Archive for the ‘Verizon Indycar Series’ Category

Luck, qualifying gains could fuel a Marco Andretti title challenge

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

3.12.14 (via MotorSportsTalk) – Like Graham Rahal, Marco Andretti is nearly a decade into his top-level open-wheel career, yet has not entered the prime of it.

To chronicle Andretti’s, now 27, career arc, it goes a little something like this:

A breakout rookie campaign at 19 in 2006 features the near-win on debut at the Indianapolis 500 and his first actual win at Sonoma. In 2007, it was a pair of flips (Indy and Mid-Ohio), occasional highlights but frequent frustration. In 2008, 2009, and 2010, same story, but he axed the flips.

The 2011 season was a comeback, with an authoritative drive to his second career win in Iowa. But in 2012 it was a trying, forgettable campaign featuring only three top-10 finishes from 15 starts, and a career-low 16th in points.

In 2013, the comeback, part two. A career-high fifth in points, best of Andretti Autosport’s four cars, with results consistency and a renewed focus after an offseason soul search that saw him transform his game following work with a driver coach.

So which Marco Andretti shows up in 2014? It stands a good chance of being the close-to-finished article.

Save for the last two years, Andretti finished seventh or eighth in points five of his first six seasons. He knows how bad the low can be, after the disaster of 2012. And while there were highs in 2013, the misses – the losses at Milwaukee and Pocono – stick out like a sore thumb.

Andretti made huge gains in 2013, and is primed to make even more in 2014.

“I think ’13 was a good start to the direction I wanted to go,” he said during IndyCar media day in Orlando. “We confirmed a lot of my work is in the right direction anyway. We just need to keep plugging away with that, and we have.

“I think I made gains since. I’m more confident going into ’14 than I was ’13. I was pleased with my consistency. But some of my best results of last year were on the street courses, which is where I was struggling.

“But I think this year the goal has to be to capitalize where we’re dominant, because I think that’s what really took us out of the championship the second half of the year last year.

“I think the races we know we can win we just have to win.  If we’re able to do that, string a few together, I think we can be champions.”

These are perhaps bold words from a driver who, as mentioned above, has only two career wins. But here’s why they’re not as far-fetched as you think.

Andretti is coming into 2014 with the team consistency needed to make an impression. He’s into his second year with engineer Blair Perschbacher, while teammate James Hinchcliffe has a new engineer in Nathan O’Rourke, and rookie Carlos Munoz is just new to a full-season ride.

Andretti has the confidence from his near-breakout 2013 to know he can in fact mix it in a deep field that has so many talented drivers.

 

 

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Kurt Busch to Attempt the “Double” with 2014 Indianapolis 500 Entry

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

3.4.14 – It has been over a decade since it was last completed, but this May NASCAR Champion Kurt Busch will endeavor to become only the fourth driver in history to contest the “Double” – competing in IndyCar’s historic Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s 600-mile race in the same day. Busch will make his first career Indianapolis 500 qualifying attempt behind the wheel of an Andretti Autosport Indy car. His entry will complete a stable of five (5) for Michael Andretti’s championship winning IndyCar team. It is not the first pairing of Busch and Andretti Autosport, however, as in 2013 Busch completed a test day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the team and in the process passed the mandated Rookie Orientation program effectively setting the possibility of the “Double” into motion.

 

What lies in front of Busch is a grueling challenge, not only on the race day itself – scheduled for Sunday, May 25th when Busch will race 1,100 miles in two races, in two cities, in two totally different cars, but in practicing and qualifying his Andretti Autosport Indy car in addition to competing in three (3) NASCAR race weekends around Indianapolis 500 activities. The 35-year old American will start the two week Indy 500 stretch in Indianapolis May 11th, fresh from the NASCAR race in Kansas. After spending the week testing the Honda-powered Indy car, Busch will log some serious air miles traveling between Indianapolis and Charlotte so he can qualify for the 500-mile race and practice and qualify for the NASCAR All-Star race and that Series’ 600-mile race. In total Busch will likely make more than ten (10) trips between the cities – the most important and time sensitive being race day. Race day will place Busch in Indianapolis in the morning for the noon ET start time of the Indianapolis 500 before he makes the trip to Charlotte for the 6 p.m. ET green flag.

 

While the “Double” will be a new experience for Busch, it will actually be Andretti Autosport’s second time participating in the feat. Robby Gordon (who along with John Andretti and Tony Stewart are the three previous drivers to contest the “Double”) competed in both races in 2003, filling in at Indianapolis for an injured Dario Franchitti who at the time drove for Andretti Autosport.

