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Dan Wheldon celebrates with his little one after winning the Indianapolis 500.

Dan Wheldon's Legacy Lives on Through Charity Karting Race

Posted on 9/10  • 

Many of the INDYCAR drivers will have one more race to compete in before their off-season begins. On Sept. 20, The Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Challenge will take place at New Castle Motorsports Park where participants will race to raise money for the Alzheimer's Association, a cause that became close to Wheldon after his mother was diagnosed in 2008 and sadly passed away from the disease in April.

The event, in its inaugural year last year, raised over $100,000 to establish The Sue Wheldon Fund. The fund supported a New Investigator Research Grant and early-stage programs of the Greater Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. This year the Wheldon family will expand their scope of support to include programs of the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter.

"We at the Alzheimer's Association Florida Gulf Coast Chapter continue to be humbled by the generous hearts of the entire Wheldon family," said Gloria Smith, President and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association's Florida Gulf Coast Chapter. "Even through their own tragedies, they continue to extend their hands of support to help thousands of other families living with Alzheimer's disease. We value the friendship and support they have so graciously shown us and the community."

The challenge will continue with the same format as last year with corporate-sponsored teams consisting of one professional driver and three amateur drivers for a timed 2-hour event beginning at 12:30 p.m. Gates open at 7 a.m. and admission is free. The pro drivers will also take part in an autograph session from 11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Pigot, O'Ward and Jamin Top Chris Griffis Memorial Test

Posted on 9/14  • 

Two days of testing for all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy concluded today during the fourth annual Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. A total of 25 drivers participated in the outing which serves as an "audition" platform for both teams and drivers looking ahead to 2015 campaigns.

Verizon IndyCar Series driver Josef Newgarden was also on hand for demonstration laps aboard the new AER-powered Dallara IL-15 which will make its competition debut next season in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. The 2011 Indy Lights champion unofficially shattered Matthew Brabham's track record of 1:18.4256 set in May of this year with a lap of 1:16.540.

"First off, thanks to everyone that allowed me to do this shakedown of the car and demonstrate it here at the test," said Newgarden. "I was excited because I heard a lot about it from other drivers and I really wanted to try it for myself. After experiencing it, I would really like to run both championships next year. I honestly would. If somehow we could work it out where I could run the Lights championship and IndyCar championship, I think it would be so much fun especially with a brand new car like this. It is such a proper race car and they did a really good job with it. The transition between the Lights and the Indy car are going to be really close and a lot of things that work for the guys in IndyCar are going to work for the guys in Lights. It's a perfect training ground. The cars are super similar and the guys are going to have fun with it. I'm excited for everything that is happening now in Indy Lights."

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INDYCAR News from around the Internet:

An IndyCar Champion Who Stays Sharp by Driving Go-Karts - NYTimes.com (Sep 8, 2014 15:14)
Q. Do any of your brothers race? A. They all raced. But my youngest brother is a stand-up comedian. Next oldest from me was break dancer and now choreographs those types of shows. My oldest brother is quite strange. He’s an accountant.

Sports Media Watch – IndyCar Finale Down, But Season Hits 3-Year High on NBCSN (Sep 3, 2014 20:37)
NBCSN finished a successful IndyCar season on a down note over the weekend. The season-ending IndyCar Series race from Fontana earned 280,000 viewers on NBCSN Saturday night, down 13% from last year (322K) and the network’s least-viewed telecast of the season. Keep in mind the race began after 10 PM ET. Saturday’s race was the second straight to have a decline, coming nearly a week after viewership from Sonoma fell by 4%. To put that in perspective, the previous three races each had increases of over 50%. Despite declines for the final two races, NBCSN had its best IndyCar season in three years. The network averaged 378,000 viewers for 12 races, up 34% from last year’s 13-race average (282K), up 30% from 2012 (292K), and its second-most watched season since acquiring rights.

ALEXANDER: Fontana's corporate marketing suffered on holiday weekend: (Sep 1, 2014 22:00)
"We lost our entire corporate backing," track president Gillian Zucker said. "... I mean, corporate sales are a huge part of sports marketing, any sport you look at. It's not just the suites. It's hospitality. People end up sitting in the grandstand after having gone to a (hospitality) tent or heard part of a meeting or a presentation. A lot of companies support team building that they do at sporting events, or (use tickets as) prizes for sales people, so there's a pretty healthy corporate market out there that sporting events rely on. And so to do it on a weekend like this and have it completely eliminated, it makes it difficult."

Marty Walsh looks to bring Grand Prix to Boston | Boston Herald (Aug 28, 2014 18:04)
Grand Prix race cars could be roaring down the streets of Boston — Monaco-style — if Mayor Martin J. Walsh can convince organizers the city can transform the Seaport District into a speedway. The mayor, who has assembled a Boston Grand Prix committee, is in contact with the CEO of Verizon IndyCar Series in a bid to land a high-octane street race, according to a letter from Walsh obtained by the Herald. Top administration brass — including police, fire and transportation officials — have also met recently with Mark Perrone, president of the nascent Grand Prix Boston, who is spearheading the drive to bring the open-wheel championship race to town.

