INDYCAR News and Notes — Sept. 1, 2016
1. Enerson confirmed for final two races with Coyne
2. Graham Rahal partners with dad in auto dealership
3. Pagenaud, gold-medal swimmer Vollmer appreciate healthy cooking
4. Little League champs named Watkins Glen grand marshals
1. Enerson confirmed for final two races with Coyne: Dale Coyne Racing confirmed that RC Enerson, who made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in impressive fashion a month ago at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, will drive the team’s No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda in the final two events of the season – this weekend’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen and the Sept. 16-18 GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.
CLICK HERE: INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen entry list
Enerson was quick from the outset during the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio race weekend, posting the seventh-best lap in a pair of practice sessions and clocking the fastest race lap of any Honda driver, when he finished 19th after going a lap down midway through the event after he ran out of fuel coming into the pits.
The 19-year-old Floridian, who started this season in Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, is eager for the challenge of Watkins Glen International after testing on the 3.37-mile permanent road course Aug. 11.
“I think we have a good weekend ahead of us,” Enerson said. “We were really quick in testing, we seem to have pretty good cars. We still need to work a little bit more, but we should be able to dial in the car in practice before qualifying and that should put us in a pretty good spot.”
Watkins Glen is the site of the first Indy car win for Dale Coyne Racing, captured by the late Justin Wilson in 2009. Enerson will team with fellow Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Conor Daly there this weekend.
“I’m just looking forward to getting back in the car. I think the track layout is pretty cool, it has a bit of a Mid-Ohio taste to it almost because of all the elevation changes and a lot of high-speed, flowing corners. That new pavement that they have – I never got to drive on the old one – but apparently it has way more grip and I believe it because it’s pretty intense how much speed you can carry into the corners and how much the car will actually take.
“I think my objective for the weekend is pretty much the same thing as Mid-Ohio, to pull as much experience as I can from this and do my best and see what kind of result I can bring home.”
Practice for the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen begins at 11 a.m. ET Friday and will air live on NBCSN. An afternoon session (3:30 p.m. ET) will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com , as well as Saturday’s Verizon P1 Award knockout qualifying at 3 p.m. ET (with a taped NBCSN telecast at 6 p.m.). Race coverage starts at 2 p.m. ETSunday on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
2. Graham Rahal partners with dad in auto dealership: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Graham Rahal is a partner with his father, three-time Indy car champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, in the Bobby Rahal Honda dealership that had its grand opening Wednesday in State College, Pa.
“I have been working on getting involved with the dealership group for a long time, so this is exciting for me,” said Graham Rahal, who earned his fourth career Indy car win in the Firestone 600 on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway. “The car business has interested me my whole life, so this is the culmination of a longtime dream that I have been chasing hard the last six or seven years.”
Bobby Rahal, co-owner of the race team, started the Bobby Rahal Automotive Group in 1989 that now includes 10 “rooftops” with multiple manufacturers. The State College location is the second Honda franchise for the group. Graham Rahal became a junior partner this year.
“There are a number of young executives that have been with us for many years that will become junior partners in this dealership, and Graham is one of those,” Bobby Rahal said. “This is the next generation of our business, really. Graham’s passion for the car business, as well as the passion the other young junior partners have, will help grow our business as a group.”
3. Pagenaud, gold-medal swimmer Vollmer appreciate healthy cooking: One is among the fastest on the track and the other among the fastest in the water, but who would prevail in the kitchen?
Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Simon Pagenaud and USA Swimming Olympian Dana Vollmer competed in a friendly matchup of culinary talents Monday as part of a promotion for the series’ upcoming GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, which takes place Sept. 16-18 at Sonoma Raceway in Northern California.
The two athletes paired up with Bay Area chefs Tanya Holland and Victor Scargle at the well-known Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland. Pagenaud, driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet, and Vollmer are both very conscious of what they cook at home and realize how important it is to feed their bodies the correct nutrition for their respective sports.
“I can really feel in training and at a meet what I put into my body,” said Vollmer, the 28-year-old, five-time Olympic gold medalist. “I try to eat really clean, I try to eat really healthy, maybe some ice cream from time to time, but all in moderation. Especially coming back from having my son, nutrition was really important to getting back into shape and supporting my son, feeding my son.”
Vollmer made a red quinoa salad with apples, figs, lemon, mint and thyme, as well as lamb tacos wrapped in hand-made corn tortillas. Pagenaud created a beef wrapped with pork belly with French green beans and charred tomatoes. His grandmother made a similar recipe back in his home country of France, and noted that he may need to take a few tips and suggestions home to grandma.
“It reminded me of my hometown, it reminded me of my grandma and what she used to cook for us,” Pagenaud said. “So when I go back, I’ll have to tell her we’ve made a few adjustments to the recipe.”
Vollmer is just weeks returned from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she won gold, silver and bronze medals for the U.S. swim team. Pagenaud has four wins and six pole positions to his name in 2016 as he looks toward success this weekend at Watkins Glen International and two weeks later in Sonoma Raceway, hopefully clinching his first career Verizon IndyCar Series championship.
4. Little League champs named Watkins Glen grand marshals: Watkins Glen International will recognize the newly crowned Little League World Series champion Maine-Endwell (N.Y.) baseball team with players and coaches set to serve as grand marshals at Sunday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen.
A sparkling 24-0 season record was capped by five Little League World Series wins – including a 2-1 victory over South Korea in the final – making Maine-Endwell the first team from New York to win the title since 1964. The team also received the Jack Losch Little League World Series Team Sportsmanship Award, an honor voted on by peers at the tournament.
Watkins Glen also announced that Doug Allen, the in-house singer for the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, will perform the national anthems prior to Saturday’s Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race and Sunday’s Verizon IndyCar Series race. Also known as “Anthem Guy,” Allen’s enthusiastic deliveries of “O Canada” and “The Star Spangled Banner” have been thrilling thousands of Sabres fans more than 20 years.