Rolex 24 Prep Begins at Roar Before the 24

Preparations begin today for next week’s 60th Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona at the Roar Before the 24, a practice and qualifying weekend before next Saturday’s 24 hour race. The biggest field since 2014, 61 cars have entered the event. Nine Indycar drivers, most in the top DPi category, will take part.

Scott Dixon, Alex Palou, and Marcus Ericsson will drive for Ganassi. Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves will also drive for their Indycar team, Meyer Shank. Jimmie Johnson will drive for the Ally team, and Alexander Rossi returns to Wayne Taylor Racing.

Pato O’Ward runs in the LMP2 class, and Kyle Kirkwood will drive a Lexus for Vasser Sullivan in GTD Pro.

This preliminary weekend began as a practice weekend in early January. It has turned into an event. A few years ago, qualifying for for garage spots was added to the program. This year the qualifying is for Sunday’s 100 minute race to set the starting lineup for the 24 hours.

The weekend will also see the return of Robert Wickens to a competitive driving situation. Wickens was paralyzed in a 2018 accident at Pocono. His road to recovery, which he has sharded through social media, continues to be inspiring. Wickens will drive the number 33 Hyundai Elantra in the TCR class in the Michelin Pilot Challenge Series for Bryan Herta Autosport. Their first practice is at 9:45 EST today.

Nice to see Robert Wickens in a driving suit again. Teammate Mark Wilkins on the left.

The weekend IMSA Weather Tech schedule:

Sunday’s qualifying race will be streamed on Peacock. Check back for updates throughout the weekend.

Calderon: Step by Step

Tatiana Calderon plans to ease into her rookie year, hoping her experience in other single seater series will ease her transition. The newest member of A. J. Foyt Racing is eager to get started. Calderon will drive the number 11 ROKiT car in 2022.She is happy to spend this year learning the series on road and street courses before try an oval.

Calderon believes her time in Super Formula and F2 will help her adjust to Indycar quickly in spite of limited preseason testing.

“I think they will be very
useful, all those experiences, particularly because there’s
not much time that we have in the car in preseason, so
only a couple of days of testing, so I’m kind of used to that,” she said Monday.

“Because I’ve been changing continents and cars and tire
manufacturers, I think that’s definitely going to help me to
speed up the process, but I still want to take step by step
this steep learning curve. Yeah, I don’t expect it to be any easier, but I definitely feel more ready than I was a couple of years back if I had the
opportunity. Yeah, looking forward to making the most out
of it and to learn as quick as possible.”

There is no timetable for running on ovals, but Calderon is interested in running them eventually and one day driving in the Indianapolis 500.

“Obviously I’ve only tested the car one day back in July, so we thought to take things easy to start off with, the road courses, build up
to hopefully test in an oval, see how I feel, see how my
confidence with the car comes. But of course who wouldn’t love to do Indy 500 one day. Yeah, we’re just taking it step by step.”

Calderon plans to use her time in Indycar to inspire more girls to enter the sport.

“I will obviously make the most out of this opportunity, and
I’m really hoping that I can do well and inspire even more
girls to join in in karting, in single seaters, and that they
know this is also a great opportunity to showcase that.”

She thinks Indycar has a lot of opportunity for women

“I want to be where the best drivers are at, and I think
INDYCAR is pretty high up there on the single seater
ladder. I’ve always enjoyed single seaters quite a lot, as
well.
It’s an honor to be racing in INDYCAR after I started my
career 10 years ago, and I was just watching those races.
Yeah, huge privilege in that sense, and I think here in
America, in INDYCAR, there has been many female
drivers coming through, so I think there is more opportunity
at the moment for us here.”
In testing at Sebring yesterday, Calderon turned 57 laps with a best time of 53,250 seconds, about a half second behind teammate Kyle Kirkwood.

SONSIO NAMED TITLE SPONSOR FOR NTT INDYCAR SERIES EVENT AT ROAD AMERICA 

Big news from Road America:

 American Medical Response Renews as Presenting Sponsor –
ELKHART LAKE, Wis., January 19, 2022 – Sonsio has signed on to be the title sponsor for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES event at Road America, and American Medical Response has agreed to return as the presenting sponsor. The race will be known as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Sonsio Grand Prix presented by AMR. The green flag will fly on the event at approximately 12 p.m. CST on June 12, 2022, and the event will be aired LIVE on NBC.  

