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Andretti Autosport and Honda Racing Announce Multi-year IndyCar Alliance

October 19th, 2013

FONTANA, Calif. (Oct. 19, 2013) – IndyCar champions Andretti Autosport® announced today that the team led by racing legend Michael Andretti will return to IndyCar Series competition in 2014 with Honda-powered machines as part of a multi-year agreement.

"We look forward to working with Honda again; for us, it's like being back home. I have no doubt that together we will see great success," said Michael Andretti, the team's Chairman, President and CEO.

The Indianapolis-based team has competed as part of Team Chevy for the last two seasons, winning the championship in 2012 with Ryan Hunter-Reay. Prior to the return of the IndyCar manufacture competition in 2011, Andretti captured three series championships with Honda (2004, 2005, 2007), as well as two Indianapolis 500 victories (2005, 2007). Since its inception in 2003, Andretti Autosport has captured 48 IndyCar Series victories – 39 of those under Honda power.

"We're extremely happy to welcome Michael Andretti and his Andretti Autosport organization back into the Honda Racing family," said Art St. Cyr, President, Honda Performance Development. "As many of you will remember, the Andretti organization played a major role in Honda's success during the previous era of manufacturer competition in Indy car racing, and we're looking forward to adding more victories and championships to an already impressive total."

Honda has been a fixture in North American open-wheel racing since 1994 and has played an active role in the growth of Indy car racing – as both a Manufacturers' Championship competitor and single engine supplier – since joining the series in 2003.   

The company scored its first of nine consecutive Indianapolis 500 victories in 2004. Honda won Manufacturers' Championships in 2004 and 2005, and captured the drivers' championships with Andretti drivers Tony Kanaan (2004) and Wheldon (2005).

Honda became engine supplier to the entire IZOD IndyCar Series in 2006, and supplied racing engines to the full, 33-car Indianapolis 500 field each year from 2006-2011. For a record six-consecutive years, the '500' ran without a single engine failure, and the 2010 Indianapolis 500 marked Honda's 100th race win as a manufacturer and engine supplier in IZOD IndyCar Series competition.

Fan of the Week – Darlene Sandmann

October 18th, 2013

Congratulations to Darlene Sandmann who is not only this week’s Andretti Autosport Fan of the Week, but also our Lunatic of the Week – courtesy of Luna-C Clothing. Darlene lists Marco Andretti as her favorite Andretti Autosport driver, but considers Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe two of her favorites, too.

“Marco is my favorite driver somewhat because it carries on the Andretti Tradition – I am so proud of him this year in how much growth and maturity you see in him,” said Sandmann. “Anyone who drives for Andretti Autosport gets to the top of my list.”

Sandmann has been an open-wheel racing fan for the past 27 years. During those 27 years, Darlene met her husband, Marc Sandmann. “Racing laid the groundwork in the beginning for when I met Marc (now husband) who, at that time, was a much bigger fan than me,” Sandmann comments. “He took me to my first race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, and I have been in love with the sport and hooked ever since.”

Darlene has witnessed many Andretti victories during her 27 years of attending races. “I think the best racing memory for me is the culmination that I have been blessed to go to many races and several races each year,” she said. “There is nothing better than going to victory circle after the race to celebrate the win;the Andrettis and Andretti Autosport drivers have many wins at the races I have been to.” The proud Andretti supporter has experienced the highs and lows of IndyCar racing, but one high she will never forget is seeing the all-Andretti podium in 1991 at the historic Milwaukee Mile.

Heading into the season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Darlene is looking for one more Andretti Autosport podium. “I know there is only one race left this season and my fingers are crossed that he (Marco Andretti) will get that win he deserves this season,” Sandmann commented.

While the Fantastic Four heads to California to end the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season, we know Darlene will be on the edge of her seat enjoying her RC Cola 10, waiting to see an Andretti Autosport driver come to the twin checkers ahead of the pack.

