Archive for the ‘Pro Mazda’ Category

Garett Grist: Canadian karting guru

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

10.2.13 – Andretti Autosport USF2000 driver Garett Grist has been keeping busy between his first career win at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in August and his fourth podium of the year clinched at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca earlier this month: The 18-year-old racer has gone back to his karting roots to coach a young racer, Gianfranco Mazzaferro, in the Rotax Max Junior class at the ASN Canada FIA Canadian National Karting Championships hosted at Goodwood Kartways just north of Toronto, Ontario Canada.

Garett, who holds the 2009 Canadian National Championship title in the Rotax Max Junior class, won at the very same facility where he coached Mazzaferro to victory. Both Gianfranco and Garett were rookies in the junior class when they each won the title in their respective championships at Goodwood.

“Goodwood means a lot to me because winning junior myself then coaching the winning driver in junior a few years later when the Canadian Nationals returned to Goodwood was a great feeling,” Grist said.

The USF2000 race winner and Mazzaferro will next head to New Orleans for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals taking place in early November, the first time in the 14-year history of the event that it will be run on US soil. Grist knows a bit about being a rookie at the worldwide final – GG competed for the world title in Egypt (2009) and Italy (2010).

“It is the best of the best from Rotax Max Challenge series around the world, and it’s an event you can learn a lot from,” Garett noted. “As a rookie at the Grand Finals, I know how Gianfranco is going to feel, and I will be there to help him the whole time. I am really looking forward to his race, and I think he can achieve a great result.”

Before the Grimsby, Ontario native helps his young driver to another victory, Garett will head to Houston, TX for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda Championship doubleheader finale this weekend; Grist currently sits third in the championship points standings.

 

 

Zach Veach’s column: Learning the Texas way

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

10.2.13 (via RACER.com) – They say everything is bigger in Texas, but that's not the case for the Houston Grand Prix around Reliant Park! With it being a 1.7-mile, 10-turn course, it'll be one of our shortest courses we've ran on this year in Firestone Indy Lights. This means it going to be very physical; the straightaways are pretty much corners as well so you wont have too much time to catch your breath. And with the Houston heat of 90+ degrees it's going to make a great proving ground to see how conditioned drivers are.

It's been over a month since our last race at Baltimore, since then I have had a lot of time to look ahead for the next race. Baltimore was a tough weekend for me as whole, when our race was decided for us just after the start when the electrical coils on the right side of the engine failed exiting Turn 1 on lap 1. After a quick pit stop, the problem was fixed and I was sent back out, but by that time our day was pretty much over. That's racing though, sometimes you're just going to have a bad weekend, and once you take away what you learned from it, there is no sense dwelling on it for too long.

Leaving Baltimore, I knew that the next race on the schedule was Houston, and the one thing I've heard over and over about this place is how tough it can be with the heat and humidity. So I made it my biggest goal to train as much as possible in the heat to prepare myself for that. This idea ranged from hot yoga, sauna weight training, and long distant running during the hottest parts of the day. But with having a month off, the worry of becoming “rusty” in the car grew ever bigger.

So, I was very excited to hear that we had a test planned at MSR Houston only a week before our race. This was going to give me the perfect combination to test seeing how I was conditioning wise, and knock the cobwebs off too to be in top shape for the race.

 

Read more…

 

 

 

Don’t Miss Out: Week of September 30, 2013

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

10.1.13 – Want in on the action? This is the place to find where you can see the Andretti Autosport drivers in action OFF the track. Be sure to show us your photos by sending them to our Twitter – @FollowAndretti or Facebook. (All times are in CENTRAL Time Zone)
 
 
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2
 
E.J. Viso appearance
Neiman Marcus
2600 Post Oak Blvd, 77056
@ 6 – 8 p.m.
 
 
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3
 
Ryan Hunter-Reay AutoNation appearance
Chevrolet Gulf Freeway Store
13800 Gulf Freeway, 77034
@ 1 – 2:30 p.m.
 
E.J. Viso appearance
CITGO
Location TBA
@ 2 – 4 p.m.
 
Marco Andretti appearance 
Kroger
5150 Buffalo Speedway, 77005
@ 4 – 6 p.m.
 
