Friday, 5 January 2018

The New Year and lots of IndyCar News.

Jordan King is in a ECR in 2018.

Ed Carpenter Racing officials have announced the completed lineup of the team’s No. 20 Chevrolet with the addition of British driver Jordan King. The native of Warwickshire, England will compete in the 11 road and street course events for Ed Carpenter Racing in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet. The only owner/driver in the Verizon INDYCAR Series, Ed Carpenter, will continue to pilot the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet at all oval races. King’s transition to Indy car racing is the next step in a young career which has seen him ascend the European motorsport ranks. 
Though the 23-year-old has not yet competed in a U.S.-based racing series, he joins the INDYCAR field with numerous accolades, including the FIA Institute’s 2015 Driver of the Year and the 2013 British Formula 3 championship. “I am beyond excited to get started in the Verizon INDYCAR Series,” stated King. “After winning at Silverstone in 2016 and being able to drive in F1 practice, 2017 was not what I was hoping for. Going into the new season, I’m really looking forward to having the opportunity with ECR to work towards our collective goals. I believe that together, both of us have the capability to do well.”
After beginning in karts in 2005, King progressed to single-seaters in 2010. After two years in Formula Renault, King claimed the 2013 British Formula 3 championship in his debut season with three wins and eight podium finishes. He has spent the last three seasons honing his craft in Formula 2, previously known as GP2. While serving as a development driver for Manor F1 in 2015 and 2016, he participated in several tests and drove in practice sessions at the 2016 United States Grand Prix and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Most recently, King competed for MP Motorsport in the 2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship, collecting Top 10 finishes in over half of the races.
“We are very excited to welcome Jordan to the ECR family and to have him in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for the 2018 road and street course races,” proclaimed team owner Carpenter. “I first met Jordan at Sonoma Raceway in 2016 as he was exploring opportunities in INDYCAR. He is a very motivated, intelligent and hungry driver, which is exactly what we are looking for at ECR. Jordan has had a lot of success and experience in Europe and I can’t wait to see what he is capable of with ECR in the Verizon INDYCAR series.”

Since 2014, the No. 20 has been split between Carpenter on the ovals a second driver at the remaining events. Spencer Pigot became the first driver to retain the No. 20’s road and street course seat for a second season when he drove the car in both 2016 and 2017. The 24-year-old from Orlando, Fla. was promoted to the full-time driver of ECR’s No. 21 entry for the 2018 season, providing King with the opportunity to become the road and street course driver for the No. 20. Indianapolis native Carpenter, 36, will remain the oval driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet in his 16th year of Indy car competition.
King, who will be a true Indy car rookie, is excited for the opportunity to partner with Carpenter, one of the most veteran drivers in the field. “Sharing the No. 20 seat with Ed gives me a great opportunity to learn from him and the team while racing at the road and street courses will let me put into practice what I have learned,” said King. King is represented by UK-based MB Partners. CEO Mark Blundell ( former F1 and ChampCar driver) commented, “The focus for Jordan was to give him a platform to build from in Indy Car and the opportunity with Ed and ECR is the perfect fit. Ed will be a great mentor. Having a full road and street course program alongside some oval testing will allow Jordan to show his racecraft and ability in some of the most competitive open wheel racing in the world today.”

Fans will get closer than ever to INDYCAR action with 2018 TV schedule in the US and the Global Markets.

