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April 2015
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Chip Ganassi Racing announces plans for #8 Chevrolet in Verizon IndyCar Series

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Sage Karam and Sebastian Saavedra to Share Driving Duties for Full-Season Entry

INDIANAPOLIS (April 14, 2015) – Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) unveiled its upcoming plans today for the No. 8 Chevrolet entry in the Verizon IndyCar Series, which includes races for both CGRT development driver Sage Karam and team newcomer Sebastian Saavedra– who will pilot the No. 8 AFS Chevrolet at this weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

 

Saavedra will be backed by AFS Racing/Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., one of the western states largest full service fire sprinkler companies, for the races in Long Beach, the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Sonoma, with an additional race at the Indianapolis 500 through a fifth entry overseen by CGRT.

 

After starts in St. Petersburg and New Orleans this season for CGRT, Karam will rejoin the team in the No. 8 Chevrolet for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama and the Indianapolis 500, and is scheduled to run the balance of the season until Sonoma.

 

NOTES OF INTEREST

 

  • Sage Karam: Verizon IndyCar Series Rookie of The Year candidate Sage Karam signed a multi-year deal last season as a CGRT development driver which began with the 2014 Indianapolis 500, where he finished ninth. The former Indy Lights Champion became the youngest Indy Lights Champion in history at 18 years old in 2013. Karam is also the first driver to compete in all levels of the Mazda Road to Indy program, where he became the only driver to win races at each level. Prior to that he was the youngest winner of the Skip Barber scholarship, where he also became the youngest (13) winner ever in the Skip Barber shootout. Earlier this year, Karam was also teammates on the No. 01 Ford Eco-boost/Target Riley for the Rolex 24 At Daytona with Scott Pruett, Joey Hand and Charlie Kimball. In St. Petersburg in March, Karam became the youngest driver in CGRT history to start an Indy car race for the team at 20 years old. Team Target driver Scott Dixon held the mark at 22 years old when he debuted for CGRT at the Milwaukee Mile in 2002.

 

  • Sebastian Saavedra: The Colombian driver began his racing career in karting at 8 years old, then moved to race in Europe and became the youngest rookie champion in F3 with multiple wins. In 2009, Saavedra came to America and signed to drive in the Indy Lights Series with Andretti Green Racing, where he captured two wins and a runner-up finish in the championship that season. He made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in the Indianapolis 500 in 2010 for Bryan Herta Autosport, and the 24-year-old has 33 starts to his credit with a pole position coming in last year’s inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

 

  • About AFS: AFS Racing is owned by Gary Peterson, the founder of Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc. The team was formed in 2002 and was one of the founding members of the Infiniti Pro Series (now Indy Lights). The team earned over 40 top-five finishes in Indy Lights, winning the championship in 2008 and 2009. AFS Racing, which began competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2009, will contest its seventh IndyCar season in 2015.

 

  • History of the No. 8: The No. 8 car made its debut with the Target Racing program at CGRT in 1991, one year after the team’s inception, in the CART series with Eddie Cheever behind the wheel. After a two-year hiatus, the No. 8 returned to the program with team newcomer Michael Andretti. Andretti earned CGRT’s first-ever win in the No. 8 car in Australia. The No. 8 car would not return until 2013, when Ryan Briscoe piloted the number in the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 and continued to drive the No. 8 full-time in the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

 

CGRT QUOTEBOARD

Sage Karam, Driver: “I’m grateful to Chip and the team for their ongoing commitment to me, and I can’t wait to get back in the car at Barber. I just take things one day at a time and nothing has really changed for me since I started as a development driver here– when Chip calls, I’m ready to go race.”

 

Sebastian Saavedra, Driver: “It’s good to be back in the Verizon IndyCar Series. This is an amazing opportunity for me with AFS to work with one of the most prestigious teams in all of racing. I’m very grateful to Chip and the team, which have had an incredible history in the sport, and specifically in the Indianapolis 500. I’m looking forward to Long Beach and doing everything I can to help get the No. 8 car to the front.”

Chip Ganassi, Owner, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc.: “We’ve been committed to Sage and to running the No. 8 car in the full Verizon IndyCar Series season since day one, and this plan reflects our continued investment in the series and in the team. Sage continues to grow his race craft in his development role with us, and we look forward to having both he and Sebastian contribute to the No. 8 team moving forward this season.”

Gary Peterson, Owner, AFS: “I’m excited about this coming together quickly with the Ganassi No. 8 entry. It looks to be a great alignment between AFS Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and Sebastian Saavedra. My heart has always been in racing and it will be great to see Sebastian have the chance he deserves with a great team. With the opportunities being limited for AFS, we had planned to sit this season out until this fantastic opportunity!”

About Chip Ganassi Racing Teams

Chip Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing industry for over 25 years and is considered one of the most successful as well as innovative owners the sport has anywhere in the world. Today his teams include four cars in the IndyCar Series, two cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and one Prototype in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Overall his teams have 17 championships and over 160 victories, including four Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400 and six Rolex 24 At Daytonas and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Ganassi boasts state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis and Brownsburg, Ind. and Concord, N.C., with a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Penn.

 

For more information log onto www.chipganassiracing.com

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Kelby Krauss; COURTESY CHIP GANASSI RACING PR

 


IndyCar in Long Beach this weekend for the Toyota Grand Prix race

 

For Immediate Release

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Fast Facts

Track: 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course (clockwise)

Race distance: 80 laps / 157.4 miles

Entry List: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (PDF)

Push-to-pass parameters: 10 activations for 20 seconds each

Firestone tire allotment: Four sets primary, three sets alternate

Twitter: @ToyotaGPLB @IndyCar, #TGPLB, #IndyCar

Event website: www.gplb.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2014 race winner: Mike Conway (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet)

2014 Verizon P1 Award winner: Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda),1:07.8219, 104.462 mph

Qualifying lap record: Justin Wilson, 1:06.902, 105.898 mph, April 2008

NBCSN race broadcast: Sunday, April 19 (4 p.m. ET)

NBCSN qualifying broadcast: Saturday, April 18 (6:30 p.m. ET)
Brian Till will be the play-by-play announcer for NBCSN’s broadcast of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Marty Snider, Kelly Stavast, Kevin Lee and Robin Miller are the pit reporters.

