January 2011
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RACE NEWS & VIEWS
Latest news is at the bottom
Ground Broken For Texas Road Course
Jan 1 - Formula One approved the plan for a track in Texas.  Work is finally under way at the site of the United States Grand Prix just outside of
Austin, Texas.  U.S. GP promoter
Tavo Hellmund has made it clear from the start that work on the brand-new circuit would have to begin in
December to get the site ready for its first race, expected to be scheduled for June 2012.  Indeed, the Austin team has met that schedule--even if just
barely--as groundbreaking commenced on Dec 30th.   Let's hope this venture is more successful than the US F1 Team.
Dallara Has New IndyCar Simulator
Jan 4 - Dallara, who makes the chassis for IndyCars, has a new
simulator for helping drivers and engineers.  This new simulator
is located at their headquarters in Palermo Italy, however a
duplicate will be created at their new plant in Indianapolis.  
Series officials, teams and drivers -- along with suppliers -- will
have access to the simulator.

Drivers will be able to test in stressful situations such as traffic,
variable grip and car failures, while engineers can evaluate in a
clinical environment repeatable setups changes that are difficult
to attain during limited track time and expensive test days with
varying track and weather conditions.

The simulator contains more than 5,900 feet of fiber optic
cable, has 16 monitors to visualize data, employs a Dolby
Surround 5.1 audio system, and checks in at more tons than a
fleet of IndyCars.
For more information, see US Grand Prix Web Site.
IndyCar Opens Westcoast Office
Jan 11 - IndyCar announced the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
will open an office in Santa Monica, Calif., to make further
inroads into the media and entertainment industries.

"If we want to grow the sport, we need to be fully vested in
relationships with the entertainment community that can tell the
storylines of our sport," INDYCAR CEO
Randy Bernard said.
"This will be a one-stop shop to pursue opportunities and make
deals across multiple business lines and entertainment outlets."

Sarah Nettinga will manage the new office and become Senior
Vice President of Media and Entertainment for INDYCAR
Entertainment. Nettinga brings extensive experience to the
initiative from her time building similar relationships with
Hollywood in her previous role with NASCAR.
INDYCAR is in a unique position for growth that makes
opportunities for integration into film, television, music and
emerging media properties exciting.  From the announcements
of the 2012 new car project that includes engine manufacturers
Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus to 14 new sponsors - including
Fortune 500 companies Verizon, Sunoco and Philips - being
added in 2010, INDYCAR has considerable momentum.

Its storylines of speed, innovation, technology, the most diverse
driver roster in motorsports and green are a treasure box of
content opportunities that will drive interest from the Hollywood
community. Similarly, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has
more than 100 years of history as a leader in innovation and
auto racing. The 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 will be
contested on May 29.
2011 Changes for IndyCar
Jan 11 - IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard talked about some
upcoming changes to IndyCar, "It's always been a minimum of
18 years or older to go in the garage area; now it's going to be
nine years of age and older. That should open some doors for
families to come out and enjoy our product.

For instance, one thing I'm going to do this year, is when you
go to a speedway and you want to see who's in what position,
you look at the leader pole. It's right there in front of everybody
to see and it's great. But if you go to road or street course,
there’s not always one around. You just have video boards to
go from and those can show a million different things
throughout the day. I'm making four leader poles that will be 14
feet high, that we’ll be able to put primarily at road and street
courses that we’ll be able to put where the crowds are, so fans
will be able to see who is winning and what's going on at all
given times.
I'm also putting two more jumbo video screens at every event.
We're putting in $750,000 worth of enhancements to sound at
events. I’m working on a driver intro stage that’s 16 feet high so
that it's overwhelming. I want a big video screen behind it so
you can develop the stars and develop the feeling of the show."

The Izod IndyCar Series will feature double-file restarts this
season, but only on oval tracks, beginning at the Indianapolis
500 in May. IndyCar officials want to continue with single-file
restarts on road and street courses because those tracks often
do not feature two lanes of clean track to race on.

NASCAR switched to double-file restarts in 2009 to heighten
the racing’s entertainment, and IndyCar is doing so largely for
the same reason.  However, IndyCar drivers are not particularly
fond of the plan, knowing that their cars cannot rub fenders the
way stock cars do.
Super Girls
Jan 19 - GoDaddy.com has added work-out taskmaster Jillian
Michaels
to its roster of "GoDaddy Girls."

Michaels will appear in two GoDaddy commercials during this
year's Super Bowl broadcast on Feb. 6. She will be co-starring
with race car driver
Danica Patrick, who's been the face of the
Web domain registrar for years. They'll be wearing superhero
costumes in at least one of the 30-second spots.

Wow!  What could be better than Danica in a shiny black cat
suit?!  
IndyCar Will Race In Edmonton Canada
Jan 21 - I reported in November that the Edmonton race was
dropped from the 2011 IndyCar calendar.  The Canadians have
since worked out the financial problems they were facing in
holding the race at their airport.  It is back on the schedule for July
24th.
Tony Stewart Ashamed
Jan 21 - Tony Stewart was in Australia for 5 weeks racing sprint
cars.  His whining turned into action during his last night down
under, when he struck an owner of the Sydney Speedway in the
face with his helmet.  The 45 y/o
Brett Morris returned the
cowardly action by socking Stewart in the face with his fist.  
Stewart was arrested and taken to jail, where he was later
released.  Australian media reports Stewart suffered a black eye.

After returning home, Stewart states that he is ashamed.
Camaro to Pace Indy 500
Jan 21 - The 2011 Camaro Convertible is the 22nd Chevrolet and
the seventh Camaro chosen to pace the Indianapolis 500. This
year is the 100th anniversary of the race and also the centennial
year of Chevrolet.

“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Chevrolet name have
long been associated with one another beginning with Arthur,
Louis and Gaston Chevrolet’s participation as competitors in the
Indianapolis 500,” said
Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor
Speedway Corporation president and chief executive officer. “It’s
fitting in this 100th year for IMS and Chevy that we reinforce our
longtime relationship through this year’s Camaro Pace Car.

Camaro was the pace car last year as well, but it was not a
convertible.  The parade lap last year was in a Corvette
convertible.
Arizona Woman Won Pace Car Auction
Jan 24 - Chevrolet auctioned off one of the 2011 Indy 500
Camaro Convertibles at Barrett-Jackson over the weekend.

Addison Brown, from Arizona, won the car with a bid of
$225,000.  All of the money was donated to a charity - the David
Foster Foundation.

In addition to the car, Brown will get to drive the car at the front of
the 33-car field at the Indy 500 during the parade lap!