Ryan Hunter-Reay hosting
The Yellow Party at Reliant Center
E.J. Viso, Marco Andretti
& James Hinchcliffe attending
Reliant Park Stn NB, 77054
@ 7 – 10 p.m.
 
 
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4
 
Zach Veach Q&A
INDYCAR Fan Village Stage
@ 11:45 a.m. – 12 p.m.
 
Zach Veach & Carlos Munoz
Firestone Indy Lights Autographs
INDYCAR Fan Village
@ 12 – 12:30 p.m.
 
Garett Grist, Shelby Blackstock, Matthew Brabham
USF2000/Pro Mazda Autographs
INDYCAR Fan Village
@ 2:30 – 3 p.m.
 
Ryan Hunter-Reay, E.J. Viso,
Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe
IZOD IndyCar Series Autographs
INDYCAR Fan Village
@ 5:45 – 6:45 p.m.
 
 
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6
 
Matthew Brabham & Shelby Blackstock Q&A
INDYCAR Fan Village
@ 11 – 11:15 a.m.
 

A Roundtable with the Andretti stable

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

10.1.13 (via INDYCAR Nation) - No team supports the Mazda Road to Indy like Andretti Autosport. Not content to seek glory in the IZOD IndyCar Series, they are also involved in each rung of the open wheel ladder, from USF2000 through Firestone Indy Lights.

With that in mind, we asked some of Andretti’s up-and-coming drivers from each level of the ladder to give their thoughts on the IndyCar title hunt, the season finale, and their favorite memory of the year so far. We were joined by Zach Veach (Firestone Indy Lights), Matthew Brabham and Shelby Blackstock (Pro Mazda Championship), and Garett Grist (Cooper Tires USF2000) for a quick Q&A on these topics:

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Question 1: Which driver do you predict will win this year’s IZOD IndyCar Series championship?

Zach Veach, Firestone Indy Lights: Personally I would like to see Marco Andretti be able to take home his first IndyCar Championship. He's worked extremely hard this year, and I feel like he deserves to definitely be in the fight for it!

Matthew Brabham, Pro Mazda: I predict that Helio Castroneves will win the championship. He has a great advantage in the points over everyone at the moment, and I think he can pretty much taste being the IndyCar champion. So I think he is extremely motivated to push hard in the next three races and clinch his first title.

Shelby Blackstock, Pro Mazda: I think Helio Castroneves will win this year's IZOD IndyCar Series Championship.

Garett Grist, USF2000: I think Helio Castroneves will win the championship, but I wish it was Scott Dixon or one of the Andretti Autosport drivers.

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Question #2: Which driver do you think will triumph at Fontana?

Veach: I think we'll see all of the Andretti cars towards the front, but I have to say I think Ryan Hunter-Reay will be one of the strongest at Fontana. Andretti has fast cars on the super speedway, and Ryan showed his pace well last year being able to fight until the end to win the championship.

Brabham: Ryan Hunter-Reay is my pick to win at Fontana. I feel like he’s just out of range of the championship at the moment but has something to prove to everyone being the defending IndyCar champion. I believe at Fontana he will be the one to put it all out on the line and leave nothing on the table. He will be able to take advantage of those thinking too much about their championship; it’s all or nothing for him at the moment.

Blackstock: I think Ryan Hunter-Reay will do very well at Fontana

Grist: I think it’s RHR with the triumph in Fontana.

For the final question and their answers, read more here.

Cindric building path to success in USF2000

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

9.4.13 (via Open-Wheels.com) – This year's Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda features one, of if not the most, competitive grid in all of the Mazda Road to Indy. Qualifying sessions and races are often tightly contested and always action-packed. The reward for the USF2000 champion is a step up to the next rung on the road to Indy ladder, the Pro Mazda Championship. One of the young drivers striving to make a name for himself in USF2000 is that of Austin Cindric. Cindric is driving for Andretti Autosport this season in the #77 Nightrain car.

If the name Cindric sounds familiar to IndyCar fans, it's because it should. Austin's father is Tim, President of Penske Racing. But the younger Cindric doesn’t let that pressure get to him. “I think my Dad explains it the best. When he watches my races he just wants to be my Dad and nothing else and I think that is just the way I look at it whenever he is there. He gives me a lot of advice telling me to be smart, all the little things. He helped spot for me at Mid Ohio. Anything he can do to help out he is more than happy to do.”