Radio broadcasts: Paul Page is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Qualifying and all Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the IMS Radio Network, Sirius 213, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR 15 app. Verizon IndyCar Series practice sessions are on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR 15 app.

Video Streaming: All practice sessions for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season will be available on the INDYCAR YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indycar) and RaceControl.IndyCar.com.

INDYCAR 15 App: Verizon Wireless puts fans in the driver’s seat with its INDYCAR 15 app. The app has been enhanced with new features to keep fans in the know of the latest race-day action. Exclusive features of the INDYCAR 15 app for Verizon Wireless customers will stream live through the app and include Interactive 3D Live View with real-time leaderboard and car telemetry to see where a fan’s favorite driver is positioned, leaderboard with enhanced 2D marching ants and car telemetry for 2015, in-car camera video streams from cameras that move 360 degrees and Driver-Pit Crew Chatter as drivers talk strategy with their pit crews during the race.

At-track schedule (all times local):
Friday, April 17
12:30-1:15 p.m. (Verizon IndyCar Series practice)
3:45-4:30 p.m. (Verizon IndyCar Series practice)

Saturday, April 18
10-10:45 a.m. (Verizon IndyCar Series practice)
2 p.m. (Three rounds of Verizon IndyCar Series qualifications)

Sunday, April 19
10-10:30 a.m. (Verizon IndyCar Series warm-up)
1 p.m. NBCSN on air
1:37 p.m. Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach green flag

Race Notes:
* James Hinchcliffe and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports played strategy to perfection and won the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park on April 12. Now the “mayor of Hinchtown” hopes to make Long Beach his latest conquest.

* This weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will mark the 32nd Indy car event on the historic street circuit. Mario Andretti won the first Indy car race there in 1984. Mike Conway was the 2014 race winner.

* Al Unser Jr. has won the most times at Long Beach (six), while Sebastien Bourdais and Will Power are the only entered drivers with multiple wins. Bourdais won three straight races from 2005-2007. Power won in 2008 and 2012. Other former race winners scheduled to compete are: Juan Pablo Montoya (1999), Helio Castroneves (2001), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2010) and Takuma Sato (2013).

* Team Penske drivers have won four of the last six poles at Long Beach: Power from 2009-2011 and Ryan Briscoe in 2012. In addition to Power, other past pole winners entered in this year’s race are: Hunter-Reay (2014), Justin Wilson (2008), Bourdais (2006-2007), Castroneves (2001) and Tony Kanaan (1999).

* Four drivers have won the race from the pole – Andretti (1984, 1985 and 1987), Unser Jr. (1989-90), Castroneves (2001) and Bourdais (2006-07).

* Nineteen drivers entered in the event have competed in Indy car races at Long Beach. Twelve of those drivers have led laps: Bourdais 168, Power 162, Hunter-Reay 122, Castroneves 101, Sato 66, Marco Andretti 64, Kanaan 51, Montoya 40, Simon Pagenaud 26, Scott Dixon 25, Sebastian Saavedra 3, Josef Newgarden 1.

* Gabby Chaves, Stefano Coletti, Francesco Dracone and Luca Filippi will compete in their first Verizon IndyCar Series race on the streets of Long Beach. Chaves competed on the circuit in Indy Lights.

* Kanaan seeks to start his 236th consecutive race, which would extend his Indy car-record streak that began in 2001 at Portland. Teammate Dixon has made 177 consecutive starts.

* Dixon, the longest-tenured driver for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, is tied with Bobby Unser for fifth on the all-time Indy car victory list with 35.

* The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg marked the competition debut of aerodynamic bodywork kits designed, manufactured and supplied by Chevrolet and Honda. Cars are differentiated by their shape on the street course as the manufacturers have designed separate aero kit specifications for road and street course/short ovals and speedways for the Dallara IR-12 chassis. References to the cars will incorporate the name of the corresponding manufacturer.

* The No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda Dallara crew of James Hinchcliffe won the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award during the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana with a total pit lane time of 35.066 seconds. The Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports crew will receive its $10,000 award during pre-race festivities at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Pre-Race Driver Quotes:

Will Power (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet): “Long Beach, man, everyone wants to win at Long Beach. It’s one of the biggest races in North America and a place with so much history. I’ve had some pretty interesting history there myself, from qualifying on the pole before Helio (Castroneves) made his comeback in 2009 to winning there twice in my career at Team Penske. If you want to see what street racing is all about in the Verizon IndyCar Series, then you need to go to Long Beach. With the amount of attention we paid in the offseason to preparing for the street courses, I expect us to be quick this weekend. We knew going into the season that those tracks would be our strong suit. The No. 1 Verizon Chevy team was fortunate to come away from NOLA with a decent points day, but it looked to be much more promising. Regardless, we will be ready for Long Beach.”

Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Knowing that we’ve had the fastest cars at both of the first two races to start the season is a great feeling for everyone at Team Penske and the No. 2 Verizon Chevy team. Unfortunately, we couldn’t control the weather at NOLA or the caution flags that came with it. We should be sitting here with two wins to start the season, but to have a nice lead in the points and to be running well on the street courses gives us plenty of momentum going into this weekend at Long Beach. Long Beach will always be a special place for me. It was where I won my first major Indy car race in 1999, setting me up for a tremendous season that culminated in the (CART) championship that year. It would be very nice to win there again and set ourselves up for a title run this year.”

Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet): “Sometimes you are not going to have races that go your way and you need to man up, overcome and make the best of a situation. The weather in New Orleans was something we could not control. Several drivers, myself included, made some mistakes on the wet surface and we paid for it. But the Hitachi team did a great job in making repairs and getting me back on track for a solid finish. When you have a will to win like that, it means you can overcome anything that comes your way during the season. Those are the kind of days and races that make you a champion. Hopefully our race at Long Beach in the Auto Club of Southern California Chevy will be smoother. Our cars were really strong at St. Petersburg, so I really like the platform we have for the street circuits.”

Stefano Coletti (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): “I’m excited to race at Long Beach for the first time. From what I have seen, it’s a fast, bumpy track with some good passing opportunities, which will be a lot of fun. This will now be my third race for KV Racing Technology and the team has given me a great car at my previous two events, so I am sure we’ll be just as competitive here, too. I look forward to not only driving this historic track, but also seeing the West Coast for the first time.”