 “We looked closely into what Sonsio could do with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to continue a mutually beneficial partnership, and a relationship with Road America fit the bill,” said Sonsio Chief Executive Officer, David Jones. “Road America is a premier facility in a spectacular part of the country, and we look forward to working together to make the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Sonsio Grand Prix presented by AMR a memorable experience for everyone.”  

For over 37 years, Sonsio has been the industry leader in administering tire and wheel road hazard programs, vehicle appearance programs, parts and labor warranty programs, mechanical advice, extended customer service, and loyalty enhancement programs to the automotive industry. As part of the entitlement of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Sonsio Grand Prix presented by AMR weekend, Sonsio will leverage other marketing opportunities and receive branding in the form of trackside and other signage and will be able to communicate with Road America’s fans inviting them to learn more about Sonsio and its many automotive services.  

 “Sonsio is a great fit for Road America,” said Mike Kertscher, Road America’s President and General Manager. “They have a unique cadre of offerings and services that have been instrumental in improving the automotive industry. We feel that Sonsio will incorporate itself very well with Road America’s fan base, and we are very excited to have them on board in such a prominent capacity.

We are equally proud to have American Medical Response join Sonsio with this event as the presenting sponsor. American Medical Response is a leader in emergency medical transportation, and they have been instrumental to INDYCAR’S success through various partnerships with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Safety Team and series initiatives.” 

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES Sonsio Grand Prix presented by AMR takes center stage at Road America June 9-12, 2022, as an international lineup of drivers will have their chance to battle it out for glory on one of the world’s most majestic road courses. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Sonsio Grand Prix presented by AMR weekend schedule at Road America, will also be bolstered by the Radical Cup series and two junior development series of the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, the Indy Pro 2000, and USF2000, of which many drivers of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES are graduates.  

In addition to the title sponsorship of the Road America event, Sonsio’s INDYCAR involvement will also once again extend to a primary partnership with Team Penske. Building upon their relationship in 2021, Sonsio will serve as the primary partner on the No.3 Chevrolet driven by defending NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year Scott McLaughlin at the Road America event. 

“It is an honor to represent partners that have already tasted success with Team Penske over the years, including Sonsio,” said McLaughlin. “My aim is to continue those winning ways with the No. 3 Sonsio Chevrolet in 2022. Road America is a perfect place for us to do that. Coming from Australia that was one track that I was anxious to get to, and it did not disappoint. It is a proper, classic American racetrack.” 

Bring the entire family out to experience the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Sonsio Grand Prix presented by AMR in person at Road America! Kids 16 and under get free general admission to all Road America season racing events with a paying adult at the gate. Make it a weekend of affordable fun by camping on-site on one of Road America’s 1,000+ campsites. Tickets and additional event details, ticket pricing, a tentative event schedule, and camping information can be found at www.roadamerica.com or by calling 800-365-7223. All races will run rain or shine.

  About Road America: Established in 1955, Road America is located midway between Milwaukee and Green Bay in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The world’s best racers have competed at this legendary four-mile, 14-turn road circuit for over 65 years. The 640-acre, park-like grounds offer amazing viewing opportunities, fantastic concessions, and high-speed excitement to hundreds of thousands of spectators each year. In addition to public race weekends, Road America offers a variety of group event programs, the Briggs & Stratton Motorplex for karting and supermoto, and the Road America Motorcycle and Advanced Driving Schools. For more information, follow Road America on www.facebook.com/RoadAmerica and on Twitter: @roadamerica or call 800-365-7223. 

About Sonsio: With a comprehensive lineup of vehicle protection plans, Sonsio offers industry-leading programs that cover tire and wheel road hazard protection, appearance protection, parts and labor warranties, mechanical advisory, and other critical consumer services. These benefits provide vehicle owners with affordable and valuable coverages to keep their vehicles on the road safely and maximize the resale value by keeping the appearance of their vehicles like-new. To learn more visit www.sonsio.com.

Herta, O’Ward Focus on Indycar While Waiting for F1 Chance

Photo above: Colton Herta

Two of the top contenders for the 2022 NTT Indycar Series championship this year say they are focused on Indycar this season while hoping for a future opportunity to drive in Formula 1 someday.

