Alexander Rossi And Marco Andretti Swap Seats For 2018

Alexander Rossi

 

Andretti Autosport Sheild
ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT
PRESS RELEASE
ANDRETTI HERTA AUTOSPORT CONTINUES PARTNERSHIP
Marco Andretti named driver of the No. 98 Andretti Herta Autosport Honda

INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 7, 2017) – The race-winning partnership between Bryan Herta Autosport and Andretti Autosport will continue for a third season in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The Andretti Herta Autosport team will again field the No. 98 Honda, but this season it will be third-generation driver Marco Andretti behind the wheel.

While remaining co-owner of Alexander Rossi’s entry in 2017, Bryan Herta stepped off the No. 98 timing stand and moved within the Andretti Autosport team to call strategy for Andretti. The duo and No. 27 team collected five top-10 finishes together, with a best finish of fourth on the streets of Toronto.

“I’m thrilled to be continuing the partnership with Andretti Autosport,” said Herta, president of Bryan Herta Autosport. “The relationship has worked really well both on and off the track for us and our partners. I’m looking forward to moving back onto the No. 98 timing stand with Marco and can’t wait to get the 2018 season started.”   

“I’m very much looking forward to being in the Andretti-Herta entry,” said Marco Andretti. “My goal is to bring the No. 98 another Indy 500 win along with many other victories. Working with Bryan has been refreshing – he is very committed to getting me all the tools I need to get back into victory circle. He believes in my talent and is dedicated to turn that into results.”   

Andretti Herta Autosport has earned two victories in its two-year partnership, the first at the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 and the second in 2017 at Watkins Glen International after starting from the pole position.

With the 30 year-old climbing in to the No. 98 car for 2018, Alexander Rossi will transition to pilot the No. 27 entry of Andretti Autosport with NAPA AUTO PARTS returning for a 10-race co-primary package. The two teammates will join veteran driver Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda) and rookie Zach Veach (No. 26 Group One Thousand One Honda) for the all-American 2018 line-up. The Verizon IndyCar Series season kicks off March 9 on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.


About Bryan Herta Autosport 
Co-founded by veteran driver Bryan Herta, Bryan Herta Autosport has been a race winning team since its debut in 2009, including the 2011 Indianapolis 500 with driver Dan Wheldon and the 2016 Indianapolis 500 with Alexander Rossi. Bryan Herta Autosport competed in Indy Lights from 2009 to 2014 and has been running in the Verizon IndyCar Series since 2010. Bowen Motorsports of Ontario, Canada has partnered with Bryan Herta Autosport, beginning in 2012. The team has since expanded into Red Bull Global Rallycross operating under Bryan Herta Rallysport. At the start of the 2016 season, Bryan Herta Autosport joined forces with Andretti Autosport fielding the No. 98 Honda as Andretti-Herta Autosport in the Verizon IndyCar Series. For more information about Bryan Herta Autosport, please visit  www.bryanhertaautosport.com 

About Andretti Autosport
Based in Indianapolis and led by racing legend Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport boasts a wide racing portfolio rooted in tradition and designed for success.  Together with Andretti Formula E and Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, Andretti Autosport fields multiple entries in the IndyCar Series and Indy Lights, along with entries in the FIA Formula E Championship and Global Rallycross. Additionally, the team competes in the Australian Supercars category through partnership with Walkinshaw Racing and United Supercars. Walkinshaw Andretti United will celebrate an inaugural season in 2018.  The global racing enterprise boasts four IndyCar Series championships (2004, 2005, 2007, 2012), two Indy Lights titles (2008, 2009), one Pro Mazda championship (2013) and one USF2000 championship (2010) and has captured victory five times at the famed Indianapolis 500-Mile Race (2005, 2007, 2014, 2016, 2017). Additionally, the team holds two X Games Gold Medals and three Global Rallycross championship (2015, 2016).  To share in the Andretti story, please visit online atAndrettiAutosport.com and follow along on Twitter via @FollowAndretti.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Andretti Autosport Has Been Flat Out Since Sonoma

Marco Andretti
The checkered flag may have waved on the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season back in September, but that hasn’t slowed the pace for Michael Andretti and Andretti Autosport.