James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda): “Long Beach is one of my favorite events of the year. There’s a reason that race has been going on for more than 40 years now. The fans are great, the atmosphere is awesome and the track is one my favorites. I’ve always seemed to run pretty well there and obviously, coming off of our win last weekend, the whole team is helping to keep the momentum going, and we’re hoping for a good result.”

James Jakes (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “Obviously very excited to go to Long Beach. It’s definitely one of my favorite tracks of the year and one of the best races on the calendar, not just from a circuit point of view but also from a fan perspective. They have a great atmosphere there. We had two great results in New Orleans last weekend, so everybody’s very excited to maintain the momentum. We look forward to another strong weekend in Long Beach.”

Sebastian Saavedra (No. 8 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It’s good to be back in the Verizon IndyCar Series. This is an amazing opportunity for me with AFS to work with one of the most prestigious teams in all of racing. I’m very grateful to Chip and the team, which have had an incredible history in the sport, and specifically in the Indianapolis 500. I’m looking forward to Long Beach and doing everything I can to help get the No. 8 car to the front.”

Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “Long Beach is one of the most iconic tracks we run on. There are a lot of different tracks that stand out for different reasons, and like Indianapolis, it’s got a lot of background with a 40-year history. I’ve raced there in Indy Lights and CART, and Formula One raced there back in the day. Some of the best racers in the world over many generations have won there and participated there. It’s just such a cool place, you’re right on the ocean there and close to L.A., so it’s got a great vibe. They have something for everybody. That’s one of the coolest parts about Long Beach, but I’ve never won there. I’ve really got to sort my act out at that place and hopefully get a victory there this weekend.”

Tony Kanaan (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It’s always fun to come to Long Beach and race. It’s just got so much history for so many people, even for me. This is actually where I earned my first pole in this series in 1999. I’ve had a lot of good races here and a lot of not-so-good races here, so I’m ready to pull out a win. NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing is coming off a decent weekend in New Orleans. We were able to come out of that race with a sixth-place finish and continue with the momentum into Long Beach. It’s a quick turnaround for everyone, but I think with the way car has been running, we are definitely prepared for Long Beach.”

Sebastien Bourdais (No. 11 Team Hydroxycut – KVSH Racing Chevrolet): “We had a solid race in the season opener at St. Petersburg, finishing sixth. Then at New Orleans, it was just a weird race. The car ran good, but with all the things that happened, it just didn’t work out. Hopefully, Long Beach will be better for us. It is a great event because of the atmosphere. Next to the Indy 500, it is the premier event on our schedule.” (About the circuit) “The Long Beach circuit is a challenge. There are different corners and different surfaces that you have to contend with, so getting the right setup is crucial. Because it is a street circuit, qualifying is extremely important.” (About his history at Long Beach): “I had some success at Long Beach (three straight wins from 2005-2007), but the last few years have been more difficult. However, based on how good the KVSH Racing car has been so far this season, I am looking forward to having a good race. Also, you have to remember that my team owner Kevin Kalkhoven co-owns the race, so I think the entire team would like to do well for him.”

Takuma Sato (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “The Long Beach track has a great balance of layout. It has both high-speed and low-speed corners and heavy braking followed by good straights, which means there are a few overtaking opportunities for drivers. The track is a little on the lower side of grip level, but it can evolve a lot over the weekend as it rubbers down in the usually consistently good weather. The venue has a fantastic atmosphere and great restaurants downtown or nearby. It’s just one of the best street courses I’ve known from many aspects. Long Beach has got a long racing history with the greatest series (Formula One and INDYCAR). People love this race and winning it makes it even more valuable and special.”

Graham Rahal (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda): “I have been pleasantly surprised by the fan support and excitement since we announced Steak ‘n Shake as a sponsor. The fans have taken the news by storm and the support has been pretty incredible. It seems that every day someone tags me in a tweet with a picture of themselves at Steak ‘n Shake. I’m looking forward to getting out there in the Steak ‘n Shake Maxim car and seeing how we can do. It’s a racy-looking machine; I think the colors suit the car well. The last time we ran red and white, we finished second at Long Beach (2013, with sponsor Big O Tires), so hopefully that carries forward. Long Beach is kind of a home race for me these days, so it will be exciting to be out there with a lot of friends and family. Hopefully we can put on a good show for them. The St. Pete and Long Beach tracks are a little bit different, but I do think that having had a competitive run at St. Pete indicates that we should have a good run at Long Beach. I feel pretty confident in our street course car. Long Beach has kind of been one of our strong suits as far as the street courses have been, certainly the last couple of years, so I’m looking forward to it. Long Beach is a very technical track, there are a lot of bumps, a lot of different variations of speed and cornering; it should be a lot of fun.”

Luca Filippi (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “I can’t wait to be in Long Beach. I have a good feeling about that place. Even though I’ve never been, there is so much history at that track between INDYCAR and Formula One that I want to make my mark on that race. We are going to do our best to win it again this year.”

Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet): “I pride myself on being cool under pressure, but I have to admit I was pretty hot last weekend at NOLA. I hate that we were involved in the incident there at the end and I’m very thankful that no one was hurt. I’ve put it behind me because it’s time for the Penske Truck Rental Chevy team to get ready for Long Beach, one of our premier races. It would be a big deal for me to win that race. It’s just an iconic race. The Indianapolis 500 is our biggest event, but I believe that Long Beach is at the top of the list of tracks we race at as well. If we are able to get the win there in my first season with Team Penske, it would be very special. I’m proud of the way we have started the season. We should have two top-five finishes were it not for some crazy circumstances at NOLA. I really believe we are getting better and better each week, with a win just around the corner.”

Carlos Muñoz (No. 26 AndrettiTV/Cinsay Honda): “It’s nice to be going back to Long Beach. I have great memories from that track from Indy Lights – I won that race – and last year in (the Verizon) IndyCar (Series), I finished third. It’s great – one of my favorite tracks, not only because of the track itself, but also the ambience outside of the circuit.”
Marco Andretti (No. 27 Merchant First/Snapple Honda): “Long Beach is high on my list of desired wins, second only to Indy. There is so much history with my family in Long Beach, I want to add my name to the list of winners there. It’s one of my favorite events each year and we’re looking for good results for the 27.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda): “This weekend is always a highlight for me on the schedule for many reasons. I look forward to getting back out to the beach. We’ve run so strong in Long Beach in the past, hopefully we can put together another strong weekend for the DHL Honda.”
Jack Hawksworth (No. 41 ABC Supply Co. AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “Long Beach is one of the most historic street circuits in the world and the list of great champions who have won there is endless. It’s a bit like the Indianapolis of street course racing – its history and prestige definitely sets it apart. In terms of track layout, it is very technical and challenging. The circuit has a fantastic feel to it and there is always a great crowd and buzz around the paddock.”