Austin is currently 19th in series point standings after a rocky start to the year but is starting to find his footing “The past couple of races I have been pretty happy with myself and the way things have gone with all the outside circumstances. I can't control them, but due to mechanical failures and some difficulties on track with other cars and racing incidents, we had a rough start. Then we got to Toronto about halfway through the season and Race One didn’t go too well. But, Race Two I had to start 24th, we made our way up to 13th and made a lot of improvement there, and we got our setup down. Then we moved on to Mid-Ohio, and we got up on the top of the time charts like we wanted to and we just improved every race. We got our first top 10 in Race Three (at Mid-Ohio) so we are just using our momentum to go to Laguna and see what we can do there.”

The Concord, North Carolina native knows the USF2000 series is a great training series for any aspiring professional racing driver due to its ultra competitive nature “With the fields as close as they are, Mid-Ohio qualifying was like from first to 18th 1.1 seconds. Its just crazy how competitive it is. On a side note, it is really good for someone like me who is learning. It helps to learn how to pass people really well, but it also makes the racing really difficult. Its a lot of fun and its a privilege to be a part of it.”

 

Read more…

 

 

20 Questions: USF2000′s Garett Grist

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

9.3.13 (via eFormulaCarNews.com) – The latest installment features recent Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda race winner Garett Grist.

When and where did you start racing (karts or cars)?
I started racing karts at a local karting track when I was six. When I was 14, I started testing cars, but didn't race them until I was 16.

When did you decide that you were good enough, and wanted to race for a career?
I think after I broke the track record at Mosport in my first year of Formula Ford. It was previously held by both Conor Daly and Kyle Marcelli who are two great race car drivers, so that really made me believe in myself.

What was the first race you attended as a fan?
The U.S. Grand Prix Formula One at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when I was eight. It was so cool to see the cars and hear the noise.

What is your favorite track?
I would have to say either Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course because of it's flowing corners, or Mosport because of the fast flat out corners, where you have to be brave and really trust your car.

What track have you never raced on, but really want to?
Road America. I always play it on racing games, but have never been to it. It looks like an incredible track, and I'm disappointed the USF2000 Championship didn’t go to it this year.

What is the most challenging track, in your opinion, and why?
I think it's hard to pick just one. In my opinion street races in general are the most challenging tracks for me. Being a rookie in USF2000, it's my first year on street circuits, so I have a lot to learn about them.

What is the most challenging corner that you’ve encountered?
I think it has to be corner 17 at Sebring. Being so bumpy and so fast, you have to position your car perfectly. It took a lot of work, but it ended up being one of my strengths there in the first round.

What race do you dream of winning?
The Indianapolis 500. I mean it’s the Indy 500! I was there this year for the very first time. It was so incredible to see the fans and be part of the action.

What was the best race you've been part of?
Either the final race at the Walter Hayes Trophy last October at Silverstone in the pouring rain against some guys that had won the event before, or Sebring this year battling it out with the Neil [Alberico] and Scott [Hargrove] at the front of the field.

What is the best race car you’ve ever driven?
The Formula BMW car prepared by Autotechinca. I tested when I was 14, and the car was very cool and a lot of fun to drive.

What is your dream race car to drive?
An IndyCar. I'm a big fan of the new DW12. It’s advanced, but not so advanced that the driver skill doesn’t matter.

Do you have a pre-race ritual?
Not really, I usually just have a nap, but that's it. I don’t get caught up in rituals or habits.

 

Read more…

 

 

Trackside Update: Grand Prix of Baltimore

Monday, September 2nd, 2013
9.2.13 – As we say farewell to the holiday weekend, let's look back at our race day in Charm City…

 

The Firestone Indy Lights duo of Carlos Munoz and Zach Veach took to the streets on Sunday afternoon for their 35-lap race. Making contact after an unknown failure on the No. 26 car occurred, the Colombian was forced to retire early. Teammate Zach Veach made an unscheduled pitstop when a suspected engine problem was causing the No. 12 RePLAY XD machine to slow, but was able to bring home an eighth-place finish.

