With Halloween around the corner, many people are thinking about their Halloween costume for this year. Some are even making suggestions for their favorite athletes and celebrities. What costumes do you suggest for the stars of the IZOD IndyCar series?
To help you with your suggestions, we have some never-before seen photos of many of the drivers from Halloween 2004. In 2004, the year-end IndyCar Championship Celebration was held on a 3-day Disney Cruise. The cruise ship was still at sea on Halloween night, the day after Tony Kanaan and his Andretti-Green Racing team celebrated their season championship. For the on-board Halloween party, most of the drivers and team owners were in costume.
The stars of the party were series champion Tony Kanaan and his AGR teammates (Dario Franchitti, Dan Wheldon, and Bryan Herta) who all dressed up as women. Here they are along with 2-time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk who was dressed as Hugh Heffner.
Dan Wheldon, Arie Luyendyk, Tony Kanaan, Bryan Herta, Dario Franchitti
Team owner Sam Schmidt got in the spirit with his Crash Test Dummy costume.
Team owner Michael Andretti was Batman, the Dark Knight. Here he is along with Arie and Arie Jr.
Arie Luyendyk, Arie Luyendyk Jr., Michael Andretti
One of the more creative costumes was 2-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr. who was dressed as Beetlejuice from the Tim Burton movie.
Al Unser Jr.
The drivers weren’t the only ones to dress up. Here is Ed Carpenter as Joe Dirt along with his wife Heather.
And here is 1999 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Robby McGehee who was placed under arrest by his wife Norma.
Now that you have seen this crazy and fun side of your favorite drivers, what other costumes would you recommend for them?
INDYCAR heads into the second race of the season this weekend with the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. Naturally, we’ve got our eyes on 2010 Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti who, after picking up win #1 in St. Petersburg two weeks ago, is ready to grab #2 towards his run at a back-to-back Series championships. To get ready for the race weekend, check out an awesome time-lapse video of Texas-based Motorsports artist Kevin Paige creating a full-color rendering of Dario Franchitti at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Full-color rendering of Dario Franchitti at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Pretty neat, huh? Thanks to Kevin Paige, we’ll be giving away the Dario Franchitti drawing to the first fan to locate all 26 Indianapolis Motor Speedway billboards around Indianapolis. Here’s how to enter:
Track down each IMS billboard in Indianapolis
Take a photo
Put all 26 photos online (a Facebook album or Flickr set are a few suggestions)
Got ‘em all? Post on our Facebook wall to let us know you’ve caught all 26 billboards and provide a link to verify that you have found and captured images of all 26 billboards
The special relationship between fans and drivers has been a hallmark of the Indianapolis 500 since the inaugural race in 1911. But it never gets old to learn of a bond formed between a current INDYCAR driver and a passionate follower of the sport.
Tony Laurenzana, 24, from Bedford, Ind., recently shared this story about his history with IMS and his passion for 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon.
I grew up at IMS, from 1986 to 1995. My dad was one of the contracted electricians for Moran Electric during that timeframe. I presumably was the first baby in the garages after they were rebuilt in 1986, as I was born in Feburary 1986, but that cannot be confirmed. My dad had an office in the garages, and growing up there for nine years gave me a ton of memories. Meeting drivers, hanging out all day with my mom at the track while dad worked, all developing a passion for auto racing.
I now live in Bedford, Ind. My mom works as a dental assistant down here. The dentist’s daughter married someone within the racing industry, and he knows a ton of drivers in many racing series. They are currently very good friends with Scott and Emma Dixon.
The dentist’s daughter works as a hygienist in her father’s office and was cleaning my teeth in September 2010. In between the suction being in my mouth, we talked about our experiences at IMS. My mom had mentioned to me before that they were guests at the Dixon’s wedding, vice-versa, so I thought it was fun that I knew someone close to a famous race car driver.
After the 2008 Indianapolis 500, I purchased the 1/18 scale race-won Dixon car from the IMS Gift Shop. I started using it as a centerpiece for my living room, since I recently bought my house and furnished the living room in IMS memorabilia, past and present.