Josef Newgarden (No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet): “I feel good about going to Long Beach. I am happy about where we are at and I’m really excited to go there now after not being able to capitalize on our speed last weekend in New Orleans. My guys have put in so much hard work, I think they’re as prepared as they need to be to go into Long Beach and be solid. We have such a great group, everyone is pushing really hard for good results. We haven’t started off the year too bad, now we just need to keep moving the bar higher.”

Charlie Kimball (No, 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “After a wet weekend in New Orleans, I think we’re all more than ready to get to the ‘Best Coast’ for some sunshine and, of course, racing. The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team showed we had speed both on a wet and dry track (in New Orleans). Unfortunately with the qualifying session ending the way it did and the less-than-ideal conditions for race day, we didn’t get the result for our efforts. The guys have a quick turnaround for Long Beach this weekend, but I have no doubt the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet will be quick as soon as we roll onto the track. It’s a race I enjoy as a driver and one I enjoyed as a kid growing up. With it being a home race for me, I am always pushing extra hard for my friends and family members in the grandstands!”

Gabby Chaves (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda): “I’m really looking forward to Long Beach. Having won there in Indy Lights, it’s my favorite road/street course on the schedule. Everybody has been working real hard at BHA. The Bowers & Wilkins/Castrol EDGE Honda has been good at both the St. Pete race and NOLA in the dry, just haven’t had things go our way. This weekend is when we’re going to turn our luck around.”

 

 

RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF INDYCAR PUBLIC RELATIONS

 

NASCAR heads to “Thunder Valley” Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend

Bristol Motor Speedway Kulwicki Grandstand (2006 photo by Michael Greiner via wikipedia commons)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Next Race: Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes

The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway

The Date: Sunday, April 19

The Time: 1 p.m. (ET)

TV: FOX, 12:30 p.m. (ET)

Radio: PRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90

Distance: 266.5 miles (500 laps)

NASCAR XFINITY Series

Next Race: Drive To Stop Diabetes 300

The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway

The Date: Saturday, April 18

The Time: 1:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: FOX Sports 1, 1 p.m. (ET)

Radio: PRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90

Distance: 159.9 miles (300 laps)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: Kansas 250

The Place: Kansas Speedway

The Date: Friday, May 8

The Time: 8:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: FOX Sports 1, 8 p.m. (ET)

Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90

Distance: 167 miles (250.5 laps)

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES

Perfect 10: Three Drivers Look To Continue Top-10 Streaks At Bristol

No driver has opened a season with seven consecutive top 10s since Jimmie Johnson in 2005.

 

Until now.

 

Three different drivers – Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. – have each opened the year with seven straight top-10 finishes. Unsurprisingly, they rank 1-3 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver points standings.

 

The wheelmen put their streaks on the line in Sunday’s Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes at Bristol Motor Speedway (1 p.m. ET on FOX).

 

Logano won the last race at BMS in the fall, while Harvick hasn’t had a top-10 showing there since 2011 – seven races ago. Truex has only produced two top-10 finishes in 18 Bristol starts, a runner-up result in fall 2011 and a third-place showing in spring 2012.

 

A Giant Awakens: Johnson Shows Sprint Cup Series Title Chase Might Be Heavyweight Clash

Move over Mayweather and Pacquiao, a heavyweight bout looks likely to take place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

 

With all the talk about the dominance of defending NSCS champion Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano’s rise to stardom, six-time NSCS champion Jimmie Johnson has made it clear that anyone who wants a NSCS title will have to go through him. Johnson led a race-high 128 laps and out-dueled Harvick on the closing circuits to capture his second win of the season in Sunday’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

 

It’s still early in the season, but at the moment, all indications point to the last three series champions – Harvick (2014), Johnson (2013) and Keselowski (2012) – being in the mix for this year’s crown.

 

Johnson will attempt to continue his momentum this Sunday on one of his “average” tracks – Bristol Motor Speedway. The No. 48 Chevrolet driver has one win, eight top fives, 14 top 10s, one pole and a 91.9 driver rating at BMS.

 

Harvick Begins New Top-Two Run

One race after snapping his nine-event streak of top-two finishes with a “so-so” eighth-place finish at Martinsville, Kevin Harvick started a new one with a second-place showing at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night.

 

Despite 10 straight top-10 finishes dating back to 2014, track president Eddie Gossage will still get to cajole Harvick about being winless at his venue.

 

The No. 4 Chevrolet driver has a commanding 26-point lead over Joey Logano in the standings and ranks first or tied for first in numerous categories, including wins (2), top fives (6), top 10s (7), average finish (2.6) and average running position (3.790). Additionally, Harvick’s 766 laps led and 413 fastest laps more than double the next-highest drivers’ outputs (Logano, 324 laps led; Jimmy Johnson 145 fastest laps). Also, his series-high 132.8 driver rating is almost 20 points higher than second-place Logano’s 114.7 driver rating.

 

Harvick heads to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend where he has only won in spring of 2005.

 

Back(flip) To Bristol: Edwards Attempts High-Banked Repeat

Defending Bristol Motor Speedway spring race winner Carl Edwards will go for his fourth victory at the half-mile track in Sunday’s Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes. Fresh off his first top-10 finish of the year (10th) at Texas, it looks like the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing driver is starting to gel with his new team and championship-winning crew chief Darian Grubb. Two races ago at Martinsville, Edwards ran up front the majority of the race, even leading 13 laps before a late spin caused him to finish 17th.

 

In 21 career starts at Bristol, Edwards claims three wins (14.3%), five top fives (23.8%), nine top 10s (42.9%) and two Coors Light Pole Awards.

 

Unpredictable Outcome Expected At Bristol

Similar to Texas Motor Speedway last week where there had been nine different winners in the past nine spring races, Bristol Motor Speedway has had six different winners in its last six races.

 

Expect another party of parity in Sunday’s Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes.