Pato O’Ward finished third in the standings in 2021. The Arrow McLaren SP driver looks to improve that position this season. He did get to test a McLaren F1 car in Abu Dabi in December and still hopes one day to drive in that series. But not this year.

Indycar image by Chris Owens

“I mean, right now I have one focus, and
that one focus is in INDYCAR. I want to give these guys
their first championship. I’d love to give them their first 500. This is what my focus is right now,” O’Ward said during Indycar Content Day yesterday.

“Who knows if F1 will be an option or won’t be an option.
Obviously if it comes about, I will 100 percent take it and
every single driver in my position would do it because it’s
Formula 1. That’s what I grew up watching and that’s what
I grew up dreaming of. That same dream that you have as
a kid will never go away.

Right now, like I said, I have a challenge here, and I want
people to enjoy. I want people to enjoy me in INDYCAR. I
want them to know what INDYCAR has to offer, I want
them to enjoy me in INDYCAR, the racing.”

O’Ward said to move up in the standings, the team needs to find consistency.

” I mean, in short, I just don’t think we’ve
had a very consistent car. Where we’ve been strong,
we’ve been very strong, but where we haven’t been strong,
we’ve been very weak, and that’s where we’ve lost a lot of
points. I feel like there’s no sugar coating it. It’s just not
good enough.
I have to try and maximize what I can control, and I know
the engineers are going to do their part. We’re not up to
where Penske, Andretti and Ganassi are. We sure as hell
are trying to and working hard for that, but they are
Penske, Ganassi and Andretti for a reason.
Yeah, I think we’re definitely on the way.”

Herta

Unlike O’Ward, Colton Herta sees F1 as another racing series he wants to try. He realizes he has a limited time frame to get an F1 ride, but thinks his age is in his favor.

“The time is right for me if I got the opportunity. I’d have to
have a good think about it, but I most likely would do it
because I want to run in Formula 1 at some point.
That’s not to say I think people forget that I’m 21 years old
and I can’t come back in five years and still run 15 years in
INDYCAR and be 40.
Yeah, I definitely want to give it a crack if I get the
opportunity. But definitely not disappointed at all in
INDYCAR. I like this series more than any series in the
world, and I enjoy racing in a it a lot. But yeah, there’s just
a lot of stuff that I’d like to try in my racing career outside of
INDYCAR, also.”

As far as pressure to win the championship this season, Herta isn’t feeling any. He has confidence in his Andretti Autosport team.

“No, because I’m 21, so I think I have
plenty of time. But I do want to win it earlier rather than later.
I don’t feel the pressure from that aspect. I don’t feel like I
need to get it done this year.
But that’s not to say I don’t want to get it done this year.
That’s kind of like my goal.”

Herta said he learned a valuable lesson about collecting points after crashing out of the Nashville race while running second.

“… it was a good learning experience, and it’s
probably in the grand scheme of things, it’s probably good
that it happened, because you just kind of learn from
repetition. That’s probably the best way to learn I feel.
That’s something I’ll keep in the back of my head, and I
think it’s something that next time it won’t be a problem.”

Right now I have Herta and O’Ward as the top two to win the title. At this point, I give a slight edge to Herta. Both drivers need to be more consistent than last year. With the uncertainty of how long they remain in Indycar, now is the time to enjoy these two young drivers.

Foyt’s Addition Brings Full Time Grid to 26

Just when we say the grid is set, tThis morning’s announcement by A. J. Foyt Racing of a third full time car puts the NTT Indycar Series full time grid at 26. The only seat open right now is for someone to drive the ovals in Foyt’s number 11, which Tatiana Calderon will drive on the road and street course. I would think J. R. Hildebrand is the prime candidate for the Indianapolis 500, but I don’t know his availability for the other ovals.

From earlier:

thepitwindow.blog/2022/01/17/tatiana-calderon-joins-indycar-with-foyt-rokit/

There will be at least 27 cars at the GMR Grand at IMS in May. Arrow McLaren SP has already said that Juan Pablo Montoya will enter that race as a warmup for the 500. Other non oval events could see up to 28 cars.