 

Busch, an advocate for and representative of The Armed Forces Foundation, will be dedicating his Memorial Day mission to those who continue to inspire him each day – the men and women serving around the world in the United States Military. Fans can show their support by texting AFF to 50555 to pledge $10 to the cause.

 

Fans will have the opportunity to follow Busch through his action-packed month of May on AndrettiTV.com, with details coming soon.

 

For more information visit AndrettiAutosport.com or KurtBuschDouble.com.

 

KURT BUSCH:

            “This is really to challenge myself within motorsports. Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throw-back I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael (Andretti) over dinner one night on ‘what if?’ and now it’s all becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.

            “It’s great having Tony (Stewart) as the co-owner of my NASCAR team as, in the weeks leading up to the month of May, it gives me a chance to talk with him about his personal experiences with the “Double” – to anticipate what’s next and have things checked off the list so that I’m mentally and physically prepared for the challenge. I owe a big thanks to Tony, Gene Haas, and the partners at Stewart-Haas – including General Motors – for allowing me to fulfill this dream, to challenge myself in motorsports and to do something special in this day and age.”

 

On his 2013 IndyCar test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

            “That was a whole kid in a candy store moment of experiencing an open-wheel car at 220 mph.  You can definitely get a different appreciation for the track and its heritage with an open-wheel car versus a stock car that I’ve done the last 15 years. It got my mind going and the juices flowing on ‘I want to do this.’ The adrenaline and excitement was there, and it fueled the passion to work on the details and turn the dream into a reality. And now here we are.”

 

MICHAEL ANDRETTI, TEAM OWNER, ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT:

            “I’m really excited to have Kurt come onboard for the Indy 500. He did a great job for us when he tested last year. He’s obviously a natural talent and we feel he is going to take to the Indy car quickly and have a competitive month with us.”

 

Hinchcliffe Kicks Off St. Pete Track Build

Monday, February 24th, 2014

2.24.14 (via IndyCar) – James Hinchcliffe began defense of his win of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Feb. 24 by helping with the ceremonial start of the track build for the season-opening IndyCar Series race on March 30. 

More than 20,000 feet of steel-reinforced concrete block will line the picturesque but challenging 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit that incorporates a runway of Albert Whitted Airport.

 

"St. Pete has been a special race for as long as I've been going," said Hinchcliffe as he looked over the yacht club on Tampa Bay. "Being out there on the water, it's a cool atmosphere. It's a cool backdrop for the race. I'm pretty sure (teammate Ryan) Hunter-Reay parks his mega yacht out there for race week."

Hinchcliffe, who drives the No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda for Andretti Autosport, was the seventh different winner in the nine years of the race. He went on to win twice more during the 19-race season and finish eighth in the championship standings.

 

"Obviously, with what happened last year, it holds a special place in my heart," the Toronto native said. "It was a very emotional day last year on race day for all the right reasons. That's nice because in racing you normally have very emotional days for the wrong reasons more often than you do for all the right ones. For me, personally, on track it made a big difference because when I was then in situations later in the year where a win was on the line I felt a lot less pressure because I think there was a big amount of pressure to get that first win.

 

"I think it really does free your mind up a little bit when you're in those circumstances, again knowing that, 'Hey, I've been here, I know I can do it, let's focus and get the job done,' rather than make yourself over-analyze and make a mistake."

 

It is the first year for Firestone as the entitlement sponsor of the 110-lap "Fastest Spring Break Party," though it has been the Turn 1 grandstand sponsor since the first race in 2005 — the IndyCar Series' inaugural non-oval race. Firestone is the Official Tire Supplier of the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500.

 

"On behalf of Firestone, we couldn't be more proud to be the title sponsor," Bridgestone Americas director of motorsports Lisa Boggs said. "Racing is part of our company's heritage dating to the days of Harvey Firestone, who used racing to test the performance of our tires. That history continues today as the title sponsor of this great event."

Hunter-Reay named to All-America Second team; Munoz earns Rising Star award

Thursday, January 30th, 2014
1.30.14 (via RACER.com) – A group of special drivers representing multiple forms of professional motorsports is elected each year by AARWBA (American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association). The association's members vote on drivers within their participating categories of racing and the top two from each discipline are elected to the first team.
 
