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2015 Schedule Announcement Thoughts and Notes

Posted on 10/30  • 

Well, we're all only a month into the off-season, but at least we now know when the season starts - only 129 days from today to the first race in Brasilia.

Mark Miles called the 2015 schedule "progress" to where INDYCAR wants to head long-term. Where do they want to end up? Basically, with a schedule that runs during the NFL off-season - starting right after the Super Bowl with up to four international races, then comes to North American in the middle of March through Labor Day.

Labor Day weekend is a holiday that IndyCar wants to own, much as they feel they own Memorial Day with the Indy 500. There is no race on Labor Day weekend in 2015, but they'd like to run at a "new city in a major market that might be joining the Series." The only street circuit races we've heard of in active discussion in the last few years are Fort Lauderdale, Providence, and Boston - so we can only presume that Boston in the "major market".

It won't be Sonoma - that track doesn't believe that the Labor Day holiday weekend works for them, and it sounds like Sonoma will only be the season-ending race in 2016 if the "major market" event falls through.

Andersen Promotions Announces RoadToIndy.TV Casting Call

Posted on 11/10  • 

Andersen Promotions today announced a casting call for a co-host of its popular RoadToIndy.TV program which debuted this year. The web TV initiative comprises a stream of bi-weekly episodes throughout the racing season focusing on the behind-the-scenes stories of drivers and teams on their way up the ladder in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. The winner of the casting call will travel the full Mazda Road to Indy circuit in 2015 with all expenses paid.

The audition period begins today and runs through December 19. Interested fans can enter by submitting a one-minute video about themselves to the RoadToIndy.TV Facebook page. Five finalists will be chosen and fan voting will decide the winner. Contestants must be between the ages of 18 and 25, live in the United States and be available for travel based on the 2015 race schedules.

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INDYCAR News from around the Internet:

IndyCar crew on hand for first Ambrose test - Speedcafe (Nov 20, 2014 10:34)
A five-strong crew of Team Penske IndyCar mechanics will be on hand at Lakeside for Marcos Ambrose’s first V8 Supercars drive in nine years. The IndyCar mechanics have been at Dick Johnson Racing’s headquarters this week completing the preparation of Ambrose’s brand-new Ford Falcon V8 Supercar. As Friday’s Lakeside hit-out is classified as a ‘ride day’, the imports will largely play the role of observers before Ambrose’s first full-fledged test at Queensland Raceway on Sunday. The Americans have been flown to Australia to provide the backbone of Ambrose’s NRMA Sydney 500 pit crew while the IndyCar Series enjoys its long off-season. DJR will field a full crew and extra pit boom for Ambrose in Sydney, rather than sharing with single-car squad Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, but is yet to confirm a race engineer for the entry. ... “They (the IndyCar mechanics) have already been a big help this week,” added Story. “They’re experienced guys that we’ve been able to throw in the deep end straight away.

Racing legend's wife takes ride on wild side - Sport - NZ Herald News (Nov 17, 2014 20:10)
Speaking from their United States home in Indianapolis, Dixon's wife of six years says that on the road he finds gaps no one else can see. "He's so good at judging the pace of other cars and has such good timing. While other people are braking and being hesitant he just cruises through the traffic almost effortlessly," said Emma. "I'd have to say that he's a good driver but sometimes he sits right up someone's bum like he's drafting [slipstreaming] or something. He's got great reaction but the others don't."

Sam Schmidt auditions for Crash Test Dummies | Las Vegas Review-Journal (Nov 3, 2014 10:31)
Sam Schmidt, the Indycar auto racing team owner who makes his home in Las Vegas, navigated the paddock at the NHRA Toyota Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Halloween in the guise of a crash test dummy.

Latest Stories - Zanardi ticks off another milestone in Ironman Triathlon (Oct 16, 2014 15:14)
Alex Zanardi has mastered his latest big challenge. On Saturday, the former IndyCar and F1 star turned BMW works GT driver successfully contested his first long-distance triathlon in Hawaii. The 47-year-old Italian completed the overall distance of 140.5 miles in a time of 9h47m14s. He was 272nd overall among the 2,187 athletes – fewer than a dozen of whom were competing with physical handicaps like Zanardi, who lost both his legs in a Champ Car accident in 2001.

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

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

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

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

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

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