The 250-lap MAVTV 500  will air live at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network on Saturday, Oct. 19. The MAVTV 500 will be the 12th Indy car race at and the sixth IZOD IndyCar Series event at the 2-mile oval.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a form to become the Andretti Autosport Fan of the Week. Please check back next Friday as we select another winner!

As always, thanks for your amazing support.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group to remain with Andretti Autosport for 2014

October 18th, 2013

10.18.13 – ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT®, DR PEPPER SNAPPLE GROUP TO CONTINUE LONGSTANDING INDYCAR RELATIONSHIP WITH NO. 25 CAR IN 2014

Third-generation racer Marco Andretti is quite familiar with the Dr Pepper Snapple (NYSE: DPS) family. He’ll once again help promote one of DPS’s iconic brands when he takes the wheel of the No. 25 Andretti Autosport car next season.

The DPS-Andretti Autosport relationship enters its eighth season in 2014. In previous years, Marco Andretti has driven Indy cars highlighting Venom Energy Drink, Dr Pepper, Dr Pepper TEN and RC Cola.

“Marco and Andretti Autosport have been great ambassadors of our brands over the years, and we are pleased to be partnering with them for another exciting IndyCar season,” said Jim Trebilcock, executive vice president of marketing for DPS. “Our brands and IndyCar both have extraordinary and passionate fans, and we’re looking forward to working with Marco and his team to drive excitement and build on that passion.”

Andretti, concluding his eighth season in IndyCar Series competition at Auto Club Speedway this weekend, is ranked fifth in the IZOD IndyCar Series points standings with 14 top-10 finishes, marking his best season to date. The Nazareth, Penn. native has recorded two pole-positions this season and is nearing the 1000 laps-led mark, currently holding 944 laps as a race leader. Andretti and his No. 25 RC Cola branded car sat on the front row for this year’s running of the Indianapolis 500-mile race, the 26-year-old’s best start at the historic 2.5-mile oval.

“Dr Pepper Snapple’s products are among the most well-loved brands on the market, and they carry great appeal with our fans,” said Marco Andretti, Driver, No. 25 Car. “We’re excited to be teaming up with them once again next season. I feel we have been getting closer to a championship title and an Indy 500 win, and I wouldn't want to win it with anyone more with the Dr Pepper Snapple family and with my dad. I feel like I have a lot of unfinished business and a lot of good results coming our way.” 

In addition to touting its brands on his No. 25 car, Andretti has worked with DPS on one of its key philanthropic initiatives, serving as honorary chairman of DPS’s of its 2013 United Way campaign. Themed “Drive Home Giving,” the campaign raised nearly $2.2 million for United Way agencies.

 

 

Ryan Hunter-Reay on his championship defense and the 2013 IndyCar title contenders

October 15th, 2013

10.15.13 (via RACER.com) – There was a time when Ryan Hunter-Reay's career comprised mainly barren plains. Yet from midseason 2011 until midseason this year, he saw the IndyCar world from an elevated position, and in 2012, he got the view from the mountain top. And that sultry night in Fontana last September, many rejoiced with Ryan because 1) his route to the top had demanded talent, resilience and fortitude beyond the understanding of most of his peers, and 2) winning the IndyCar title was a long-held dream and he'd made it come true.
 
“I'm pleased for Ryan for three reasons,” one experienced IndyCar paddock member remarked last winter. “One, this is what he wanted to win since he was a kid, so it's cool to see him achieve it. Two, I think as an American, IndyCar can do a lot with him promotionally through the off-season and all next year, so the series will benefit from that. And three, I don't think Andretti [Autosport] are going to be so strong again so this may have been his only chance…”
 
Agreed on point one: there was spontaneous joy etched across Ryan's face that night and even the following day he (understandably) could hardly stop himself smiling. He was the picture of contentment. On the second point, sadly, the publicity-seizing opportunity has been squandered: even RHR himself admits to being shocked at how few demands the series has made during his time as champion.
 