INDYCAR and its broadcast partners announced the 2018 television schedule today featuring an expanded use of in-car cameras to bring fans the thrilling action of the Verizon IndyCar Series from a variety of new angles in the upcoming 17-race season. 
ABC and NBCSN will utilize never-before-seen views of the intense racing that the Verizon IndyCar Series offers with cameras strategically placed on the universal bodywork kit that is new for all cars in 2018. In addition to the traditional in-car position above and behind the driver's head, cameras will be mounted to the nose, sidepod and rear attenuator. There also will be expanded use of the popular visor cam mounted on the driver's helmet and pioneered by INDYCAR. 
"This is a unique opportunity to bring the sport even closer to the television audience," said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "INDYCAR has experienced 38 percent growth in audience over the past four years and providing a firsthand look at the exhilarating action is a way to win over even more fans." 
The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season consists of 17 races in the United States and Canada. ABC will again air five races, beginning March 11 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (12:30 p.m. ET), which opens the season for the eighth consecutive year. The network rejoins the series on May 12 for the fifth annual INDYCAR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (3:30 p.m. ET). 
ABC will celebrate its 54th year at the Indianapolis 500 with qualifying May 19-20 (4 p.m. ET) and the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 27 (11 a.m. ET). 
"The Indianapolis 500 is one of the world's iconic sporting events and it's always an honor for ESPN and ABC to bring the pageantry and excitement to our viewers as we have for the past 53 years," said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming and scheduling. "And with the other big events of the month of May at Indy as well as the season opener at St. Petersburg and the doubleheader in Detroit on our calendar, IndyCar Series fans will have the opportunity to enjoy a robust schedule of racing events from a diverse selection of venues." 
The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, the only doubleheader weekend on the 2018 schedule, will conclude ABC's coverage for the season (June 2-3, each broadcast starting at 3:30 p.m. ET). 
Twelve 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series races will be telecast by NBCSN, which in 2017 saw a 3 percent increase in viewership over the previous year. The network kicks off its season under the lights at ISM Raceway (formerly Phoenix Raceway) on April 7 (9 p.m. ET), followed by the historic Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (April 15, 4 p.m. ET) and Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama (April 22, 3 p.m. ET). 
Two NBCSN races will have earlier time slots than last year. The Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway on July 8 will air at 2 p.m. ET, while the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park will air at 8 p.m. ET on Aug. 25. 
NBCSN will also air Miller Lite Carb Day activities on May 25 (11 a.m. ET), which includes final practice for the Indianapolis 500 and the marquee race of the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires schedule, the Freedom 100. NBCSN will track the hunt for the Verizon IndyCar Series championship throughout its coverage of the final nine races of the season, including the previously announced new race at Portland International Raceway on Sept. 2 (2:30 p.m. ET) and culminating in the championship finale at Sonoma Raceway on Sept. 16 (6:30 p.m. ET). 
"As the cable home of the Verizon IndyCar Series, NBCSN is proud to once again showcase the exciting racing that INDYCAR delivers at each event," said Jon Miller, president, programming, NBC Sports Group. "Our schedule features iconic circuits like Long Beach and Road America and the final nine races of the season, including INDYCAR's return to Portland, as we crown another INDYCAR champion on NBCSN in 2018." 
         For U.S. readers this is the broadcast breakdown of the 2018 Season

