Lundgaard Embraces Indycar’s ‘Pure Racing”

Photo of Christian Lundgaard by James Black, Indycar

Christian Lundgaard had just a few hours to get a taste of Indycar last August, but it was enough to set him on a path for a full time ride in the series. Luindgaard and team owner Bobby Rahal talked about the differences between Indycar and Formula 1, and why they think Indycar presents greater opportunities for younger drivers.

He told the media this morning after Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced Lundgaard as the 2022 driver of car 30,

“In the end it actually came down to what do I personally
want and what will I enjoy, and for me when I did the race
over here, that’s what I enjoyed the most. I haven’t
enjoyed a race weekend as much as that one for years,
except obviously when you have a very good weekend in
whatever you’re doing and you are winning and
dominating. . .
Over here it’s pure racing. I like the racing over here.
Yeah, that’s what attracts me and the racing itself, so I’m
definitely positive for next year.”

Lundgaard understands the challenges he faces on ovals, but is eager to run on them. He counts on his experienced teammates, graham Rahal and Jack Harvey, to help him. LKundgaard appreciates Indycar’s oval history.

“…when I think about INDYCAR, I think about the Indy 500. When you’re
sitting at home and someone mentions INDYCAR, you
think of the oval tracks, so you know what comes with it.
I think the road courses I know. I know how to drive
around a road course, but the ovals will definitely be a
challenge.
I think it’s something that I will have to prepare as much as
I can on. I think it’s great to have Graham and Jack with
me. They’ve got the experience. The team has got the
experience on the oval tracks, so I think for me, it’s about
taking it step by step, but at the same time trying to see
how much I can learn before getting on to the track.
And I’m sure the team has got everything ready for me.”

Lundgaard explained the difference between Formula 1 and Indycar and why he is taking thuis direction.

“INDYCAR is a series where they do this Indy 500, they do
ovals. It’s very mixed. It’s a mix of street circuits, road
courses, ovals. It’s such a big mix, where you have
European tracks, they’re nice and smooth, big runoffs.
Specifically in F1 you’ve got some are faster than others
and you’ve got to be in the right car to be able to win.
Looking at Romain, he came over here and he started
winning and performing. I never doubted that he was a
good driver even in F1 because I know Kevin as well and
he was his teammate and they were fighting each other
because that’s the only thing I could do. Over here
everyone fights everyone. Everyone has an opportunity to
win. That’s what racing stands for.
So for me to come over here, I know once I jump in the car
I’ve got an opportunity to win no matter which track I’m at,
and that’s what racing is, and that’s why I’m here.”

Rahal was asked why he thinks young European drivers ould be attracted to Indycar.

” Well, first off, I think INDYCAR is what
Formula 1 used to be, to a large degree. Clearly we don’t
have the politics. Clearly we don’t — there’s a lot of things
that don’t exist in the INDYCAR paddock that exist in the
Formula 1 paddock.
You look at how many really good guys are in F2 who
maybe are frustrated now because they can’t make that
next step, and yet they’ve kind of proven their abilities.
As Christian mentioned, I think that — if I’m a young guy in
Europe and I look at the potentials, I think the potential for
my career is much greater here in INDYCAR than it is
there.”

Lundgaard joins Callum Ilott of Juncos-Hollinger Racing as the first two confirmed rookies for 2022. Young drivers in Europe will watch their progress closely next season. Indycar may be on the verge of another European wave.


Lundgaard Completes RLL’s 2022 Lineup

Another grid spot for the 2022 NTT Indycar season is now filled as Rahal letterman Lanigan racing announced Christian Lundgaard as driver of car 30. Lundgaard drove in one race for RLL in 2021,starting fourth and finishing 12th at the second road course race at IMS in August. The news release from R:LL this morning:

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BROWNSBURG, Ind. (October 20, 2021) – After an impressive debut in the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in August, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that FIA Formula 2 Championship driver Christian Lundgaard, 20, will join the team as the driver of the No. 30 Honda-powered entry beginning in 2022 in a multi-year agreement. Further details for the racing program will be announced at a later date.

Lundgaard, who is a member of the Alpine Academy, a program originally created by Renault F1 in 2002 to support young racing drivers through their careers, had limited preparation before his Indy car debut at IMS but turned heads when he qualified on the second row in fourth place and went on to finish 12th despite a condensed event schedule.

His ability to adapt quickly will be an asset as he learns the nuances of oval racing and also competes in the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29, 2022.

The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season begins with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on February 25-27. The 17-race schedule includes the Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 on Saturday, July 23, and the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 on Sunday, July 24 – both at Iowa Speedway. Team partner Hy-Vee will provide broad support for the doubleheader event through a wide-ranging partnership that will bring INDYCAR racing back to the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway, located near their headquarters in Des Moines, after a one-year hiatus. For more information about the series or team, visit http://www.indycar.com and http://www.rahal.com.