“What offseason? Man, it’s been flat out,” the team’s CEO said.

That’s because the battle of preparation with next year’s universal aero kit has teams doing all they can to extract every detail before the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg in March. Andretti’s team received its first universal aero kit early this week from Dallara and immediately began the process to attach it to the Dallara IR-12 chassis.

For Andretti, there is much optimism entering next year after a 2017 that saw glimpses of a return to form. The team saw three of its four full-time drivers finish in the top 10 in the championship. Takuma Sato handed the team its third Indianapolis 500 win in the past four years in May. Alexander Rossi drove to an impressive win at Watkins Glen in September that planted his stake firmly in the ground as a contender.

All series entries will compete with the universal kit in the 2018 season, following three seasons of aero kit competition between manufacturers Honda and Chevrolet. With the opportunity to be on equal footing with rivals in that respect, it presents a potential game-changer in Andretti’s mind.

“I hope so,” he said. “I think we’ve stepped up our game as a team, so that’s nice. Starting on even ground (with the universal kit), I’m hoping that with all the changes we made, that hopefully we’ll do a little bit better than our competition.

“I’m sure everybody up and down pit road is saying the same thing, but I’m hoping that, starting new, we’ll be able to find things that the other guys won’t.”

Andretti is a major proponent of retaining continuity within the team. From the engineering staff to the drivers, the only significant change for 2018 is rookie Zach Veach replacing Sato, who signed with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. All four of the team’s full-time drivers – Rossi, Veach, Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay – are locked into multiyear deals.

“Absolutely, that helps,” said Michael Andretti, shown above with Hunter-Reay (left) and Rossi (right). “That helps a lot. I’m excited about the next few years that we’re not going to be talking about who is going to be in what car and all that stuff, and we’re going to be able to just focus on the plan of making our cars and our team better.

“It’s going to be nice not having that distraction.”

Paul “Ziggy” Harcus, the race strategist for Sato this past season, credits much of the positive change to Eric Bretzman, who joined Andretti Autosport as technical director following the 2016 season.

“I think that engineering has picked it up,” Harcus said. “Eric Bretzman has done a great job of keeping those guys pointed in the right direction of what we want and what we need to get our qualifying better. That always helps our races.

“I think the team as a whole, we’re making steps. If we keep doing that next year, we’ll be better than the Penskes and the Ganassis as well. So we’re all good with that.”

Although manufacturer testing has begun, Andretti Autosport hasn’t been able to put a driver on track like fellow Honda teams Chip Ganassi Racing and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Andretti accepts the blame since his team was deciding whether to stay with Honda for 2018 or switch to Chevrolet when Honda had to select its manufacturer test teams.

“It’s a little frustrating that we haven’t been able to play with it,” Andretti admitted, “but it’s a little bit of our fault because we made our decision so late (to remain) with Honda that they had to make their plans with somebody else in case we weren’t there. It hurts a little bit that we’re not involved in any of these tests, for sure.”

Andretti Autosport hasn’t had a driver finish in the top five in the standings since Marco Andretti was fifth in 2013. Its last champion was Hunter-Reay in 2012. With the new aero kit expected to necessitate a more technical type of driving, the team owner believes his drivers can move back to the top.

“I think that ever since the (previous) kit came out (in 2015), that Marco and Ryan haven’t been the Marco and Ryan that we’ve known and there’s something in it that I think was screwing with them somehow,” said Andretti. “So now, getting back to a more conventional type of race car, I’m hoping that it’s going to be good for those two and get them back up front where they need to be.”

One place where Andretti Autosport has remained up front is on the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. With Rossi and Sato winning the past two Indy 500s, Andretti has a chance in May to become just the third team owner to win three in a row. Only Lou Moore (1947-49) and Roger Penske (2001-03) have accomplished that feat.

“Last year, we knew we had a little bit of an advantage there because that was one that, luckily for us, Honda seemed to be a little bit better than the Chevys,” Andretti said. “So that was a good thing. We’re not going to have that this year, so hopefully Honda is just going to give us more horsepower and then that will help us.

“It’s going to be tough. I mean, winning it once is really tough. Winning it three times in a row is going to be really, really difficult, but anything is possible.