Indianapolis 500 entries stand at 34 right now, with two more entries expected. Both will be powered by Chevrolet.

The full time lineup:

Team Penske

2- Josef Newgarden

3- Scott McLaughlin

12- Will Power

Chip Ganassi Racing

8- Marcus Ericsson

9- Scott Dixon’

10- Alex Palou

48- Jimmie Johnson

Andretti Autosport

26-Colton Herta

27- Alexander Rossi

28- Romain Grosjean

29- Devlin Defrancesco (R)

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

15- Graham Rahal

30- Jack Harvey

45- Christian Lundgaard (R)

Arrow McLaren SP

5= Pato O’Ward

7- Felix Rosenqvist

Dale Coyne Racing with HMD

18- David Malukas (R)

Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing

51- Takuma Sato

Meyer Shank Racing

06- Helio Castroneves

60- Simon Pagenaud

A. J. Foyt Racing

4- Dalton Kellett

11- Tatiana Calderon (R)

14- Kyle Kirkwood (R)

Ed Carpenter Racing

20- Conor Daly

21-Rinus VeeKay

Juncos Hollinger Racing

77- Callum Ilott (R)

The field has six rookies and ten drivers with three years or less experience. There are also six drivers, seven counting Ed Carpenter, older than 40 years old. Penske’s IMS upgrades should include a senior citizens’ center and a day care.

Tatiana Calderon Joins Indycar with Foyt, ROKiT

Does A. J. know how to celebrate a birthday or what?

A. J. Foyt Racing announced this morning Tatiana Calderon will drive car 11 in road and street events with ROKiT sponsorship. This has been brewing since Calderon tested for the team at Mid Ohio last July. According to the announcement, the car will be full time, and Foyt is looking for a driver for the ovals. Kyle Kirkwood will also be in a ROKiT car.

The press release from Foyt:

ROKiT Group Expands Its Program with AJ Foyt Racing; Tatiana Calderón Hired for 2022

INDIANAPOLIS (January 17, 2022) — ROKiT Group is expanding their marketing partnership with AJ Foyt Racing for 2022 as the team will enter two ROKiT-branded Chevrolets in the NTT INDYCAR Series with Tatiana Calderón hired to drive the No. 11 ROKiT Chevrolet.

The agreement expands AJ Foyt Racing to a three-car team with the previously announced Kyle Kirkwood in the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet and veteran Dalton Kellett in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet.

A.J. Foyt, who turned 87 yesterday, will be experiencing another first in his iconic career which spans eight decades. Calderón becomes the first female driver to compete for the legendary Texan. The 28-year-old Colombian native is set to drive the street and road courses. No driver has been signed for the oval tracks to date.

“I’m thrilled and very thankful to Jonathan Kendrick, ROKiT and AJ Foyt Racing for the opportunity to race in the NTT INDYCAR Series!” exclaimed Calderón. “Ever since I started my single seater career in the United States eleven years ago, INDYCAR has been a reference for me and it’s a dream come true to be on the grid this year! I can’t wait to get to St. Petersburg for the first race of the season! I’m well aware of the challenge ahead, but this is the chance of a lifetime and I’m keen on making the most of it.”

Entrepreneur Kendrick, the Co-founder and Chairman of the ROKiT Group of Companies, has supported Calderón’s career since 2020 when she competed in the World Endurance Championship and Super Formula Japan.

“One of our fundamental principles in the overall marketing of the ROKiT brand worldwide is our support and promotion of women in motorsport and, as part of that principle, we’ve supported Tatiana for a long time now,” Kendrick said.

Kendrick listens as Foyt answers a question at the Long Beach Grand Prix.

“We recognized her talent and charisma early on,” he continued, “which we’ve seen grow and develop, so we’re very excited to be expanding our partnership with Larry and the AJ Foyt Racing Team by having Tatiana drive the No. 11 ROKiT Chevrolet alongside Kyle Kirkwood in the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet this season. We know Tatiana is already a role model to many young female drivers around the world and we think the huge exposure of the NTT INDYCAR Series will serve only to increase her reach even further to become an inspiration to many more women to get involved in motorsports.”

