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SCOTT SPEED – Global Rallycross Personalities

May 2nd, 2014

Heading into my second GRC season has been completely different than my first year. For one, I have a race shop I can go to to see a car. So there’s been a lot of time spent back at Indy at the workshop, shaking down cars, working on cars. Obviously, it’s quite a new program for a lot of us here. 95% of us all come from a different background, so that’s been fun—getting to know these types of cars.

But mostly, the difference from last year is I’m able to work with a team. We actually have a proper team, and we can work on the cars and prepare them for the year. We’d love to have a few more months off, because it’s all pretty new to us, and we’ll be catching up for a while for sure. But it’s been cool to have the Andretti organization, having a proper race team, and being part of that.

A lot of these guys are IndyCar guys. The main rally guy we have is Graham Quinn, an Irish feller, who I get along really well with. It’s nice to have a European in the mix—having spent so much time over there, it’s nice to talk to someone about it. I didn’t come across a lot of Europeans in NASCAR! Our team is cool, we’ve got different pieces for sure, but a lot of our guys are IndyCar guys, who I would say are at a much higher level in general because it’s a much more technologically advanced and major motorsport. What we’re banking on is that Global Rallycross is going to become a major motorsport—we have all the people in place to do it, but the majority of us don’t have experience in it yet.

We’ve been all over the place making this thing happen. We’ve been to Chicago for the announcement; I went to the New York Auto Show as well for Volkswagen. We did some testing in Europe to help develop our Beetle, which is going to be amazing once we get it. We also did some tire testing for Yokohama, to decide what kind of tire compound we’re going to go with. It was cool to be a part of that program, and I think we have a really good tire for everyone this year. I’m excited to get on technology that’s not a few decades old, ha! 

Read more…

GRIST: Frustration setting in as we search for better results

May 1st, 2014

5.1.14 (via MoreFrontWing.com) – My Andretti Autosport teammates and I got back earlier this week from Rounds 3 and 4 of the Pro Mazda season at Barber Motorsports Park. We were looking forward to getting down there after our podium at Winterfest this past off-season, especially since we had a rough weekend at St. Pete and were hoping Barber would give us the bounce-back we needed to get our season on track.

We started out strong and even put the DaVinci Foods/Lander Property Management car in P2 in one of the practice sessions. But when we got to qualifying, we made some changes that set the car off-balance and really hurt us. We ended up qualifying eighth, which was not at all where we felt like we should have been.

Then, we threw another big round of changes at the car for Race 1 to try to bring it back, but it ended up even worse. It was a struggle just to hold on to our starting position for all 20 laps, but I managed to pull it off.

For Race 2 on Sunday morning, we decided to take our changes in the opposite direction. This ended up being the right move because the car was a lot better. I finished in seventh but had the third-fastest lap of the race, and that was even after burning my tires off and spending some time in traffic. I feel like if we weren’t in traffic I could have had one of the quickest cars on track and been able to get past more guys.

If I sound a bit frustrated it’s because I am, to be honest. We’re really not where I thought we would be at this point in the year, especially not after the great results we had at Winterfest. I had hoped we’d be in the top three and battling for wins in every race, and that just hasn’t been happening. I know I’m a rookie and I know I should try to be more patient, but I also know that right now we’re really not showing people just how much we can do.

In my last blog I mentioned that I was going to hang out at Long Beach with my teammate, Shelby Blackstock, and it actually ended up not happening. That was my birthday weekend, and I had an opportunity to stay home and spend some time with some family members who I don’t get to see very often, so I opted to do that and lay low instead. From what I hear from Shelby, though, Long Beach was a good time… I’ll have to try to get down there next year.

Now, everybody’s looking ahead to the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. I had a chance to check out the Verizon IndyCar Series open test yesterday, and the track looks great. In the morning I watched from pit lane and chatted with the engineers about what we were seeing, and then in the afternoon I walked around and checked out some of the different viewing spots. It looks like they did a really good job on it, and it should be a fun track to race.