INDYCAR names Novak as Verizon IndyCar Series race director

INDYCAR has named veteran race official Kyle Novak as race director for the Verizon IndyCar Series. Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations, made the announcement today.
As race director, Novak will lead operations in Race Control at all Verizon IndyCar Series events. Race Control utilizes a variety of video, audio and data communications to oversee all aspects of competition and assure a safe, timely and competitive event. Novak will also work in conjunction with INDYCAR's race stewards to initiate reviews of on-track incidents, though it will remain with the panel of stewards to decide whether a penalty should be levied against a driver or team.
"Throughout our extensive search for a race director, one name was mentioned repeatedly - and that was Kyle Novak," Frye said. "We have been aware of Kyle's work for the past couple of years. He's clearly impressed those he's worked with and, after meeting with him, we knew he would be a great fit for our Race Control team. Kyle has a great future and we couldn't be more excited to have him as part of INDYCAR."
Novak has spent the past three years as a race director or steward for various sports car series sanctioned by IMSA, but the 36-year-old attorney by trade has a lengthy motorsports resume. It began in drag racing, where for years he has joined his father and brother in amateur bracket racing competition near their home in Dexter, Michigan, outside Ann Arbor. They own two cars.
"Always been a gearhead," Novak said. "Always working on cars; muscle cars, mostly. That's how I got my feet wet, and then one thing led to another. And here I am."
Novak's introduction to Indy car racing came as the operations manager and director of operations for the group promoting Champ Car races in Cleveland, Denver and Houston from 2004-08. His jobs in the years that followed were as a program manager for the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Series with the Sports Car Club of America; a team manager for the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup Series now sanctioned by INDYCAR; and then IMSA, where he has been race director for the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge and Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge, while also serving as a race steward for IMSA's top series, the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Novak said the chance to work with Frye and other staff members he already knows simplified the decision to join INDYCAR.
"Jay and I hit it off immediately - it's the fresh outlook he brings that is a huge part of it (for me)," Novak said. "Ironically enough, three people who work in INDYCAR Race Control are some of the first people I met in the industry, and that goes all the way back to 2004. Those are among the key people I'll be working with on a day-to-day basis. There's a great deal of familiarity with them.
"Motorsports is such a small industry that many of the people who have helped me over the years have stayed with me as industry colleagues. But INDYCAR has always been at the forefront of professional motorsports in North America, and I had the opportunity on several occasions to witness that first hand, since many IMSA races are run in conjunction with INDYCAR events. I can't thank the people at IMSA enough for the opportunities I was given and for their assistance in making this a smooth transition to INDYCAR. "I can't wait to get started."
The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season consists of 17 races, beginning with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 11, concluding with the Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 16 and anchored by the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 27. The season will feature the highly anticipated introduction of the sleek new universal aero kit on every competing car.
Only one week into the New year and lots of announcements already and plenty more to come as well in whats shaping up to be a massive 2018 racing season.

Photos and Media Quotes provided by IndyCar Media

Monday, 11 December 2017

More news on the 2018 Season



Michael Shank Racing and driver Jack Harvey will embark on a six-race Verizon INDYCAR Series program next season. The announcement, made last Friday at the PRI Trade Show in the Indiana Convention Center, is the latest step for Shank as he continues to build towards a full-time Verizon INDYCAR Series program. “It’s a big step for my team. We’ve been trying to do it for a long, long time,” said team owner Michael Shank. “We felt it was the right time, the right situation, everything was kind of lining up to do it the right way. We’ve been in business for 23 years racing cars solely for a living and we’ve taken conservative steps every step of the way. We saw this as a shot to be competitive, not over reach our budget and try to build something over the next two years.”
The car, which will carry sponsorship from SiriusXM and AutoNation, will also have technical support from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Shank said Friday the team recently acquired a new chassis, which will be assembled at the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports before being handed off to MSR.“I’m good with taking small steps. It’s that conservative side that has served us well,” Shank said. “It has gotten us a lot of wins and poles and things in sports cars. We have a lot to prove in IndyCar though. We have the right people in place already, equipment is ordered and the technical alliance has started to work, so we’ll see.”
Shank said the team will kick off the season at in St. Petersburg, Fla., before heading to Long Beach, Calif., and then Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indianapolis 500. Three additional races will be announced at a later date. Curb Records, CAP and Associates, Rocky Fork Co. and Roberts Service Group will also serve as sponsors for the Verizon INDYCAR Series program.
Harvey returns to Michael Shank Racing after joining the team to compete in the Indianapolis 500 last season. He started 27th and finished 30th after a crash on lap 65. He also made two additional starts with Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports, scoring a best finish of 14th at Watkins Glen Int’l.“I’m extremely lucky with AutoNation and SiriusXM that they have stuck with me this year and this relationship is growing and building,” Harvey said. “It’s a multi-year agreement with the two teams I raced with last year. I like Michael a lot as person,” Harvey continued. “He’s been extremely successful in everything that he has done. I know Sam so well because he brought me from Europe to North America in the first place. This is a great collaboration of people.”

Photo and Media from IndyCar Media

Monday, 4 December 2017

25 Years on.




The 2018 Verizon INDYCAR Series race at Phoenix Raceway will commemorate the 25th anniversary of legendary driver Mario Andretti’s final Indy car victory, nearly 25 years to the day it happened.