National Guard ends team-up with Earnhardt Jr. | Military Times | militarytimes.com (Aug 6, 2014 20:49)
The Army National Guard is ending its sponsorship of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Indy Racing League driver Graham Rahal, the component announced Wednesday. The decisions follow an “intensive internal review,” according to the announcement. “Significantly constrained resources and the likelihood of further reductions in the future call for more innovative and cost-effective ways of doing business,” said Maj. Gen. Judd Lyons, acting director of the Army Guard, in the announcement.

IndyCar - IndyCar: Vasser says KV "dynamics" hampered de Silvestro (Jul 10, 2014 11:48)
"The dynamic we had last year wasn't the best for the team or for Simona," said Vasser. "She is a fantastic driver and we'd hoped that things would have been better last year. "In a sense this year has been a rebuilding exercise in trying to bring the two sides together better as one team. And it's still difficult. I can sit here and tell you what happened at Ganassi in those years, and I felt like I was a part of making that happen. But it's so difficult to make happen. I can't wave my wand and say, 'Boys, this is what you've gotta do.' "It's so hard to do that, especially from outside the car. It's got to come from the pilots, and they set the example for the whole team."

IndyCar returns to Pocono with practice for Saturday's IndyLights race - themorningcall.com (Jul 5, 2014 09:31)
Brandon said his comments "may have come across harsher than I anticipated, but it got the point across. People want me to be honest, well, I was honest. I am a race fan. I want a race in the Northeast. "Pennsylvania has more race tracks than any other state in the country, except California. New York, New Jersey … they have huge race fan populations. And the Poconos are the No. 2 destination in the state behind Philadelphia. So, the people are here. We just need them to come out." Nick Igdalsky, Pocono's executive vice president and chief operating officer, reminded that while their family features race fans, they're still running a business. "We're a family business when it comes down to it," he said. "We have people to answer to and it's got to work out for everybody. We don't want to hold IndyCar back either. We know it's an important market for them. We're doing everything we can to make it work."

IndyCar - IndyCar: Hulman Motorsports CMO, C.J. O’Donnell on marketing the Verizon IndyCar Series (Jun 26, 2014 09:50)
Q: One of the criticisms regularly aimed at IndyCar’s marketing people in the past – and this was also aimed at marketing departments of IRL, Champ Car and CART, I guess because at some point we all hurt the ones we love – was that there was too much focus on the short term and not enough forethought shown for 12, 18 or 24 months down the road. How do you improve that? A: Well let’s talk on a philosophical level first. We need to be faster, more innovative and daring in the way we conduct our business. And it’s appropriate because those are the words we attribute to the brand itself. As a company and a culture, we need to continue to push the envelope and take the same kind of risks we took by re-inventing May. So that’s definitely what’s required to restart this sport and re-engage our fans. From the marketing and communication standpoint, all our brand studies and research results point to the fact that we need to 1) thrill our fans and 2) champion our heroes. Our entire business plan for the next year or two really surrounds defining the IndyCar brand for everything that it is – an absolutely first-grade form of motorsport, the most innovative in the U.S. today. Every time we engage a fan, we need to have the hair stand up on the back of their neck, get their hearts racing, get the adrenaline flowing. And then we need to elevate the personalities, the celebrity level, of our driver athletes. There’s probably little future for IndyCar if we can’t promote the drivers to the fans and then the broader public. People will not tune in each weekend to track our progress if they don’t emotionally engage with the driver behind the wheel. So that’s central to our thinking, that’s what drives our team each day. Now there are 100 little things that make those aims become reality but those are our twin pillars.

Compressed schedule coming to Mid-Ohio in 2014 | Mansfield News Journal (Jun 16, 2014 11:07)
Mid-Ohio’s two largest spectator eventsboth happen in August with just a weekend between the two. The Verizon IndyCar Series comes to town Aug. 1 to 3 for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio with the NASCAR Nationwide Series returning for the second time two weeks later. “They are our two biggest. They draw the most fans. It’s hard to say come out the first weekend and the third weekend of August,” Rust said. “Fortunately the two fan bases are different, but it’s still two big events two weeks apart. “Logistically it makes it difficult. The staff does a great job of preparing so we can execute.”

IndyCar team co-owner pays $35,000 for Jacques Villenueve's Indianapolis 500 helmet - Autoweek (Jun 4, 2014 15:15)
This is a rare piece of motorsports memorabilia, as Villeneuve only five times previously in his career gave away one of his helmets -- and never did so after a major race, according to Peterson. Of course, it's a bit strange to see a co-owner of the team who put Villeneuve into the race having to bid on the helmet, but Peterson enjoyed the process. “He doesn't typically give away his helmets, but this was a great cause and made sense,” Peterson said.