Andretti Autosport Firestone Indy Lights pilot Carlos Munoz was voted the Rising Star award after a second place finish in the Indianapolis 500.
 
One other tradition that AARWBA has followed, is to elect a Second Team to be honored with drivers finishing in the third and fourth positions within each voting category.
 
The 2013 All America Second Team:
Open Wheel: Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power
Road Racing: Klaus Graf/ Lucas Luhr and Doug Peterson
Short Track: Daryn Pittman and Christopher Bell
Stock Car: Kevin Harvick and Sam Hornish, Jr.
Drag Racing: Antron Brown and Jeg Coughlin, Jr.
Touring Series: Matt Crafton and Alessandro Balzan
At Large: Frank Manzo and Jim Whitely
 
The country's top forms of professional motorsports are represented in this championship group voted on by AARWBA as the 2013 All-America Team.
 
Founded in 1955 AARWBA is a motorsports organization comprised of writers, broadcasters, photographers, and other media-related professionals. The organization's charter is aimed at providing not only proper recognition for members of the motorsports media, but to recognize their work as well as the work of the competitors that they follow in print, on the air, and on film.
 
 
 

Seeking to take the next step: Marco Andretti

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

1.28.14 (via IndyCar.com) – Marco Andretti enters his ninth season as an IndyCar Series driver coming off a career best of fifth in the championship, which he credited to work before the 2013 season. For 2014, Andretit will sport the blue and yellow colors of Snapple, and he aims to take the next step and win the IndyCar Series championship.
 
In the latest installment of Catching Up With…, the third-generation driver talks about his Andretti Autosport car's new look, his offseason exploits and the new addition to his family — a bulldog named Moodie.
 
Q. You’ll be carrying the Snapple colors in 2014, and while Dr Pepper/Snapple isn’t a new sponsor for you, is carrying one of the name brands is a big deal for you?
 
A. Those guys (at Dr Pepper/Snapple) have been so loyal, really to the whole team, but to me, especially. (To have a sponsor for) six years and running is awesome. Really, I want to give those guys what they deserve and that’s a bunch of wins, the Indy 500 and the championship.
 
Q. Before last season, you took the step to work with a driver coach and do what needed to be done to improve as a driver. What have you been doing in this offseason to take the next big step in your career?
 
A. If you look at what cost us wins last year, really we just need to do a lot of the same things we did last year and really capitalize on leading those laps by leading the right laps. The disappointing stat for me is 1,000 laps led (Andretti has led 907) but only two victories. Really, we need to be there when it counts.
 
Q. The offseason is also a time for you to kick back and relax with your friends. I know you try to take trip each year with (comedian) Kevin Hart and (recording artist/actor) Ludacris. Where did you guys head off to this year?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Andretti Autosport Unveiling is Wake Up Call for Teams

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

1.14.14 (via MotorRacingScene.com) – Drivers exit their Andretti Autosport hauler, smoke fills the room and outside of the hauler is the drivers’ car, showing off their colors and firesuits, as the annual unveiling of Andretti Autosport’s driver lineup for the upcoming IndyCar and Indy Lights Series season proves to be a marketing action all motorsports organizations must adapt.

Michael Andretti led his organization’s team launch at Andretti Autosport’s race shop in Indianapolis. The launch was hosted on a new website – AndrettiTV.com – where fans can look at live video to Andretti Autosport’s headquarters, subscribe to exclusive behind-the-scenes video, purchase team merchandise and more.

Though sponsorship news had previously been released for all teams, Carlos Munoz will have Cinsay on board as the fourth Andretti entry in the IndyCar Series.

James Hinchcliffe shared his new United Fiber & Data paint scheme, allowing fans to reminisce of a similar look of the late Greg Moore. Marco Andretti’s No. 25 showed his Snapple colors and 2012 IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay hosted familiar colors for his DHL No. 28 Honda.

Being a step ahead of the competition is an understatement when it comes to Andretti Autosport’s marketing department. No other teams in IndyCar or NASCAR provide their fans a preseason look at their drivers and cars.

In a way, it is Andretti Autosport’s preseason media day, because after drivers are available to the media. When it comes to a star-filled organization, Michael Andretti and his marketing department have found no issues in selling their drivers as superstars in the team launch.

And it works.

It was a surprise to see Andretti Autosport launch their new website, but even more exciting as fans are able to see their new colors and the driver interaction with the media and their team owner.

The idea of selling drivers in a low-cost way is excellent and a shock many marketing teams in IndyCar or NASCAR have not done a launch in the past.