 

Immediately following the Firestone Indy Lights race, the fantastic four of James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, E.J. Viso and Ryan Hunter-Reay battled their way through the carnage that was the Grand Prix of Baltimore. Although stopping on track twice throughout the 75-lap race, Hinch made his way back by finishing in seventh place for his ninth top-10 finish in 2013. Third-generation racer Andretti maneuvered his way to the front of the pack to lead 12 laps before his broken front wing befell him, and Marco was able to come the twin checkers in 10th place. Another victim of an unfortunate run-in, E.J. was poised for his first podium of the season (was as high as fifth place and on the move!) when he was hit from behind, forcing the Venezuelan to hit a competitor and break his front nose cone; Viso eventually pitted and was able to salvage a P13 finish after starting 20th. Reigning champion and 2012 Grand Prix of Baltimore winner RHR was not having the race he had hoped or even imagined. On Lap 1, the anti-stall mechanism kicked in on the No. 1 Chevy and Hunter-Reay was seen stranded on the track; he later recovered to eighth place and was plagued with a battery failure just after the halfway point and was forced to retire early in P20.

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The IZOD IndyCar Series will pack up and head to Houston, Texas for the next round of competition on October 5 and 6 where they will be joined by the full Mazda Road to Indy ladder. In the meantime, keep up to date on all things Andretti Autosport by joining us on Twitter (@FollowAndretti) and don't forget to 'Like' us on Facebook where you can enter to be our featured Fan of the Week.
 
 
 

Trackside Update: Qualifying at the Baltimore Grand Prix

Saturday, August 31st, 2013
8.31.13 – SPOILER ALERT: This Trackside Update covers IZOD IndyCar Series Qualifying from the Grand Prix of Baltimore. While the qualifying session took place this afternoon, coverage will be broadcast by NBC Sports Network at 6 p.m. Eastern today. If you are not yet prepared to discover the results of today's qualifying, we recommend saving this Trackside Update for future reading.
 

 

Day two from the Grand Prix of Baltimore is in the books and the starting grids for both the IndyCar and Firestone Indy Lights races are set.
 

Champ Ryan Hunter-Reay led the way for the team's IndyCar effort and will roll off from the eighth position tomorrow — keep in mind he started 13th here last season and captured the victory, a pivotal point in his championship win. Following RHR was teammate James Hinchcliffe who will start 11th – his 10th top-10 start of the season. Marco Andretti, who has recorded 13 top-10 finishes this season, will take to the grid in the 18th position while E.J. Viso, who has clinched six top-10 finishes this year, will grid 22nd.

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In Firestone Indy Lights, Carlos Munoz will make yet another front row appearance, starting second, and teammate Zach Veach will start sixth in the RePLAY HD machine.

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Tune in tomorrow to NBC Sports Network (Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640) for full race day coverage from Baltimore. The broadcast begins at 2 p.m. ET with the 75-lap IZOD IndyCar Series race and will be followed by the Firestone Indy Lights race broadcast. If you can't make it to the television, listen along with the broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, on SiriusXM (Channel 211) and IndyCar.com.

Trackside Update: Friday from Baltimore Grand Prix

Friday, August 30th, 2013

8.30.13 – Hello from Maryland's Inner Harbor where the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT kicked off our Labor Day weekend! Our sister company Andretti Sports Marketing has been working hard alongside race promoter Race On Baltimore to make this weekend an exciting one. Everything looks great and we can't wait to see what else this Celebration of Acceleration has in store for the INDYCAR teams.

 
Our four IndyCar Series drivers and duo of Firestone Indy Lights drivers took the streets today as they practiced for tomorrow's qualifying sessions.
 
GoDaddy driver and Mayor of Hinchtown, James Hinchcliffe, led the way for the Andretti Autosport IndyCar quartet today. "The times don’t look awesome; we didn’t get new tires there at the end, but largely I’m actually pretty happy with the GoDaddy car. We made small changes on it during the last session because the lunch changes were really good. Hopefully we can keep fine tuning things here and there because I think we’re pretty close. It’s definitely a car that can fight for the (Firestone) Fast Six."
 
E.J. Viso led the team in morning practice with a lap time fast enough for P2 and ended the day 15th overall. “Tough day. I think as a team, we are not where we are supposed to be. We just definitely need to work hard tonight and come up with some good changes and good ideas for tomorrow. It is extremely competitive, and it seems this track helps and really suits the Honda teams; I’m sure that overnight there will be some changes happening from us and Team Chevy.”
 
