Capstone Returns for Six Races with Andretti and Hinchcliffe

Photo from Andretti Autosport

Andretti Autosport completed the sponsor package for James Hinchcliffe today. Their news release:

02.18.21

Andretti Autosport has announced today that the team will again join forces with Steinbrenner Racing to field the NTT INDYCAR SERIES entry piloted by James Hinchcliffe. Recognizable partner Capstone Turbine Corporation (www.capstoneturbine.com) (NASDAQ: CPST), the world’s leading clean technology manufacturer of microturbine energy systems, will return with their #ShiftToGreen campaign as the primary partner on the No. 29 Honda for six races in the upcoming 2021 NTT INDYCAR® SERIES season. Paired with Genesys, who was previously announced to primary 10 races with Hinchcliffe, today’s sponsorship confirmation further rounds out the season for the fan-favorite driver.

“We are looking forward to continuing to expand the winning relationship with Capstone Turbine and helping them grow green energy brand awareness by assisting them with new B2B introductions and expanding current relationships with other sponsors that are Capstone end users,” stated Michael Andretti, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Andretti Autosport. “We’re also pleased to welcome George and the Steinbrenner Racing team back into the Andretti fold. We’ll be working together on this entry for Hinchcliffe this year, as well as the Indy Lights car for Devlin DeFrancesco.”

The 2021 season will be Hinchcliffe’s 11th year competing in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and his fifth in the Andretti Autosport stable. In his 145 starts, he has recorded six wins, one pole, 32 top-five finishes and has led a total of 781 laps. “I’m really excited to be joined up with Capstone for a handful of races in 2021,” said Hinchcliffe. “Working with a company that is essentially trying to save the world is such a cool experience. I think the need for green energy is very apparent and it’s something that affects and helps everyone. Being a part of educating people on what we can do better and how we can be better is something that’s really exciting. Obviously, the goal is to win and the best way to raise awareness is to get the #ShiftToGreen Honda into victory lane and tell people about what we’re trying to do. It’s also great to be working with George and Steinbrenner Racing. They’ve only been together a short while, but the results have come already and that speaks to the people in that organization, so I’m really happy to be in the Andretti Steinbrenner program”

“The Mayor of Hinchtown will now add Grand Marshal to the Capstone World to his resume. When he is not driving at 240 miles per hour on an INDYCAR circuit, James will be helping Capstone educate fans on the types of alternative energy sources that are accelerating the global shift to green energy,” stated Darren Jamison, Capstone’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The energy landscape is changing, and we are excited to have James both behind the wheel and as our brand ambassador. The valuable business relationships we have developed with the support of George Steinbrenner IV and Michael Andretti offers Capstone a platform to reach the racing community and help more companies save money and lower their carbon footprint.”

The Capstone green and white livery made its NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut in 2019 on the streets of Toronto with Colton Herta and Harding Steinbrenner Racing and continued through the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca where Herta scored a victory from pole position. In 2020, the Herta sponsorship extended the relationship between Andretti Autosport and Capstone Turbine, which began at Texas Motor Speedway during the month of May in 2019 with driver Alexander Rossi who was the first INDYCAR driver to put Capstone Turbine on the podium with a second-place finish.

“We are very happy to continue our partnership with Capstone,” said George Michael Steinbrenner IV, owner, Steinbrenner Racing. “It has been a great journey taking this partnership from a single race sponsorship in 2019 to a strong and sustainable pact. Working with Capstone has opened our team to a world of green energy initiatives that we continue to seek to bring to the INDYCAR paddock.”

“Being able to continue into our fifth season partnered with Andretti Autosport feels like we’re keeping the family together,” added Steinbrenner. “It looks a bit different this year, but we are greatly looking forward to working with a great driver and human in James Hinchcliffe as well as continuing to maintain our success on and off the track.”

Capstone Turbine will serve as the primary partner on the No. 29 Honda at Texas Motor Speedway (Race 2), the INDYCAR Grand Prix, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the streets of Nashville, Portland International Raceway, and the season finale race on streets of Long Beach.

Hinchcliffe Full Time with Andretti; Genesys to Sponsor 10 Races

Photo: Karl Zemlin, Indycar

James Hinchcliffe returns to Andretti Autosport and the Indycar grid full time as the team announced their fourth full time car for the 2021 NTT Indycar series campaign. Genesys will sponsor the 29 car for 10 races for Hinchcliffe in 2021. Sponsors for the other seven races will be named in the coming weeks

.Hinchcliffe drove for Andretti from 2012-2014 after a year at Newman-Haas. After five years at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Hinchcliffe lost his ride after the 2019 season. He ran three races for Andretti with Genesys sponsorship in 2020 and ran three races for Andretti late in the year replacing Zach Veach. His best finish was seventh in the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe won three races in 2013 for Andretti and he has six career wins.

Photo: Indycar, James Black

Hinchcliffe spent part of 2020 as part of the NBC broadcast team at aces where he wasn’t driving.