Obviously, Andretti Autosport is one of the biggest organizations in the IndyCar Series with a team owner who has won multiple championships and races in the open-wheel realm of motorsports. However, it should not be a thought the smaller teams could not benefit for launching their driver or drivers in a similar way. With the low-cost of streaming video on a website, it should be in every team’s best interest to provide their fans with more driver interaction, especially, with drivers such as Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Simona de Silvestro, Graham Rahal and other popular drivers in the sport.

 

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Andretti Autosport Team Launch: Highlights

Monday, January 13th, 2014

 

ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT® HOLDS 2014 TEAM LAUNCH
News & Notes Regarding Team's INDYCAR® Programs

INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 13, 2014) – Four-time IndyCar Champions Andretti Autosport announced its 2014 INDYCAR lineup today during the team's 2014 Launch event at its Indianapolis headquarters. The team officially announced four full-time IndyCar Series entries, along with two Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and two Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires entries.

In addition to its IndyCar efforts, team owner Michael Andretti confirmed German news reports regarding Andretti Autosport's intent to compete in 2014 Global Rallycross events, representing Volkswagen. Further details on Andretti's Global Rallycross efforts will be announced at a later date.

Other highlights from the launch event follow.

 

NO. 25 TO CARRY SNAPPLE® BRAND PRIMARY SPONSORSHIP

25 Car 2014_No-C-Store_01-12-B
 

Andretti Autosport revealed a new look for the No. 25 Snapple Honda driven by third-generation racer Marco Andretti. The previously RC Cola-branded car will be emblazoned with the blue and yellow of Snapple® – a Dr Pepper Snapple Group beverage with a 42 year history. This will be the fifth different Dr Pepper Snapple product that the Pennsylvania native has carried on his Indy car following the Venom Energy Drink, Dr Pepper, Dr Pepper TEN and RC Cola liveried cars. Additionally, United Fiber & Data will be prominent as a major associate sponsor for Andretti.

 

UNITED FIBER & DATA LIVERY TO ADORN THE NO. 27 HONDA

 

27 Car - UFD 2014 - 01-09-A

Three-time IndyCar race winner James Hinchcliffe will remain in the No. 27 car for the third consecutive year, but will move to the bright blue and white livery of United Fiber & Data, a tech company, founded by three members of the multi-platinum rock band LIVE and their Think Loud Development company.

UFD will also serve as a major associate sponsor on the No. 25 and No. 28 cars piloted by Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay, respectively. In addition, the company will serve as the primary sponsor for Pro Mazda Champion Matthew Brabham as he transitions to Indy Lights in 2014.

Based in York, Pennsylvania, United Fiber & Data offers a complete suite of all-fiber networking and broadband solutions and also served as a major associate sponsor of the No. 25 machine of Marco Andretti for the 2013 season.

United Fiber & Data is introducing a 400-mile fiber optic line running between New York and Virginia and operates out of different data centers across Pennsylvania (Allentown, Lancaster, Reading and York).

 

RYAN HUNTER-REAY BACK TO THE NO. 28 ALONGSIDE LONGTIME SPONSOR DHL

28 RC Car 2014_01-12-A

The 2012 IndyCar Champion will return to the No. 28 machine to signify the 28 million people living with cancer worldwide. Throughout the year, fans will have the opportunity to help Ryan fight cancer through his charitable work with Racing for Cancer, an organization he helped co-found, and its event, The Yellow Party, with locations and event dates to be announced. The yellow and red livery seen on Hunter-Reay's car in seasons past will have little changes made as DHL returns as its primary sponsor for the third year of his four-year career with Andretti Autosport.

 

2013 INDY 500 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR MUNOZ TO DRIVE NO. 34 CINSAY HONDA

Cinsay IndyCar 2014_01-12-N

Making his full-time debut in the IndyCar Series, Colombian Carlos Munoz will tote a livery customized around new primary sponsor Cinsay – an Austin, TX-based company that is a leader in next-generation social video commerce technology. This fourth IndyCar entry for Andretti Autosport will once again be run as a joint effort between Andretti Autosport and HVM Racing.