As for the third point, regarding his team's prospects, many of us agreed…and were then made to feel pretty foolish for the first half of this season. Ten races in, Andretti Autosport had won precisely half. Remarkably though, now, with 18 races down and just one to go, those five victories – three for James Hinchcliffe, two for Hunter-Reay – are still AA's total victory tally in 2013. Although Hunter-Reay's season-long performance hasn't featured the wild oscillations race to race that Hinch has experienced, nor has it featured the kind of consistency that we'd seen from the No. 28 car the year before. And that's what has made the difference between nailing a second straight title and scrapping for fourth or fifth.
 
“We've had five mechanical or electrical problems,” observes Hunter-Reay, a week before he relinquishes his crown, “and you can't win the title that way. But I don't want to sound like I'm complaining about the chance I've been given at this team. I'm still really happy. It's just been unfortunate how things have gone and yeah, ultimately it's cost us.”
 
Indeed. Ask any racing champion and he'll admit to a little luck somewhere in his season, whether it's having a yellow flag fall at the right time to work with his pit stop strategy, or the out of control car that just missed him in a Turn 1 pile-up, or the mechanical problem that occurred in Sunday morning warm-up rather than the race itself. It's rare that the title actually hinges on such matters, but they're vagaries of fortune that can switch knife-edge moments from “If only…” into “Thank God!,” and turn rueful into grateful. And it's those sorts of issues that have gone against the triumvirate of Hunter-Reay, race engineer Ray Gosselin and team owner and strategist Michael Andretti.
 
What must be doubly annoying for them is that, looking at this truly peculiar 2013 IndyCar season, if any driver/car combo as fast as Hunter-Reay/Andretti had also been consistent, the title could have been sewn up two or three races ago. True, Chip Ganassi Racing turned their fortunes around midseason with that Sebring test, and Team Penske have also improved. But the very fact that Ganassi's Scott Dixon has been able to leap into a commanding lead of the championship despite a fairly forgettable first half of the season, and despite being classified 15th and 19th at Sonoma and Baltimore, respectively, suggests the 2013 title was there for the taking.
 
“Oh, I hear ya,” agrees Hunter-Reay. “I think everyone at some point has shot themselves in the foot this year – and more than a few times. Everyone except Helio, I guess. For us, I think of things like the flat tire in Brazil, where we looked like we could have won and instead I end up outside the top 10. “And then three times I got ran into, as well…”
 
 
 
 
 
 

Viso carries Venezuelan flag through program

October 14th, 2013

10.14.13 (via INDYCAR.com) – E.J. Viso makes it a priority to watch a portion of both Pro Mazda Championship races at Houston, frequently checking the lap monitor in the Andretti Autosport pit to gauge the progress of a particular driver.

Viso, who also competed on the 1.634-mile, 10-turn circuit at Reliant Park in the two 90-lap IZOD IndyCar Series races, is carrying the banner for protégé Diego Ferreira through Team Viso Venezuela. The initiative, loosely started about seven years ago and solidified in the past two years, promotes bringing young talent to compete in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system with the aid of Venezuelan supporters.

“I come from a beautiful country and to give back energy and to help talent coming from there, to help someone be the next generation star is a dream,” says Viso with a nod to National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Sebastian Saavedra of Colombia and Oriol Servia of Spain are other Hispanics competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

“We’ve been through many political, financial difficulties, but I’ve never let go of the love for my country and I’m a big supporter,” continues Viso, who drives the Team Venezuela/PDVSA/CITGO car for Andretti Autosport. “I am a lover of my country and, in a way, I think that my country feels that and that’s the way it thinks back at me. This is why my career will be 23 years of consecutive racing. This is saying that we’ve been doing something right.”