While at my appointment, the dentist’s daughter mentioned the cool photos I took of Scott’s car during the 2009 Indy 500, and I told her I bought the car, etc. She offered to take the car and have Scott autograph it when he and Emma got back from Homestead in October. She then told me whatever I had, go ahead and give it to her and Scott would sign it. I had my ticket from 2009 with Scott’s image on it, and the lanyard and ticket holder with the Indy 500 logo on it.
Autographed diecast car
Once Scott got back, over dinner he was handed an IMS Gift Shop bag full of those things, and he signed each one. About two weeks later, I received my car, lanyard, ticket holder and ticket — all signed. I rushed out to buy a thank you card, and added a personal message. She delivered it to both Scott and Emma.
Before this I really wasn’t much of a fan of his; I never knew why. I have always liked Dario Franchitti since his days in CART/Champ Car. I can at least say Scott has gained a new fan. He could’ve easily said, “Don’t bother me with that.”
They are still in my living room predominantly displayed for all my guests to see, and a story to tell.
Randy Bernard and Jeff Belskus at the State of IndyCar
Yesterday I travelled to the Millionair Terminal to shoot the send-off for the Indianapolis 500 Centennial Tour with drivers from INDYCAR as well as former drivers like Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford and Al Unser Jr going to Europe and the Middle East Military bases to entertain and salute the troops protecting our freedom. Photos taken at these and other events will go on our IMS and INDYCAR web sites as well as the media sites for use on other web sites around the world. Not many days go by when I am not asked to shoot some function, dignitary or display pertinent to the happening in and around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or INDYCAR.
Indy 500 Centennial Tour Send-Off
Taking the two-seater to the troops
We have 4.5 + million images, most of which need to be converted to digital, and my staff here in the Hall of Fame 2nd floor offices are busy scanning. In the past few weeks, we have had the announcement of the new commemorative stamp depicting the 1911 Indy 500 winner, the Marmon Wasp, the Lego replica of the Indianapolis 500 track complete with streakers in the infield, the new satellite team of Ganassi Racing with Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball as the drivers had their announcement here and of course the Santa Claus visit last month. For us in Photo, there is never an “off season” and I for one am glad of it.
I think the most magical time to be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is during sunrise. It’s a time for reflection. A time for peace. The light allows you to view this stadium in a totally different way. This experience transcends racing and reveals a place of historical importance with victorious and heartbreaking stories to tell. It’s what I value most in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. You never know what you’ll see.
A moment caught on race day in May
This morning was definitely planned. But it’s hard to plan for something like this. Around 7 A.M.this morning, IMS and IndyCar staff rolled out 33 winning Indianapolis 500 race cars.
Make no doubt about it: This guy is the boss of IndyCar racing over the last 15 years. Robin Miller, who knows a thing or 100,000 about great drivers, thinks so. I don’t need as large of an abacus to count my racing knowledge as Robin, but I think so, too.
It also was a good night in South Florida for one Danica Patrick, who tied a season best by finishing second in the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300. It was a solid salvage job by America’s Princess of Speed, who ended the season in the top 10 with the strong result after an intense duel with Andretti Autosport teammate Tony Kanaan down the stretch laps of the race.
But there’s no rest for weary Danica, who probably would give some of her sizable endorsement income to approach a single-digit finish in her Grand NASCAR Nationwide Experiment of 2010, which continues full-bore now that the IndyCar season is done.
You had to feel for Will Power after the Homestead race. The laid-back Aussie dude was visibly oozing the pressure of the title chase last weekend at Homestead. I was there, and Will was uncharacteristically tense and even borderline snippy in a press conference Friday night after Franchitti won the pole, trimming one point from Power’s 12-point lead entering the event.
And the coil spring of Will’s psyche finally snapped when he brushed the wall trying to avoid lapped traffic in the race, ending his race and his championship hopes. Contrast that with Dario’s chilly nerves when avoiding the spinning, crashing car of rolling chicane Milka Duno later in the race.