The Indianapolis 500 and Hinchcliffe have a love hate relationship. A grisly accident in post qualifying practice nearly cost the Canadian driver his life. he returned the following year to win the pole for the 100th running oif the race. In 2018 he failed to qualify. Hinchcliffe returned to the 500 field in 2019, finishing 11th after starting 32nd.

Victory Lap Celebration: Hinchcliffe Keeps it Light

Photo: Scott Dixon accepts the Astor Cup, his sixth.

The NTT Indycar Series Victory Lap celebration last evening, hosted by James Hinchcliffe, honored Series champion Scott Dixon and others for their achievements during the just completed 2020 season. Hoinchcliffe created an oscar style atnosphere, with an opening monologue and lists of nominees for some awards. His best line came early, talking about the milestones some drivers met this season.

“Scott Dixon’s 50th win, Will Power’s 60th pole, Colton Herta shaving for the first time.” Hinchcliffe quipped.

Several recipients joined the host at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum for one on one segments while others, notably Power and Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato, accepted their awards via Zoom.

Noticing the unmade bed in the background as he talked with Power about his P1 Pole award for garnering the most poles, Hinchcliffe noted,

“I see you’re faster on the track than you are at making a bed.”

Mark Miles appeared and discussed the challenges of 2020. He said the biggest challenge was keeping everyone’s morale up. Miles praised Roger Penske for always staying,”positive, determined, and focused.”

Jay Frye said the series learned to be flexible and will keep many things they learned going forward. Frye indicated the double header qualifying format for ovals will remain. he hopes to not have to alter the schedule next year.

“It seems like we ran 50 races this year,” he said.

Doug Boles revealed the logo for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500after a short video explaining what each element of it represented.

I find this logo a little cold. It doesn’t have the dynamic feeling of the ,past few logos. if they just had a silhouette of the Pagoda I think it would be better. Once again, they failed to ask for my input.

Alexander Rossi won the Fan Favorite Award, and Marco Andretti won an award for the best on track moment for winning the pole for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay talked about his first year in the series. VeeKay had a pole, a podium, five top tens , and three top 5s in leading the first year class.

The program was an entertaining hour and a few minutes. If you didn’t get a chance to watch last night, the show is available on YouTube.

It was a nice way to end what was a difficult season. the entire series deserves an award just for getting a season in.

Hinchcliffe to Complete Season in #26

In a move which is not a big surprise, James Hinchcliffe will take over the number 26 Gainbridge Honda for Andretti Autosport for the last three races of the season. The car had been driven by Zach Veach for the lats three years. veach stepped out of the car earlier this week. Hinchcliffe’s time in the car may be a prelude to his driving the 26 next season full time. The announcement from Andretti Autosport:

James Hinchcliffe has been confirmed as the driver of the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda with Andretti Autosport for the remaining three events on the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar. This comes following an announcement Wednesday confirming that Zach Veach would not return to the 26 car for the remaining events.

Hinchcliffe has competed in three prior events [Genesys 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, the GMR INDYCAR Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500] this season with Andretti Autosport in the No. 29 Genesys Honda.

The Harvest GP presented by GMR will see Hinchcliffe join Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS / AutoNation Honda), Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda), Colton Herta (No. 88 Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana Honda) and Marco Andretti (No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda) for the doubleheader race weekend. The pair of races on the IMS Road Course will be broadcast live Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI, CHAIRMAN & CEO, ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT
“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021. James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NTT INDYCAR SERIES DRIVER, NO. 26 GAINBRIDGE HONDA
“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can. I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”

First Day Thoughts

Photo: Indycar, James Black

It was a strange feeling to be watching from just a few miles away. The track looked to be in good shape, but it was very odd to see the stands empty.  I think the weekend will just emphasize the emptiness, especially when someone runs a really quick lap.

Conor Daly’s car looks amazing coming down the front stretch. It is I think the most telegenic car in the field. It really pops.

I found it hard to get used to Fernando Alonso in a black, white, and green livery. I also forgot Ruoff was his sponsor.

Andretti Autosport had their best first day at a track this year. Let’s see if they are still near the top on Friday.

Ben Hanley will have a busy day tomorrow. he was given 30 minutes on track after practice ended, but only ran a few laps. He needs to complete his refresher test first.

It seemed as if most of the rookies were feeling out the track today. Alex Palou finished in the top 10, but the others were near the bottom of the charts.  I don’t put much stock in the first practice. I look for more speed from this talented group tomorrow.

This is certainly one of the more colorful fields in a while. There is a lot red/orange, some yellow, and some blue. The pace laps should look great with the red Corvette leading the pack.

I know the media that is onsite means well, but their photos this morning before practice were difficult to see. I do appreciate that they are there to keep us up to date. I hope to be back next year.

Tomorrow on The Pit Window is the debut of Pole Tales. I will share some of the more dramatic pole runs in 500 history.  The good news is there will be no Bump Tales this year. No bumping does have its advantages.

