Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pre-Season, Pre-Race Interview With 2013 IICS Champion Scott Dixon

Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon shares a first-time "Chevy engine" team moment with fellow team member Penske Racing's Will Power. Too weird to think of these two very competitive teams being linked together through an engine program ... especially since Dixon won the 2013 Championship with a Honda. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Pre-Season, Pre-Race Interview With 2013 IICS Champion Scott Dixon

We are sitting down for a brief conversation with open wheel race car driver and 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series Champion, Australian born, New Zealand native Scott Dixon. Welcome to the program.

The occasion finds Scott preparing for the first race of an 18 race season - the temporary street course at The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg - that will showcase for the first time, points modifications for hitting milage marks, and later in the season, double points awarded for the three 500-mile events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Auto Club Speedway.

With the Dallara DW12 going into its third year and coming off of one of the most competitive years in recent memory some fans who had turned their back on open wheel racing in North America may be missing out on some of the most competitive car racing on the planet. It is not the same bunch of 3 or 4 drivers winning all the time. 2013 not only witnessed Scott Dixon’s third series championship, it saw 10 drivers from seven different teams climb the podium over the 19 races — four drivers for the first time.

Juan Pablo Montoyoa explains the difference between driving a 'Cup' car and a Dallara DW12. Dixon's TCGR team-mate Charlie Kimball and Penske Racing team-mate Will Power enjoy the exchange. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Juan Pablo Montoya is returning to open-wheel racing for the first time since he left Formula 1 for NASCAR in 2006, this time with Team Penske. Coincidentally, 2006 was the last year Roger Penske Racing claimed an IndyCar Series Championship title.

New Dixon team-mate Ryan Briscoe studies the information displayed on the DW12 steering wheel. Briscoe and Tony Kanaan bring considerable Chevy engine experience to the four car Ganassi team. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

At Chip Ganassi Racing, Franchitti’s seat has been filled by reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan. A fourth car has been added to the team to compliment you, Scott Dixon – with Kanaan and Kimball - for the return of Australian driver Ryan Briscoe, who parted ways with Team Penske at the end of 2012 and spent 2013 picking up rides between IndyCar Series and sports-car series.

Ganassi has also changed engines — from Honda to Chevrolet.

With this as a background going into the first race of the season …

 Interview Audio File >>>

1. Does the combination of a four car team and an engine manufacturer switch to Chevy at Fontana last season make it harder to defend your title in 2014?

2. It appears as if you have a combination of team-mates in Kanaan, Kimball, and Briscoe who have relatively calm personalities, does this make intramural sharing easier or is it more competitive under the surface?

3. Obviously, Juan Pablo Montoya is back with a ride in open wheel racing …. the early money says that while he will be getting a grip on things, his nature will see him in a controversy … mainly with a Ganassi car … are you guys keeping an extra eye on him at St. Pete?

4. What do you think of the complexity of the new rules for double points at the three big 500 mile oval races scheduled for Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Auto Club Speedway?  Should the Verizon IndyCar Series awarding more points for particular races or mileage marks?

5. Michele Rahal, our Motorsports Unplugged president and Formula One expert, says that the IndyCar Series, right now, is the best open wheel product in the world, given all the confusion in GP and the close lap-times being shown at the IndyCar test at Barber … what is your opinion?

Come on out to see reigning AND 3-time IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon compete, who, of course, will be hoping to repeat this year, as the Verizon IndyCar Series kicks off on Sunday, March 30 … with the opener at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Fla. … followed by the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13.

For those following the Verizon IndyCar Series on Twitter, use #VICS #spgp #tcgr #indycar #DW12 to index the conversation.

... notes from The EDJE

Monday, March 10, 2014

Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian will have Michael Lewis for Porsche GT3 Cup

Michael James Lewis is an American Race Car Driver from Laguna Beach, California. Michael's passion for racing is paramount and he enjoys every aspect of his racing career. The Laguna Beach, California native is known for his professionalism, work ethic, and he lives every day for motorsport. Image Credit: MJLRacing.com

Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian will have Michael Lewis for Porsche GT3 Cup

After spending several years honing his driving skills in European racing series, American Michael Lewis returns to his home country to compete this season in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. Michael will race in the series' Platinum Class while driving the No. 98 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car.

With the merger of the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am Road Racing into the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship this year, Michael's return to the United States racing scene is timely, as he sees plenty of opportunity to improve his racing skills in this IMSA-sanctioned race series. The IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge is the "opening act" for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship with two 45-minute sprint races per event weekend

"This opportunity to race in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama with Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian is the perfect fit," explained Michael Lewis.

Tujunga, California-based Competition Motorsports has won three GT3 Cup Challenge championships, and is owned by Bob Faieta.

Of special significance, Michael and Competition Motorsports have formed a relationship with Curb Records and the Agajanian family for this 2014 season. The official entry for Michael's No. 98 Porsche GT3 Cup Car will be listed as "Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian." The famed Curb Records logo will be prominently displayed on Michael's No. 98 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car as well.