Ferreira, 19, finished second in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires standings for Juncos Racing. Viso also is representing countrymen Camilo Schmidt and Bruno Palli, both of whom competed in Pro Mazda in 2012, in addition to Diego Borelli and Sebastian Fernandez, who are competing in karting in Europe. There’s also an indirect association with Jorge Goncalvez, who is sixth in the Firestone Indy Lights standings heading into the season finale Oct. 19 at Auto Club Speedway.

“In a way, I’m even doing this more for my country than the kids,” Viso says. “Don’t get me wrong, they are youngsters coming up who love racing. I see it differently as the future of my country and I see my country as the place that I love. I see giving back to my country will be through them, so I want to teach them the fundamentals and give them all the coaching and ideas I can. I’m pretty sure they’ll go further.”

 

Read more…

 

 

 

Don’t Miss Out: Week of October 14, 2013

October 14th, 2013

10.14.13 – 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 PACIFIC Time Zone)
 

 

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16

E.J. Viso at Neiman Marcus
6550 Topanga Canyon Blvd,
Woodland Hills, 91303
@ 5 – 7 p.m.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17

Marco Andretti at Albertson's
8850 Foothill Blvd,
Rancho Cucamonga, 91730
@ 4 – 6 p.m.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18

Zach Veach Q&A
INDYCAR Fan Village
@ 3:15 p.m.

Zach Veach & Carlos Munoz
Firestone Indy Lights Autographs
INDYCAR Fan Village
@ 3:30 – 4 p.m.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19

Ryan Hunter-Reay, E.J. Viso,
Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe
Chevy Q&A
Chevy Display in INDYCAR Fan Village
@ 12:45 p.m.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, E.J. Viso,
Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe
IZOD IndyCar Series Autographs
INDYCAR Fan Village
@ 1 – 2 p.m.
 

2012 title illustrates Hunter-Reay’s mindset

October 14th, 2013

10.10.13 (via IndyCar.com) – Returning to Auto Club Speedway for a manufacturer test Sept. 24, the accomplishments of 53 weeks earlier were momentarily relived by Ryan Hunter-Reay.
 
The Andretti Autosport driver, who entered the MAVTV 500 INDYCAR World Championships season finale on the 2-mile oval trailing championship front-runner Will Power of Team Penske by 17 points, was spurred to a fourth-place finish that delivered his first series title by a scant three points.
 
“When I was walking into the (media center), I was remembering making some laps after I won it. I have some great memories of that moment. I definitely took everything in," he said. "(The test day was) not as much fun as the memories that I have of this room."
 
 
Interviews came in rapid succession in the glare of TV lights, with Hunter-Reay hugging the Astor Cup, following the edge-of-your-seat contest, which was a microcosm of his season. Seventh in the championship standings following the June 9 race at Texas Motor Speedway, Hunter-Reay rattled off three consecutive victories to grab the points lead by 34. He was supplanted by Power at Mid-Ohio in early August, who extended the margin to 36 entering the penultimate race at Baltimore.
 
A victory by Hunter-Reay on the street circuit cut the gap to 17. Combined with Power's early race crash and his fourth place, an elated and humble Hunter-Reay visited the media center at Auto Club Speedway.
 
"I always believed that if I got the right opportunity and worked hard enough that I could be in this position or I could be in the position to win races," Hunter-Reay said. "But then you go from wining races to competing for a championship, and that comes with another level of consistency. That comes from the contiuity and a team that believes in you."
 
 
 
 
 

Marco Andretti: DPS United Way Campaign

October 7th, 2013

IZOD IndyCar Series driver, Marco Andretti and Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) Executive Vice President of Supply Chain Derry Hobson presented a donation to United Way and UW Houston president Anna Babin on Saturday at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.

Andretti, member of the legendary Andretti racing family, serves as the honorary chairman of the DPS United Way campaign that runs through Tuesday with the goal of raising $2.5 million for the cause. Marco made the $10,000 on behalf of Michael Andretti and the team's drivers and executives.

Garett Grist: Canadian karting guru

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

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…

 

 

 



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