Andretti, whose 52 career wins rank second only to A.J. Foyt’s 67 in Indy car annals, drove to the checkered flag at Phoenix Raceway on April 4, 1993. A full schedule of events surrounding the Phoenix Grand Prix on April 6-7, 2018, will honor Andretti’s achievement and the track’s deep Indy Car history. The weekend culminates with the April 7 race under the lights featuring the current stars of the Verizon INDYCAR Series and the cars with the highly anticipated new universal aero kit.
“There’s no more important name in motorsports than Mario Andretti,” said Bryan Sperber,president of Phoenix Raceway, the 1.022-mile oval that has hosted 63 previous Indy Car races dating to 1964. “He is also a cultural icon and his name resonates around the world with fans and non-fans alike. To be in a position to host the anniversary celebration of his final open-wheel victory at Phoenix Raceway is truly special. I can’t wait to welcome back the drivers and race cars that created history here 25 years ago.”  



Driving the No. 6 Kmart/Texaco Havoline Lola/Ford (shown above), Andretti led 39 of 200 laps in the 1993 Valvoline 200 at Phoenix. He won by a lap over Raul Boesel in a race that featured eight eventual Indianapolis 500 winners – Andretti, Eddie Cheever, Emerson Fittipaldi, Buddy Lazier, Arie Luyendyk, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan and Al Unser Jr. – as well as the likes of Jimmy Vasser, Lyn St. James, Robby Gordon and Teo Fabi. Nigel Mansell, the reigning Formula One champion who had become Andretti’s teammate that season at Newman/Haas Racing, was injured in a practice crash and did not race.
The win made Andretti the oldest Indy car winner on a traditional race course, at 53 years, 1 month, 7 days. The oldest winner on any type circuit was Louis Unser in the 1953 Pikes Peak Hill Climb when it was part of the AAA-sanctioned national championship. Unser was 57 years, 5 months, 22 days old at the time.

Andretti’s hall of fame career in Indy cars spanned 31 years (1964-94). He holds the record for most races (407), laps led (7,595), podium finishes (144) and pole positions (67). He is the first driver to win an Indy Car race in four consecutive decades and collected four season championships. The legendary driver excelled in all forms of motorsports, winning the Formula One world championship in 1978, collecting sports car wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 12 Hours of Sebring, the USAC Dirt Champ car circuit, as well as winning Nascar’s pinnacle event, the Daytona 500, in 1967. Phoenix Raceway will celebrate Andretti’s remarkable accomplishments on race weekend through special merchandise, trading cards, a tribute panel and special commemorative items for fans. Among the plans is a reunion of drivers who participated in the 1993 Indy car race. Fans attending will be able interact with legends of the sport such as Bobby Rahal, Lyn St. James and Arie Luyendyk in a panel discussion and autograph session. In addition, cars from the 1993 Indy Car field will be on display at the track for fans to enjoy.

The Phoenix Grand Prix is the second race on the 2018 Verizon INDYCAR Series schedule. For ticket information, visit PhoenixRaceway.com .

Media Supplied.



The Borg Warner on the Road



For the first time in its 82-year history, the Borg-Warner Trophy has left the United States. The iconic prize, which features the faces of every Indianapolis 500 winner -- along with former Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony Hulman -- is currently in Japan for a 15-day celebration of Takuma Sato's victory this past May in the 101st running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."the Indy 500.

The Borg Warner trophy left its home at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum on late November and is flying to Tokyo for festivities to honor Sato as the first Japanese winner of 500 and to celebrate Honda's 12th 500 victory. According to the itinerary, stops on the Japanese tour include a variety of events in Tokyo, the Twin Ring Motegi race circuit and the Japanese cities of Nabari and Fukuroi.
"I think it is very special that the Borg-Warner Trophy is traveling to Japan," Sato said in a news release. "The trophy represents winning the greatest race in the world, and I am very proud to have won the 2017 Indianapolis 500 and have my image on the trophy. For nearly two weeks, the trophy will be seen throughout Japan by fans and media. I am honored to be the first Japanese driver to win the Indy 500 and extremely grateful the Borg-Warner Trophy will be traveling outside United States for the first time ever to celebrate my team's and Honda's accomplishments. Let's do it again next year, too!"