Returning race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was not as pleased with today's effort but remains confident in the progress to come. "It’s tough," said RHR. "Right now we need to regroup as a team and go forward with some testing tomorrow. We’re all a little bit off paced from where we need to be. At the moment, the way the curbs and chicanes are set up, you need to put your car at major risk to get the lap time. I’m not quite there on putting the DHL Chevy at full risk – we’ll see. I’m fully confident we’ll be on it for tomorrow."
 
The maroon and white paint scheme of Dr Pepper returns to the No. 25 Chevy this weekend as Marco Andretti works to make his way into the Firestone Fast Six — it would be his first top-six grid appearance on the streets of Baltimore. "We totally went the wrong way today, but we were trying something that we thought we needed for qualifying tomorrow. I’m glad we got it out of the way today because now we know and won’t be a change behind tomorrow. I think we are headed in the right direction and can hopefully see the Dr Pepper car in the (Firestone) Fast Six tomorrow."
 
Making his second Firestone Indy Lights appearance in Baltimore, Carlos Munoz ranked second in today's practice session behind the wheel of the No. 26 Dialy-Ser machine. The Firestone Indy Lights Championship points leader posted a best lap time of 1:26.234 at the 12-turn street circuit. "Today's practice seemed quite short," said Carlos. "We didn't have much time on track, but I feel good. I think we have to improve a little bit… we'll make a couple changes overnight. It's only the beginning of the weekend, and we still have one more practice for qualifying tomorrow, so we have to work hard and start the weekend off the right way."
 
Replay driver Zach Veach worked his way into the top-six during today's practice, despite feeling a little under the weather. This weekend's 35-lap race marks Veach's 10th career Firestone Indy Lights start, where he has recorded six top-five starts. "Today, with the new Replay car, it didn't go exactly how we wanted with a P6 in the session," said Zach. "My engineer and I want to take a chance because it's still early in the weekend and try something that worked for him last year. The thing is, the track has really gripped up compared to this point last year, so I think we made the wrong call on that. But my Andretti guys are great at recovering, and we'll go back and be strong tomorrow morning and through qualifying. I just want to thank Replay for joining in on the No. 12 car this weekend – we're going to be working really hard to get Replay their first win." 
 
Catch all the IndyCar qualifying action from Baltimore on NBC Sports Network (Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640) at 6 p.m. Saturday. If you don't mind a few spoilers, follow along with qualifying live at 12 p.m. via Twitter with @FollowAndretti and #GPoB. You can also catch the live radio broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, on SiriusXM (Channel 211) and IndyCar.com.
 

If you're here with us in Baltimore this weekend, don't miss multi-platinum band (and Andretti Autosport sponsor!) LIVE at the Main Stage located at Victory Lane tomorrow at 6 p.m. — it's going to be great!

 

 

Don’t Miss Out: Week of August 26, 2013

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Want in on the action? This is the place to find where you can see the Andretti Autosport drivers in action OFF the track. Be sure to show us your photos by sending them to our Twitter – @FollowAndretti or Facebook.

(All times are in EASTERN Time Zone)
 

 

 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 29

Michael Andretti at Giant
4315 Mountain Rd, Pasadena, 21122
@ 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Marco Andretti at Giant
573 Ritchie Highway #1, Severna Park, 21146
@ 3 – 5 p.m.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, E.J. Viso,
Marco Andretti & James Hinchcliffe
w/ an appearance by LIVE
The Yellow Party
Pazo, 1425 Aliceanna St, 21231
@ 5:30 – 9 p.m.

 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 30

E.J. Viso radio interview
HERB FM
@ 5:45 p.m.
 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 31

Michael at Andretti Club
Andretti Club, Marriott Camden Yards
TICKETS HERE
@ 10 a.m.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, E.J. Viso,
Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe
IZOD IndyCar Series Autographs
INDYCAR Fan Village
@ 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

LIVE in concert
Victory Lane Stage
@ 6 p.m.
 

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

Zach Veach & Carlos Munoz
Firestone Indy Lights Autographs
INDYCAR Fan Village
@ 9:30 – 10 a.m.

Michael at Andretti Club
Andretti Club, Marriott Camden Yards
TICKETS HERE
@ 11:30 a.m.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, E.J. Viso,
Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe
Chevy Q&A
Chevy Display in INDYCAR Fan Village
@ 11:40 a.m.