INDYCAR NEWS AND NOTES – March 13, 2015

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Verizon IndyCar Series Headlines:

  1. In-your-face introduction: Aero kit test at Barber
  2. Bowers & Wilkins moves to primary sponsor
  3. She’s back: De Silvestro will open with Andretti
  4. Pro sports stars help kick off St. Pete opener
  5. Mann named Captain for Central Indiana Race for the Cure
  6. Of note
  • Team ’15 season preview: Focus on points, pointers
  • Associate sponsor announced for Filippi at St. Pete
  • Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana brings on DHL for inaugural race
  • Scott Andersen partners with Hell & Knarr for 2015
  • Comerica Bank Free Prix Day returns

1. In-your-face introduction: Aero kit test at Barber: Chevrolet and Honda have unveiled computer-generated models of their road/street course and short oval aerodynamic bodywork platforms, and the radical packages will spring to life March 16-17 when Verizon IndyCar Series teams convene at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., for the initial multi-day on-track examination.

“It’s kind of like taking the SATs; everyone is cramming for the big test, which is St. Pete,” said Josef Newgarden, who enters his fourth season in the No. 67 CFH Racing Chevrolet.

The season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is March 29 (3 p.m. ET, ABC).

“There’s a lot of work to do to try to figure out how the aero kits work on track. Set-ups will change, driving styles will change a little bit. It’s exciting and a new challenge,” added Newgarden.

The March 16 sessions (10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-6 p.m. local) on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn Barber road course are free and open to the public. Live lap timing both days will be available on www.IndyCar.com.

More information on aero kits at Barber Motorsports Park here.

2. Bowers & Wilkins moves to primary sponsor: Bowers & Wilkins has expanded its role with Bryan Herta Autosport in partnership with Bowen Motorsports to be the primary sponsor of the No. 98 Honda driven by Gabby Chaves for the Verizon IndyCar Series season that starts March 29 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

For the full story on Bowers & Wilkins with Bryan Herta Autosport, check out IndyCar.com.

3. She’s back: De Silvestro will open with Andretti: Fan favorite Simona De Silvestro is returning to the Verizon IndyCar Series.

De Silvestro, 26, will drive an Andretti Autosport Honda in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 27-29, the team announced. Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Carlos Munoz also will drive Andretti Autosport-prepared cars in the 110-lap race (3 p.m. ET, ABC) that features the competition debut of aerodynamic bodywork kits supplied by Chevrolet and Honda.

De Silvestro will join her new teammates and catch up with other Verizon IndyCar Series drivers March 16-17 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., for the initial full-scale team testing of the road/street and short oval aero kits, though she will not be testing during these sessions. The Monday, March 16 session is free and open to the public. Live timing will be on www.IndyCar.com.

For more information on De Silvestro’s announcement with Andretti Autosport, read here.

3. Pro sports stars help kick off St. Pete opener: Organizers of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg are incorporating local sports stars into the Verizon IndyCar Series race festivities March 29.

Vincent Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will serve as the grand marshal. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Alex Cobb will serve as the honorary starter, waving the green flag to mark the opening of the season and start of the 110-lap race on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit.

“I have the utmost respect for all of the drivers, crew members and teams that will be competing at the event, and can’t wait to join them on the track,” Jackson said. “It’s a great chance to showcase not only the city of St. Petersburg, but the entire Bay Area on a national stage, and I am excited to help represent Tampa Bay as the Verizon IndyCar Series kicks off its season.”

For more information and quotes from Cobb, check out IndyCar.com.

4. Mann named Captain for Central Indiana Race for the Cure: Verizon IndyCar Series driver Pippa Mann has been named the captain of a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure team.

Pippa’s Pink Posse will participate in the 3.1-mile Komen Central Indiana Race in Downtown Indianapolis on April 18. The day includes running and walking events, as well as opening ceremonies, the annual Pink Parade of breast cancer survivors, a 5K timed competitive run, a 5K non-competitive run/walk, a one-mile family walk, kids dash and color station.

“I’m so looking forward to this event,” said Mann. “I’m looking for anyone who wants to join Pippa’s Pink Posse and join our team in the fight against breast cancer. The funds raised will continue to fuel science in search of the cure and support those in the community who are fighting the disease.”

For more information about the team, read here.

6. Of note:
Focus on points, pointers: Charlie Kimball enters his fifth Verizon IndyCar Series season driving the No. 83 car with primary sponsorship from global diabetes care company Novo Nordisk. Sage Karam made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in the 2014 Indianapolis 500 in a partnership between Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Read the full 2015 preview on Kimball and Karam at IndyCar.com. … Associate sponsor announced for Filippi at St. Pete: Bankers Financial Corporation, a St. Petersburg, Fla., insurance, surety and business solutions company, will be an associated sponsor on the No. 20 CFH Racing car driven by Luca Filippi in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. … Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana brings on DHL for inaugural race: DHL has been named Official Express and Logistics Provider for the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on April 10-12. Scott Andersen partners with Hell & Knarr for 2015: Anderson, driver of the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport (SPM) Indy Lights car has signed a new commercial partnership with Hull & Knarr of Indianapolis, Ind. Read more on the Indy Lights announcement here. … Comerica Bank Free Prix Day returns: Continuing a tradition that started with the first Grand Prix event in Detroit in 1982, the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix and Comerica Bank announced that they are again teaming up for “Free Prix Day.” On May 29, fans will have the opportunity to take in the on-track action of the Verizon IndyCar Series on the Belle Isle circuit and other events for free. Get tickets here.

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