According to the release from the Speedway, the trophy will travel around 12,780 miles during its journey, which will end back at the IMS Museum on Dec. 12. 

Photo supplied from the IndyStar photographer Michelle Pemberton.

Back Home Again

Beloved Indianapolis 500 Icon Nabors Passes Away



Actor-Entertainer Sang 'Back Home Again in Indiana' during Pre-Race Ceremonies for 36 Years
Actor-entertainer Jim Nabors, one of the most beloved figures in Indianapolis 500 history for his stirring pre-race rendition of "Back Home Again in Indiana," passed away Thursday, Nov. 30 at his home in Hawaii. He was 87.
Nabors sang the iconic tune 36 times between 1972 and 2014 during pre-race ceremonies for the Indianapolis 500. Although born in Alabama, Nabors was considered a true Hoosier due to his performances at the "500" but even more so because of his warmth, grace and generosity, and his very close relationship with the Hulman-George family, owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"Jim Nabors was such a kind, caring man, and we will miss him greatly," the Hulman-George family said. "Jim was born in Alabama, but he became a Hoosier to all of us almost immediately after he began his superb performances of 'Back Home Again in Indiana' starting in 1972. He loved coming back home to the Speedway almost every May for more than 40 years and seeing his friends and race fans, who loved him dearly. Jim was not only a treasured friend, but truly a cherished member of our family.
"We will never forget his genuine kindness, sincerity and loyalty. He was a wonderful man who inspired millions of people across the globe every May and throughout his entire life."
Nabors was best known for his television portrayal of bumpkin Gomer Pyle in the "The Andy Griffith Show" in the early 1960s and for his starring role in the popular spin-off television comedy "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." from 1964-69. His catchphrase on both shows, "Gollllll-ly!" was flavored with the Southern drawl of his native Alabama.
But Nabors also had an extensive background in singing with his rich baritone in cabaret and night club performances before his acting career. He sang on episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." and on televised variety shows and theater performances for many years.
Nabors' journey to performing "Back Home Again in Indiana" was an anecdote he enjoyed telling. He was the guest of casino magnate Bill Harrah at the 1972 Indianapolis 500 when, on Race Morning, Nabors was approached shortly before pre-race ceremonies to sing during the festivities. He presumed he would be asked to perform the national anthem.
Instead, race officials asked Nabors to sing "Back Home Again in Indiana." He didn't know the lyrics, so he scrawled them on the palm of his hand and wowed the huge crowd with his performance.
Nabors returned to sing each year from 1973-78, becoming a big hit with fans and the Hulman-George family. Other singers performed the song from 1979-82, with Nabors returning in 1983 and 1984. Nabors was in Indianapolis to sing in 1986, but the race suffered two full days of rain delays. He was unable to return to sing when the race ran the following weekend.
In 1987, Nabors began a run of singing "Back Home Again in Indiana" for 27 of the next 28 years. He missed the 2007 race due to illness, and his rendition in 2012 was taped in advance and shown on the track's video boards since Nabors couldn't travel from Hawaii due to illness.
Nabors' final performance came in 2014, when he also joined IMS Chairman of the Board Emeritus Mari Hulman George to give the command to start engines for the 98th Indianapolis 500.
That gesture was a prominent example of the extremely close friendship between Nabors and the Hulman-George family, especially Mari Hulman George. Nabors, fellow actor and entertainer Florence Henderson and Mari Hulman George enjoyed spending time together for decades as an almost inseparable trio of best friends during all Race Weekend activities, such as the Public Drivers Meeting, 500 Festival Parade and Victory Celebration.
Nabors' common touch and humility also were displayed annually to thousands of IMS fans who loved him dearly as an institution of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." He always had a kind word for everyone and posed for countless pictures and signed seemingly limitless autographs. Nabors often visited the gift shop in the IMS Museum on Saturday of Race Weekend after the 500 Festival Parade, unassumingly walking in, waving and greeting excited IMS employees with genuine affection and enthusiasm about making his annual return to the Speedway.
"Everyone at IMS is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend Jim Nabors," IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. "Jim's stirring rendition of 'Back Home Again in Indiana' became as much of a tradition of the Indianapolis 500 as the command to start engines or the winner's bottle of milk.
"But more importantly, Jim was such a nice man. He was beloved by our fans because he loved the Speedway and the '500' just as much as them. He wasn't born in Indiana, but he was a true Hoosier. We always will remember Jim and extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends."
Nabors is survived by his husband, Stan Cadwallader.
Information from IMS Media.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Christmas Shopping in 2017.