“We’ve got the drivers to do it, we’ve got the engineers to do it and we think we’ve got the engine to do it. I think we have a good shot.”

The 2018 season opens with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 11. The 17-race schedule concludes with the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 16. Click here for the entire schedule.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

DXC Technology, Team Penske And Simon Pagenoud Partner For 2018

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske announced today that it has reached an extension agreement with DXC Technology (NYSE: DXC) for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

In its first season as a motorsports sponsor in 2017, DXC Technology built on an established presence with Team Penske’s successful Verizon IndyCar Series program and 2016 series champion, Simon Pagenaud, driver of the No. 22 Dallara/Chevrolet. DXC Technology celebrated with Pagenaud in Victory Lane of the season-ending series race in Sonoma, California, to claim its first INDYCAR win.

For the 2018 season, DXC Technology will return and serve as the primary sponsor on Pagenaud’s car for six races, which will begin with the Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 15. DXC Technology will also continue as an associate sponsor on the remaining races for the No. 22 team.

“Team Penske is excited to grow the partnership with DXC Technology for 2018,” said Roger Penske. “This is a technology-dependent sport and we were able to integrate DXC into our INDYCAR program this season and we will be ready to take our performance, and hopefully our results, to the next level with them in 2018.”

DXC Technology was the primary sponsor aboard Pagenaud’s car for six races in the company’s first year with the team in 2017, including the memorable win in the season finale at Sonoma Raceway.

“I enjoyed working with DXC Technology and representing their brand this past season,” said Pagenaud. “DXC Technology shares a similar philosophy with us at Team Penske, which is to strive for excellence. We are very proud to work together relentlessly toward further limits in our respective industries. We were excited to get a win with them in Sonoma and everyone at Team Penske wants to build on that as we welcome them back for 2018.”

DXC Technology is the world’s leading independent, end-to-end IT services company. Formed by the 2017 merger of CSC and the Enterprise Services business of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the company has more than 155,000 employees across 70 countries, serving some 6,000 clients. Its mission is to lead digital transformation for clients by tapping into global talent, developing powerful next-generation IT solutions and leveraging extensive partner relationships.

“Our partnership with Team Penske provides a great opportunity for DXC Technology,” said Mike Lawrie, DXC Technology chairman, president and CEO. “Performance and reputation make Team Penske the type of organization with which we want to align. Like us, they strive for excellence in everything they do and work diligently to provide value for both sides of the relationship.”

The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season opens on March 11 in the Streets of St. Petersburg in Florida, the 1.8-mile temporary circuit set up on city streets and a runway of Albert Whitted Airport.

Read how Team Penske and DXC Technology collaborated to enhance the engineering process with a “digital transformation workshop” designed to optimize the team’s engineering software: How a championship-winning race team cut engineering cycles by 30 percent.

 

 About DXC Technology

DXC Technology (NYSE: DXC) is the world’s leading business transformation company, helping clients harness the power of innovation to thrive on change. Born of the merger of CSC and the Enterprise Services business of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, DXC serves nearly 6,000 private and public sector enterprises across 70 countries. DXC’s technology independence, global talent, expertise and extensive alliance of partners combine to deliver the most powerful end-to-end next-generation IT services and solutions. DXC is recognized among best corporate citizens globally. For more information, visit https://www.dxc.technology.

 

About Team Penske
Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports and celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2016. Cars owned and prepared by Team Penske have produced more than 470 major race wins, over 540 pole positions and 31 National Championships across open-wheel, stock car and sports car racing competition. In its storied history, the team has also earned 16 Indianapolis 500 victories, two Daytona 500 Championships, a Formula 1 win and overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Team Penske currently competes in the Verizon IndyCar Series, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series. The team also races in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, in a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing, as DJR Team Penske. For more information about Team Penske, please visit www.teampenske.com.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Chip Ganassi, Team Danica Discuss 2018 Daytona And Indy Possibilities

Danica Patrick

Team owner Chip Ganassi spoke personally with Danica Patrick and her representatives Thursday and Friday about the possibility of fielding cars for her in either the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500, or both, but said he doesn’t yet have enough information to determine if participating in her farewell jaunt is feasible.