Power lost the title by five points, but he gained a ton of respect and injected a heavy dose of fear into his rivals this season. As Danica said of Power in the post-race press conference: “He did a hell of a job this year. He kicked ass on the road courses, for sure.” That he did, winning the inaugural Mario Andretti Road Course Championship Trophy. And Power also improved quite a bit on ovals, even though that first win on roundy-rounds eludes him.
Prospects for a strong year also are looking up for Graham Rahal. He announced a big sponsorship deal for 2011-12 with TBC Retail Group, a major American tire and automotive retail company, on Saturday afternoon at Homestead. Whispers are getting louder than Graham is heading to a third Ganassi team in 2011. Was it any coincidence that a Ganassi executive was in the deadline room when the press conference took place Saturday at Homestead? Hmm …
IndyCar’s favorite bad boy, Paul Tracy, also is aiming for a strong full-season ride in 2011. PT is beating the bushes and says he’s close to having enough funding for next year. Let’s hope so. You never can get too much of The Thrill from West Hill.
While Graham is set and things are looking up for PT, there was a bit of bad news for Tony Kanaan and Andretti Autosport. 7-Eleven, TK’s longtime primary sponsor in the IZOD IndyCar Series, is returning only as an associate on Danica’s car next year. AA has given TK permission to look around the series for another ride.
Sorry, but I just can’t imagine TK at another team besides Andretti. He has been the one fixture — the pillar — of that outfit since it came to the series in 2003 as Andretti Green Racing. No one has worked harder, no one has driven harder and no one has kept the team more focused and unified than TK. To lapse into American sportscaster-speak, TK is the glue guy at Andretti. The team simply cannot afford to lose Kanaan, who immediately becomes the most coveted free agent in IndyCar.
The rousing battle between TK and Danica over the last 30 laps at Homestead wasn’t the only compelling bout last weekend between teammates who aren’t exactly best buddies. The heated rivalry between seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi and 2010 champion-elect Jorge Lorenzo finally boiled over at Motegi in a phenomenal, elbow-rubbing duel Sunday.
Seriously, the only difference between the scrap between Fiat Yamaha teammates Rossi and Lorenzo over the last three laps of the race and the classic old video game “Road Rash” was the lack of spiked balls and chains. This was as close to 180-mph two-wheeled combat as you’re going to see.
And Jorge was not happy with The Doctor after the race. As if Rossi cares. He knows Lorenzo and another rival, 2007 World Champion Casey Stoner, hate him, and he doesn’t give a rat’s posterior. Ah, the beauty of psychological warfare. Vale is a master of it. Just ask Sete Gibernau and Max Biaggi. The brilliant Julian Ryder offers his always spot-on analysis of the Battle of Motegi at Superbike Planet.
Lorenzo, who just signed a two-year contract renewal with Yamaha, will get a bit of revenge this weekend at Malaysia: He’ll likely clinch his first MotoGP World Championship. Lorenzo’s closest pursuer in the standings, 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Dani Pedrosa, almost certainly will miss his second consecutive race after suffering a broken collarbone in a crash during practice at Motegi.
Three-time Brickyard 400 winner Jimmie Johnson took the lead from Denny Hamlin in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup after finishing second behind Greg Biffle on Sunday at Kansas. But unlike MotoGP, it’s going to be awhile until this year’s champion is decided, as just 85 points separate eighth-place Biffle from points leader Johnson.
The tight points race should be a major topic of conversation heading into Tinseltown for the race this Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Southern California, but instead a typical NASCAR soap opera is devouring the headlines. Kyle Busch and David Reutimann traded sheet metal and post-race barbs after they clashed twice on track at Kansas. The intent of Busch’s contact was debatable; Reutimann’s was not. He wanted to take out Busch and succeeded, helping to drop Rowdy to a 21st-place finish.