I sure hope IMS is better to us than St. Pete and Barber have been. I’ll be back to let you know how it goes.

- Garett

 

 

Kurt Busch Indy 500 livery unveiled

April 28th, 2014

4.28.14 – Andretti Autosport unveiled today the Indy car in which, in just a few short weeks, Kurt Busch will make his first career Indianapolis 500 qualifying attempt. Busch will pilot the No. 26 Suretone Honda as he endeavors 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.

“It’s an exciting day,” Busch said. “Reality is setting in that this is real and it’s go time. For me, it’s a dream come true, but the kid in a candy store moment is all behind me. Now it’s the focus of practice time and settling in with Andretti Autosport. Just to have Andretti Autosport and to have Michael (Andretti) himself involved, this is the right way to do things. Their team experience will help lead my inexperience.”

Suretone was founded in 2006 by Jordan Schur as Suretone Records after his successful tenure of almost a decade as President of Geffen Records at Universal Music Group where he merged the original Geffen Records with MCA Records and Dreamworks Records while working with some of the world's most successful artists ranging from Nirvana, Guns and Roses, Snoop Dogg, Mary J Blige and Blink 182 to name a few and generating over 2B in sales. Schur started his career in music with his original company Flip Records where he sold over 70M records launching artists such as Limp Bizkit and Staind. Suretone Entertainment has since expanded into a broader company over the last 8 years that includes film development, financing and production, as well as music artist management, along with its original record company history where artists such as The Cure, Weezer, Chris Cornell, Angels and Airwaves, and Shwayze all found great success.

Suretone management roster clients currently include Fleetwood Mac, Lonestar, Indie.Arie, and ZZ Top, as the roster is overseen by Carl Stubner who joined the company with Schur as Co-Chairman after departing from his previous position as Sanctuary Music Group Worldwide in partnership with Universal Music Group where Stubner spearheaded great success for his roster of artists that included many of the world's most successful acts. Suretone Pictures, founded in 2012, has released several films including last summer's Pawn Shop Chronicles which starred Paul Walker in one of his last films before his unfortunate passing, as well as Elijah Wood, Brendan Fraser, Matt Dillon and others. Suretone Pictures has a slate of films in development and production including the upcoming Five Against A Bullet in partnership with Sony/Columbia Pictures, as well as Revenge Wedding in association with Lionsgate, and with whom Schur previously made films such as the much heralded Warrior which garnered an Academy Award nomination and Rapturepalooza. Suretone recently partnered with Cinsay – the world’s largest video ecommerce company – to create Suretone Live. Suretone Live endeavors to stream music concerts and various music related content on Cinsay's patented global platform in every country worldwide, transacting in all currencies and languages. 

"We are honored to have Suretone Entertainment stand with Andretti Autosport and Kurt Busch in this historic event as Kurt enters his first Indianapolis 500 qualifying run, as well as attempts to become only the fourth driver in motorsport history to contest the 'Double',” said Suretone Entertainment Chairman Jordan Shur. “As Kurt moves towards his goal to drive in the Indy 500 and NASCAR's 600-mile race on the same day, Suretone takes great pride to partner with Andretti Autosport as we support Kurt in his incredible endeavor."

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 on 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.

 

 

Ryan Hunter-Reay wins another IndyCar race in Alabama

April 28th, 2014

4.27.14 (via LATimes.com) - Ryan Hunter-Reay coasted to his second straight victory at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., when the rain-shortened IndyCar race finished under caution.

A full-course caution came out for the final seven minutes of the timed race after rookie Mikhail Aleshin lost control and went off the track. That left Hunter-Reay unchallenged, with Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti finishing second.

Scott Dixon was third, followed by Simon Pagenaud and pole-sitter Will Power, a two-time winner at Barber who was among the drivers dealing with a slippery track in spots.

 

“He was out there cutting the grass,” Hunter-Reay said. “I had to take advantage of that. It was so easy to do that today. I almost lost this race three times.”