“I think it’s a great idea for her to do that,” Ganassi said of Patrick ending her racing career at two tracks where she has enjoyed some of her greatest success. “I think it’s a fabulous idea, a fabulous marketing idea, it’s a fabulous opportunity and obviously the business side of the deal has to work. … I’m a long way from saying ‘Yes, I can do that.’”

Patrick has expressed confidence in being able to bring sponsorship to field both ventures. Ganassi said “I would think it would be better to do it with one team.”

The team owner said he has not had time to consider when he’d need a commitment and firm details from Patrick’s camp.

Ganassi fields two-car teams in both the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and IndyCar.

One of Ganassi’s Monster Energy Series drivers, Kyle Larson, is a personal friend of Patrick who has in the past expressed an interest in attempting the open wheel classic. Ganassi said he doesn’t know if Larson, who had a breakout four-win season, is still interested but said fielding a third car for him in May wouldn’t preclude partnering with Patrick for a fourth.  That said, Ganassi noted doubling his roster for the Indianapolis 500 is something he would be unlikely to attempt.

“I doubt I would do four,” he said..

The only other team able to field rides in both the Monster Energy Series and IndyCar would be Team Penske, but owner Roger Penske said he has no plans to field five cars at Indianapolis again. Penske boasts a three-car IndyCar roster and will add a fourth in 2018 for three-time race champion Helio Castroneves, who will move the Penske’s sports car program next year.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK! 

AJ Foyt Racing Hires Matheus Leist To Join Tony Kanaan For 2018

WALLER, Texas (Nov. 16, 2017) – Smart. Young. Fast.  Matheus Leist, the 19-year-old Brazilian, will drive A.J. Foyt’s No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet in the Verizon IndyCar Series next year.

Foyt, who made the decision to hire the rookie to partner with veteran driver Tony Kanaan, said, “I wanted a fresh start for 2018. I think the combination of an experienced driver like Tony and a hungry young driver like Matt [Foyt’s nickname for Leist] will work. I watched him in the Indy Lights this year and he won at Indy [the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race]. I know he’s got a lot to learn but I think he’s going to learn very quick and I think he’ll be very good in the Indy cars.”

Leist, currently the youngest full-time driver in the series, will be paired with the series’ most experienced driver in Kanaan, who will enter his 21st season of IndyCar competition. The rookie will benefit immensely from having the 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion and fellow Brazilian as his teammate and he knows it.

“This is a special moment in my career and I’m so grateful for the things that are happening,” said Leist, who lives outside of Miami in Aventura, Fla. “Sometimes it is hard for me to believe that I’ll be driving for the legend A.J. Foyt. Having Tony Kanaan as my teammate is incredible because he’s been an idol for me since I was a child. Tony and I are from different generations but I can’t wait to be with him at the track and learn as much as I can from him. It will be a pleasure.”

With 17 victories to his credit, the 2004 IndyCar Series champion will be a valuable asset in both developing the teenage driver and moving the team’s ambitious race program forward.

“I’m happy to welcome Matheus as a teammate to Foyt and the ABC Racing family,” Kanaan said. “Matheus is an extremely talented driver with a bright future ahead of him. I’m looking forward to working together and help get AJ Foyt Racing to the next level.”

 Leist ascends to America’s premier open wheel series after one year in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires Series where he won three races, two of which were sweeps. Leist won the pole position and the race at two of this country’s most historic tracks: Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Road America. His first major victory in America came in the Freedom 100 at Indy, more notable because it was his first experience in oval track racing. At Road America, he won the first race of the doubleheader. His third triumph came at Iowa Speedway. The three tracks epitomize the diversity of the open wheel series: superspeedway, road course, short oval. In four starts on the series’ two street courses (St. Petersburg and Toronto), his best finish is fifth. Like the ovals, it was his first experience on temporary circuits.

Leist’s mercuric rise to IndyCar was fueled by a championship performance in the British Formula 3 Series where he posted four victories and seven more podium finishes. The championship came down to the wire where Leist’s coolness under pressure served him well as he snatched the title from series leader Ricky Collard in the final race. It was after winning that title in 2016 that he decided to pursue a career in America.

