1. Newgarden Returning to CFH Racing for Fifth Season
2. Ganassi Sound Garage Features A Thousand Horses
3. Hinchcliffe Savors Indy 500 Starter’s Ring
4. Bourdais’ Busy Offseason Continues at Road Atlanta
5. Wilson Fund Auction Adds New Items for Bid
6. Of Note
1. Newgarden Returning to CFH Racing for Fifth Season: Josef Newgarden views the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season as a launching pad. Two victories, two additional podium finishes and his first pole start are the fuel, and part of the impetus for 2016 is the personnel at CFH Racing.
The team announced Oct. 1 that Newgarden would return to the No. 67 CFH Racing Chevrolet for the 2016 season. Newgarden has 67 Verizon IndyCar Series starts – all with the team he joined following his 2011 Indy Lights championship season.
“I have a lot of respect for every individual within this group. I get to see first-hand the level that this team operates at and there is a tremendous amount of dedicated and smart people,” Newgarden said. “They’ve given me all of the tools I could ask for to drive a race car and to be successful. That gives me confidence to come back and try to deliver my best and help the team be the best at what it does.
“I think we have a lot of capabilities and we proved some of that this year and we just want to go out and prove more. That’s what our goal is going to be in ’16.”
The 24-year-old native of Hendersonville, Tenn., earned his maiden Verizon IndyCar Series victory in April with a dominating performance at Barber Motorsports Park. Seven weeks later, he led teammate Luca Filippi across the finish line on the streets of Toronto for a 1-2 CFH result.
In the final five races, Newgarden added runner-up finishes at Iowa Speedway and Pocono Raceway, plus a fifth place at The Milwaukee Mile after registering his first pole position. He led 345 laps for the season, the most of any driver, and finished a career-best seventh in the point standings.
“It was great to finalize a deal with Josef to keep him with CFH Racing for 2016,” team co-owner/driver Ed Carpenter said. “Just as he was a priority to sign before this past season, he was a priority for us again this year. We are focused on becoming a force in the Verizon IndyCar Series and we see Josef being a large part of that. It is our intention to have him in a CFH car for a long time.”
Carpenter drives the companion No. 20 Chevrolet on ovals, while Filippi was in the seat for road/street course races this past season. CFH Racing completed its first season after the merger of Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.
“I’m certainly encouraged to see the energy, enthusiasm and dedication that Ed and our partners have given to the 67 car program to make this happen,” team co-owner and former Indy car driver Sarah Fisher said. “I am looking forward to a second year of racing at a championship level.”
2. Ganassi Sound Garage Features A Thousand Horses: Following a rousing debut a year ago, the second annual Ganassi Sound Garage will take place Oct. 5 at the Chip Ganassi Racing Teams facility in Concord, N.C.
The music event geared toward millennials features recording group A Thousand Horses from team sponsor Big Machine Label Group and will be hosted in part by Ganassi’s Verizon IndyCar Series millennial drivers, Sage Karam and Sebastian Saavedra. IndyCar.com will stream the event live beginning at 6 p.m. ET.
Other drivers scheduled to attend are the Ganassi millennial NASCAR trio of Kyle Larson, Dylan Kwasniewski and Brennan Poole.
3. Hinchcliffe Savors Indy 500 Starter’s Ring: James Hinchcliffe might not remove this special ring from his finger for quite a while.
Hinchcliffe, who drives for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, was presented Sept. 30 with a starter’s ring for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at the SPM facility in Indianapolis. Hinchcliffe qualified 24th in the No. 5 Arrow Lucas Oil Honda, but sustained a serious thigh injury in a May 18 practice crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and was unable to compete in the race.
Herff Jones representative Ken Keltner presented the ring and was joined at the event by Hulman Motorsports chief revenue officer Jay Frye.
“I was looking at my shelf at home where I keep the other (four) rings and was thinking, ‘Man, I’m missing one and it’s always going to bug me,”’ Hinchcliffe said of the memento given to each of the 33 Indy 500 starters every year. “It’s just so generous of Herff Jones to give me one and it makes me feel a little more connected to the race that I didn’t get to do.”
