Friday, 21 December 2012

INDYCAR News and Notes – Dec. 17, 2012

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

1.      Hunter-Reay impressive in first Race of Champions

2.      Ganassi to field entries for Franchitti, Dixon and Kimball in Rolex 24

3.      Connecticut teen wins USF2000 scholarship

1. Hunter-Reay impressive in first Race of Champions: Ryan Hunter-Reay’s postcard from the Race of Champions in Bangkok, Thailand: “Learned lots. Had a great time.”

The reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion participated over the weekend in the 25th event that brings together stars from multiple motorsports disciplines around the globe to compete in individual and team races in identical cars on an asphalt circuit with two parallel tracks and a crossover bridge inside Rajamangala Stadium.

Drivers were split into four groups of four, battling for the right to line up in the knockout stages, in the Race of Champions event. Hunter-Reay won a heat race over Kazuya Ohshima, Japan’s qualifier from ROC Asia, but fell short in races against Formula One drivers Romain Grosjean and Michael Schumacher.

Grosjean, of France, went on to win the title of Champion of Champions by defeating Le Mans 24-Hour race legend Tom Kristensen in the best-of-three final. Schumacher advanced to the semifinals.

In the ROC Nations Cup, Hunter-Reay teamed with Benito Guerra Jr. of Mexico, FIA’s Production World Rally Championship this season, on Team Americas. They won three heat races but did not advance out of the preliminaries. The German duo of Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel stormed to their sixth consecutive ROC Nations Cup title.

“(I) will be much better prepared if I can come back next year,” said Hunter-Reay, who drives for Andretti Autosport. “Big thanks to everyone behind the scenes for putting on such a spectacular event.”

2. Ganassi to field entries for Franchitti, Dixon and Kimball in Rolex 24: IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon and Charlie Kimball will kick off the 2013 season by running in the Rolex 24 At Daytona for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.

“This race is always exciting for me,” said team owner Ganassi. “Because it is a 24-hour race, there are so many factors that go into having success. You need the drivers, the people, the equipment and the partners, but most importantly they all have to act as one team and that is where I think our strength lies.”

Dixon and Franchitti – who have each won the overall race title in a Chip Ganassi Racing car – will team with NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray and BMW factory driver Joey Hand in the No. 02 car.

“The Daytona 24 is something that we all do for fun,” Franchitti said. “It’s something that Chip (Ganassi) loves to do it so we all sign up to do it to give back to Chip for all that he does for us.”

Kimball, who will make his first start in the twice-around-the-clock endurance race, will join three-time defending Rolex Sports Car Series champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas and NASCAR star Juan Pablo Montoya in the team’s No. 01 entry.

“It is not often when we can bring such a diverse group of drivers from NASCAR, INDYCAR, GRAND-AM and ALMS together to compete in one race,” Ganassi said. “It is a great kickoff to our racing season.”

3. Connecticut teen wins USF2000 scholarship: Peter Portante will have the opportunity of his young racing career after winning the 2012 Skip Barber Championship Shootout at Road Atlanta.

After three days of competition and evaluation, the teenager from Plainfield, Conn., came out on top of the point standings to earn a USF2000 National Championship ride in 2013 (courtesy of MAZDASPEED), $20,000 cash from California Scents, and a Firestone Indy Lights test with Bryan Herta Autosport.

The competition was anything but easy, however, as the top four drivers were separated by 3.3 points following five race events, a fitness test, a media evaluation, and a business proposal review.

Colorado teen Jake Eidson earned second place and $25,000 Skip Barber Race Series Scholarship, while Brazil’s Danilo Estrela finished third and received a $20,000 Skip Barber Race Series Scholarship.

Source: INDYCAR Press Release

The post INDYCAR News and Notes – Dec. 17, 2012 appeared first on Catchfence.

Related Stories:

  1. INDYCAR News and Notes – Dec. 12, 2012
  2. INDYCAR News and Notes – Dec. 5, 2012
  3. INDYCAR News and Notes – Oct. 3, 2012

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