QUOTEBOARD:

CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD, Driver of the No. 30 Honda: “I’m very excited to join Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in INDYCAR. They are a fantastic team who made me feel very welcome earlier this year when I made my debut in the series. They are the perfect choice and I’m happy to join them on this next chapter in my career. I was very much open minded when I raced at Indianapolis in August and the experience then only grew my hunger to give it another go, so to have the opportunity as a full-time professional racing driver is a privilege. I can only thank Bobby, Piers and the team, as well as my investors and Alpine for putting it all together. I’m determined to repay that faith with on-track performances beginning when the season starts in February. Of course, this will be a completely new challenge for me, especially with oval racing, which I’ve never done before. I’d like to think I’m a fast learner, so taking this on is going to be an awesome experience. For now, I’m not setting too many expectations other than working hard and enjoying the racing and hopefully the results will follow. For now, though, my focus is on finishing the Formula 2 Championship before fully committing to taking on INDYCAR. I can’t wait for the experience to begin.”

BOBBY RAHAL, Co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “I’m very pleased that Christian will be joining us for the next several years. His performance on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway certainly surprised everybody. For him to do the job he did was tremendous and certainly beyond our expectations. With a little more time under his belt, I think the performance would have been even stronger. Everyone within the team was very pleased and it created a lot of excitement and positive reactions from the fans on social media and online as well as a positive buzz in the paddock. Some may not know, but he had food poisoning so he wasn’t feeling 100 percent that day and yet to have the kind of weekend we had was great. I look forward to a long relationship with Christian. He’s a great young man who fit well with the team immediately and we are all excited about what we can do together.”

MIKE LANIGAN, Co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “The team is very excited to have Christian on board beginning with the 2022 season. With our current line up with Graham and Jack, I believe the addition of Christian will take our team to the next level in competing for a championship.”

DAVID SALTERS, President and Technical Director, Honda Performance Development: “Christian impressed us all in his INDYCAR debut earlier this year, on the IMS road course with Rahal Letterman Lanigan. Great to see a ‘youth movement’ in INDYCAR and high quality talent transfer from F2 and F1 programs. From Honda’s perspective, it’s delightful to see the upward trajectory of INDYCAR with a super competitive field, we relish this as we race to challenge ourselves through competition. We look forward to watching Christian continue to develop and perform in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2022.”

About Christian Lundgaard
Twenty-year-old Christian, from Hedensted, Denmark, races in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, the primary Formula 1 support series. He is also a member of the Alpine Academy, having joined the program in 2017 following an impressive career in European and World Karting Championships. Christian’s first year in single-seaters led to two Formula 4 titles – NEZ and Spanish – before he finished runner-up in the 2018 Formula Renault Eurocup as a rookie. In 2019, Christian stepped up to Formula 3, finishing sixth, before progressing to Formula 2 last year.

In 2020 he stepped up to Formula 2, securing two wins. So far in 2021, Christian has three Formula 2 podiums to his name. He finished second in Race 2 at the season opener in Bahrain before claiming third place in Race 1 in Great Britain in July. After his debut in INDYCAR, he made a sensational charge from 19th on the grid to finish third in Monza in Race 1. He has tested the R.S.18 on one occasion this year at Silverstone. The final two races of the championship will take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on December 2-4 and Yas Marina, United Arab Emirates, December 9-11.

About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and Brownsburg, Ind., is co-owned by three-time
IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, former CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. In 2021, the team begins its 30th year of competition and will attempt to add to its 29 Indy car wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice and the 2020 Indy 500 with Takuma Sato — their 33 poles, 107 podium finishes and 1992 series championship. The team also competed in the American Le Mans Series from 2009-2013 as BMW Team RLL where they won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category in 2010 and swept all three GT titles in 2011 – Manufacturer, Team and Driver. In 2012, the team finished second in the Team Championship and third in the Manufacturer Championship and in 2013, the team finished second in the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championship. Since 2014, BMW Team RLL has competed in the GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a two-car program and has brought their total to 22 wins – including the 2019 and 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance races, 28 poles and 91 podium finishes as well as a second-place finish in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships in 2015 and 2017. The team was also the 2020 Michelin Endurance Champions. For 2021, the team will compete for back-to-back Michelin Endurance Championships.

Jack Harvey Joins RLL in Car 45

The announcement isn’t a shock; it has been talked about for months. What is a bit of a surprise is that Harvey will drive the number 45 Hy-Vee car. The 30 is still open, although an announcement for that ride could come soon. The official announcement from Rahal is below:

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (October 11, 2021) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Bassingham, England native Jack Harvey, 28, will pilot the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda beginning with the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season in a multi-year deal.

Hy-Vee, Inc., an employee-owned supermarket chain that operates more than 285 retail stores across eight Midwestern states, has been the primary sponsor of the No. 15 and No. 45 entries for 11 races with the team since 2020, and will expand their program to become a full-season primary sponsor of the No. 45 entry beginning in 2022 in a multi-year agreement. They will also be a team-wide associate sponsor.