“I’ve been racing for eleven years so far, and since I started in 2006, my brother and I always dreamed about getting into a top category,” Leist revealed. “I’m so thankful for the opportunities that I had so far and for the big moments that I lived. Every day I keep telling myself that I couldn’t have made a better decision than to come to the USA at the end of 2016. America is where things happen and where the good drivers have a proper place. The IndyCar Series is one of the best categories in the world and has the most important race in the world. The championship is amazing with its combination of road courses, street courses and ovals. It’s a series where all the teams are capable of doing a great job. I’ve dreamed about racing in this series and I can’t wait for this dream to come true.”

 Team President Larry Foyt spoke about the changes in the team’s program, saying, “We had to make some tough decisions but we made them with a focus on strengthening the overall program. We are positioning ourselves to be contenders next season. The added testing and development we are undergoing, combined with the new aero kit for all of the competition should help our overall competitiveness and consistency. We think Matheus is going to be a really good fit with Tony Kanaan because Matheus has a lot of talent and he is going to learn a lot from Tony.”

Kanaan will be running a manufacturer’s test of the new universal aero kit next month at Sebring International Raceway while Leist is scheduled to test the new car in early January at Sebring. Both Kanaan and Leist will test together there at the end of January. The Verizon IndyCar Series will kick off its season with the Firestone Grand Prix at St. Petersburg, Fla. March 11.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Another Andretti In NASCAR?

Marco Andretti

Another Andretti in NASCAR racing? It’s not that far-fetched.

IndyCar legend Mario Andretti ran 14 races in what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, winning the 1967 Daytona 500. John Andretti, Mario’s nephew, competed in 393 Cup races, winning at Daytona and Martinsville.

Jeff Andretti, Mario’s youngest son, tried his luck in three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in 1999, all ending as DNFs because of mechanical issues.

And on Saturday morning at Martinsville Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. acknowledged discussing the possibility of providing a NASCAR XFINITY Series ride for Marco Andretti, Mario’s grandson.

Only one problem: with four Chevrolets set to compete full-time for the XFINITY title next year – with drivers Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, Michael Annett and Tyler Reddick – Earnhardt doesn’t have an “all-star car” to make occasional starts with a variety of drivers.

“We’ve got four teams and they are all full,” Earnhardt said. “So it’s probably not got any life, but we are friends and we’ve talked about it for two to three years. He has some interest in coming over and running some road courses and so does (Graham) Rahal and a bunch of other guys.

“If I had a field full of race cars, we would have a blast, all our buddies racing, but it’s just hard to do. We’re really thankful to be in the position we are in to have four full cars racing for a championship. As fun as the all-star idea and car is, and as many races as we won with (Kevin) Harvick, the real goal is to have a team running for the championship.”

Though he’s leaving the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at the end of the season, Earnhardt is committed contractually to run at least one XFINITY Series race next season at a track still to be determined.

When that happens, he’ll have to field a fifth car, but that situation likely won’t be available to other drivers, even if their names are Andretti or Rahal.

“If we did have those opportunities, we certainly would entertain it, and I think it would be great for the sport to have an Andretti out there running in stock car,” Earnhardt said. “No matter where it is at, it would be awesome.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Announces Their 2018 Driver Lineup

James Hinchcliffe
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced today its lineup for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Oakville, Ontario native James Hinchcliffe has renewed his contract with the Indianapolis-based team in a multi-year extension, and the 2011 IndyCar Rookie of the Year’s teammate will be countryman and friend Robert Wickens, a native of Guelph. The duo marks the first all-Canadian lineup in North American open-wheel racing since 2004 (Champ Car; Forsythe Racing: Paul Tracy, Patrick Carpentier).

“Not only am I really excited to be able to say I’ll be back with SPM for next year and beyond, but I am also really looking forward to being teammates with one of my oldest friends,” the 30-year-old Hinchcliffe commented. “Robbie and I grew up racing against one another, eventually took different paths, me staying in North America in open-wheel cars and him going off to Europe in sports cars, but it’s pretty neat that we both ended up here and we get to live our dream of being professional racing drivers, together on the same team. I think 2018 is going to be a great year for the SPM organization, from having Robbie here to the team’s new partnership with Honda and the 2018 aero kit; I just can’t wait to get back on track and bring some good results home for the Arrow Electronics crew.”