Calderón spent the last two seasons competing in Super Formula in Japan for Threebond Drago Corse and for Richard Mille Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship. She has been a test driver for the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team for the past four years. Her extensive resume includes stints in Formula 2, Renault Series Formula V8 3.5 where she was the first female on the podium in Bahrein in 2017, GP3, European Formula 3, and the British Formula 3 Series, where she was the first female to score a podium.

Calderon testing at Mid-Ohio in July.

Born in Bogota, Colombia and currently living in Madrid, Calderón tested the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio last July which prompted talks of competing for the team in 2022.

Those talks resulted in Team President Larry Foyt signing an extension and expansion of the ROKiT sponsorship along with the hire of Calderón who impressed Foyt.

Foyt said, “I’m thrilled with the continuation and expansion of the ROKiT AJ Foyt Racing Team. We welcome Tatiana Calderón in car number 11 joining Kyle Kirkwood in car 14, both in the very cool ROKiT liveries. Tatiana showed a lot of potential in her test at Mid-Ohio. With Dalton Kellett in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators Chevrolet, I think our three-car team is in for an exciting season.”

Calderón will test with Kirkwood in Sebring, Fla. this week. Kellett is planning to attend in an advisory role.

Calderón and Kirkwood, the 2021 Indy Lights Series champion, will make their INDYCAR Series debut in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on February 27th which will be broadcast on NBC starting at 12 noon ET. Kirkwood and Kellett will compete in all of the races while Calderón will run in 12 of the 17 races on the schedule.

About ROKiT ROKiT Group is a next-generation global media company engaged in multiple aspects of content production and distribution, including movies, television, sports, music, drinks, and mobile entertainment. ROKiT leverages each of these business units, independently and together, to create content across all mediums, giving consumers what they want, when they want it on their mobile phones.

The Price of Free TV

First, Happy birthday, A. J. Foyt.

The good news that NBC will have 14 NTT Inycar Series races on network television s tempered by the loss of night races. The closest race to a night event is at World Wide technology Raceway., with a broadcast start time of 6 pm Eastern. That means the race starts around 5:30 Central time and will be done around dusk.

I really don’t understand why this race is not under the lights since it is slated for USA Network. I get that big NBC doesn’t want to show a prime time weekend night race. But why can’t USA show a night race.

The other race scheduled for USA Network is Belle Isle. I find that puzzling as well, considering that Roger Penske is the race promoter. Why not make that an NBC and put Iowa’s Saturday race on USA at night?

I hope this is a temporary schedule transition and there is at least one true night race in 2023. Indycars at night look fantastic. The colors really pop under the lights. They seem to be faster. Most important is that at Iowa and Gateway, to a lesser extent, the racing is better at night. As the track cools, the cars’ handling changes. A fast car early in the race can turn into a handful later, while someone struggling before sundown can turn into a rocket.

Maybe we will get a long rain delay at Iowa like there was in 2019 when a twilight race turned into a late night/early morning affair. It appears my night racing will be limited to the Rolex 24 in a couple weeks.

The absence of night races is my only complaint with the television schedule. Generally, I like the early start times for most of the races. Fans should be able to get home in time to get some sleep before going to work on Monday.

The schedule with broadcast times:

Wickens Races Again

It has been a long, torturous path for Robert Wickens since that awful July day at Pocono in 2018. He will be back in a race car in two weeks at Daytona, driving a Hyundai Elantra for Bryan Herta Autosport in the Michelin Pilot Challenge Series. The race on January 28 is a preliminary event to the Rolex 24.

It isn’t Indycar, but it is thrilling that Wickens will be back ina race car competing again.

Announcements from the team are below.

The announcement from BHA:

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Jan. 14, 2022 – Three-time International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) Champions, Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) and Hyundai Motor North America, announced they have signed international racing star, Robert Wickens to co-drive the #33 Elantra N TCR racecar. Wickens will drive with fellow Canadian champion Mark Wilkins in the 2022 IMPC.

“Today is a monumental day for us as a team and as fans of Robert Wickens,” said Bryan Herta, president of BHA. “We have followed along with Robert’s rehabilitation and marveled at his determination and dedication, along with his many, many fans. To now announce that he will be making his professional motorsports return in one of our Hyundai Elantra N TCR cars is truly incredible. We thank Hyundai for their amazing support and helping us build a path for Robert to get back to where he belongs.”