Hy-Vee first joined the team as the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry for Race 2 at the Iowa Speedway in 2020 where he finished third. The company was also the primary sponsor of the team’s entry for Spencer Pigot at the Indy 500 and an associate sponsor of Rahal’s entry for the legendary race. In 2021, they have been a primary sponsor at 9 races: the Indy 500, Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader and Mid-Ohio races with Santino Ferrucci, at Road America and World Wide Technology Raceway with Graham Rahal and at Portland, Laguna Seca and Long Beach with Oliver Askew.

In 2022, Harvey will begin his third full season in INDYCAR. His best start to date is second place in the 2021 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and his best finish is third in the 2019 Indianapolis Grand Prix. In 2021, he earned four top-five starts with a best of second place on the Indianapolis road course and earned six top-10 finishes with his best coming at St. Petersburg and Portland of fourth place.

The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season begins with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on February 25-27. The 17-race schedule includes the Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 on Saturday, July 23, and the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 on Sunday, July 24 – both at Iowa Speedway. Hy-Vee will provide broad support for the doubleheader event through a wide-ranging partnership that will bring INDYCAR racing back to the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway, located near their headquarters in Des Moines, after a one-year hiatus. For more information about the series or team, visit http://www.indycar.com and http://www.rahal.com.

QUOTEBOARD:

JACK HARVEY, Driver of the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda: “I’m incredibly excited to be joining Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. I’ve been working towards this moment for my entire career and I’m so honored and thankful for the trust Bobby, Mike, David and Piers (Phillips, president) have placed in me. Hy-Vee has massively committed to elevating INDYCAR as a series and I’m honored to be representing their brand on track in the No. 45. I’m eager to get to work with Graham and the entire team. We have common goals of competing for wins and championships, and I’m confident we’ll be contending from the drop of the green flag next year.  This is an exciting next chapter, and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.”

RANDY EDEKER, Hy-Vee’s Chairman of the Board, CEO and President: “Our ongoing partnership with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing continues to be a success. Over the past two years, we’ve enjoyed being a part of a sport that continues to see its fan base grow substantially year after year. Now, as we look ahead to the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, we look forward to hosting our own doubleheader event at the Iowa Speedway and seeing the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda take the track in the nationally televised event.”

BOBBY RAHAL, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “I can’t tell you how pleased I am to welcome Jack to our team. I first heard of him during his time in Indy Lights. He has a great record of success over the years in all forms of racing so I’m pleased that he agreed to join our team. He and Graham will work well together and be a strong foundation for our driver lineup that will raise not only the level of each driver individually but of the team as a result. I respect and appreciate his commitment and work ethic to racing on and off the track which is so key. And I also respect the way he deals with people – friendly and respectful. I think we’re going to have a lot of success together and I very much look forward to having him with us.”

MIKE LANIGAN, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “I have heard nothing but good things about Jack and I think he will work well with our driver line up. I think its important that they mesh well together, and I know Graham has a lot of respect for him. He has shown a lot of potential and we’re looking forward to building on that. We welcome him to the team.”

About Hy-Vee, Inc.
Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 285 retail stores across eight Midwestern states with sales of $11 billion annually. The supermarket chain is synonymous with quality, variety, convenience, healthy lifestyles, culinary expertise and superior customer service. Hy-Vee ranks in the Top 10 Most Trusted Brands and has been named one of America’s Top 5 favorite grocery stores. The company’s more than 90,000 employees provide “A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle” to customers every day. For additional information, visit www.hy-vee.com.

About Jack Harvey
Harvey will begin his third full season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2022. The 2021 season marked Harvey’s fifth year of competing with Meyer Shank Racing (MSR). He began his Indy car journey in 2017 with MSR at the Indianapolis 500. The relationship grew into a partial six race season in 2018 which saw Harvey’s best finish of 12th on the streets of Long Beach. In 2019, MSR expanded its IndyCar program to 10 races with Harvey. He got off to a fast start, making his first top-10 finish at the season opener in St. Petersburg. The Brit’s success didn’t end there as he went on to score his first ever IndyCar podium finish during the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) road course. The 2020 season was Harvey’s first full-season IndyCar campaign and he made two back-to-back front row starts at the INDYCAR Grand Prix and Road America. Despite several instances of bad racing luck, Harvey closed out the season with six top-10 finishes. In 2021, he earned four top-five starts with a best of second place on the IMS road course and he earned six top-10 finishes with his best of fourth place coming at St. Petersburg and Portland.

Prior to joining the INDYCAR SERIES, Harvey was the Indy Lights runner-up in 2014 and 2015, winning six races over the two seasons. He is one of six drivers who have won on the oval and road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – winning one of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis races and the Freedom 100 in 2015 while racing in Indy Lights. He has won 10 racing championships in his career, including the 2012 British Formula 3 Championship.