Hinchcliffe missed the remainder of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season while recuperating from the injury. He was recently cleared to drive by INDYCAR medical officials and returned to the No. 5 car Sept. 28 for an offseason team test at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
4. Bourdais’ Busy Offseason Continues at Road Atlanta: The Verizon IndyCar Season may be complete, but KVSH Racing driver Sebastien Bourdais is still keeping quite busy on the racetrack.
Bourdais rejoins co-drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa this weekend for Petit Le Mans, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship endurance season finale at Road Atlanta. Bourdais teamed with Fittipaldi and Barbosa in the No. 5 Action Express Prototype entry to win the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March after finishing second overall in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.
Bourdais heads back to Australia next week for the second of three PIRTEK Enduro Cup V8 Supercar events he is driving this fall for Walkinshaw Racing. The famed Bathurst 1000 is Oct. 8-11. Bourdais returns home to drive the No. 11 KVSH Racing Chevrolet in a Firestone tire test for the Verizon IndyCar Series at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway on Oct. 14.
Then it’s back Down Under for his final V8 Supercars event, the Gold Coast 600 on the streets of Surfers Paradise from Oct. 23-25, where Indy cars raced from 1991-2008 and Bourdais was victorious in 2005 and ’07.
“It’s great, but also when I started to look at all the schedule and what I had signed up for, I was like, ‘Wow, that’s going to be a heck of an off-INDYCAR season.’ But it’s great. I always relish the challenges and getting to drive different cars.”
5. Wilson Fund Auction Adds New Items for Bid: A third wave of racing, sports and other memorabilia items, including a VIP experience to the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race hosted by Team Penske and an NFL game-used football signed by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, were added Sept. 29 to the eBay auction benefiting the Wilson Children’s Fund.
Verizon IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson died Aug. 24 from a head injury suffered in a race the day before, leaving behind his wife, Julia, and young daughters, Jane and Jessica. Through Sept. 29, the auction has raised more than $350,000 for the fund. Donations from the INDYCAR community have raised nearly $100,000 more.
To view and bid on items, visit http://stores.ebay.com/Celebrity-Charity-Auctions/Justin-Wilson-Memorial. New items are added weekly to the auction, which continues through Oct. 26.
Additionally, a limited edition reproduction of 50 signed and numbered prints of noted artist Bill Patterson’s original work depicting Wilson’s final Indy car victory at Texas Motor Speedway in 2012 – painted live Aug. 31 at the Verizon IndyCar Series Championship Celebration and among the latest group of auction items added – are available by visiting http://billpatterson.com/justin-wilson-memorial-print, with $100 of each print sold contributed to the fund.
Tribute T-shirts are available by visiting http://shop.ims.com/indycar, with proceeds also directed to the fund.
Contributions can be made directly to the fund by visiting http://justinwilson.co.uk/donate or by mail to: Wilson Children’s Fund, c/o Forum Credit Union, PO Box 50738, Indianapolis, IN 46250-0738.
6. Of Note: The second video installment of “Exclusive Look Behind the Scenes of INDYCAR with Damien Power (Will’s Brother)” debuts Oct. 3 on the INDYCAR YouTube channel. This week’s episode features three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. … Team Penske’s Will Power, the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and third-place finisher this year, was awarded the key to the city in his hometown of Toowoomba, Australia, on Sept. 29. Power is also in Australia to promote his autobiography, “The Sheer Force of Will Power,” which he co-wrote with David Malsher. The book goes on sale in March 2016. … Schmidt Peterson Motorsports co-owner Ric Peterson said plans are progressing for his Canadian hometown of Calgary, Alberta, to host a Verizon IndyCar Series race targeted for September 2017. … NBCSN’s total day and primetime viewership for the third quarter of 2015 (June 29-Sept. 27), which included the final five races of the Verizon IndyCar Series season, jumped 130 percent over the same period in 2014. It is the cable network’s second most-watched quarter behind the first quarter of 2014, which featured live coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics. … A.J. Foyt, who underwent surgery Sept. 22 to implant an artificial knee in his right leg, returned to his Houston home Sept. 25. He should be up and around for the November wedding of his son, Larry, to Kelly Curran. Larry Foyt is president of A.J. Foyt Enterprises and the team director of AJ Foyt Racing.