INDYCAR News And Notes - Jan. 3, 2013

Story posted - Jan 04 2013 6:12 AM

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:

1. IZOD IndyCar Series champion Hunter-Reay joins Rolex 24 field
2. Hunter-Reays welcome first child
3. USF2000 2013 driver lineup begins to take shape
4. Of note

1. IZOD IndyCar Series champion Hunter-Reay joins Rolex 24 field: Reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay will co-drive a Wayne Taylor Racing car in the 51st Rolex 24 At Daytona later this month.

Hunter-Reay is the latest IZOD IndyCar Series driver confirmed for the race on the 3.56-mile, 12-turn circuit at Daytona International Speedway. Other competitors include Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, James Hinchcliffe, Sebastien Bourdais, Simon Pagenaud and Justin Wilson.

Hunter-Reay will drive the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype along with Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor. Teams in all classes will test Jan. 4-6.

Hunter-Reay, 32, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will compete in the Rolex 24 At Daytona for the seventh consecutive year, and the event will mark his 16th Grand-Am race. He co-drove the winning car in the 2007 season-ending 1,000-mile endurance race at Miller Motorsports Park outside Salt Lake City.

"I look forward to once again be driving for Wayne and working with the team that catapulted my career resurgence in 2006," said Hunter-Reay, who has a best finish of third in the 2010 Rolex 24. "After winning the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series championship with Team Chevy, I'm delighted to be an integral part of Chevrolet's biggest U.S. endurance event of the year.

"This will be my seventh Rolex 24 and I have come close to victory in the past with a podium. But joining this team and driving a Corvette DP alongside Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor should provide the best opportunity, yet, at competing for the overall win and getting on the top step."

Last year, Hunter-Reay teamed with Marco Andretti, Michael Valiante and Scott Mayer for a 10th-place finish in a Starworks Motorsport car.

"I've known Ryan for years and have always thought he was a tremendously underrated driver," team owner Wayne Taylor said. "He proved to the world what he's truly made of by winning the IndyCar championship last season. It's very important for our mutual partner General Motors to have him with a top team in the Daytona 24-hour."

2. Hunter-Reays welcome first child: Hunter-Reay's memorable 2012 got an additional memory with the birth of his first child with wife Beccy - Ryden Hunter-Reay on Dec. 28.

Ryden weighed in at 6 pounds, 8 ounces and 19.5 inches

"I thought we would be dealing with this in mid-January, so it was unexpected," Hunter-Reay said. "His name is Ryden because my wife Beccy really wanted him to have the initials RHR. He's amazing. It was such an amazing experience. He was born on Dec. 28, which is my car number, so I guess it was meant to be. The first time through is a magic experience but as a dad standing alongside, it was very nerve-racking."

3. USF2000 2013 driver lineup begins to take shape: The driver lineups for several teams competing in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda have begun to take shape.

Canadian Stefan Rzadzinski will race for JDC Motorsports in USF2000 alongside Michael Johnson, team officials announced on Jan. 3. Rzadzinski, who has also raced in Firestone Indy Lights, competed in a limited Star Mazda schedule with JDC Motorsports in 2012.

Pabst Racing Services announced Dec. 28 that they have secured three drivers for the 2013 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship class in INDYCAR's Mazda Road to Indy. Canadian Dalton Kellett will return for his second season with the team and will be joined by Jason Wolfe and 15-year-old Canadian Jesse Lazare.

4. Of note: SpeedSource Race Engineering will serve as the Official Engine Builder and Technical Consultant of the newly formed Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, the Mazda Road to Indy series which fills the opening vacated by Star Mazda. The Coral Springs, Fla.-based SpeedSource Race Engineering will begin the remanufacturing of all Mazda Renesis rotary engines currently used in the championship to 2013 specifications and also provide internal modifications to ensure parity between engines and greater longevity of a season or more...Juncos Racing announced Lee Dykstra has joined the team as race engineer for the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights season. Dykstra, who served as race engineer to IZOD IndyCar Series drivers James Hinchcliffe, Raphael Matos and Graham Rahal as they climbed the open-wheel racing ladder, brings a high level of experience to the growing team.

 
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