Team Penske News: XPEL Sponsorship for Newgarden; McLaughlin Gets Indycar Test

Photo from Team Penske

From the Team Penske news release yesterday:

“Team Penske and XPEL, Inc. (NASDAQ: XPEL) a leading provider of automotive paint protective film and window tint, today announced a multi-year partnership. XPEL will be the primary sponsor of the No. 1 Dallara/Chevrolet driven by reigning and two-time NTT IndyCar Series Champion Josef Newgarden for two races in 2020. XPEL will also serve as the “Official Protective Film Partner of Team Penske.

The partnership with Team Penske – the most successful team in motorsports history – represents the first racing sponsorship for the San Antonio, Texas-based company. Newgarden will race the No. 1 XPEL Dallara/Chevrolet in the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on May 9 and in the Texas Indy 600 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) on June 6. XPEL will build on the partnership and become a primary sponsor for a third IndyCar Series race with Team Penske in 2021 and beyond.”

This is a nice looking car with hints of a Shell livery from a few years ago.

It’s always good to see another sponsor in Indycar. I am also glad to see the Newgarden will carry the No. 1 on his car. I think the series should require the champion to do so every year.

McLaughlin Will Test Indycar at Sebring

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Photo: Team Penske

Back to back Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin will drive a Team Penske Indycar at a January 13 test at Sebring. McLaughlin drives for DJR Team Penske in Virgin Australia Supercars. He won a record 18 races this year.  Since joining the team in 2017, McLaughlin has won 35 times to go along with 44 poles in taking series title in 2018 and 2019.

I don’t expect an Indycar ride to happen from this test. Right now It is a reward for achievement in Supercars, but with of Penske’s current NTT Indycar Series drivers approaching retirement, maybe he’ll be in the series in a few years.

The link to the full story:

bit.ly/2qTrqPK

 

Richmond Raceway Adds USAC.25 to Indycar Weekend-Update

Richmond Raceway today announced an addition to the NTT Indycar Series weekend June 27-and 28. The USAC.25 series will race, adding some value for the fans. I like when tracks add series such as midgets or Silver Crown cars to the Indycar weekends. Not only does it provide more track action, which oval need, but it gives fans a glimpse at the roots of Indycar. Here is the full story at the link below.

http://www.richmondraceway.com/Articles/2019/12/USAC.aspx

Update: Portland has also added the USAC .25 Series to.its Indycar program Labor Day weekend. Link:

 

https://portlandgp.com/news/257-usac-25-series-releases-2020-national-schedule-including-a-debut-at-the-grand-prix-of-portland

Podcasts: The Fans’ Best Friend Between Races and During the Off Season

What to do to get your Indycar fix when the next race is 10 days away or it’s the doldrums of the offseason and you need some bench racing? Turn to a podcast. Sadly the great  More Front Wing is no more and Push to Pass had a very brief life. But there are some good ones running weekly now . Each one takes a different approach and has some unique features.  Many of you probably already listen to some of these. Today I will profile four of the best. I want to thank the hosts for taking time to answer my questions for this article.

Pit Lane Parley

Mike Joachim and Jess Baker launched this podcast in early December, 2017. The show has seen phenomenal growth in the last year.    Matt Hickey joins Mike and Jess on their weekly episodes which usually are available Friday morning.

Pit Lane Parley provides unique content weekly, including breaking down complicated topics, interviews,  and trivia nights. Each show typically has a trivia segment. The podcast has a three fold mission according to Mike.

” To bring new fans to the sport, to have casual fans understand complicated things by breaking it down for them, and giving hardcore fans unbiased talk.”

Mike said the best show moments were interviews with Jay Frye and Mark Miles. On the flip side, he thinks the funniest unintentional moment was when he called Scott Dixon an American.

You can listen to the podcast on Apple podcasts. Google podcasts, Spotify, and all podcast apps. I listen on the Castbox app.

For 2020 Pit Lane Parley partners with HMD Racing and a team to be announced later for in depth team content on race weekends. The show also is launching a video channel next season.

Race Fan Heaven

This podcast is in its infancy. Race Fan Heaven began in February of this year. Founder and host Ric Clark teams with Mandi Curi and Rhonda Clark.

I met this Austin, Texas based trio at Laguna Seca in September. They have a lot of fun working together and it comes across in their episodes. All of them are passionate about racing in general.

The podcast focuses on F1, Indycar, NASCAR and NHRA. The episodes usually come on air Friday evenings. Currently you can listen on Speaker.com and RaceFanHeaven.com. The show will be available on most major podcast platforms in 2020.

Ric told me Race Fan Heaven’s mission  is ” To cover, comment on, debate, and promote motorsports. We are passionate fans who are lucky enough to have the opportunity to bring our excitement to fans worldwide!”

At selected races they do live Twitter and Facebook videos.

The best moment for the podcast was their in person coverage of the NTT Indycar Series Finale at Laguna Seca.

Ric said the funniest unintentional moment was when Mandi had to make a “pit stop” in the middle of the show.

For 2020 Race Fan Heaven will have more coverage including live video of their shows and interviews and commentary from the tracks.

Fast Cars Fast Girls

You can believe I made sure I spelled the second fast correctly.