 

The last driver to log consecutive victories at Bristol was Brad Keselowski (fall 2011, spring 2012).

 

Since Keselowski’s 2012 victory, Bristol races have been won by Denny Hamlin (fall 2012), Kasey Kahne (spring 2013), Matt Kenseth (fall 2013), Carl Edwards (spring 2014) and Joey Logano (fall 2014).

 

Thirteen active drivers have won at Bristol: Kurt Busch (5), Kyle Busch (5), Jeff Gordon (5), Edwards (3), Kenseth (3), Keselowski (2), Earnhardt Jr. (1), Denny Hamlin (1), Jimmie Johnson (1), Kevin Harvick (1), Kahne (1), Logano (1), Tony Stewart (1).

 

Roush Attempts To Turn Back The Clock At Bristol

Roush Fenway Racing has struggled so far this year. In 21 total races, its three-driver stable has recorded just one top 10 – Greg Biffle’s 10th-place finish at the Daytona 500.

 

Bristol Motor Speedway could provide a much needed shot in the arm for RFR, which ranks tied for the second-most victories in track history (11). None of its current drivers have won at Bristol, but Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has had strong finishes at the half-mile track, including a career-best runner-up showing in last year’s spring race and a sixth-place effort in the fall.  RFR veteran Greg Biffle claims the fifth-best active driver rating at BMS (93.5) in addition to the sixth-best average running position (13.0). Trevor Bayne produced a 34th-place finish in his lone Bristol start in 2011 with Wood Brothers Racing.

 

RFR swept the top-two positions at BMS last spring with former driver Carl Edwards and Stenhouse.

 

Can Gordon Reclaim Bristol Magic?

A quick glance at the Bristol Motor Speedway record books shows that Jeff Gordon is tied for the wins lead among active drivers with five first-place finishes.

 

He must be a favorite to win this weekend’s race at Thunder Valley then, right?

 

Think again…

 

A closer look at the numbers shows Gordon has not won at BMS since fall 2002 – almost 13 years ago when he won the Sharpie 500 from the pole. He has had three third-place finishes since.

 

Currently 13th in the series standings, quietly riding a streak of four consecutive top 10s, Gordon will attempt to further ascend NASCAR’s leaderboard this weekend on the track where he also has 16 top fives (36.4%), 24 top 10s (54.5%) and the series’ third-best driver rating (99.9).

 

McLovin’ It: Big McMurray off to whopper of a start

No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet driver Jamie McMurray’s start hasn’t been “Superbad” as the kids would say, but Chip Ganassi has to be McLovin’ his driver’s strong performance to open up the season.

 

McMurray sits 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings following his sixth-place showing at Texas this weekend and a finish of 10th at Martinsville. McMurray’s best result this year was a runner-up finish at Phoenix to track-legend Kevin Harvick. Known for his ability to win big races, the 38-year-old is still searching for his first Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berth.

 

Furious 7: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season off to action-packed start

The first seven races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season have been so fast and so furious even Vin Diesel would be jealous.

 

Since NASCAR began tracking green flag passes in 2005, drivers have produced the most green flag passes (29,383) and fourth-most green flag passes for the lead (205) through the first seven races. The season has seen five different race-winners, including Brad Keselowski who led a single lap to take the checkered flag at Auto Club.

 

Ludacris.

 

History Lesson: Big Day At Bristol

Where were you the day that man first stepped foot on the moon?

 

If you were Richard Petty, you were helping rival David Pearson drive the No. 17 Ford to victory lane at Bristol Motor Speedway (then called Bristol International Speedway.)

 

The 1969 Volunteer 500 was run on July 20, just hours before “one small step” captivated mankind. It was the first Bristol race on the new, high-banked configuration put in by track owner Larry Carrier, who wanted the fastest half-mile track in the world.

 

Cale Yarborough started on the pole, shattering the qualifying record by nearly 15 miles per hour.  Like most of his competitors though, Yarborough’s race didn’t last long. An early nine-car wreck, coupled with multiple engine issues caused by the mid-summer heat, sidelined two-thirds of the field before they reached the midpoint of the race.

 

Petty and Yarborough were among the early race spectators, along with fellow NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Buddy Baker. Petty’s time outside the car didn’t last long, however. Pearson was suffering from the flu, and in need of a relief driver.

 

“I saw Richard was out of the race, so I decided to grab him before someone else did,” said Pearson. “Richard did a fine job for me.”

 

Petty spent 155 laps in the Holman-Moody Ford and led the field for approximately half of them. Pearson got back in the car on Lap 256, and eventually cruised to a three-lap victory over Bobby Isaac (who himself needed mid-race relief in the form of Bobby Allison.)

 

In a twist of irony, Petty’s help gave Pearson his 55th career victory, breaking the tie for second on the all-time wins list with Richard’s father, Lee Petty.

NASCAR XFINITY Series

 

Youth Dominates Tight XFINITY Standings

The NASCAR XFINITY Series’ top five in points has average age of 21.2, but that’s only half the story. Just 22 points separate first to fifth in the championship standings, and the competition levels keep rising.

 

Heading into the seventh race of the season, Richard Childress Racing’s Ty Dillon leads the standings by two points over Roush Fenway Racing’s Chris Buescher in second. Not far behind Dillon in third-place is the 2014 series champ Chase Elliott (-11 points from the lead), fourth-place Darrell Wallace Jr. (-15) and fifth-place Ryan Reed (-22).

 

All five young stars have kicked 2015 off right, but Dillon has had the strongest start to his season; in six races he has posted two top fives, four top 10s and an average finish 7.7.  Buescher also has been a force this season posting three top fives, four top 10s and an average finish of 8.0. But as of late 19-year-old Chase Elliott has been proving his rookie success was not a fluke. Following the season opener at Daytona, where Elliott finished 38th due to an accident, he has climbed from 20th in points to third thanks to five consecutive top-10 finishes. Among the championship contenders Elliott, leads in season-to-date driver rating (100.0).

 

The top three are hot but don’t forget rookie standout Darrell Wallace Jr. has posted two top 10s and an average finish of 10.5 this season. Also his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ryan Reed won the season opener at Daytona and has an average finish 11.8.

