INDYCAR NEWS AND NOTES - Dec. 5, 2012

Story posted - Dec 05 2012 4:25 PM

INDYCAR NEWS AND NOTES - Dec. 5, 2012
Today's IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:
1. Hunter-Reay to carry No. 1 with twist in defense of title
2. Focus forward to 2013, Power says, at Chevy test
3. Daly to test for AJ Foyt Racing at Sebring
4. Servia to return to Panther DRR in 2013

1. Hunter-Reay to carry No. 1 with twist in defense of title: No. 28 is significant to reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay because of the estimated 28 million people globally afflicted with cancer. No. 1 is significant in Indy car racing, identifying the reigning series champion's car.
For the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season, Hunter-Reay will run a combination of both numbers on the Chevrolet-powered Andretti Autosport car with primary sponsorship from DHL. The No. 1 will be bisected by 28. The team unveiled the liveries for its three full-season IZOD IndyCar Series cars Dec. 5 at its Indianapolis facility.

"It is a huge honor to have earned the right to run the No. 1," said Hunter-Reay, who a day earlier was announced as one of the 16 finalists for the Mario Andretti Trophy as the SPEED Performer of the Year. "All of us at Andretti Autosport see this as a tremendous opportunity to leverage our sponsors, brands and message for 2013 and beyond. We certainly do not underestimate the task. I assure you we are already hard at work and will do everything possible to earn the right to carry the coveted No. 1 in future years as well."

Using No. 28 on the car for the 2012 season, Hunter-Reay - a global envoy for LIVESTRONG and co-founder/global ambassador of Racing For Cancer -- has strived to create awareness and raise funds for research. His mother died from the effects of colon cancer in November 2009.

"The decision to switch to the No. 1 for the 2013 season was very tough. The No. 28 has so much meaning to so many," said Hunter-Reay, who turns 32 on Dec. 17. "But we recognized that our team, partners and sponsors have all earned the right to carry the No. 1.

"Racing For Cancer's No. 1 goal is to beat cancer and we realized that running the No. 1 with the No. 28 incorporated into the design, a very important detail to me personally, would provide us with an opportunity to strengthen the message and cause of beating cancer while at the same time recognizing our partners and sponsors dedication to excellence on, and off, the track."

According to the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook, car No. 1 is reserved for the defending entrant (not driver) series champion. Team owner Michael Andretti was the last to use No. 1 on an Indy car - in the 2006 Indianapolis 500 for defending race winner Andretti Green Racing (2005 Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon had moved on to Target Chip Ganassi Racing).

In 2004, Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing was the last IZOD IndyCar Series champion to run the No. 1 for a full season. He finished 10th in the standings through the 16 races. Sebastien Bourdais had the No. 1 on his car 2005, '06 and '07 to recognize his Champ Car World Series championships.

The RC Cola car driven by Marco Andretti also is changing numbers for the 2013 season - from 26 to 25.
Andretti had run No. 26 since breaking into the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2006.

"The No. 26 will always be a part of me and my history in racing," said Andretti, "but I think it's grown unlucky for me. I like the meaning of 25 versus 26. To me, 26 is a character-builder through heartache and trials. Looking ahead to the No. 25 means success and leadership. It's like my chance to be reborn as a veteran driver."

Andretti has two IZOD IndyCar Series victories. The series opens the '13 season March 24 with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Andretti won the Firestone Indy Lights race in his series debut on the street circuit in 2005. James Hinchcliffe will retain No. 27 for his second season with the team.
Champions who ran No. 1 (with sanctioning body)
1982 - Rick Mears (CART)
1983 - Rick Mears (CART) except in Indianapolis 500 where he used No. 2. George Snider used No. 1 at Indy as USAC champ
1984 - Al Unser (CART) except at Indy where Tom Sneva used No. 1 as defending 500 winner (USAC champ)
1985 - Mario Andretti except at Indy where Rick Mears (USAC champ) used it and Road America where Alan Jones drove Andretti's car
1986 - Rick Mears (CART) except at Indy where Danny Sullivan used it as defending race champion
1987 - Bobby Rahal (CART)
1988 - Bobby Rahal (CART) except at Indy where Al Unser used it as defending race winner
1989 - Danny Sullivan (CART)
1990 - Emerson Fittipaldi (CART)
1991 - Al Unser Jr. (CART) except at Indy where Arie Luyendyk used it as defending race winner
1992 - Michael Andretti (CART)
1993 - Bobby Rahal (CART)
1994 - Nigel Mansell (CART)
1995 - Al Unser Jr. (CART)
1996 - Raul Boesel (CART) driving car Villeneuve won 1995 title for Team Green
1996-1997 - Scott Sharp (IRL) except at Indy where Paul Durant drove his car and Texas, Charlotte, Loudon and Las Vegas where Billy Boat drove his car.
1997 - Jimmy Vasser (CART)
1998 - Tony Stewart (IRL)
1998 - Alex Zanardi (CART)
2000 -- Greg Ray (IRL)
2000 - Juan Pablo Montoya (CART)
2001 - Gil de Ferran (CART)
2002 - Cristiano da Matta (CART) for three races after he clinched the 2002 title
2003 - Bruno Junqueira (CART) driving car da Matta won 2002 title with (Newman/Haas)
2004 - Scott Dixon (IRL)
2004 - Paul Tracy (CCWS)
2005 - Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)
2006 - Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)
2006 - Michael Andretti (IRL) driving entry in Indianapolis 500 for defending race winner Andretti Green Racing
2007 - Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)

2. Focus forward to 2013, Power says, at Chevy test: Eleven weeks had passed since Will Power left his crippled race car and broken heart in a garage at Auto Club Speedway.

The driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car fell three points shy of securing his first IZOD IndyCar Series championship after the combination of a crash in the season finale and a fourth-place finish by his
title rival gave the crown to Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport.

But that's all history, according to Power, who wound up the series' championship runner-up for the third consecutive year. Preparing for the 19-race 2013 season -- during a test day on the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway oval Dec. 4 -- is somewhat cathartic. Power and five other drivers whose cars are powered by the Chevrolet 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engine used a clear and comfortable day at the track for validation and development.

"We're putting in some miles for Chevy and seeing how we can progress for next year. It sure is good to get back into the Verizon No. 12 car; we've spent too much time apart," Power said. "I spent about a month after the season ended in Australia and ran the V-8 Supercar race and spent time with family, but it sure is good to get back into a familiar car -- an IndyCar.

"Chevy has given us great support and they continue to work hard to get us the best engine in the field. I am really looking forward to 2013 and putting it all together. We keep getting close but not quite there for the championship. I think we know what we need to do to win a championship, and with me, the team and everyone focusing we can hopefully do it."

Power was joined by Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves, who will join Tony Kanaan and Rubens Barrichello to compete in a Brazilian stock car race this weekend for charity, Marco Andretti of Andretti Autosport, Sebastien Bourdais of Dragon Racing, and Ed Carpenter of Ed Carpenter Racing.
The testing window for 2012 closes Dec. 14, and several drivers will be on the Sebring International Raceway short course Dec. 12-13 to test.

Carpenter won the MAVTV 500 on Sept. 15 -- his second oval victory.

"It really made our year last year with Ed Carpenter Racing and Fuzzy's Vodka to win the race at Auto Club Speedway," Carpenter said of the first-year team. "When they told me they were sponsoring Victory Lane it put even more pressure and desire to get them there. It's good to come back to a track where you have had success at. This is going to be a big race again next year, too (as the final round of the Fuzzy's Triple Crown)."

Drivers and teams ran through items requested by Chevrolet engineers and then worked on their own litany of car changes.

"We've been out of the car for a long time, it's always good to be back in the cockpit," Andretti said. "We're having some fun at Auto Club Speedway and doing some work for Chevy to keep improving into next year. The morning part of the test was for Chevy and in the afternoon we are making some mechanical changes to our car. We didn't have much trouble qualifying well here (he earned the pole), but we sure need to do better on the race set-up."

3. Daly to test for AJ Foyt Racing at Sebring: Up and coming American driverConor Daly will test the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda-powered IndyCar at Sebring International Raceway Dec. 13 -- two days before his 21st birthday.

Daly, who will be testing an IZOD IndyCar Series car for the first time, is the son of Derek Daly, a former Formula One and Indy car driver.

"Conor Daly is one of the exciting up-and-coming drivers in open wheel racing today," said Larry Foyt, team director of A.J. Foyt Racing. "I had spoken to Conor at the F-1 race in Austin and I was impressed. I thought this test was a perfect opportunity to see how he works with our team. Depending on how it goes, we may be able to do something with him in the future."

Daly, a native of Noblesville, Ind., has won in every series he has competed including Firestone Indy Lights, Star Mazda, GP3, and Skip Barber. He has spent the last two seasons competing in GP3, the European-based single-seater series. Daly won championships in Star Mazda and Skip Barber National series.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to drive an Indy car for the first time with A.J. Foyt Racing," Daly said. "I've grown up at the Indy 500 and have always dreamed of getting in an Indy car someday. I will do the best job I can to get to know the team and complete all the things they've got planned for the test. I can't thank Larry enough for organizing this and taking an interest in my future."

4. Servia to return to Panther DRR in 2013: Oriol Servia will return to drive the No. 22 Panther Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car for the 2013 season, the team announced.

It will be the second consecutive season with the team, whose car is powered by Chevrolet. After a switch to the 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 Chevy engine at the beginning of May, Servia recorded a fourth-place finish in the Indianapolis 500 after starting 27th. He followed with top-five finishes on the street courses of Detroit and Toronto and the Milwaukee Mile.

"We had several great on-track performances this past season, including our fourth-place finish at the Indianapolis 500, but we're not satisfied," Servia said. "Our goal is to win that race and contend week in and week out for wins and podiums at all races. Continuity is very important in our sport and now we'll be able to build upon our successes in a second year together."

Servia, who has been racing in Indy car since 2000, finished fourth in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series standings. The 1999 Indy Lights champion also was runner-up in the 2005 Champ Car World Series standings.
Through the strategic alliance between Panther DRR and Panther Racing, Servia will work with JR Hildebrand, driver of the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car. Both drivers will test at Sebring International Raceway next week.

"As an organization, we have worked very hard to be in the position to hire a talented driver whom is an appropriate fit to the personality of our team both in and out of the car," team co-owner Dennis Reinbold said. "We couldn't be happier to have the continuity of a second year with Oriol in the No. 22 car. We're also excited to see our ongoing increased investment in the technical and engineering areas of our team result in success within our off-season development program and on-track performance next year."

 
If you were a TSO subscriber - you could comment on this article and tell us what YOU think.

 

INDYCAR NEWS AND NOTES - Dec. 3, 2012 << Home Page >> IZOD IndyCar Series Champion Hunter-Reay Collects Million Dollar Bonus At Indianapolis Motor Speedway