 

There was some slipping and sliding after the field switched from the wet tires with several drivers leaving the track.

“That was horrible for everybody,” Hunter-Reay said. “It was like an ice-skating rink.”

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BRABHAM: Strong, but not where I want to be

April 26th, 2014

4.26.13 – Long Beach, for me, was a strong result but still not where I want to be. I felt quite confident leading into the event. I love racing on street tracks and Long Beach seems to be the king of street tracks. It was an awesome event, and the track was so cool! I was amazed at how pretty the fountain turn was, but at the same time, it's all very challenging; it was easy to absorb yourself in the atmosphere. It was for sure one of the most fun events I have been part of and cool to listen to my dad's stories about the place and the history that's behind it.



Practice started out quite well. It's a tough track to learn and I had never been there before so it was certainly demanding in getting up to speed. However, I felt like we were rather quick and definitely had the pace to run up front. During practice we were all incredibly close with the Belardi team looking the strongest, however, I did not foresee qualifying playing out the way it did.



Although I felt confident with our pace going into qualifying, I was also prepared for the fact that it was going to be a tough battle for pole position. I certainly would never have predicted just how tight it ended up being with the top four qualifying within 0.07 of a second. This was the tightest qualifying session I have been a part of. It was a mixed feeling for me; I was happy to be so close to getting the pole, but I was disappointed to be so close to the pole time and yet be in third place. I took the positives away from this looking forward to the race… since we were all so close, I figured any of us had the chance to win the race.



Our race started off reasonably well; however, it became apparent very quickly that it was going to be difficult to pass. I came out of the first corner in third place and stayed in that position for the rest of the race. I was pushing as hard as I could the whole time in the hope that maybe someone would make a big enough mistake and I could slip through. Unfortunately, I ended up brushing the wall quite a few times but I didn't think about any of it while I was racing. It was really interesting to see on TV when I watched it, and I think I need to reel myself in and stay off the walls in the future. I was happy to finish in third place and bank some good points. Although, I must admit I was a little frustrated to run in third place the whole race and not have the ability to move forward and fight for the win.



Long Beach was a great learning curve for me, and I have come away from there feeling more comfortable with the direction I want to go in with regards to the car and my driving. 



My approach for Barber this weekend will be a little different… aggressive as ever but smooth, and I'm very confident it will work. Our pre-season testing ended strongly at Barber and we were the quickest here. I know our Andretti Autosport team will be quick, however, the key will be adjusting to the changing track conditions throughout the weekend. There are a lot of points on offer with the two-race format. I will be reeling myself back into the championship fight; the start to the championship for me didn't go according to plan. I feel that all of the rookies this year are having a difficult time adjusting to racing the Indy Lights car. Once we all figure it out, I think there will be more championship contender's popping up in the later part of the year – the same way it happened last year.



I'm really looking forward to this weekend. It will be a fun event at Barber Motorsports Park, and it will be our first proper road course race this year. I will be staying open minded and I'm looking forward to seeing how this weekend plays out.

 

 

 

Andretti Autosport adds entry to Grand Prix of Indianapolis

April 23rd, 2014

4.23.14  – French-native Franck Montagny will return to the Verizon IndyCar Series in May to pilot the No. 26 Honda at the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis. With a diverse and extensive racing resume, Montagny will become the fifth driver in Michael Andretti’s stable for the road-course event.
 
"I am very happy to be back with Andretti Autosport; I have already felt 'at home' during my visits," Montagny commented. "Participating in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis in the temple of motorsport that is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a true moment of happiness."
 
The relationship between Andretti and Montagny dates back to 2008 when Montagny competed in the ALMS series with Andretti Autosport, he then returned to the team in 2009 for his IndyCar Series debut at Sonoma Raceway.
 
In addition to his resume with Andretti Autosport, Montagny boasts 12 starts at the historic 24 Hours de Le Mans with four-podium finishes, in addition to five years of Formula One experience with seven grand prix competitions.
 