 

Among the top five in points Ty Dillon has the best record at Bristol Motor Speedway. The 23 year old, Dillon has made three starts at Bristol posting three top 10s and an average finish of 5.6 (the best among active drivers). This will be Darrell Wallace Jr.’s series debut at Bristol, but the remaining drivers in the top five in points have posted the following average finishes at BMS – Buescher (11.0), Elliott (6.0), and Reed (23.6).

 

Bristol’s Victory Lane Just Might See A Fresh Face

With the defending winner of the 2014 fall race (Ryan Blaney) not entered this weekend and Kyle Busch sidelined due to injury (won NXS prior three events at Bristol; spring 2014 and 2013 sweep), the field has four previous Bristol winners entered this weekend.

 

The most recent active winner at Bristol is Joey Logano, who won the fall race at the 0.533-mile track in 2012. Logano is joined by three other former winners – Kevin Harvick with five Bristol wins (fall of 2000, fall of ’01, spring of ’03, spring of ’05 and spring of ’09), Elliott Sadler with two (spring of 1998 and spring of 2012) and 2000 series champ Jeff Green with one (spring 2002).

 

Team Penske Sits Atop Owner Points Standings … Of Course

For the third week in a row, Team Penske‘s No. 22 Ford team has been the team to beat in the NASCAR XFINITY Series car owner standings. Following Texas, Team Penske’s lead has extended to nine points over second-place JR Motorsport’s No. 88 team.

 

Car owner Roger Penske is looking for his third consecutive NASCAR XFINITY Series owner title this season and his formula of multiple drivers has him on course for just that. This weekend, Joey Logano has been tapped to climb behind the wheel of the No. 22 Ford at Bristol, but it has been the collaborative effort of Logano, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney that has cemented the points lead.

 

Logano has made eight series starts at Bristol posting one win (fall of 2012), four top fives, six top 10s and an average finish of 7.6.

 

Big Names Bound For Bristol

This weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway in the NASCAR XFINITY Series several popular NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will be pulling double duty: Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Austin Dillon and Denny Hamlin.

 

Bristol NXS Quick Stats:

Harvick (No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) – has made 26 series starts at Bristol posting two poles, five wins, 15 top fives, 21 top 10s and an average finish of 7.5.

 

Logano (No. 22 Team Penske Ford) – has made eight series starts at Bristol posting one win (fall of 2012), four top fives, six top 10s and an average finish of 7.6.

 

Dillon (No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) – has made four series starts at Bristol posting two top fives and an average finish of 7.5.

 

Hamlin (No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) – has made six series starts at Bristol posting one top five, two top 10s and an average finish of 18.3.

 

Sunoco Rookie Update: Wallace Still The Man To Beat

Darrell Wallace Jr.’s sixth-place finish at Texas last weekend has opened up his lead in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by 14 points over second-place Daniel Suarez and 18 points over third-place Ross Chastain.

 

Wallace is starting to distance himself from the other rookie candidates; in six starts he has posted two top 10s and an average finish of 10.5.

 

Full Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings heading into Bristol: Wallace (73 rookie points), Suarez (59), Chastain (55), Conley (48), Rhodes (39) and Reaume (16).

 

Erik Jones Setting Himself Apart At A Young Age

Last weekend’s winner Erik Jones became the first driver in NASCAR national series history to win five national series races before the age of 19. The historic win breaks his tie with Chase Elliott (four wins) for the most national series wins by a driver under the age of 19.

 

In fact, there have only been 14 races won by drivers under the age of 18 — and Jones now has 35% of those victories.

 

Jones’ win last weekend at Texas was the fifth of his NASCAR national series career but just the first in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Jones also has posted four wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

 

In three NXS starts this season he has posted an average finish of 6.0.

 

Breakdown of Erik Jones NASCAR national series wins:

 

Series  Track                Driver’s Age                             Date of Race

NXS     Texas               18 years 10 months 11 days      4/10/2015

NCWTS Phoenix            18 years 5 months 8 days          11/7/2014

NCWTS Las Vegas        18 years 3 months 28 days        9/27/2014

NCWTS Iowa                 18 years 1 month 11 days          7/11/2014

NCWTS Phoenix            17 years 5 months 9 days          11/8/2013

 

NASCAR XFINITY Series Etc.:

Milestones Watch: Kevin Harvick (174) will attempt to tie Kyle Busch this weekend for the most all-time NASCAR XFINITY Series top-five finishes at 175. … Brian Scott will attempt to post his 175th consecutive NASCAR XFINITY Series career start this weekend. …

 

Back In The Booth: After what many are calling a successful first-go at the broadcast side of a NASCAR event, Jeff Gordon will be back in the FOX Sports booth for the NASCAR XFINITY Series race this weekend in Bristol. Following this weekend Gordon is scheduled for one more appearance as a race analyst with FOX at Talladega (May 2).

 

 

NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES

Teenage Prodigy Jones Is Sports’ Latest Rising Star

Young athletes have been the talk of the sports world the last week.

 

Notably, 21-year-old golf phenom Jordan Spieth won The Masters and 22-year-old NBA All Star Anthony Davis put his New Orleans Pelicans team in contention for a Western Conference Playoff berth. Even 23-year-old baseball player Mike Trout, already a three-time All Star and winner of the 2014 American League MVP award, kicked off his season in the sport in which he is widely recognized as the best player.

 

And who knows, once Erik Jones hits his early 20s, he might have that kind of stature in his sport.

 

But for now, the 18-year-old NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular and recent NASCAR XFINITY Series winner is enjoying his climb up the NASCAR ladder.

 

He boasts five national series wins in his brief career. On Friday, he won his first NASCAR XFINITY Series race in just his ninth start, outdueling NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the process. Jones ranks third in the NCWTS standings, six points behind Matt Crafton. He has two top-five and three top-10 finishes in the first three races of the season.

 

Spieth may have talked about winning The Masters when he was 14 years old, but Jones told his uncle he was born to race at the ripe age of 3.

Crafton Leads ThorSport To Torrid Start

Three races into the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, Matt Crafton finds himself in the same spot he ended 2014 – first place. The only repeat series champion has finished first and second in the last two races respectively and leads Tyler Reddick by two points in the driver standings.

 

Crafton has set the tone for his Sandusky, Ohio-based ThorSport Racing team that has all three of its drivers in the top 10. Johnny Sauter ranks fourth after top-10 finishes in the first three races, while NASCAR Next alum/Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Cameron Hayley mans the eight spot.

