here in St Pete and will continue at races across the IndyCar schedule”, added Sulli.
The No. 11 Hydroxycut Machine makes its formal debut at the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg.
“The HYDROXYCUT Machine is one of the most interesting IndyCar’s we’ve ever built, and I think I echo most of the fans comments that we all cannot wait to see it on the track tomorrow,” said KVRT Principal Jimmy Vasser. ”If she runs half as good as she looks, we’ll be in victory lane on Sunday!” said Vasser.
4. Vautier lands sponsorship for St. Pete race: The Florida Lottery, which currently sits at $260 million, is the primary sponsor this weekend of the No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car driven by St. Petersburg resident Tristan Vautier.
“I played the lottery a few times this winter hoping it would help me get my first ride in an IndyCar,” joked Vautier, who won the Firestone Indy Lights race on the street circuit in 2012 and will make his IZOD IndyCar Series debut in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Target Chip Ganassi partnership at 99 and counting: The Target Racing Program, which began with Minneapolis-based Target and Chip Ganassi Racing in 1990, is one win shy of 100. The first victory came in 1994 with Michael’s Andretti’s Indy car victory at Surfers Paradise, Australia.
5. Of note: Jen French, the silver medalist in sailing at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and recently named US Sailing’s Yachtswoman of the Year, will ride in the “Fastest Seat in Sports” leading to the green flag of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. … Following his recent visit to 30 Rockefeller Center in New York for interviews with NBC properties, Kimball tweeted that he’s applied to be a NBC page for next offseason. … For the first time since 2009, Target Chip Ganassi Racing enters the season opener without the title as series champion. … Noted animal expert Jack Hanna will serve as grand marshal of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. Hanna, executive director of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, is the godfather of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal.
The 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season opens with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg March 24 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. The race will be televised live at noon (ET) by the NBC Sports Network (Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, on SiriusXM (Channel 211) and www.indycar.com. The 2013 Firestone Indy Lights season begins March 23 on the streets of St. Petersburg. The race will be broadcast by NBC Sports Network at 11 a.m. (ET) on March 24, immediately preceding the IZOD IndyCar Series race broadcast.
Source: INDYCAR, Press Release
Article Tags: FILS, Firestone, Firestone Indy Lights, Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, IICS, IndyCar, IZOD, IZOD IndyCar Series, Mazda, Mazda Road to Indy, Pro Mazda Championship, St. Petersburg (FL), USF2000