A treat for any IndyCar fan.

Don't forget with Christmas just around the corner these great ideas for any Motorsport fans.

                                                     
                                                       Check the book out now


Plus thinking ahead for next season, then start your planning now with this great read.


                                                        Check the guide out

AJ Foyt and Tony Kanaan.

AJ Foyt, Tony Kanaan and  2018.



Just what a year 2018 maybe for IndyCar , the fans and that magic month of May. There are many great things to look forward to next year in IndyCar. Clearly it provides some of the best racing on the planet and one of the toughest championships for any driver to win. Some may say its not Formula 1 yes thats true its IndyCar and its great. To win in IndyCar you need to know how to drive from a road course to a street course to a small oval to a super speedway and then matin that all year long as well. Points in every race count. 2018 will be no different in that aspect but it will feature a clean sheet of paper in terms of aero kits and the return of a standard kit that really will create one of the best seasons ever. Why? Because every single driver and team really does have a chance in 2018 and then there is this story of Tony Kanaan and that most famous of all tracks the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As Tony prepared to sign last month with AJ Foyt Racing for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season, the veteran driver did so with goals still to accomplish in mind. Clearly, there was the opportunity to extend a stellar Indy Car racing career that will stretch into a third decade next season. There’s also the desire that continues burning inside for a second Indy 500 victory and to return the team led by racing icon A.J. Foyt to prominence. 


But Kanaan had a couple, more subtle objectives to achieve when he signed on the dotted line. One of those goals was accomplished with the signature next to his on the contract. “I’ve always dreamed in my career to have A.J.’s autograph, which he doesn’t do it very often,” said Kanaan (above). “But I got it on my contract, so that’s plenty good.” 
The other dream Kanaan is eager to see come true next May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is more symbolic in nature. The 42-year-old Brazilian is a huge fan favourite annually at Indy, but he knows his popularity pales in comparison to that of Foyt – the first of just three four-time Indianapolis 500 winners. 
Kanaan said it’s evident from the onset of the first practice session each year, in particular with the royal treatment Foyt receives from the IMS Safety Patrol, more affectionately known as “yellow shirts” for their iconic uniforms. 
“How many times I got in trouble trying to drive my golf cart through Gasoline Alley and actually got stopped by the yellow shirts and got yelled at and got sent out,” Kanaan said, flashing a smile. “And here comes A.J., riding right by (without being stopped), saying hi and all the yellow shirts are (bowing) and like, ‘A.J.! A.J.!’” 
The 2013 Indy 500 winner cannot wait to take in that experience with the legendary Foyt next May. “Opening day (at IMS), the first thing I’m going to do is hop in that golf cart with him,” Kanaan said, the eagerness building in his voice. “I just want to have that experience. After I think I’ve seen it all at the speedway, this is one thing that I am missing and I’m doing it. A.J. – that’s a big name, it’s a legend. If I can gather half of his fan base just to cheer for me at the 500, we’re going to just dominate the place.” 
Kanaan has heard a sampling of Foyt’s legendary stories over the years, but he can’t wait to spend hours in the Foyt garage taking in as many more as he can from the man himself. It’s that connection of two great drivers from different generations that Kanaan is eager to make. “The old man has a lot of stories and a lot of experience,” Kanaan said. “I want to take it and one day I’ll be proud telling the stories that he told me and I’ll be proud to say, ‘When I drove for A.J., this is what we did.’” 
Foyt, whose 67 Indy car wins are the most in history by any driver, admits he sees parallels to his driving style and that of Kanaan. It’s one of the driving reasons why he sought to add the 2004 Verizon IndyCar Series champion for the 2018 season and beyond. “What I’ve liked about Tony is I’ve seen him when he’s been struggling, but he never gives up,” said Foyt, owner of his own team since 1966. “That’s one thing I never did. I know a lot of races I won that I wasn’t capable of winning, but I never gave up and at the end I was still there and I won the race. That’s what I really like about Tony, he never quits. I think it’s going to put AJ Foyt Racing back where it needs to be,” Foyt added. “I think he can move us right back up front where we belong.” 