About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Brownsburg, Ind., is co-owned by three-time IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, former CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. In 2022, the team will move to a purpose-build, 115,000 square foot, state-of-the-art racing headquarters in Zionsville, Indiana and compete in its 31st year of competition. The team will attempt to add to its 29 Indy car wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice and the 2020 Indy 500 with Takuma Sato — their 33 poles, 108 podium finishes and 1992 series championship.  The team also competed in the American Le Mans Series from 2009-2013 as BMW Team RLL where they won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category in 2010 and swept all three GT titles in 2011 – Manufacturer, Team and Driver. In 2012, the team finished second in the Team Championship and third in the Manufacturer Championship and in 2013, the team finished second in the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championship. Since 2014, BMW Team RLL has competed in the GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a two-car program and has brought their total to 22 wins – including the 2019 and 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance races, 28 poles and 93 podium finishes as well as a second-place finish in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships in 2015 and 2017. The team was also the 2020 Michelin Endurance Champions. For 2021, the team is competing for back-to-back Michelin Endurance Championships.

Illott Joins Juncos Hollinger Racing; Askew to Finish Season at RLL

Photos from Indycar

Two driver announcements for Portland today. Juncos Hollinger racing has signed F1 test driver Callum IIlott for Portland and Oliver Askew returns to Indycar in the 45 car for Rahal letterman Lanigan Racing. It is possible that Ilott will be fulltimne for Juncos Hollinger in 2022.

The official announcements via Indycar:

F1 TEST DRIVER ILOTT TO DEBUT FOR JUNCOS HOLLINGER AT PORTLAND

Ferrari Formula One test driver Callum Ilott will make his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut with Juncos Hollinger Racing at the Grand Prix of Portland on Sept. 11-12.

British driver Ilott, 22, will be behind the wheel of the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Chevrolet on the 1.964-mile road course in Portland, Oregon.

“I am pleased and excited to be announcing I will be racing with Juncos Hollinger Racing at Portland,” Ilott said. “This will be my first time in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and running in the United States, which will be a bit of a change from running on the European side. I am looking forward to working with the team during this first phase of their development and am proud to be a part of this opportunity to build into their future embarkment.

“I would like to thank the Ferrari Driver Academy for allowing me to take this opportunity and for Ricardo Juncos and Brad Hollinger for bringing me onboard the team.”

Ricardo Juncos and Brad Hollinger announced their partnership to form Juncos Hollinger Racing in early August. The team committed to running the final three events of the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season in preparation for a full-time run for the 2022 season. The Grand Prix of Portland will be the first time the team has been on track in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES since earning the final qualifying spot for the 2019 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in dramatic fashion.

“We are very excited to welcome Callum Ilott to the Juncos Hollinger Racing family,” Juncos said. “Callum brings a lot of experience and incredible talent to the team. We are confident that he will transition well into the NTT INDYCAR SERIES when we get on track for our final test before making our official debut together at Portland next week.”

Ilott will turn his first laps in an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car with Juncos during a test Thursday, Sept. 2 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

He most recently competed in the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans last month, claiming third with IRON LYNX in the LM GTE AM class. Earlier this year, the young Briton was signed by Ferrari’s F1 team as its test driver and was named a reserve driver for the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN F1 team.

Ilott began his racing career running in multiple karting series, earning many wins and podiums, and was regarded as one of the best karting drivers of his time. At age 16, he was the first driver to be taken directly from karts to the FIA F3 European Championship for the 2015 season, joining team Red Bull. That year he was the only driver to finish all 33 races and claimed one podium.

Ilott continued his run in the FIA F3 European Championship during the 2016 season, claiming two wins, seven podiums and two poles to finish sixth overall that year. In 2017, Ilott wrapped up his successful career in the FIA F3 Championship, finishing fourth overall after earning six wins, 11 podiums and nine poles.

In 2018, Ilott was invited to join the Ferrari Driver Academy. That year he also competed in the GP3 Series, capturing two wins, seven podiums and one pole to finish third overall in the championship.

Ilott climbed to the FIA F2 Championship in 2019, earning two podiums and one pole. In 2020, he returned to F2 with Uni-Virtuosi Racing and finished second overall after claiming three wins, six podiums and five poles.

Live coverage of the Grand Prix of Portland starts at 3 p.m. (ET) Sunday, Sept. 12 on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

ASKEW TO DRIVE NO. 45 RLL ENTRY DURING WEST COAST SWING

By INDYCAR | Published: Sep 1, 2021

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Oliver Askew

NTT INDYCAR SERIES veteran Oliver Askew will drive the No. 45 Hy-Vee entry for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at the final three races of the 2021 season, team officials announced today.

Askew, 24, will race for the team at the Grand Prix of Portland on Sept. 12, the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on Sept. 19 and the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sept. 26.

Hy-Vee, Inc. – an employee-owned supermarket chain that operates more than 280 retail stores across eight Midwestern states – was the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry for two races this season as well as a full-season associate and was the primary sponsor of the No. 45 Hy-Vee-sponsored entry at the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, doubleheader races in Detroit, and events in Mid-Ohio and Nashville.

“It’s fantastic opportunity to run the final three races of the season with such a capable team in Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” Askew said. “We had a very productive test together a few weeks ago at Barber, and I’m excited to drive the team’s car again, this time in Hy-Vee colors in one of the most competitive racing environments the world has ever seen. I believe we can put together a great string of results, and I’m excited to get to work.”