The Season 23 Dancing with the Stars runner-up has thus far captured five wins (St. Pete, Sao Paulo, Iowa 2013; New Orleans 2015; Long Beach 2017), 14 podium finishes and one pole position (Indianapolis 500, 2016) in his six full seasons of IndyCar competition. Hinchcliffe has led 691 laps to date.

With two Formula Championships under his belt (Formula BMW USA, 2006; Formula Renault 3.5, 2011) as well as a season as a Formula One test driver (Marussia Virgin Racing), Wickens will make his return to open-wheel racing following six seasons of competing in Europe for Mercedes Benz in Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM). During his time in sports cars, the 28-year-old clinched six wins, five pole positions and 15 podium finishes.

“This is an entirely new chapter to add to my racing career, and I am really excited for this opportunity that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has given me,” Wickens noted. “I think everyone knows the story by now that James and I grew up racing against one another in go karts, and to make it to the largest open-wheel racing series in North America together as teammates, it’s crazy to think about. I am very thankful for the six years I had with everyone at Mercedes and DTM; those are memories I will cherish forever. I can’t wait to truly see what the Verizon IndyCar Series is all about!”

“We’re all very pleased to have Robert on board, and not just because he’s another Canadian,” added SPM co-owner and fellow Canadian, Ric Peterson. “He’s obviously someone who has been on our radar for some time now, and we’re excited about this new chapter in the SPM organization. We’ve been building a lot of momentum within the team and hope this latest addition will be a great next step as we move forward. I’m also really proud that we’ll be able to represent ‘Team Canada’ and be able to showcase two great Canadian athletes.”

#TeamCanada will be available to media tomorrow, October 19 at Goodwood Kartways (5200 Concession 2 Road, Whitchurch-Stouffville) from 3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. with a media vs. drivers karting race immediately following. (Please RSVP your attendance to SPM Press Officer Veronica Knowlton.) A free, public meet and greet with the IndyCar drivers will then take place from 4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

You can keep up with the latest news from SPM and its 2018 lineup via Twitter/Facebook/Instagram at @SPMindycar, @Hinchtown and @RobertWickens.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Introducing Walkinshaw Andretti United, A New Force in Supercars

Image result for michael andretti

Reigning Indianapolis 500 champions Andretti Autosport have announced today that the multi-championship racing team will enter the Australia Supercars Championship with Walkinshaw Racing and United Autosports.

The new partnership, Walkinshaw Andretti United, spans across three continents to combine a trio of icons in motorsport, creating a new racing enterprise, and will begin competition under the new banner in 2018.

Michael Andretti, CEO and Chairman, Andretti Autosport: 
“I’m very excited to announce our new partnership with Walkinshaw Racing and United Autosports. I have always set a goal for Andretti Autosport to diversify and succeed across multiple platforms, and this opportunity is a natural next step for the team as we continue to expand globally. Together with Walkinshaw Racing and United Autosports, we now have three iconic organizations working together. We are determined to succeed, and I have full confidence that this new venture, Walkinshaw Andretti United, will become a leading Supercars team.” 

Ryan Walkinshaw, Chairman, Walkinshaw Racing: 
“To be able to partner with both Andretti Autosport and United Autosports is an honor. We’ve looked from a far at what both have to offer the team moving forward, which is why everyone should be so excited. Fundamentally, we are doing it differently. This combination of international expertise is a pivotal step in accelerating our development, getting us where we need to be. We’ve been looking for partners who can add value to this team, both on and off the track, so to be able to find that so resoundingly is the most pleasing element.

“It’s not only an alliance of technical expertise, but commercial prowess. Their experience, knowledge and record, both on and off the race-track, gives us, our current partners, and any future partners, access to global networks and talent pools. Today is the beginning of a new era. We are still firmly focused on the job at hand for 2017, but eagerly looking forward to 2018.”