The time sheet from today

wp-15972747022724159828111063709189.png

 

Hinchcliffe Joins NBC Broadcast Team

James Hinchcliffe will be part of the NBC motorsports broadcast team this year, beginning with the NTT Indycar Series season opener in St. Pete. Hinchcliffe has what is now a three race deal with Andretti Autosport todrive in the GMR Grand Prix, the 104th Indianapolis 500, and the Genesys 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.

He will serve as a driver analyst on pit road at St. Pete, Long Beach, Toronto, and Laguna Seca in addition to working as a part of NBC’s coverage in the week prior to the Indianapolis 500. Hinchclffe will also be part of the team covering select IMSA races beginning with the Sebring 12 hour March 20-21.

From Earlier: Season Preview Part I

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/90591962/posts/2604485664

Hinchcliffe will also work on the broadcast of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 4th weekend. Additional duties include Indy Lights commentary on NBC Gold.

I think this can only enhance NBC’s coverage. Hinchcliffe was in the booth in 2015 while recovering from injuries in a practice accident at Indianapolis. He was a huge hit with the fans. He also had a few great experiences on Wind Tunnel.

Genesys Assumes Sponsorship at Texas

It makes sense now. I wondered why one of James Hinchcliffe’s three races with Andretti Autosport was Texas instead of Toronto. His sponsor is the new title sponsor of the June 8 NTTINDYCARSERIES race, now known as the Genesys 600. The company replaces DXC Technologies in the title role.

It’s nice to see a new sponsor jumping in with both feet like this. I would have been happy with their three race sponsorship for Hinchcliffe. That would be a nice beginning for a new Indycar partner. I hope their involvement leads to a full time of half year sponsorship for Hinchcliffe and Andretti.

Earlier today, the Firestone Grand of St. Petersburg announced Frontier as the official television and internet provider of the season opening race. I posted the announcement here:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/90591962/posts/2603641037

I love days like this when there are several announcements, especially when they concern more companies getting involved with the series.

My season preview will start tomorrow. It will be a three part series where I assess each team’s outlook for the 2020 season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hinchcliffe Returns to Andretti for Indianapolis 500

It seems everything in Indycar comes back to the starting point. In a news conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this morning, it was announced that James Hinchcliffe will return to Andretti Autosport for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500. He will also race in the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis on May 9 and at Texas Motor Speedway  June 6. Genesys, an Indianapolis based technology company will sponsor car number 29.

Hinchcliffe drove for the team from 2012-2014, and he had his best years with the team.   Three of his six career wins came in 2013, and he was eighth in points in 2012 and 2013. With Andretti Hinchcliffe started the Indianapolis 500 twice from the middle of the front row and had a career best finish of sixth in 2012.

From 2015-2019 at Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Hinchcliffe’s best season finish was 10th in 2018. He was released from driving duties at the end of 2019. He won the pole for the 100th running of the 500 in 2016.

Hinchcliffe will be attempting to start in his seventh 500 mile race this May. He has struggled to make the race the last two years. In 2018 he was bumped from the field and last year qualified 32nd. Making the race should not be an issue this year.

Notes

Hinchcliffe will have some orange on his car.Genesys’s colors are orange, charcoal, and white.  Ironic considering he was let go by Arrow McLaren SP.

I’m surprised that Toronto was not one of the additional races. I would have that race would have been his second priority. Perhaps it will be added later.

Michael Andretti mentioned that the team would like to try to get Hinchcliffe on full time.  If that happens, who might be out? I would think Zach Veach  is on the hot seat unless he has a strong season. Could Ryan Hunter-Reay be looking at Indy only after 2020?

 

 

Hinchcliffe Gets Funding; Looking for Ride

James Hinchcliffe has the funding to run the Indianapolis 500 and possibly afew more races. Thanks to Genesys, a technology firm providing cloud services, he now has the money to take to a team. But which team? I assume he would want one of the Honda teams.  Andretti is full as they already have seven cars for Indianapolis. The other Honda teams, Ganassi, Coyne, and Rahal, are possibilities. I would think either Coyne or Rahal would be more likely than Ganassi.

The news comes just two months after Hinchcliffe was told by Arrow McLaren SP that he would not be driving for them. The team signed Pato O’Ward and rookie Oliver Askew and  for the 2020 season. Hinchcliffe still has a contract with the team and will do personal appearances on their behalf. My understanding is he can still drive for another team.

I have to give Hinchcliffe credit for working hard to secure the money needed for the 500 in just two months. Some drivers work on this aspect of racing all year and come up short. Hinchcliffe qualified 32nd and finished 11th in 2019. He failed to qualify in 2018. The sponsors will announce further details at a later date.

Hinchcliffe is one of the most popular drivers in the NTT Indycar Series. It’s great knowing he will be at IMS during May.

Indycar at the Chili Bowl

Indycar has its best representation at the Chili Bowl in several years. Santino Ferrucci, James Davison, and Conor Daly are entered in the week long midget event in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Daly drives for the first time tonight.

Ferrucci did well in his first ever midget event. He started 11th and finished fifth, just one spot short of transferring to that evening’s feature round. Davison was 10th in his debut last night.

The Chili Bowl finals are on Saturday night from 8:30-11:30 Eastern Time on MavTV.