Askew is a graduate of the Road to Indy ladder system with championships in Indy Lights (2019) and Cooper Tires USF2000 (2017). He made his debut in the INDYCAR SERIES with Arrow McLaren SP in 2020, completing a rise from karts to INDYCAR SERIES cars in four seasons. In 2020, he had a best start of fifth place in the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and a best finish of third at Iowa Speedway in Race 1 of the doubleheader.

In 2021, Askew has competed in two NTT INDYCAR SERIES races, one each for Arrow McLaren SP (Detroit, Race 2) and Ed Carpenter Racing (Road America) as the replacement for their injured drivers Felix Rosenqvist and Rinus VeeKay, respectively. Also in 2021, he made his sports car racing debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and won the LMP3 class with Riley Motorsports.

The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is the Grand Prix of Portland on Sunday, Sept. 12 at Portland (Oregon) International Raceway. Live coverage starts at 3 p.m. (ET) on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Iowa Returns with a Double Header Weekend

Iowa Speedway is back. The 7/8 mile oval in Newton, Iowa, sorely missed this year, will return for two race in 2022, on July 23 and 24.

The official announcement:

  • NTT INDYCAR SERIES Returns to Iowa Speedway for 2022 Doubleheader
    Hy-Vee To Sponsor NTT INDYCAR SERIES Races on July 23-24, 2022, in Newton, IowaWEST DES MOINES, Iowa (Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Hy-Vee, a grocery chain based in the Midwest, have announced a new multiyear agreement, which returns the excitement of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to the Iowa Speedway. Hy-Vee will provide broad support for next year’s doubleheader event set for July 23-24, 2022, through a wide-ranging partnership that will bring INDYCAR racing back to the 0.875 mile oval after a one- year hiatus.
Indycar image
  • The NTT INDYCAR SERIES was among the first to race on the D-shaped layout when it made its debut in Newton, Iowa, in 2007. Quickly known as a favorite of fans and drivers alike, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES has held 15 races at the track known as “The Fastest Short Track on the Planet” since it opened in 2006.Drivers will now have another chance to race at Iowa Speedway as Hy-Vee and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES announced that the Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 will take place Saturday, July 23, and the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 will occur Sunday, July 24.
  • “We’re extremely pleased to return Iowa Speedway to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar,” said Roger Penske, founder and chair of the Penske Corporation and owner of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. “Over the years, Iowa has proven to be a fitting showcase for North America’s premier open-wheel series. A key oval and a hallmark on our schedule, we deeply missed seeing our fans in Iowa this year and look forward to what’s ahead.
  • ”Plans for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES event include several additional entertainment activities, making for a festival-like atmosphere throughout the weekend.“With our strong connection to local communities and involvement in the state, we plan to host an event that will receive national attention and make Newton an annual destination for racing fans,” said Randy Edeker, chairman, CEO and president of Hy-Vee. “The weekend will be filled with multiple attractions and events that celebrate everything that is great about Iowa and NTT INDYCAR SERIES racing.”
  • West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee was first involved in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES when the supermarket chain was the primary sponsor for Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing’s No. 15 car in Race 2 of the 2020 Iowa Speedway doubleheader. Driven by Graham Rahal, the Hy-Vee Honda finished third. It later sponsored the team’s No. 45 car driven by Spencer Pigot in the 2020 Indianapolis 500. In 2021, Hy-Vee provided primary sponsorship of RLL’s No. 45 car, driven by 2019 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Santino Ferrucci, for the Indianapolis 500 and other selected events, and was the primary sponsor of Rahal’s entry at Road America as well as this Saturday’s race in Madison, Illinois.
  • “The state of Iowa made a commitment to the sport of racing when the Iowa Speedway was built, and today’s exciting announcement of Hy-Vee’s partnership with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES reaffirms that,” said Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. “Iowa is well suited to be an INDYCAR destination for racing fans nationwide, and I encourage Iowa businesses and organizations to support the success of this event in whatever way they can.”
  • “The state is rich with racing history and has a strong appreciation for INDYCAR and its terrific drivers and teams,” Penske said. “The fantastic addition of Hy-Vee and their commitment to our sport underscores the added value. Thanks to Hy-Vee and the State of Iowa for welcoming the return of INDYCAR racing to Iowa Speedway.”
  • Two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Josef Newgarden is a three-time winner at Iowa Speedway and the most recent to celebrate in victory lane. Other champions at the track include four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves along with “500” and NTT INDYCAR SERIES champions Simon Pagenaud, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti.The entire 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule will be announced at a later date. For more details about this event and to sign up for ticketing information, visit www.INDYCARatIowa.com.Source: Series PR

Notes

Is having oval double headers at fewer venues the only way to get more ovals on the schedule? This may be the wave of the future. I assume the Texas double header will return. If so, the 2022 schedule would have six oval races, although I would prefer to see six different venus. I guess there aren’t that many that are interested.

I hope the Saturday race is a night race, and that the Sunday race is early enough for those from Indianapolis who want to get back for work Monday.

I understand Indycar is renting the track and doing the promotion. Thios could also become a trend for ovals, but Indycar shouldn’t be in the promotion business.