Zak Brown, Team Owner and Chairman, United Autosports: 
“I’m delighted United Autosports have joined forces with Walkinshaw Racing and Andretti Autosport. It is bringing together three iconic names in motorsport across three continents – Europe, Australia and America, where we can share our experience and resources to make each team stronger.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Tony Kanaan Joins AJ Foyt Racing for 2018

Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan, of Miami, Fla., will join AJ Foyt Racing to drive the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series team officials announced today.

The pairing of a modern legend with a classic one is a first for AJ Foyt Racing which has never hired an existing Indy 500 champion for a full season drive other than A.J. Foyt, who owned the team when he won his third and fourth Indianapolis 500s.“

We’ve talked to Tony for the last couple of years and I’m just glad we were able to put something together because I know he wants to win as bad as we do,” Foyt said. “I think he still has two or three good years in him. He’s always been a hard charger and I like somebody who wants to charge hard.”

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Kanaan, who won the Indy 500 in 2013 and the Verizon IndyCar Series title in 2004, is enthused about the upcoming season with his new team.“

I just thought it was a great opportunity for me to build something where we can make history, and for me that’s what racing’s all about,” said Kanaan, who signed a multi-year contract to drive for Foyt. “Yes it is about the wins, but it’s also about the people, the people that you’re associated with. We’re going to make some history.”

AJ Foyt Racing’s marketing partner ABC Supply Co., Inc., whose contract with the team was up for renewal next year, has extended their contract with the team so it is now a multi-year deal.

“We’re big fans of Tony and are excited to have him on our team,” said Keith Rozolis, the CEO and president of ABC Supply, which is America’s largest wholesale distributor of exterior building products. “We are looking forward to next season.”

Coincidentally, 2018 will be season number 14 for ABC Supply as the team’s primary sponsor; the association is the longest-running one between team and sponsor in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Kanaan, who plans to spend most of his time in Indianapolis during the racing season, recognizes the challenges that lay ahead for him. “My biggest challenge will be getting to know everybody and really make everybody work for one goal which is go win the race. But at the same time, over the weekend we need to remember why we’re there, why we’re sacrificing everything we have to be there, and have some fun. That’s really important as well. And I can tell you when you’re not winning, you’re not having fun, so we’ve got to win.”

Having celebrated his 20th season in IndyCar competition in 2017, the 42-year-old Brazilian brings a wealth of experience to the cockpit which is what Team President Larry Foyt was looking for, especially with the debut of the universal aero kit next season.

“I’m thrilled to have Tony Kanaan joining the team,” Larry Foyt said. “We have known he would be a great fit for our team and our sponsors, and I’m glad the deal came together. Tony wants to win, and we want to win. I know he and I will be pushing each other to get the best results we can. With the new aero kit, I feel Tony’s experience in many different iterations of Indy cars will be a great asset as we prepare and test for the upcoming season.”

With the hire of Kanaan, Foyt was able to engage Technical Director Eric Cowdin, whose resume includes stints with Chip Ganassi Racing, KV Racing Technology, Team Penske and Andretti-Green Racing. Cowdin has been teamed with Kanaan during the significant achievements in the Brazilian’s racing career including his Indy 500 victory, 2004 IndyCar title and 15 of his 17 victories. He will also serve as the race engineer of the No. 14 car.

“I would like to thank A.J. and Larry for the opportunity to join the team,” said Cowdin, who earned his degrees in aerospace engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (B.S. in 1991) and Virginia Tech (Masters in 1993). “I’m looking forward to continuing my long relationship with TK and reuniting with the folks at Chevy. We have a big challenge ahead of us with the new universal aero kit and I can’t wait to get started.”

For the first time since 1966, the No. 14 car will be operated out of a location other than Texas as it will move to Foyt’s Indianapolis race shop. The No. 4 car will now be based in the Waller, Texas race shop. There has been no decision made on the driver of the No. 4 car.

Kanaan, who has expressed his desire to drive for Indy’s first four-time champion in the past, concluded by saying, “As a driver, you want to be on a team that works around you, that will build the stuff around you and for you, but also, if I can have a person like A.J. to help me, even at this point of my career, it’s awesome. He’s a legend in many ways in my book.

Ever the jokester, he added, “I’m 42 and I keep hearing that I’m getting old, but I know a guy who retired when he was 58! That gives me a lot of hope.”