Away from the driver’s seat, Montagny has spent a great deal of time working in front of the camera with the French TV Group TF1 as a Formula One consultant and pit reporter for “Canal+”.
 
Following the Grand Prix, recent stock car race winner Kurt Busch will take the seat for the Indianapolis 500 and his attempt at a place in history with 1,100 miles of racing on Memorial Day weekend.
 
 
 

Don’t Miss Out: Appearances for week of April 21, 2014

April 22nd, 2014

4.22.14 - Don't miss out on your opportunity to visit with our INDYCAR drivers from Pro Mazda to Indy Lights and the Verizon IndyCar Series! Check out the list of appearances for our weekend at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Friday, April 25
 
Marco Andretti & Ryan Hunter-Reay
ShopAndretti.com Merch Signing
INDYCAR Fan Village
4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
 
 
Saturday, April 26
 
Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Muñoz 
Verizon IndyCar Autograph Session
INDYCAR Fan Village
12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
 
 
Sunday, April 27
 
Zach Veach & Matthew Brabham
Indy Lights Autograph Session
INDYCAR Fan Village
10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
 
Shelby Blackstock & Garett Grist
Pro Mazda Autograph Session
INDYCAR Fan Village
10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
 
 
 

VEACH: Off to a great start… with a long way to go

April 21st, 2014

4.21.14 (via RACER.com) – With our very first win at St. Petersburg just a couple of weeks ago, the team and I were very excited to get back after it, especially at one of the most iconic tracks on the schedule – Long Beach. Last year was my first time getting the opportunity to compete on the circuit and I fell in love with it instantly. Of course for multiple reasons – one, its not like the typical street course; it's very fast and flowing. Third gear in most of the corners whereas in St. Pete and Toronto you're in second. Two, you have the Hairpin, where you're down to just 35mph and you get to drive around a fountain in Turn 3.

 

Last year our Long Beach weekend started out well, qualifying third but ending the race about 300 yards after the start-finish line on the first lap. So of course, with the championship lead going into the 2014 race, we definitely wanted things to go differently!

 

Especially with how the points are set up for this season: If a driver fails to compete 50% of the race winner's laps, he or she will only get a single point for that weekend. This puts a heavy price on being overly bold until halfway.

 

Like St. Pete, our weekend was set up pretty simple. Two practice sessions, qualifying and a 45-lap race. Right from the get go, we put our momentum to good use and ended up P2 in our practice session on Friday. Overall I was pretty happy with the car, but we knew we needed to get more speed out of it. In that situation we made some pretty bold changes on the car for practice two. Looking back it might have just been more of the track that we were chasing which put us behind to P4 in the second practice on Saturday morning. We only had a little over an hour before qualifying, so we went with our gut feel on what to go back on and waited.

 

At the beginning of the 45-minute session we were playing a bit of catch-up, settling back into the new changes. I felt right away they were the ones we needed. As I got more comfortable with the car, I started to change and try different things with my driving. My engineer was on the radio the whole time telling me what sectors I needed to improve on and where we were the fastest. With about 30 minutes to go, we decided to come in and switch to our first new set of tires. After I got a few laps out of them, we were P1, but I knew it was only going to be for a short time. As I came to pit lane for my second set of new tires, we'd had already fallen to P2. At the point, we decided to make a bigger change than before on the car to help aid the understeer. As I got back on track, we had 9 minutes to go, which only meant 6 or 7 more laps. This was when everyone started putting in their fastest times. We'd be P2, P3, and then P2 again, while everyone was bouncing around.

 

As I came through the hairpin with only 20 seconds to go, we were 0.15 seconds off, and P4… My engineer told me, "OK, This is going to be your last lap, squeeze everything you can out of her!"

 

I took a breath to clear my head, and just tried to focus as much as I could to put together a perfect lap; it felt like everything just slowed down for a minute. I came around to the timing line and entered pit lane.

 

To be honest, I had my head down; I didn't know what kind of lap I just did. A split second later, I heard my engineer come on excitedly saying "Nice job, man! Right now that's pole!" Turns out, the top 4 were separated only by 0.07 of a second… I was only ahead of P2 by 0.03. It was the closest gap I've ever been in! We couldn't believe it.