I am happy to hear that there is a multi year agreement.

I will have more details later.

Ferrucci Returns to RLL for Music City Grand Prix

Photo from RLL Twitter accountSantino Ferrucci returns to the number 45 car at Nashville. Despite only appearing in handful of races, the 45 is in contention for the Leaders’ Circle, which awards the top 22 entrants at the end of the year. Ferrucci has finished in the top ten in each of his four Indycar races this season.

From Rahal Letterman Racing:

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (July 19, 2021) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Santino Ferrucci will return to the team to compete in the No. 45 Hy-Vee entry at the inaugural Music City Grand Prix of Nashville, August 6-8. Hy-Vee, Inc. – an employee-owned supermarket chain that operates more than 280 retail stores across eight Midwestern states – is the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry for two races this season as well as a full season associate and was the primary sponsor of Ferrucci’s car at the Indy 500, doubleheader races in Detroit and the Mid-Ohio event.

At the Indy 500, Ferrucci piloted the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda to his third straight top-seven finish with a sixth-place result, finished sixth in Race 1 and tenth in Race 2 in Detroit and ninth at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

“I’m super excited to be back driving for RLL and Hy-Vee,” said Santino Ferrucci. “It’s going to be an incredible race as it’s our first time racing in the streets of Nashville. The track has an incredible layout that has us racing over a bridge. I have been to the track before on a scooter so I at least know a little about the layout. I’m excited to get the chance to continue with consistent top-10 finishes for the team but I definitely think we can challenge for a win if the weekend goes smoothly.”

“Our partnership with the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team has continued to bring excitement to our employees and customers,” said Randy Edeker, Chairman, CEO and President of Hy-Vee. “We look forward to teaming up with Santino Ferrucci again to drive the No. 45 Hy-Vee entry in Nashville.”

Hy-Vee first joined the team as the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry for Race 2 at the Iowa Speedway in 2020 where he finished third. The company was also the primary sponsor of the team’s entry for Spencer Pigot at the Indy 500 and an associate sponsor of Rahal’s entry for the legendary race. In 2021, they have been a primary sponsor at five races: the Indy 500, Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader and Mid-Ohio races with Ferrucci and at Road America with Rahal.

After two full INDYCAR SERIES seasons in 2019-2020 and a partial one in 2018, Ferrucci joined RLL for the Indy 500 and the Detroit Grand Prix races. To date, his best Indy car start is second place at Mid-Ohio (Race 2) in 2020 and he has finished in fourth place four times. In 2021, Ferrucci competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving for Sam Hunt Racing.

The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season continues with the Music City Grand Prix of Nashville which will be broadcast live on NBCSN on August 8 at 4:30 p.m. EDT. All future on-track action can be seen on NBC, NBCSN or NBC’s Peacock Premium streaming service. For more information about the series or team, visit http://www.indycar.com and http://www.rahal.com.

About Hy-Vee, Inc.
Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 280 retail stores across eight Midwestern states with sales of $11 billion annually. The supermarket chain is synonymous with quality, variety, convenience, healthy lifestyles, culinary expertise and superior customer service. Hy-Vee ranks in the Top 10 Most Trusted Brands and has been named one of America’s Top 5 favorite grocery stores. The company’s more than 85,000 employees provide “A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle” to customers every day. For additional information, visit www.hy-vee.com.

Photo by Joe Skibinski, Indycar

About Santino Ferrucci
Ferrucci began his karting career at age five and was a multi-time champion by age 11 and was featured in an article in GQ magazine on being a karting prodigy. He also competed in six Formula 2000 races, never finishing worse than fourth in any race. In 2013 he competed in the Skip Barber Racing Series, winning his debut race at Homestead and collecting five wins, two poles and three fastest laps. His career took him to England in 2014 where he competed in British Formula 3, winning two races – both at Brands Hatch, which made him the youngest winner in British Formula 3 history at 16 years, 2 months and 30 days. In 2015, he finished third in the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand with a win and five podium finishes and also competed in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. In 2016, he competed in the GP3 Series as a rookie with DAMS with a best finish of third place at Spa-Francorchamps and joined Haas F1 as a test driver for a July test at Silverstone and became the first American driver to test an American F1 car since 1977. He also made his sports car debut that year, winning his first race in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America event at Circuit of The Americas. In 2017, he continued his role as a development driver with Haas F1, testing at Hungaroring in August. He also made six GP3 starts with DAMS before moving to FIA Formula 2 with Trident. In 2018, he competed in FIA Formula 2 with Team Trident, scoring a best finish of sixth at Baku and served as a Haas F1 development driver for a third consecutive season. He also made his debut in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for Dale Coyne Racing in 2018 with a best finish of 11th at the season-finale at Sonoma and competed in a total of four events (Detroit doubleheader, Portland). In 2019, he competed in the full INDYCAR SERIES season and finished 13th in series standings for Dale Coyne Racing with a best finish of fourth at Texas, Pocono and World Wide Technology Raceway. He was named Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year after an impressive performance en route to a seventh-place finish. Ferrucci returned for his second full season in the series in 2020 with Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan with a best finish of fourth place in the Indy 500 and 13th place, season-ending rank. Always open to new challenges, Ferrucci currently competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving for Sam Hunt Racing.