TIL NEXT IME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Helio Joins Team Penske’s IMSA Entry In 2018

Helio Castroneves

Team Penske today announced that longtime winning INDYCAR driver Helio Castroneves will join the team’s new Acura Team Penske program that will begin racing in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Castroneves will join previously-announced drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron in racing one of two Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype International (DPi) entries next season. Acura Team Penske’s final full-time and endurance drivers will be announced at a later date.

Castroneves will officially return to sport car competition, joining fellow Team Penske drivers Montoya and Simon Pagenaud, at this weekend’s 20th Anniversary Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta driving an ORECA-07.  The team will make its competition debut with the new Acura prototype sports cars at IMSA’s 2018 season-opening Rolex 24 race at Daytona in January. 

In addition to his sport car duties, Castroneves is expected to continue to compete for Team Penske in next May’s Indianapolis 500 as the popular Brazilian driver continues his quest to become a four-time winner of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“Helio has been a valuable member of Team Penske for almost 20 years and we are looking forward to sharing more success together,” said Roger Penske. “Competitors like Helio, Rick Mears and Mark Donohue are what have made Team Penske what it is today. This represents a new challenge for him and I know he is excited about the opportunity. Having established winning drivers like Helio and Juan, teaming up with young and talented racers that know the series like Dane Cameron, will help give our new sports car program a solid foundation as we head into the 2018 season.”

Castroneves will transition to the Team Penske sports car program after 18 successful seasons with the organization’s Verizon IndyCar Series team. Castroneves finished fourth in this year’s Championship standings, marking the 14th time in his career that he has finished inside the top-five in the season-ending rankings. Over the course of his 20-year INDYCAR career, Castroneves has produced 30 wins and 50 pole positions, including one win and three poles won in 2017.

Considered one of the all-time greats in INDYCAR history, Castroneves has earned more wins than any other driver in the history of Team Penske’s championship open-wheel racing program. He’s produced three victories in the Indianapolis 500, two of which came back-to-back in his first two starts at Indy in 2001 and 2002. He last won at Indianapolis in 2009 and he’s come remarkably close to earning a record-tying fourth Indy 500 win, finishing second two times over the last four seasons.

In addition to his remarkable INDYCAR success, Castroneves has also made five starts for Team Penske in sports car competition as he produced two poles, three podium finishes and a class victory in the 2008 Petit Le Mans event.

“I’ve been fortunate to achieve a lot of my personal goals with Team Penske over the years,” said Castroneves, who is also the longest-tenured driver in team history. “Helping Roger, the team and everyone with Acura start this program and build it from the ground up will be another big challenge and a great opportunity in my career. I am proud of everything we have accomplished together in INDYCAR and now I am focused on helping to develop the ARX-05 to try and win the 24 Hours of Daytona and the IMSA championship in 2018 with Acura.

“I’m also excited to get a chance to race again for Team Penske at the Indianapolis 500. That race is near and dear to my heart and trying to become the fourth four-time winner is something I really want to accomplish in my career.  We’ve come so close the last few years and with this team, I know we will have a great opportunity to try and make some history.”

The Acura ARX-05 [Acura Racing eXperimental, generation 5] is the latest in a line of endurance prototypes to be fielded by the company dating back to 1991, just five years after the 1986 launch of the Acura brand.  Based on the very successful ORECA 07 chassis, the new ARX-05 prototype features Acura-specific bodywork and utilizes the race-proven, production-based Acura AR35TT twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine.  

The multi-year program will be administered by Honda Performance Development, the racing arm for both Acura Motorsports and Honda Racing in North America.

About Team Penske
Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Cars owned and prepared by Team Penske have produced more than 470 major race wins, over 530 pole positions and 30 National Championships across open-wheel, stock car and sports car racing competition. In its storied history, the team has also earned 16 Indianapolis 500 victories, two Daytona 500 Championships, a Formula 1 win and overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Team Penske currently competes in the Verizon IndyCar Series, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series. The team also races in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, in a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing, as DJR Team Penske. For more information about Team Penske, please visit www.teampenske.com.

 TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!