Top 10 Turnover: New Faces Ascend Truck Series Standings

The top 10 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings after three races this season looks a little different than it did after three races last year. Only four drivers from that point in time rank in the top 10 on the current NCWTS leaderboard: Matt Crafton (first last year; first this year), Johnny Sauter (fifth; fourth), Ben Kennedy (eighth; 10th) and John Wes Townley (10th; sixth).  Townley has made the biggest improvement among the four, driving his No. 05 Zaxby’s Chevrolet to a season-best eighth-place finish at Martinsville.

 

RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF NASCAR COMMUNICATIONS

IndyCar News & Notes: Car sharing at Ganassi, Servia joins Rahal Team

(megasportsnews.com photo)

 

For Immediate Release

Verizon IndyCar Series Headlines:


1. Saavedra, Karam to Share Car for Ganassi:
Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced that Sebastian Saavedra will drive the No. 8 AFS Chevrolet in the 41st Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend.

Saavedra will be backed by AFS Racing/Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., one of the western states’ largest full-service fire sprinkler companies, for the race in Long Beach, the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma in addition to the Indianapolis 500 through a fifth entry overseen by Chip Ganassi Racing Teams.

After starts in St. Petersburg and New Orleans, Karam will rejoin the team in the No. 8 Chevrolet for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park and the Indianapolis 500, and is scheduled to run the balance of the season until Sonoma.

“It’s good to be back in the Verizon IndyCar Series,” said Saavedra, who has made 56 Verizon IndyCar Series starts dating to 2010. “This is an amazing opportunity for me with AFS to work with one of the most prestigious teams in all of racing. I’m very grateful to Chip and the team, which have had an incredible history in the sport, and specifically in the Indianapolis 500. I’m looking forward to Long Beach and doing everything I can to help get the No. 8 car to the front.”

Saavedra earned his first Verizon P1 Award in 2014 for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis while competing for KV AFS Racing. Like Karam, Saavedra made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Both drivers are Mazda Road to Indy graduates.

“I’m excited about this coming together quickly with the Ganassi No. 8 entry,” said AFS Racing owner Gary Peterson, who has been involved in Indy car racing as an owner and competitor. “It looks to be a great alignment between AFS Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and Sebastian Saavedra. My heart has always been in racing and it will be great to see Sebastian have the chance he deserves with a great team.”

Karam, the 2013 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion, finished 19th in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29 and 18th in the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on April 12.

“I’m grateful to Chip and the team for their ongoing commitment to me, and I can’t wait to get back in the car at Barber,” Karam said. “I just take things one day at a time and nothing has really changed for me since I started as a development driver here. When Chip calls, I’m ready to go race.”

Added Ganassi: “We’ve been committed to Sage and to running the No. 8 car in the full Verizon IndyCar Series season since day one, and this plan reflects our continued investment in the series and in the team. Sage continues to grow his race craft in his development role with us, and we look forward to having both he and Sebastian contribute to the No. 8 team moving forward this season.”

2. Servia Joins Rahal Team for Indy 500: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced that Oriol Servia will return to the team for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24.

Servia competed for RLL Racing in the 2009 Indy 500 and in four races last season, including the Indy 500.

“I honestly couldn’t be any happier to announce that I will be entering the 99th Indianapolis 500 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” said Servia, who finished 11th in the race last year. “There is a saying in Spanish, ‘A la tercera va la vencida’ (third time lucky), that I feel fits our effort very well. This will be our third attempt together to cross the most famous brickyard first after 500 miles.

“The first two efforts were very promising and encouraged all parties to go for it again with the most ambitious aspirations. I have followed closely all the changes that the team has gone through over the winter and I am really excited as I have worked with most of the new hires. I believe the whole team is perhaps the strongest and most talented group in the whole INDYCAR paddock. I can’t wait to jump in the car and team up with Graham (Rahal) again. This will be a great month of May.”

Servia, of Pals, Spain, will participate in the May 3 Promoter Test on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval with the Honda speedway aerodynamic package. He has a best finish of fourth in the Indianapolis 500 in 2012 with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Overall, Servia has made 195 Indy car starts since his rookie season in 2000.  He has one win (Montreal, 2005) and one pole (Surfers Paradise, 2005), a total of 19 top-three, 51 top-five and 101 top-10 finishes.

“Oriol is a very talented driver,” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with CBS “Late Show” host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. “He’s a smart driver and he’s got a lot of experience, so we’re looking forward to bringing him back to run the Indy 500 with us for the third time.

“Having teamed with Graham before at Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and again last year, their setups seem to be quite similar, so you can really take advantage of having a multi-car team.  When we looked at who the best driver was to join us for the Indy 500, Oriol was our first choice. He’s competitive; he’s smart, has good race craft and brings it home.”

3. Jakes Makes Most of Soggy Day at NOLA: A promising start to qualifying for the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, which saw both James Hinchcliffe and James Jakes advance to the second round, quickly turned disappointing when Saturday’s session was canceled because of rain.

The starting grid for the inaugural Verizon IndyCar Series race on the 2.74-mile, 13-turn NOLA Motorsports Park road course was set by entrant points, placing Hinchcliffe 16th and Jakes 22nd.

Through the rain clouds, however, the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports duo’s race day brightened considerably as Hinchcliffe won under caution and Jakes was the biggest mover of the race by finishing third.

“Nice to be back after a year out, second weekend and second (career) podium,” said Jakes, who did not compete in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2014. “Thanks to the team. We’ve not had the season start we kind of wanted. We struggled a little bit pace-wise; I think not entirely all our fault. But everybody is working their butts off and we look forward to the next rounds. I knew that if it was going to be a tricky day and if you just kept your nose clean and we run the right strategy, we’d get a good result.”

Added Hinchcliffe, who registered his fourth career victory: “It was a stellar day for the team with a first and third finish. What an awesome way to leave New Orleans.

“Even though I’m a bit gutted for the fans that they didn’t get more green flag running, I’m super happy for the team – Arrow Electronics, Lucas Oil, Spyder, everybody – to come here with a new team like this in our second race and get that first win out of the way feels really good. Especially after the year that I personally had last year, we really just wanted to start this relationship off well and, so far, so good.”