And thus the filmy residue of NASCAR’s “boys, have at it” policy was left on this race like soap scum around the base of the bathtub. Is it really in NASCAR’s best interests to have a non-Chase driver intentionally trash the race of a Chase driver? Jeff Gluck plays attorney, judge and jury in this blog, and his point is solid: NASCAR’s hands-off policy only will encourage more Chase-altering melees like Sunday at Kansas.
Maybe that’s what NASCAR fans want. But don’t you think NASCAR Nation would react a bit differently, with fewer “That puke got what was coming to him” comments spewed toward Busch, if the object of Reutimann’s bumper was Dale Earnhardt Jr.? Yeah, so do I.
Sorry, Leo Durocher: A nice guy will finish first tonight in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship at Homestead-Miami.
Power leads Franchitti by just 11 points after Dario won the PEAK Performance Pole Award in a command performance Friday night on the 1.5-mile oval, while Power qualified third. There are more permutations for the title math than an IRS 1040 income tax form, but assuming both guys run up front, the game is pretty simple: Power needs to keep Franchitti in his rear-view mirror all the way to the checkered flag.
It’s high drama here in South Florida, and it’s definitely worth two or three hours of your time tonight if you’re a fan of any kind of human competition. Live TV coverage on VERSUS starts at 6 p.m. (ET), with the IMS Radio Network providing live coverage of the race — which starts at 7 p.m. — through its affliates and XM 145/Sirius 211.
History and statistics favor Franchitti tonight. He has prevailed in two season-finale showdowns, capturing the IZOD IndyCar Series championship by winning the final race of the year from the pole in 2007 at Chicagoland Speedway and in 2009 here at Homestead. Twelve of his 16 IZOD IndyCar Series victories have come on ovals.
The man has been here, done this, and it shows in his demeanor here this weekend. He seems cool and relaxed, as if this was just another oval race in the championship.
Power, on the other hand, hasn’t been in a title duel like this since his days in the junior formulas. None of his six IZOD IndyCar Series victories has come on an oval. He has finished ahead of Franchitti only once in seven oval races this season.
This is new for Will, and the strain is peeking through his normally laid-back personality just a bit this weekend. He seemed a bit on edge during the post-qualifying press conference Friday night here after he saw one possibly-precious point slip away from his lead when Franchitti won the pole.
If Franchitti wins the title tonight, he will continue the recent trend of the Indianapolis 500 serving as an accurate barometer for season-long excellence. The Indy 500 winner has claimed the IZOD IndyCar Series championship in the same year in four of the last five seasons, and Dario can make it 5-for-6 tonight. The only exception to that rule since 2005 has been Power’s Penske teammate Helio Castroneves, who won his third Indy 500 but not the title in 2009.
Enough stats. Enough history. Enough analysis. Let the rubber meet the road, and let’s see which driver and team are best. It’s must-see TV. High drama on the high banks of Homestead.
Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick. Where’s that iconic stopwatch from the opening of “60 Minutes” when I need it? Time is short — very short — before the IZOD IndyCar Series title showdown Saturday night here in South Florida, and there is a lot going on in IndyCarland.
First, the obvious. Points leader Will Power and second place Dario Franchitti are gearing up for the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 on Saturday night, and Will is keeping it simple as he clings to his 12-point lead. Keep Dario in his mirrors, and the title is his. Problem is, that task isn’t so simple. Power has no career victories on ovals, and Franchitti is the inaugural A.J. Foyt Oval Championship Trophy winner this season for being the best performer on roundy-rounds.
I don’t know what to make of it. I still think Dario is too tough on ovals to top. But then again, staying ahead of Franchitti might not be such a tough order for an hombre who returned to racing this year after suffering a broken back in a crash midway through last season. Both of these cats have a ton of commitment and very large attachments, as David Hobbs likes to say on SPEED’s F1 telecasts.
He finished the Thursday Night Bowling League with a 217 average.
The lovely Cameron freezes another dude in his tracks.
Either Power or Franchitti will hoist an interesting-looking new IZOD IndyCar Series championship trophy that was unveiled Tuesday in Miami. What do you think? It’s not your typical bowling trophy. It’s certainly … different.
