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INDYCAR News and Notes – July 12, 2016

1. Filippi returns to Coyne for Honda Indy Toronto
2. Trio of drivers take in ESPYs activities
3. Rousseau Metal returns as Rahal sponsor for Toronto
4. ‘The Runner’ dashes through Indianapolis Motor Speedway

1. Filippi returns to Coyne for Honda Indy Toronto: Luca Filippi is returning to drive this weekend at the site of his best Verizon IndyCar Series showing – the Honda Indy Toronto.

Filippi will pilot the No. 19 IMPCO ComfortPro Honda for Dale Coyne Racing for the 32nd Indy car race on the streets of Exhibition Place in the 30th anniversary of the Toronto event. Filippi drove in the first four races this season for Coyne with a top finish of 17th place at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. He finished a career-best second at Toronto in 2015 to teammate Josef Newgarden for CFH Racing.

“I’m very excited to be back with Dale Coyne Racing this weekend and to have the chance to race in the Honda Indy Toronto again,” Filippi said. “I want to thank IMPCO Technologies, the ComfortPro team and Dale Coyne for giving me this opportunity. It’s one of my favorite races, not just because I finished on the podium in Toronto last year, but because it’s one of the best events on the schedule and I love to race on street circuits. I can’t wait to get back on track.”

For the Honda Indy Toronto entry list, click here.

Filippi, 30, from Mondovi, Italy, has driven in 22 Verizon IndyCar Series races dating to his rookie season in 2013. He has competed in three races at Toronto.

Sponsorship comes from IMPCO Technologies, a global leader in the alternative fuels and idle reduction technology headquartered in Santa Ana, Calif. One of IMPCO’s auxiliary power units, ComfortPro, and the newly released ComfortPro E will serve as associate sponsors. IMPCO has a plant in Kitchener, Ontario, where its idle reduction products are designed and manufactured.

“We’re extremely pleased to be present at this year’s Honda Indy Toronto,” said Bruno Balocco, general manager of IMPCO Technologies. “Dale Coyne Racing, Luca Filippi and the (Verizon) IndyCar Series offer us the perfect platform to bring additional visibility to our company and to our newly released electric auxiliary power unit, ComfortPro E. We’ve sponsored Luca in the past and are thrilled to continue that association with him for our home event. He’s had success there before and we hope he can do even better this year.”

Practice for the Honda Indy Toronto begins Friday. Qualifying airs live on NBCSN at 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday, with coverage of the 85-lap race beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on CNBC and a re-air at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

2. Trio of drivers take in ESPYs activities: With the Iowa Corn 300 behind them and the Honda Indy Toronto ahead, Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi and Graham Rahal are living in the present this week. That means trips to Los Angeles for the 24th annual ESPY Awards.

Dixon, the four-time and reigning series champion, and Rossi, who won the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29, are nominated for the “Best Driver” ESPY along with three drivers from other racing disciplines. One will win, based on online voting that is open until the show airs at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday on ABC. (Vote for Rossi or Dixon by clicking here.)

Festivities kicked off today, with Rahal playing in the 2016 ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic in Newport Beach, Calif., along with basketball legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown and other sports greats and celebrities. The event raises money for the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund at The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

“While I certainly don’t feel like I fit the ‘celebrity’ mold to the level of folks like Dr. J, it’s very cool to be invited by ESPN and be in this great field of sporting all-stars,” Rahal said.

Rossi appeared Monday on “The Rich Eisen Show,” then headed off to meet Motor Trend’s Carlos Lago, who let him choose among a lot of supercars to take for a spin. Rossi picked the Acura NSX and Rossi and Lago, both Californians, took it for a cruise. Then came lunch in Beverly Hills and questions from a TMZ reporter.

“It’s different,” Rossi said of the L.A. experience thus far, “but I think it’s a wonderful thing for the INDYCAR championship and hopefully will lead to building some momentum stateside. I hope we can capitalize on it in the best way possible and me personally doing the same thing.”

Tonight’s schedule includes a pair of invitation-only parties – The Players’ Tribune party and ESPN’s ESPYS kick-off event at the historic Avalon nightclub in Hollywood. Dixon and Rossi will walk the red carpet Wednesday before the ESPYs broadcast.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be nominated alongside so many other great drivers for this award,” Dixon said. “I’ve been nominated once before but never had the opportunity to attend the ESPYs. I’m looking forward to the event and seeing who comes out on top in all the categories involving so many top-level athletes from around the world of sports.”

3. Rousseau Metal returns as Rahal sponsor for Toronto: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced that Rousseau Metal will be the primary sponsor of the No. 15 Honda driven by Graham Rahal for the second straight year at the Honda Indy Toronto.

“It’s great to welcome back Rousseau as primary sponsor at Toronto for the second year,” said Bobby Rahal, team co-owner. “I have a long history with Rousseau, first with our auto dealership group and then with the race teams. The car looks great and I’m looking forward to seeing it up front.”

Quebec-based Rousseau Metal, a leader in storage solutions, has been a team partner since 2009.

”Partnering for a second straight year with an organization that has the same drive as Rousseau was an easy decision to make,” said Charles-Alexandre Pare, vice president of sales and marketing, Rousseau Metal. “Rousseau is honored to be the primary sponsor and we continue to have a solid partnership on and off the track.”

4. ‘The Runner’ dashes through Indianapolis Motor Speedway: As title sponsor of the Verizon IndyCar Series, Verizon is always looking for ways to bring the excitement and thrills of INDYCAR across all of its platforms. The latest example of this is Verizon’s inclusion of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in “The Runner,” the new socially-driven, competitive reality series from executive producers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, airing on go90 and AOL.com.

Hosted by Matthew Patrick, creator of the YouTube series “Game Theory,” and featuring VICE News journalist, producer and media commentator Kaj Larsen as the on-camera expert, “The Runner” challenges one person to make it across America while the entire country hunts him or her down for a chance to cash in on more than a million dollars in prize money.

In the July 10 episode, “The Runner” visited IMS, where one contestant had to navigate the garages to unlock a ride in a Verizon IndyCar Series two-seater Indy car while being chased by teams of hunters. Check out the full episode here.