By Amy Konrath
Today’s IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:
1. Castroneves aims for win in Sao Paulo
2. Servia to carry WIX Filters livery in Brazil
3. Rahal bus trips helps bring fans to Milwaukee IndyFest
1. Castroneves aims for win in Sao Paulo: Helio Castroneves apologized for his tardiness to the appointment. He was waiting on a bus in his hometown.
The Team Penske driver joined Ribeirão Preto Mayor Dárcy Vera in donating a bus for transporting children to playgrounds around the city.
“One was in October last year, and because this project was a success we decided to carry on,” said Castroneves of the city in the northwest quadrant of the state of São Paulo. “The area there in my hometown has very underprivileged kids so we decided to donate this bus together with a company so that it can go and help those kids.”
Paulistas will be rooting for Castroneves as he enters the third Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle in second place in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings to teammate Will Power. The Team Penske drivers have shared the limelight in Victory Circle through the first three races of the season.
“The team has certainly been doing a phenomenal job starting obviously three races of the season and able to capture three wins,” he said. “Certainly I feel great. I feel very good about the season, especially after what we had last year.”
In 10 full-time seasons, Castroneves has finished no lower than sixth in the championship nine times. Last year’s 11th place – which included ending his streak of at least one victory and pole start – was the exception.
The 2012 season in the new No. 3 Chevrolet-powered Dallara started with the stirring victory on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., and the pole a week later at Barber Motorsports Park. He’s tied with Rodger Ward for 13th on the all-time Indy car wins list (26) and is fifth in earned poles (37).
On the streets of Long Beach, Calif., on April 15, Castroneves started 18th (incurred the 10-grid position penalty for Chevrolet changing out engines on its 11 cars) and advanced to 13th place.
“Unfortunately, last race we had a little bit of issues with traffic and incidents, but we want to continue carrying this good momentum with the team, especially here in Brazil,” said Castroneves, who will drive the yellow No. 3 Penske Logistics car this weekend. “There is a lot of hype and there is a lot of excitement for this race.”
Momentum flowing through a positive result on the temporary street circuit this weekend and into the Month of May would be a boost in Castroneves’ drive to earn his first series title. Of course, he’s aiming for the trifecta.
“I dream big, and my dream is to capture all of them,” he said. “If you’ve got to choose one, I always dream about Indy and even now so close to doing something very amazing. No question Indy would be an incredible achievement.
“For me, it’s go out there to do my best and try to capture all my goals, and the goal is to win. There are a lot of people against that goal, and that’s what we face every weekend trying to beat everyone. That’s the beauty of the sport.
“So I’m really excited to start the season the way we started so that we can achieve all the goals.”
2. Servia, Franchitti carry new liveries in Brazil: Oriol Servia will carry the WIX Filters livery for this weekend’s Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle. WIX, whose filtration products have become a staple in auto racing, has been an associate partner on Lotus DRR’s entries since the 2011 season and served as primary sponsor of Paul Tracy’s DRR entry in the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500.
“Our international races are great for our partners and with WIX’s international presence in the marketplace it’s nice for them to take advantage of events like these,” said Robbie Buhl, Lotus DRR co-owner.
Dario Franchitti will carry a Lexar Media livery on his No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda in Sao Paulo as part of a two-race sponsorship deal.
The No.10 Lexar Honda will also run at the Baltimore Grand Prix.
“The Lexar brand, Chip Ganassi Racing, and its all-star driver, Dario Franchitti, are similar in that our names are synonymous with superior performance, high speeds, and reliability,” Saul Matthews, worldwide marketing director, Lexar Media. “We are excited to join forces with this team and to watch Dario drive his way to a winning season.”
3. Rahal bus trips helps bring fans to Milwaukee IndyFest: IZOD IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal is offering race fans two tour bus packages from Indianapolis to the Milwaukee IndyFest on June 15 and 16 at the Milwaukee Mile.
“I’m thrilled that we were able to make this bus trip happen with the Andretti promotions folks,” Rahal said. “I hope the fans embrace this great opportunity for a unique experience both on the buses and at the track. I absolutely love racing at Milwaukee, it is one of Americas greatest racetracks, and the fans will not be disappointed one bit.”
Each package includes transportation from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the Milwaukee IndyFest, a reserved seat for Saturday’s 225-lap race, a paddock pass to access the garage area and more. The packages can be purchased from the Milwaukee IndyFest website at www.MilwaukeeIndyFest.com or the Wisconsin State Fair Park box office at 414-266-7100.
The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle on April 29 on the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The race will be televised by NBC Sports Network at 11 a.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212), and affiliates.