You must admit, the trophy does look nice next to IZOD Trophy Girl Cameron. Then again, Cameron makes everything look nice.
While watching the IndyCar finale Saturday, it won’t be hard to notice Sarah Fisher’s Dallara on the 1.5-mile oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Sarah is driving an all-pink car for the second consecutive year at Homestead to increase awareness of breast cancer and help Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Another great gesture from one of the finest people in the series. Way to go, Sarah.
There appears to be some off-track news cooking for the IZOD IndyCar Series, according to Indianapolis Business Journal reporter Anthony Schoettle. He is reporting that the series is close to landing another big fish in the sponsorship pond.
It seems like off-track news is about all that NASCAR can generate these days. How to change the Chase, how to lift flagging TV ratings, the Great Clint Bowyer Controversy, etc. It sort of reminds me of the scene from the classic Led Zeppelin concert movie, “The Song Remains The Same,” in which Robert Plant shrieks the lyric, “Does anybody remember laughter?” during “Stairway to Heaven.”
With all apologies to Plant, does anybody remember the racing in NASCAR? There still is paint-trading going on every weekend as 12 drivers try to beat each others’ brains out to win the Sprint Cup. Yet fans are still bitching. A lot. And Ed Hinton at ESPN.com is getting damn sick of it.
Still, it’s pretty hard to avoid the stock car soap opera du jour, NASCAR’s denial of the appeal filed by Richard Childress Racing of the penalties imposed on Clint Bowyer and his crew chief, Shane Wilson, after Bowyer’s car was found a hair-width out of spec after winning the opening race of the Chase, in New Hampshire.
Childress is steamed and said he will take the appeal to the Chief Appellate Officer (whomever that is). The accident reconstruction expert Childress hired to testify for the team in the hearing Tuesday also thinks he was smeared like mayo on a BLT by NASCAR.
It’s getting fugly, folks. Despite this imbroglio and the pending second appeal, Childress insists it won’t affect the team’s three-car assault on the Cup with Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton. Let’s see: Bowyer’s chances of regaining 150 points lost from the NASCAR penalties and jumping back into the thick of the Chase hang on more off-track proceedings, and Bowyer and RC are not supposed to be distracted?
Hey, there is good news in this melodrama. Harvick and Denny Hamlin have kissed and made up after Harvick played Smash-Up Derby with Hamlin in practice last weekend at Dover, angry at a verbal swipe Hamlin took at Harvick’s RCR teammate Bowyer over the New Hampshire penalties.
Will Volkswagen go NASCAR racing soon? I snuck that in there quietly because I know so many NASCAR fans went apocalyptically berserk when Toyota joined the Cup series even though Toyotas are built by workers who earn real George Washington dollars in Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, Texas and West Virginia, strongholds of God-fearing, Lee Greenwood-singing American patriots.
So, shhhhh on VW. Sorry I even mentioned it.
Off to MotoGP, where the series starts a three-race-in-three-weekend stretch this Sunday at Twin Ring Motegi.
Points leader Jorge Lorenzo isn’t exactly in cruise control despite leading 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Dani Pedrosa by 56 points with five races to go. Seven-time and reigning MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi will be on the grid, but fans might see 2011 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 signing Cal Crutchlow on a Fiat Yamaha for the last two races of the season if Rossi follows through with surgery on his nagging shoulder injury. Welcome to the big time, Cal. No pressure, matey!
One thing Rossi claims he won’t do this offseason, new surgical scar on his shoulder or not, is form and manage a Moto2 team for 2011. He’ll probably be too busy, anyways, talking about his new red ride for 2011 with longtime crew chief Jeremy Burgess, whom it looks increasingly likely will follow The Doctor from Yamaha to Ducati.
A provisional 2011 MotoGP schedule finally is out. While David Emmett at Motomatters.com does his usual excellent analysis of all things Grand Prix motorcycle racing, there’s really only one fact you need to know: The fourth annual Red Bull Indianapolis GP is Aug. 26-28, 2011 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and you better damn well be there!