Simona de Silvestro, making her second start with Andretti Autosport, advanced from 18th on the starting grid to finish fourth.

“This was huge for us.  We struggled earlier in the weekend, but conditions played into our hands,” said de Silvestro, who earned her fourth top-five finish in 67 starts. “The car was fantastic on rain tires and I passed a lot of people early in the race. The team made a great call on the pit stop for (dry) tires and on the second stop as well.  That gained us a few more positions and then I finally got Tony (Kanaan, for fourth place).

“It is a great day, for us and for Honda, and a great result for the Andretti Autosport team.”

4. Inside the Box Score – Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana: Numbers to note following the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana – the second round of the 2015 Verizon Indy Car Series season.

4 – Career Indy car victories by James Hinchcliffe.

5 – Consecutive races led by Juan Pablo Montoya dating to 2014.

15 – Finishing position of Gabby Chaves, the highest-placed Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate.

19 - Positions improved by James Jakes (22nd to third), most of any driver in the race.

120 - Career top-five finishes for Helio Castroneves (second place) after his finish at NOLA. It broke a tie with Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Bobby Rahal and Dario Franchitti for sixth all-time.

235 – Consecutive starts by Tony Kanaan, extending his all-time record.

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF INDYCAR PUBLIC RELATIONS

 

Soccer United Marketing announces Liberty Mutual Insurance official sponsor of U.S. Soccer Federation through 2018

(courtesy SUM)

 

Liberty Mutual to Serve as Official Insurance Partner for U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams

 

BOSTON AND NEW YORK (April 15, 2015) – Liberty Mutual Insurance officially announced today a multi-year sponsorship of the U.S. Soccer Federation, the national governing body for the sport of soccer in the United States. The sponsorship, which extends through 2018, designates Liberty Mutual as the Official Insurance Partner of the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams, as well as the Youth National Teams and the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

 

Liberty Mutual will officially kick off its sponsorship of U.S. Soccer at tonight’s anticipated U.S. Men’s National Team match against longtime rival Mexico in San Antonio, Texas.  Fans attending the game can expect to see Liberty Mutual’s presence throughout the stadium, including an experiential footprint where fans can share their passion by posing for a personalized vintage poster.

 

“We are thrilled about this new partnership with U.S. Soccer. As one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S., we see great value in the platform that it gives Liberty Mutual to positively impact communities across the country,” said John Coombe, vice president of Brand Management and Sponsorships for Liberty Mutual Insurance. “This is an exciting year for soccer, and we are eager to grow our relationship with our national teams as they prepare for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World CupTM and host several premier friendly matches.”

 

Liberty Mutual’s sponsorship of U.S. Soccer builds upon the company’s long-standing partnership with U.S. Youth Soccer, which began in 2007. This new relationship enables the company to deepen its involvement with the sport and support the U.S. from youth levels through the elite levels. Additionally, Liberty Mutual’s Brazilian affiliate, Liberty Seguros, also has a history in the sport with recent sponsorships of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013.

 

“Liberty Mutual has proven to be a fantastic supporter of sports, especially at the youth level, and we’re excited to partner with them during the coming years,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “We’re confident that soccer will continue to grow in the United States and having the opportunity to work with an industry leader like Liberty Mutual at all levels will allow us to have a positive impact in bringing people closer to the sport.”

 

As an official sponsor of U.S. Soccer, Liberty Mutual will be the presenting sponsor of one of the National Team’s marquee games during the year and the company will also enjoy a variety of assets including in-stadium and field signage, advertising, marketing and promotional opportunities, social and digital media assets, and on-site event activation.  The sponsorship also includes rights to align with U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team players, coaches and legends of the game.

 

“The popularity of soccer continues to grow in the U.S. each year, so it is really exciting to have a sponsor like Liberty Mutual Insurance that believes in and recognizes the impact this sport has in communities throughout the country,” said Landon Donovan, U.S. Men’s National Team legend. “As an athlete who has played at every level of the sport – from youth soccer through my national team career – I know the importance of sponsors like Liberty Mutual Insurance in helping our teams and individual players flourish both on and off the field.”

 

The sponsorship of U.S. Soccer complements Liberty Mutual’s status as an official partner of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams. The company also supports the development of youth sports through its Liberty Mutual Play Positive® program and its partnerships with several national governing bodies, including ASA/USA Softball, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, USA Hockey, USA Volleyball, USA Water Polo, USA Wrestling and USRowing.

 

Soccer United Marketing facilitated the agreement.
About Liberty Mutual Insurance

Liberty Mutual Insurance helps people preserve and protect what they earn, build, own and cherish.  Keeping this promise means we are there when our policyholders throughout the world need us most.

In business since 1912 and headquartered in Boston, Mass., today Liberty Mutual Insurance is a diversified insurer with operations in 30 countries and economies around the world.  The company is the third largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2013 direct premiums written as reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.  Liberty Mutual Insurance also ranks 76th on the Fortune 100 list of largest corporations in the U.S. based on 2013 revenue.

Liberty employs more than 50,000 people in approximately 900 offices throughout the world, and offers a wide range of insurance products and services, including personal automobile, homeowners, accident & health, commercial automobile, general liability, property, surety, workers compensation, group disability, group life, specialty lines, reinsurance, and individual life and annuity products.

Liberty Mutual Insurance is the official property and casualty and life insurance partner of the U.S. Olympic Committee for the 2016 Olympic Games and 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The company also is the proud sponsor and partner of several national governing bodies, including ASA/USA Softball, USRowing, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, U.S. Soccer Federation, US Youth Soccer, USA Hockey, USA Volleyball, USA Water Polo and USA Wrestling.

About U.S. Soccer Federation

Founded in 1913, U.S. Soccer is the non-for-profit, governing body of soccer in the United States and has helped chart the course for the game for more than 100 years. During this time, the Federation’s mission statement has been clear and simple: to make soccer, in all its forms, a pre-eminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels. To that end, the sport’s development and growth in the United States during the past 25 years has been nothing short of remarkable as U.S. Soccer’s National Teams have continually succeeded on the world stage and, with the assistance of its members, the fan support and participation in the game continues to reach new heights. For more information, visit ussoccer.com.

 

PRESS RELEASE Sean Dennison, SUM, Glenn Greenberg, Liberty Mutual Insurance; COURTESY SOCCER UNITED MARKETING

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