Kanaan will drive the iconic No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season that begins March 11 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Combine that and the announcement from A.J. Foyt Racing officials that 19-year-old Brazilian, Matheus Leist, will drive the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet in the Verizon INDYCAR Series next year and you have the sense of something very special in the air and something that may only ever happen once as a passionate brazilians driver helps create a path for a new young star from his own native country.
“I wanted a fresh start for 2018. I think the combination of an experienced driver like Tony and a hungry young driver like Matt will work,” said A.J. Foyt. “I watched him in the Indy Lights this year and he won at Indy (Freedom 100 Indy Lights race). I know he’s got a lot to learn but I think he’s going to learn very quickly. I think he’ll be very good in the Indy Cars.”


Leist, currently the youngest full-time driver in the series, will be paired with the series’ most experienced driver in Kanaan, who will enter his 21st season of IndyCar competition. The rookie will benefit immensely from having the 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion and fellow Brazilian as his teammate and he knows it. “This is a special moment in my career and I’m so grateful for the things that are happening,” said Leist. “Sometimes it is hard for me to believe that I’ll be driving for the legend A.J. Foyt. Having Tony Kanaan as my teammate is incredible because he’s been an idol for me since I was a child. Tony and I are from different generations but I can’t wait to be with him at the track and learn as much as I can from him. It will be a pleasure.”

With 17 victories to his credit, the 2004 IndyCar Series champion will be a valuable asset in both developing the teenage driver and moving the team’s ambitious race program forward. “I’m happy to welcome Matheus as a teammate to Foyt and the ABC Racing family,” Kanaan said. “Matheus is an extremely talented driver with a bright future ahead of him. I’m looking forward to working together and help get AJ Foyt Racing to the next level.”

Leist’s mercuric rise to IndyCar was fueled by a championship performance in the British Formula 3 Series where he posted four victories and seven more podium finishes. The championship came down to the wire where Leist’s coolness under pressure served him well as he snatched the title from series leader Ricky Collard in the final race. It was after winning that title in 2016 that he decided to pursue a career in America. “I’ve been racing for eleven years so far, and since I started in 2006, my brother and I always dreamed of getting into a top category,” Leist revealed. “I’m so thankful for the opportunities that I had so far and for the big moments that I lived. Every day I keep telling myself that I couldn’t have made a better decision than to come to the USA at the end of 2016. America is where things happen and where the good drivers have a proper place. series and I can’t wait for this dream to come true.”

“We had to make some tough decisions but we made them with a focus on strengthening the overall program. We are positioning ourselves to be contenders next season,” said Larry Foyt, team president of A.J. Foyt Racing. “The added testing and development we are undergoing, combined with the new aero kit for all of the competition should help our overall competitiveness and consistency. We think Matheus is going to be a really good fit with Tony Kanaan because Matheus has a lot of talent and he is going to learn a lot from Tony.”

Kanaan will be running a manufacturer’s test of the new universal aero kit next month at Sebring International Raceway while Leist is scheduled to test the new car in early January at Sebring. Both Kanaan and Leist will test together there at the end of January.
Will 2018 bring some AJ Foyt magic to the table you'd have to say its kinda in the stars but has a very real sense of passion, pride and all around good vibe to it thats for sure.