About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and Brownsburg, Ind., is co-owned by three-time
IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, former CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. In 2021, the team begins its 30th year of competition and will attempt to add to its 29 Indy car wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice and the 2020 Indy 500 with Takuma Sato — their 33 poles, 107 podium finishes and 1992 series championship.  The team also competed in the American Le Mans Series from 2009-2013 as BMW Team RLL where they won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category in 2010 and swept all three GT titles in 2011 – Manufacturer, Team and Driver. In 2012, the team finished second in the Team Championship and third in the Manufacturer Championship and in 2013, the team finished second in the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championship. Since 2014, BMW Team RLL has competed in the GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a two-car program and has brought their total to 22 wins – including the 2019 and 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance races, 28 poles and 91 podium finishes as well as a second-place finish in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships in 2015 and 2017. The team was also the 2020 Michelin Endurance Champions. For 2021, the team will compete for back-to-back Michelin Endurance Championships.

Ferrucci Returns with RLL at Mid Ohio

The release from RLL this afternoon:

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (June 28, 2021) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Santino Ferrucci will return to the team to compete in the No. 45 Hy-Vee entry at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, July 2-4. Hy-Vee, Inc. – an employee-owned supermarket chain that operates more than 280 retail stores across eight Midwestern states – is the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry for two races this season as well as a full season associate and was the primary sponsor of Ferrucci’s car at the Indy 500 and doubleheader races in Detroit.

At the Indy 500, Ferrucci piloted the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda to his third straight top-seven finish with a sixth-place result and finished sixth in Race 1 in Detroit and tenth in Race 2.

“I’m super excited to return to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing to race the Hy-Vee entry at Mid-Ohio,” said Santino Ferrucci, whose highest career INDYCAR qualifying position is second place in Race 2 at Mid-Ohio in 2020. “It’s been a great track for me in the past and last year I started on the front row. I’ve always enjoyed the track and its fans. I cannot wait to be working with the team again and continuing our relationship and our growth as the season moves forward. Hopefully we can get the Hy-Vee car into the top five and on the podium!”

“We look forward to having Santino Ferrucci drive the No. 45 Hy-Vee entry in this weekend’s race,” said Randy Edeker, Chairman, CEO and President of Hy-Vee. “Santino and the entire Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team care about their fans just like we care about our customers at Hy-Vee. Plus, the excitement Santino brings to the course keeps us on the edge of our seats and we can’t wait to see how he performs at the Honda Indy 200.”

Hy-Vee first joined the team as the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry for Race 2 at the Iowa Speedway in 2020 where he finished third. The company was also the primary sponsor of the team’s entry for Spencer Pigot at the Indy 500 and an associate sponsor of Rahal’s entry for the legendary race. In 2021, they have been a primary sponsor at four races: the Indy 500 and Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader with Ferrucci and at Road America with Rahal.

After two full INDYCAR SERIES seasons in 2019-2020 and a partial one in 2018, Ferrucci joined RLL for the Indy 500 and the Detroit Grand Prix races. To date, his best Indy car start is second place at Mid-Ohio (Race 2) in 2020 and he has finished in fourth place four times. In 2021, Ferrucci competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving for Sam Hunt Racing.

The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season continues with the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio which will be broadcast live on NBC on July 4 at 12 p.m. EDT. All future on-track action can be seen on NBC, NBCSN or NBC’s Peacock Premium streaming service. For more information about the series or team, visit http://www.indycar.com and http://www.rahal.com.

About Hy-Vee, Inc.
Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 280 retail stores across eight Midwestern states with sales of $11 billion annually. The supermarket chain is synonymous with quality, variety, convenience, healthy lifestyles, culinary expertise and superior customer service. Hy-Vee ranks in the Top 10 Most Trusted Brands and has been named one of America’s Top 5 favorite grocery stores. The company’s more than 85,000 employees provide “A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle” to customers every day. For additional information, visit www.hy-vee.com.