The finishing touches were being made on Michael Lewis's Porsche 911 to compete in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama at the Competition Motorsports shop in Tujunga, California. Michael and the team travel across the country to the series' first race of the season at Sebring International Raceway on Thursday, March 13. Image Credit: Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian

"I am honored to represent Curb Records and the Agajanian family on my Porsche race car this season," said Michael. "The No. 98 and Curb Records are synonymous with some of the most historic American racing entities, and it's very special to continue that legacy," he added, referring to the Agajanian family's famed Indy cars with the No. 98. "I would like to thank Mike Curb and the Agajanian family for their official involvement."

Michael and the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama will compete in 16 rounds at eight different race circuits during the championship season. Seven of these race event weekends will be held on America's famed race courses, which consist of Sebring International Raceway, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Lime Rock Park, Watkins Glen International, Road America, Circuit of The Americas and Road Atlanta. Canada's famous Canadian Tire Motorsport Park will serve as the eighth track for the series' championship.

Sebring International Raceway will host the first race of the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season in conjunction with the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship's 12 Hours of Sebring. Michael and the Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian team will arrive at the Florida track for the first of two practice days, beginning on Tuesday, March 10. The following day will be a "Promoter Test Day." Qualifying and the first 45-minute race of the season will take place on Thursday, March 13, with the series' second race scheduled for Friday morning, March 14.

In addition to racing in Florida, Michael is looking forward to visiting the other tracks on the schedule, including Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca, in California. "It might sound funny, but I've never gone road racing in my home state of California, and now I get to do that," added Michael.

As a young, up-and-coming Race Car Driver, Michael Lewis has competed in a diverse number of racing vehicles including Formula 3, Formula BMW, Ford Focus Midgets, Touring Cars, Late Model Stock Cars, Quarter Midgets, & Go-Karts. Image Credit: MJLRacing.com

Last season Michael competed in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship with kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, and the previous two seasons he raced in the Formula 3 Euroseries and in Formula 3 Italia, respectively, with Italy's PREMA Powerteam.

The 2014 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series schedule is as follows:

March 13-14        Sebring International Raceway
May 3-4               Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
May 23-24           Lime Rock Park
June 27-28          Watkins Glen International
July 12-13           Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
August 9-10        Road America
Sept. 19-20         Circuit of The Americas
October 2-3        Road Atlanta

With Michael's return to American racing, a number of his core sponsors, who have helped him both in the United States and in Europe, have returned, showing their commitment to share in his success. "I really appreciate my core sponsors staying with me and supporting me these past several years in my racing endeavors, and I look forward to representing their brands and promoting their companies and products. I am also honored to welcome my new partners."

... notes from The EDJE

Of Further Note:
Michael Lewis' No. 98 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car 2014 sponsor lineup includes Curb Records, Eibach, Cometic Gasket, ASE, C&R Racing, McKenna Porsche of Southern California, Ed Pink Racing Engines, Buwalda Construction, Laguna Classic Cars & Art, Camisasca Automotive Manufacturing, Inc., Mönik, Performance Racing Tech-Talk, Realatrends Real Estate Services, Inc., RFMS Racing, Burger King, Val Lambros, M.D. F.A.C.S., Surterre Properties, Klotz Synthetics, Coast Fabrication, Racing Electronics, GoPro, Bell Helmets, Racing Goes Safer Foundation, JDR Graphics, Hobie Surf Shop Laguna Beach, and SACdesign.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

K&N Pro Series returns to Irwindale!

15car-clint-bowyer.jpgThe 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season promises to be a year of exciting change for Clint Bowyer. The former paint-and-body man at Kansas car dealerships has moved up in the world. Image Credit: 5-hour ENERGY Racing (2014)

K&N Pro Series returns to Irwindale!
NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 MARCH 22 - Special Guest: 'Cup' Driver Clint Bowyer

Irwindale, Calif. - - After a two-year absence, all the short track action and excitement of the K&N Pro Series West will be back at "LA's Half-Mile Superspeedway" when the Napa Auto Parts 150 championship series event roars to life on Saturday night, March 22, 2014!
"We're all very pleased to have this top pro series back at Irwindale ... we really missed them," said Race Director Mike Atkinson. "These these drivers and their teams are some of the most competitive in the business.

If you haven't witnessed twenty-six K&N West drivers mixing it up on a fast half-mile track like Irwindale, you've really missed some very exciting short-course stock car racing."
This event will be the first race on the busy Irwindale Speedway calendar for 2014 and will feature a very special guest appearance by Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-Hour Energy Sprint Cup Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing.

Irwindale-2_0.jpgIrwindale Speedway and Dragstrip has announced that it will honor its 2013 NASCAR and NHRA champions at a special dinner and awards ceremony at the Courtyard by Marriott Monrovia. The event is set for Friday evening, March 7 and will begin with an informal reception at 6:30pm followed by dinner at 7:00pm, with the awards presentations following directly thereafter.Image Credit: performanceracing.com (2012)

Tickets for the March 22 K&N event are now available on the website: www.irwindaleeventcenter.com as well as by telephone at the Speedway ticket office: 626-358-1100

SPECIAL NOTE: This year's season ticket package gives fans all 18 races on the Irwindale 2014 NASCAR calendar for the incredibly low price of only $99 and that includes the above K&N Pro race. Fans can further enhance their Speedway experience by adding close-in VIP $99 reserved parking at all 18 NASCAR events. There's even a "bundled" price of $189 for tickets and special parking at every event. More info. 626.358.1100

... notes from The EDJE