Abby and Molly began the podcast in 2017 with an official release date of June 15. They had recorded after the Indycar GP and the Indianapolis 500. The podcast began during 500 qualifications in 2017. They realized that there were not a lot  of women expressing their opinions and thoughts about Indycar.

The podcast focuses mostly on Indycar and each episode features a segment on females in and around motorsport. I find that segment very interesting and educational. The show’s focus coincides with their mission to talk about Indycar and enjoy the sport.

Molly told me that they always enjoy their interviews with IMS president Doug Boles and Mike Ford, who spots for Simon Pagenaud.

The unscripted show doesn’t lead to much unintentional incidents. Molly thinks the most famous ad lib quote was ” Daddy doesn’t do ovals. daddy only does ovals.”  :(It) will forever live on,” Molly says.

Podcasts go live on Wednesday on all apps.

Fast Cars Fast Girls will continue the Unplugged events at races and continue to spend time with other Indycar fans. in 2020.

“:Other than that, we’ll see where the season takes us, ” Molly said.

The Indy SportsCar Podcast

This podcast is I believe the longest running of the fan podcasts. The Indy SportsCar Podcast recently had its fifth anniversary. Sustaining this type of format as a hobby for five years is quite an achievement these days.

Frank and Missy Linker, the hosts, launched their first episode December 3, 2014. They focus on Indycar, the Road to Indy, and Formula 1.

The podcast airs Friday on iTunes, Podbean, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, Spotify, RedDragonsRadio.com, Tunein Radio , and all other podcast apps.

The podcast mission, Missy said, “…is to get Indycar fans excited about the upcoming races, season, and bring more fans to the sport and bring more eyes to the ladder series to watch the young drivers go through the ladder series and eventually to Indycar.”

Over five years the podcast has had many great moments. Missy notes their interview with Alexander Rossi before his Indycar debut, interviewing the late Justin Wilson, and their interviews with several current Indycar drivers when they were in the Road to Indy, including Oliver Askew, Pato O’Ward, Spencer Pigot, and Colton Herta.

Missy admitted there is a funny unintentional moment every episode.

Missy and Frank are working on some new things for 2020 but are not ready to share their plans at this time.

 

 

 

 

GMR Sponsors IMS Road Race

GMR, the parent company of AMR, sponsor of the NTT Indycar Series Safety Team, hjas entered a multi year agreement with Indianapolis Motor Speedway to sponsor the May Indycar road race at IMS. The race is the opening event at the track leading up to the Indianapolis 500. This great for several reasons.

It adds another sponsored race to the schedule. They will use the race to honor first responders. It helps identify the race better.

The race has been without a sponsor for the last couple years after the Angie’s List sponsorship ended. Calling it the Indycar Grand Prix was vague and it seemed the track had to work to make fans aware this race was at IMS. This gives the event a more solid standing, and it will be easier for the sponsor to connect fans to its location.

The  full story from IMS can be found at this link:

https://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/news-multimedia/news/2019/12/10/medical-services-leader-gmr-to-sponsor-annual-ntt-indycar-series-road-race-at-ims-2019

The GMR Grand Prix will run May 9, 2020.

Has Daly Found a Home?

Today’s announcement of Conor Daly getting the road/street course seat in the number 20 car was the most positive driver news of the past seven weeks. It has been an off season of seismic changes in the NTT Indycar Series paddock. What a great feeling to see the news and smile instead of thinking “What?” Here are some of my thoughts about what this could mean for Daly and the series.

I can’t think of a better fit at ECR than Conor Daly. Both he and Ed have very strong ties to IMS and the series. The move strengthens ECR as Indycar’s ambassador team.

2020 will be the first year since 2017 that Daly will drive for just one team. He drove for multiple teams in 2015, 2018, and 2019.

I’m very happy the Air Force continues with Daly. They could not have picked a better representative.

We can call car 20 the Indiana car.

I hope Ed Carpenter will allow Daly to drive in other series as his schedule allows.  He had success in the Super Trofeo Series last year. Daly is willing to drive anything; I hope gets the opportunity.

I could see Daly at ECR for a few years. Next season may be a getting acquainted period, but it will be interesting to track Daly’s performance compared to Ed Jones’s and Jordan King’s in comparable events.

Daly should be a huge help to Rinus VeeKay in his rookie year in Indycar.

I have seen Daly drive in several series. It seems as the car he is in always improves when he drives it. The road/street course help he can give this team will be invaluable.

Daly may have an even better chance at the 500 in 2020 than he had last season at Andretti. He will get more attention at ECR since it’s a smaller team. Also, the team is really good at IMS.

Wild conjecture on my part: Is this hire a part of Carpenter’s succession plan? Is Ed contemplating giving up the ovals other than Indy in a year or two and letting Conor drive full time?

 

If nothing else breaks, I will be back Thursday with annual (okay first annual) podcast edition.

 

 

Daly Completes ECR Lineup

Photo: Daly’s US Air Force livery from last year

From Ed Carpenter Racing:

CONOR DALY COMPLETES ED CARPENTER RACING’S 2020 DRIVER LINEUP

This is a great spot for Daly. I’m glad the Air Force is still on board. I hope they keep the same livery he had last year. ECR should give him a decent shot at contending at the 500.  More thoughts later.