INDYCAR NEWS AND NOTES - Dec. 3, 2012

Story posted - Dec 03 2012 6:13 PM

INDYCAR NEWS AND NOTES - Dec. 3, 2012
Today's IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:
1. Veach graduates to Firestone Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport
2. Rain washes out test at Auto Club Speedway
3. Veteran engineer Jones joins Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
4. Franchitti, Hawksworth earn BRDC honors

1. Veach graduates to Firestone Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport: Zach Veach will compete in an Andretti Autosport car for the fourth consecutive season.

The 17-year-old from Stockdale, Ohio, will drive the No. 12 K12 car for the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights season, which includes the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Veach has progressed up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder from USF2000 in 2010-11 to Star Mazda in 2012 to Firestone Indy Lights.

"I'm glad to have Zach back with us for 2013 and to see him step up to a Firestone Indy Lights car is great. It means the Mazda Road to Indy ladder is working," Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti said. "He's been with us for each step of the ladder so far and we've continued to be impressed by him. We're looking forward to seeing his talent develop even further this season."

The 12-race Firestone Indy Lights schedule opens on March 23-24 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.
"It's crazy to think I'm going into my fourth season in 2013 with Andretti Autosport," Veach said. "I'm still just as excited as I was the first day I joined the team and to be moving up to Firestone Indy Lights is a dream come true. The cars are very similar to the Atlantics car, which I spent a considerable amount of time testing in 2009 and 2010. I'm stoked to jump up to a bigger car with more horsepower and the start of the season can't come soon enough.

"I have to give a big thank you again to K12 for continuing to be a part of my program both on the racetrack and for my education. Without them I would not still be chasing this crazy dream of mine. I also have to thank Michael for continuing to give me this opportunity with the team and to my family for the continued support."

K12, the nation's largest provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs for students in kindergarten through high school, will continue its relationship with Veach in 2013 by serving as his primary sponsor.

Veach first joined Andretti Autosport in 2010, and competed in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda for two years. In 2011, Veach clinched the Cooper Tires Winterfest title with two race wins and three pole awards.

During the 2012 season, Veach had nine top-10 finishes, including a runner-up finish on the streets of Toronto in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. He won the 2012 Formula Car Challenge presented by Goodyear Winter Series championship with four victories and four pole positions.

2. Rain washes out test at Auto Club Speedway: Rain postponed the planned test session at Fontana's Auto Club Speedway for four Chevrolet-powered teams on Dec 3. The test has been rescheduled for Dec. 4.

Andretti Autosport, Team Penske, Dragon Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing are all on hand for the test, with drivers expected to include AA's Marco Andretti, Penske's Will Power and Helio Castroneves, Dragon's Sebastien Bourdais and owner/driver Carpenter.

3. Veteran engineer Jones joins Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: Eddie Jones has joined the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing as race engineer for the second 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series program the team is working to finalize.

Jones spent more than 15 years with Team Green/Andretti Autosport as a race engineer in Indy Lights, Champ Car and the IndyCar Series before moving to KV Racing Technology in 2012 to be as Rubens Barrichello's race engineer.

"Our intention all along was to build our engineering department and Eddie is one of the best out there." said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. "Given his track record, which is impressive, we are obviously very pleased that he has chosen to join our team. He will be the race engineer for the second program we expect to have, but in the meantime before we finalize that, Eddie will contribute daily to our overall engineering effort. I have always been impressed with the way he goes about his business, his personality and his strength as of a team player. His addition is a very important part of our future success."
Jones began his career in racing as a driver and race mechanic in 1971 and has built an impressive career since then. He was a consultant for various Atlantic and FF2000 programs and was team manager and engineer for FRE Racing's Indy Lights program from 1994-1996. In late 1996, he was hired as chief engineer
to turn around Team Green's Indy Lights program.

He was later promoted to race engineer for the team's Indy car program and worked with Michael Andretti (2001-2003), Dan Wheldon (2003-2005), Marco Andretti (2006-08, 2011-12) and Danica Patrick (2009-10) as the team transitioned from CART to the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Overall, while at Andretti Autosport, he engineered 13 Indy car wins, including Dan Wheldon's 2005 Indy 500 win and series title, and five top-three Indy 500 finishes. His 2012 season as F1 driver Barrichello's engineer at KV Racing Technology produced an eighth place season-ending standing in his rookie year, two top-five finishes and an 11th place in the Indy 500.

"I am very excited to have joined Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing," said Jones. "Bobby Rahal has been a winner both as a driver and as a team owner so he fully understands what it takes to be successful at this level and has built a team that is clearly up to the task.

"In particular I like the emphasis he places on the importance of engineering and am impressed by the group he has assembled under Technical Director Jay O'Connell and with Race Engineer Gerry Hughes. I believe my longstanding Indy car experience and particular skill sets will serve to complement their existing program and assist in the pursuit of greater competitiveness for 2013 and beyond."

4. Franchitti, Hawksworth earn BRDC Honors: Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti and Star Mazda Champion Jack Hawksworth were among the honorees of the British Racing Drivers Club at its annual awards on Dec. 3 in London.

Franchitti, who won his third Indianapolis 500 title in May, was awarded the Earl Howe Trophy as the highest-placed British driver in the Indy 500, or the British driver who has established the most meritorious performance of the year in North America.

Hawksworth, who clinched the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear in record-setting fashion, was awarded the Henry Surtees Trophy for the most outstanding performance by a BRDC Rising Star.

 
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