In May of 2021, Wickens successfully evaluated the BHA #54 Hyundai Veloster N TCR using hand controls. It was his first time driving a race car after 989 days of rehabilitation following an IndyCar accident that left him paralyzed in 2018. Wickens will return to competition, taking the green flag at the IMPC season opener, a four-hour endurance race commencing the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona race weekend at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 28.

“I’ve spent a lot of nights thinking and dreaming of this moment, and with the support from Bryan Herta and Hyundai it is all becoming a reality,” said Wickens. “I am hungrier now than I was before my accident to compete for wins again! I’m really looking forward to incorporating myself with the entire Bryan Herta Autosport team and finally get my first taste of the Hyundai Elantra N TCR.”

Wickens, a former Formula One test driver, took the American IndyCar scene by storm as a rookie in 2018. He won the pole position and led all but two laps in his first IndyCar race, went on to score four podium finishes and earned the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year honor, all in his first 12 IndyCar races in 2018. Race number 13 of his stellar rookie IndyCar season changed his life forever. Wickens was involved in an accident on lap 7 at Pocono Raceway, where he suffered a thoracic spinal fracture, spinal cord injury, neck fracture, tibia and fibula fractures to both legs, fractures in both hands, a fractured right forearm, fractured elbow, a concussion, four fractured ribs and a pulmonary contusion. Since the accident, Wickens’ perseverance and persistence has led to triumphant breakthroughs in his relentless regimes of physical rehabilitation and therapy that continues daily. Wickens and his team of therapists and trainers have become trailblazers in developing innovative technology and treatment methods for the spinal cord injury community.

The #33 Hyundai Elantra N TCR has been fitted with a custom hand-control system designed by BHA Technical Director David Brown and Development Technician Jonathan Gormley. The system features a custom metal ring connected to the brake pedal by a series of rods specifically tailored to the Elantra. The ring is attached behind the steering wheel that is pulled with fingers to activate the brake. Two linked throttle paddles and shift paddles, all attached behind the steering wheel, allow the driver to accelerate, shift and make steering inputs. The system also features a switch for Mark Wilkins when he takes over the cockpit in pitstops that deactivates the hand throttle. The Elantra will accelerate and brake using the traditional foot pedals when Wilkins is driving.

Wickens and Wilkins join the previously announced 2022 BHA driver lineup featuring six Elantra N TCR entries to defend the team’s trifecta of series titles, and they will vie for Hyundai’s third straight manufacturers title. The 2022 season kicks off with the season opening test days, the “Roar Before the Rolex 24,” at Daytona International Speedway, Jan. 21-23, 2022. Round one of the 2022 IMPC season takes place the following weekend with the BMW Endurance Challenge, a four-hour race during the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona race weekend on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022.

Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai Motor America focuses on ‘Progress for Humanity’ and smart mobility solutions. Hyundai offers U.S. consumers a technology-rich lineup of cars, SUVs and electrified vehicles. Our 820 dealers sold more than 738,000 vehicles in the U.S. in 2021, and nearly half were built at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. For more information, visit www.HyundaiNews.com.

Daly Full Time at ECR

Images from ECR

One thing about Indycar- despite a whirlwind of changes, some things stay the same. Ed Carpenter Racing announced this morning that Conor Daly will be back in the 20 car with a new sponsor in 2022. The announcement reads “full time.” Is Ed Carpenter going to just run the Indianapolis 500, a move I have thought was long overdue? According to the release below, Carpenter may race in the non Indy ovals as well.

No driver has worked harder this off season to procure sponsorship than Daly, who lost the US Air Force sponsor deal after last season.

The announcement from ECR:

Conor Daly Elevated to Full-Time Driver of the No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Season

(INDIANAPOLIS) January 14, 2022 – Ed Carpenter Racing announced today a new partnership with BitNile Holdings, Inc. to serve as primary partner for the No. 20 Chevrolet in a multi-year deal. ECR welcomes back Conor Daly, who will become full-time driver of the No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. BitNile will also serve as an associate sponsor on ECR’s second entry, the No. 21 Chevrolet.