 

Of course, getting the pole was a nice start, but only that – a start. Thinking back to St. Pete, we started second, and was able to make a move into turn 1 and go on to win from there. With that being said, we were really focused on making a great start because it's so hard to pass at Long Beach with the low downforce levels.

 

We were on our way of doing just that as well coming to the green, except for one thing we didn't think about. As Gabby [Chaves] and I were racing neck and neck into Turn 1, his teammate gave him a little push from behind with his front wing. From my point of view, it looked like he pulled another gear. At the same time, I saw Matt Brabham looking to the inside of me.

 

With the help of the push, Gabby was about a car ahead of me, so it made more sense to let him go, and focus on defending myself from Matt. The race was pretty much sealed from there on, unfortunately. I coasted the first half, trying to save my tires the best I could and came on strong at the end putting the pressure on Gabby. It just wasn't enough.

 

After 45 laps, we finished second with the fastest lap of the race. We had the fastest car, but a second-place opportunity. All in all, I can't complain with that – we made valuable points, and that's what a championship is all about.

 

So far, Gabby and I have had identical weekends except for a single point. After Long Beach, I am at 93, and he has 92. It feels great to still be leading the championship, but I'll definitely be working to make our lead bigger next weekend in Barber!

 

Thank you for reading, and thank you to RePLAY XD, Young Marines, ADS IT Solutions, Zakosi Data Back Up, OMP, Bell, and of course Andretti Autosport for all of the support.

 

 

 

Carlos Munoz salvages day for Andretti team with podium run

April 15th, 2014

4.15.14 (via MotorSportsTalk) – On a day where Andretti Autosport had two of its biggest threats for a Long Beach win erased in one fell swoop, its youngest pilot made sure that the team would still get represented on the podium.
 
Colombian driver Carlos Munoz became the first of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ quartet of rookies to score a podium this season with a third-place finish.
 
However, it’s not his first career IndyCar podium as he finished runner-up to Tony Kanaan in last year’s Indianapolis 500 while driving a fifth, part-time car for Andretti.
 
Munoz admitted that today wasn’t the ideal way he’d like to earn a podium, nodding to the multi-car incident that enveloped veteran teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe on Lap 54.
 
Hunter-Reay was looking to pass Josef Newgarden for the lead in Turn 4, but instead made contact with him. Both went into the wall and collected Hinchcliffe.
 
Tony Kanaan and Takuma Sato were also eliminated in the wreck. Another rookie, Jack Hawksworth, and Helio Castroneves were involved as well but ultimately finished the race.
 
Munoz, however, was able to miss the accident and took the subsequent restart with 16 laps remaining in fifth place.
 
He had taken fourth from Juan Pablo Montoya before Graham Rahal brought out the yellow again with 13 to go, and he then moved up to third when leader Scott Dixon pitted for fuel with two laps remaining – which enabled Mike Conway to eventually secure the win.
 
“I think [the result] means more for the team, and a lot [more] confidence for me that I know I can fight with the top guys,” the Colombian said. “…It gives me confidence [that] I know I can be also really fast on tracks and on the road courses.
 
“Right now, I think we aren’t really happy with what happened with Ryan and James, but for sure, we’re going to be ready for Barber.”
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hunter-Reay Captures Long Beach Pole on Final Lap

April 13th, 2014

4.12.13 (via IndyCar.com) – Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified second for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in 2010, '11 and '13 with one victory to represent the efforts. On April 13, he'll start the 40th annual race on the temporary street circuit from the inside of the front row.

Hunter-Reay earned the Verizon P1 Award by pipping Andretti Autosport teammate James Hinchcliffe on his final lap of the Firestone Fast Six session with a lap of 1 minute, 7.8219 seconds on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn course. Hinchcliffe, driving the No. 27 United Fiber & Data car, was .1184 of a second back after completing the 10-minute session.

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