Cinsay, the creator of next generation social eCommerce, viewer interactive, video-based platform for any individual or size business, utilizes SaaS based technology to enable everyone to sell products, services, capture donations and generate leads all inside the patented Smart Store™ technology.
The eCommerce company, named one of the Forbes Top 100 Most Promising Companies (2012), formed a relationship in March with 34 Solutions, a company co-chaired by All American football legend Herschel Walker. Under the 34 Commerce banner, the relationship names 34 Solutions as the licensed reseller of Cinsay's Smart Store™ technology and provides payment gateway services to process the Smart Store™ platform transactions.

The white and Cinsay-green Honda-powered Indy car will carry the No. 34 to pay honor to former footballer Walker's role in the program and to help carry on the tradition of excellence tied to the Heisman Trophy winner's iconic jersey number.

Also seen on the No. 34 Honda: AndrettiTV.com – a new website, coming soon, where fans will be able to subscribe to exclusive behind-the-scenes, live video access to Andretti Autosport's headquarters, purchase official team merchandise and more.

United Fiber & Data again expands its role within the team as an major associate sponsor on the No. 28 DHL Honda.

 

ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT MAZDA ROAD TO INDY LINEUP OFFICIALLY RELEASED

 

2013 Pro Mazda Champion Matthew Brabham, the only driver to capture the USF2000 and Pro Mazda championships in succession, has moved up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder and will be competing in Indy Lights for the 2014 season. The third-generation standout driver will showcase a similar livery to Hinchcliffe's Indy car as both drivers are representing United Fiber & Data. Matthew's No. 83 Indy Lights machine will also highlight MAZDA as the 19-year-old will be a MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver once again in 2014. In addition to Brabham, Zach Veach will return to the team for his fifth racing season – his second at the Indy Lights level of competition. The 19-year-old will bring back the red and white livery from the end of the 2013 season with partner RePLAY XD.

Completing the Mazda Road to Indy ladder for Andretti Autosport will be race winner Shelby Blackstock who returns for his second year of Pro Mazda, and rookie and race winner Garett Grist who moves up from the USF2000 championship; both drivers will have similar designs to those of their 2013 effort.

Andretti Autosport 2014 INDYCAR Line Up

IndyCar Series
Marco Andretti, No. 25 Snapple Honda
James Hinchcliffe, No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda
Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 28 DHL Honda
Carlos Munoz, No. 34 Cinsay Honda

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires
Zach Veach, No. 26 RePLAY XD
Matthew Brabham, No. 83 United Fiber & Data/MAZDASPEED

Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires
Garett Grist, No. 27 Sofina Foods/Lander Property Management
Shelby Blackstock, No. 28 Starstruck

 

 

A month of presents for Ryan Hunter-Reay

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

12.17.13 (via IndyCar.com) – With a child who's almost 1 year old in the house, it's sure to be a busy time for Ryan Hunter-Reay and his wife Beccy. It will get a little crazier next week with the holidays.

Today, Hunter-Reay marks his 33rd birthday (send congrats @RyanHunterReay) and Dec. 18 he'll be in the Honda-powered Andretti Autosport car at Sebring International Raceway for an end-of-year test. This past weekend, he was the co-grand marshal of the 42nd Winterfest boat parade in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Hmm, the holidays might fit right in with the family's schedule.

Catching up with Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series champion:

Q: A few weeks ago, you did the Dolphins Ride For Cancer event. How was that?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:
The Dolphins Cycling Challenge is a huge event in South Florida that raises a huge amount of funds. There are more than 2,000 riders and raised almost $2 million (primarily for the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center). Racing for Cancer is a small beneficiary of the Dolphins Cycling Challenge and my personal sponsor AutoNation is heavily involved. I rode with Team AutoNation. We started in Boca Raton and rode to the Dolphins Stadium in Miami which is about 45 miles. It was a lot of fun. It’s great to be out with everybody doing that. You really feel the energy behind it. Hopefully, that will be a regular on the offseason schedule.

Q: And it supports a great cause near and dear to your heart.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:
Absolutely. Raising funds for the fight against cancer is a big deal. Any way we can do it. I was impressed with this cycling event. There are so many people behind it. It covers all the way from Palm Beach to Miami. Roads are shut down and there is so much fundraising behind it. The Dolphins are the franchise heavily behind it and it has a lot of power. There’s a lot of momentum and it’s gaining traction every year.

Q: Your son Ryden is about to turn 1 soon. With his birthday so close to Christmas, what are the holidays going to be like in the Hunter-Reay household?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:
It’s going to be a lot of fun. He’s laughing a lot right now. The highlight of my day is waking up and seeing his face. It’s a lot of fun. For his first birthday, he loves Mickey Mouse. That’s one thing that captures his attention. It’s amazing how that works. An (85-year old) cartoon mouse, that’s his hero. I think I come a close second when I’m in my race suit, but Mickey Mouse takes the cake. We’ll probably have some sort of Mickey Mouse themed party for him.”