BitNile Holdings, Inc. is a diversified holding company specializing in disruptive technologies, including cryptocurrencies and innovations in the field of Decentralized Finance (“DeFi”). BitNile focuses on large-scale crypto mining with energy-efficient, powerful operations strategically located in North America. In addition, they currently operate their own high-density data center. With a mission to simplify the DeFi process for all involved, BitNile invests in technology platforms that provide crypto holders a vehicle to earn interest on their crypto assets.

BitNile Founder and Executive Chairman, Milton “Todd” Ault, III, has spent his entire career investing in undervalued assets and disruptive technologies. He believes joining in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with Ed Carpenter Racing will yield similar rewards. “I’ve been a fan of Indy car racing for a long time, and we are proud to have the opportunity to team up with Ed Carpenter Racing. It’s a natural fit for BitNile to join an Indiana business like Ed’s as we have a number of investments in the Midwest, including our mining facilities,” stated Mr. Ault. “BitNile operates with a ‘Risk On’ philosophy where risk is an integral element if you want to win. Conor Daly and ECR share that mindset, making us in perfect alignment.”

The upcoming season will mark Daly’s return to Ed Carpenter Racing for a third year, though it will be his first as full-time driver of the No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet. For the past two years, Daly has split his talents between two teams. For the road and street course events and the Indianapolis 500, Daly raced for ECR; for the remaining oval events, he drove for Carlin. Over the past eight years, the Noblesville, Ind., native has competed in 80 Indy car races. The 2021 Indianapolis 500 proved a career highlight for the hometown favorite as he paced the field for nearly a quarter of the race, leading the most laps of all drivers.

Daly, who turned 30 in December, is thrilled to be a part of BitNile’s very first sponsorship program and introduce the company to motorsports. “Being chosen to represent BitNile is without a doubt one of the most important opportunities of my career. This is an incredible partnership that we look forward to being able to strengthen and grow as we go after race wins together!” Daly continued, “To be able to come back to Ed Carpenter Racing for the full season is incredible. I haven’t had the chance to be with one team for the entire year since 2017, so this is something I am very, very thankful for. I have a lot of faith in ECR and each year we continue to get better together. I couldn’t be more excited to get on track in the BitNile Chevrolet!”

Team owner Ed Carpenter became well-known in the Bitcoin space in 2021 as he welcomed the first decentralized sponsorship in the history of racing. The Bitcoin community supported all necessary on-track activities for ECR’s Bitcoin Chevrolet during the Month of May. Carpenter later spoke at the Bitcoin 2021 conference and continues to be recognized as a paddock leader in the crypto industry. “I am extremely proud to welcome BitNile to the ECR family! It is exciting to be able to expand our team’s involvement in the culture of Bitcoin after running the Bitcoin car last May,” said Carpenter. “We will also represent a few other exciting brands within BitNile Holdings as the year progresses, so there is more to come!”

ECR will continue to compete in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with two full-time entries in 2022. Daly’s season-long teammate is fellow third-year ECR driver Rinus VeeKay, who remains in the No. 21 Chevrolet. Carpenter, a three-time Indianapolis 500 pole winner, will join Daly and VeeKay to round out ECR’s three-car program for the 2022 500-mile race. Confirmation of Carpenter’s participation in the three additional oval events may come at a later date.

Always eager to hone his driving talents, Daly returns to dirt track racing this weekend as he competes in the Chili Bowl Nationals today and tomorrow. Next Wednesday, January 19, Daly and Carpenter will be guests on Mr. Ault’s podcast, Risk On. Viewers can watch a live stream from the ECR shop on YouTube at 4 p.m. ET. The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season will begin on Sunday, February 27 in the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

About BitNile Holdings, Inc.
BitNile Holdings, Inc. is a diversified holding company pursuing growth by acquiring undervalued businesses and disruptive technologies with a global impact. Through its wholly and majority-owned subsidiaries and strategic investments, BitNile owns and operates a data center at which it mines Bitcoin and provides mission-critical products that support a diverse range of industries, including defense/aerospace, industrial, automotive, telecommunications, medical/biopharma, and textiles. In addition, BitNile extends credit to select entrepreneurial businesses through a licensed lending subsidiary. BitNile Holdings’ headquarters are located at 11411 Southern Highlands Parkway, Suite 240, Las Vegas, NV 89141; http://www.bitnile.com/.