About Santino Ferrucci
Ferrucci began his karting career at age five and was a multi-time champion by age 11 and was featured in an article in GQ magazine on being a karting prodigy. He also competed in six Formula 2000 races, never finishing worse than fourth in any race. In 2013 he competed in the Skip Barber Racing Series, winning his debut race at Homestead and collecting five wins, two poles and three fastest laps. His career took him to England in 2014 where he competed in British Formula 3, winning two races – both at Brands Hatch, which made him the youngest winner in British Formula 3 history at 16 years, 2 months and 30 days. In 2015, he finished third in the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand with a win and five podium finishes and also competed in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. In 2016, he competed in the GP3 Series as a rookie with DAMS with a best finish of third place at Spa-Francorchamps and joined Haas F1 as a test driver for a July test at Silverstone and became the first American driver to test an American F1 car since 1977. He also made his sports car debut that year, winning his first race in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America event at Circuit of The Americas. In 2017, he continued his role as a development driver with Haas F1, testing at Hungaroring in August. He also made six GP3 starts with DAMS before moving to FIA Formula 2 with Trident. In 2018, he competed in FIA Formula 2 with Team Trident, scoring a best finish of sixth at Baku and served as a Haas F1 development driver for a third consecutive season. He also made his debut in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for Dale Coyne Racing in 2018 with a best finish of 11th at the season-finale at Sonoma and competed in a total of four events (Detroit doubleheader, Portland). In 2019, he competed in the full INDYCAR SERIES season and finished 13th in series standings for Dale Coyne Racing with a best finish of fourth at Texas, Pocono and World Wide Technology Raceway. He was named Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year after an impressive performance en route to a seventh-place finish. Ferrucci returned for his second full season in the series in 2020 with Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan with a best finish of fourth place in the Indy 500 and 13th place, season-ending rank. Always open to new challenges, Ferrucci currently competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving for Sam Hunt Racing. 

About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and Brownsburg, Ind., is co-owned by three-time
IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, former CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. In 2021, the team begins its 30th year of competition and will attempt to add to its 29 Indy car wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice and the 2020 Indy 500 with Takuma Sato — their 33 poles, 107 podium finishes and 1992 series championship.  The team also competed in the American Le Mans Series from 2009-2013 as BMW Team RLL where they won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category in 2010 and swept all three GT titles in 2011 – Manufacturer, Team and Driver. In 2012, the team finished second in the Team Championship and third in the Manufacturer Championship and in 2013, the team finished second in the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championship. Since 2014, BMW Team RLL has competed in the GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a two-car program and has brought their total to 22 wins – including the 2019 and 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance races, 28 poles and 91 podium finishes as well as a second-place finish in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships in 2015 and 2017. The team was also the 2020 Michelin Endurance Champions. For 2021, the team will compete for back-to-back Michelin Endurance Championships.

Ferrucci Stays with RLL for Detroit

Santino Ferrucci’s Indycar run continues this weekend as he will again drive the number of 45 Hy-Vee car for Rahal hours Letterman hours Lanigan Racing.

Ferrucci drove the car to a sixth place finish in the Indianapolis area 500 May 30. He has finished in the top seven I have all three of his runs in the past 500.

Hy_Vee appears to be a good increasing its involvement with RLL. We may see Ferrucci later in the year as well.

Ferrucci started 2021 as a part time job Xfinity series driver for the Sam Hunt Racing. It looks as though he is trying to add as many of the Indycar races to his 20 race stock car schedule as. he can.

It’s always good to have another car on the grid and a sponsor increasing its involvement in the series. RLL has been exploring the addition of a third full time in car for some time now.

Ferrucci Joins RLL; 32 Cars Set for IMS Test

Santino Ferrucci will return to the Indianapolis 500 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He will drive the number 45 car with sponsorship from HyVee. In the 2020 500, Spencer Pigot drove the 45 HyVee car. The company will also be the primary sponsor for Graham Rahal at Road America and World Wide Technology Raceway.

This will be Ferrucci’s third Indianapolis 500. He drove for Dale Coyne Racing in 2019 and 2020, finishing seventh and fourth respectively. Ferrucci is not in the series full time this season. he is driving select XFinity races for Sam Hunt Racing.

No Fans at IMS Test

Yesterday afternoon IMS announced that there will be no public access to the grounds mThursday or Friday for the open test. A statement released by the track through Nathan brown of IndyStar:

If this action means there is a better chance of having fans at the race, I’m fine with it. Frim what I have seen on social media many fans were planning to come for the test, and IMS could probably not monitor the COVID protocols.

The test features 17 Hondas and 15 Chevys. Cody Ware will be taking his rookie test in the number 52 Dale Coyne/Rick Ware car. Simona De Silvestro makes her speedway return with Paretta Autosport. The action will be streaming on Peacock, which is offering a one week free trial.

The entry list:

Honda

Andretti Autosport (5): Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi, James Hinchcliffe;

Chip Ganassi Racing (4): Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Alex Palou, Marcus Ericsson;

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (3): Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato, Santino Ferrucci;

Dale Coyne Racing (3): Pietro Fittipaldi, Ed Jones, Cody Ware;

Meyer Shank Racing (2): Jack Harvey, Helio Castroneves

Chevy

Team Penske (4): Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Scott McLaughlin;

Arrow McLaren SP (3): Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, Juan Pablo Montoya;

Ed Carpenter Racing (3): Rinus VeeKay, Conor Daly, Ed Carpenter;

A.J. Foyt Racing (2): Sebastien Bourdais, Dalton Kellett;

Carlin (1): Max Chilton;

Paretta Autosport (1): Simona de Silvestro;

Dreyer and Reinbold Racing (1): Sage Karam

Notes

James Davison said that he will not return to the 500 this year as he is focusing on his NASCAR program.

Dennis Reinbold said he is close to finalizing a deal to run Indianapolis. His team will test.

Entry possibilities left- a sixth car at Andretti and a fourth car at Foyt.