Q: Scott Dixon and Target Chip Ganassi Racing are considering using the No. 1 for this next season. What advice would you give him?

 

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Offseason driver profile: It’s officially Mayor’s Day

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

12.5.13 (via IndyCar.com) – It's the Mayor of Hinchtown's 27th birthday so inundate him with best wishes @Hinchtown.
 
James Hinchcliffe, who won three times this past season, including his initial IZOD IndyCar Series race in the opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, will be back in the No. 27 car on Dec. 18 at Sebring International Raceway for testing of the new Honda twin turbocharged engine. In the interim, he's been doing a fair amount of traveling. On Dec. 7, he embarks on a cruise out of Costa Rica. Nice birthday present, eh?
 
Q: You’ve been the bit of a world traveler since the season ended. Where exactly have you been since we last saw you at Auto Club Speedway?
 
James Hinchcliffe: I always try to get one trip out of the way pretty close to the end of the season. It’s always good to unwind after what’s always a hectic, frantic year and end of the year. I went to the UK for my brother’s 30th birthday. He’s in (graduate) school over there, so my sister (Rebecca) and my girlfriend (Kirsten Dee) and I went over to surprise him.
 
It was a really good trip. We were there for eight or nine days and Kirsten had never seen the UK before. My dad is from England, so we got to see some family and I got to introduce (Kirsten) to my 98-year-old grandmother, which is always cool. It was a good trip, just too much eating and drinking.
 
Q: And you’re headed on a cruise here shortly as well, co-hosting a SeaDream Yacht trip in Costa Rica and Nicaragua with Graham Rahal on Dec. 7-14?
 
James Hinchcliffe: It’s like it is a winter of vacations for me, I guess. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve never been to Costa Rica and I’ve never done a cruise before. The people at SeaDream have given us this awesome opportunity. As far as appearances go, this one probably tops it. It will be a cool experience getting to see a new country and a new culture. Hopefully we can educate some new INDYCAR fans at the same time.
 
Q: You’ll be celebrating your 27th birthday on Dec. 5. What should someone get you?
 
James Hinchcliffe: It’s tough to top a cruise, to be honest, so I’ll thank SeaDream for that.
 
I used to hear older drivers talk about this, and I never quite got it, but now I get it. I’ve decided after this birthday, I’ll turn 27 and I’ll just stop doing the birthday thing. I’ll stop there. Twenty-seven seems like a reasonable place to stop. There’s a good correlation with the car number. I think I’m going to call it quits on birthdays. No more gifts and just be 27 forever.  I think that will work.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

O’Rourke to engineer James Hinchcliffe

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

11.21.13 (via RACER.com) – The architect behind James Hinchcliffe's three IndyCar Series wins will continue working with the Andretti Autosport team in 2014, but when the Canadian returns to the cockpit, he'll have a new engineer to collaborate with on the engineering stand.

RACER has learned championship-winning engineer Craig Hampson (BELOW, with Hinchcliffe) has transitioned to a new role within Andretti's engineering group, taking on overarching R&D responsibilities for the top-tier outfit.

Hampson, who engineered Sebastien Bourdais to his Champ Car titles while working for the Illinois-based Newman/Haas Racing organization, received numerous offers to join other teams once NHR exited IndyCar after the 2011 season. He'd work part-time with Dragon Racing in 2012 and spent the 2013 season traveling and winning with Hinch, but with the team's need to keep pace with rivals Ganassi Racing and Team Penske, Hampson was given a chance to use his considerable skills in a more family-friendly, shop-based role for the team.

Nathan O'Rourke, who established himself as one of the leading young engineers in the series  while running Josef Newgarden (BELOW, with O'Rourke) at Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, has been signed to take over Hampson's race engineering duties on Hinch's No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda.

“Craig (Hampson) was a great asset as the lead engineer on the 27 car's program for 2013, but his long term goal has always been to be more involved in the R&D process.,” team owner Michael Andretti told RACER. “We feel Craig will continue to be a strong asset to the team as our new Director of Research and Development. We're happy to welcome Nathan [O'Rourke] to the Andretti family, and look forward to watching him and Hinch continue, and build upon, the success the 27 program saw this last season.”

 

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