By Amy Konrath
1. Mann entered in Indianapolis 500 in Dale Coyne Racing car
1. Mann entered in Indianapolis 500 in Dale Coyne Racing car: Pippa Mann has paired with Dale Coyne Racing to attempt to make her second start at the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
The team confirmed that the 29-year-old Mann will drive a Honda-powered Dallara as a teammate to Justin Wilson and Ana Beatriz. In 2011, Mann became the first British female (and eighth overall) to qualify for the race. She started 31st and finished 20th in a Conquest Racing entry.
“I’m delighted to be able to share this news,” said Mann, who recently has been an analyst on the IMS Radio Network’s broadcasts of Firestone Indy Lights races. “I actually first met Dale (Coyne) several years ago, before I came to the U.S., at what turned out to be the final Champ Car test at Sebring right before the open-wheel merger.
“We’ve sort of had an on-going conversation ever since then, and I actually got very close to getting in one of Dale’s cars on Bump Day last year. A year later, we’ve now put this program together, and I cannot wait to be back on track with Honda and running at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May.”
Mann, who won a Firestone Indy Lights race from the pole at Kentucky Speedway and earned the pole for the Firestone Freedom 100 at the Speedway in 2010, will participate in a refresher course on the 2.5-mile oval. Opening Day is May 11. Pole Day is May 18 and Race Day is May 26.
“We have known and followed Pippa from her first interest in coming over to America and the IndyCar Series,” Coyne said. “Her hard work and dedication are commendable and have shown results. She has qualified for Indy, qualified on pole at Indianapolis for the Indy Lights race, won an Indy Lights race at Kentucky and has been a great asset for the sport.”
2. Firestone Indy Lights teams test at IMS: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports rookie Jack Hawksworth of England said it best: “IMS is a racetrack that every driver growing up knows about, whether you’re brought up racing in America, Europe, Asia or anywhere else in the world for that matter.”
The landmark venue will host 11 Firestone Indy Lights drivers for a May 2 Open Test as they begin preparations for the Firestone Freedom 100 as part of Coors Lite Carb Day May 24.
In addition to racing on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time, Hawksworth will be testing at the track for the first time in a Firestone Indy Lights car. Teammates Gabby Chaves and Sage Karam, along with Andretti Autosport rookie Zach Veach, have tested in Firestone Indy Lights cars on the road course at the Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy test in October. Hawksworth participated in the 2011 test in a Pro Mazda car.
“I’ll just be looking to get comfortable with the track on my own and in traffic. That is my only aim for this test,” said Hawksworth, who is second in the championship standings entering the fourth race of the season. “If we can achieve those two things I’ll walk away from the test very happy.”
Kyle O’Gara, who will make his Firestone Indy Lights debut in a Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car at the Speedway, and newcomer Jimmy Simpson with Team Moore Racing also are scheduled to be on the track. Points leader Carlos Munoz also will turn laps in preparation of his doubleheader weekend with Andretti Autosport in the Firestone Freedom 100 and the Indianapolis 500.
IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Josef Newgarden (2011) and Ed Carpenter (2003) have won the Firestone Freedom 100. While it’s easy to get caught up in the experience, Hawksworth is keeping a level head in his hunt for another series championship.
“Obviously it would be great to win at such a prestigious venue and such a great event, but in the big picture it is just another race that pays the exact same amount of points as any other,” said Hawksworth, the 2012 Star Mazda champion. “We need to maximize what we have at the track on Carb Day because collecting as many points as possible and winning the championship is what really counts.”
3. Kimball featured on “INDYCAR 36” on May 4:
IZOD IndyCar Series driver Charlie Kimball will be featured in the 2013 debut of “INDYCAR 36.” The episode will air May 4 at 6:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC Sports Network.
The show goes behind the scenes and on the track with the driver of the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing car during the IZOD IndyCar Series’ most recent event in Long Beach, Calif.
4. Hildebrand on target in Detroit:Last October, JR Hildebrand cheered for the San Francisco Giants in a World Series game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
The IZOD IndyCar Series driver returned to the ballpark April 29 to cheer on the Tigers to a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Hildebrand, who played baseball at Redwood High School in Corte Madera, Calif., also threw a strike in delivering the ceremonial first pitch.
Hildebrand was in town to promote the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on May 31-June 2 before heading to Brazil, where he’ll compete this weekend in the fourth Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle in the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car.
On the field before the game, Hildebrand met Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera and swapped jerseys with pitcher Justin Verlander.
“The thing that’s cool is meeting a lot of other athletes like baseball players and they totally know what’s going on in INDYCAR,” Hildebrand said. “Like Justin Verlander, who told me he was out in Long Beach (April 21 for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach). He just bought a ticket and showed up to the race like any other fan. I think that’s cool. It’s neat to have a little bit of back and forth with those guys.”
The race weekend on the recently improved Belle Isle circuit will be the IZOD IndyCar Series’ first doubleheader – 70-lap races on the 2.3-mile circuit both June 1 and 2. Practice and qualifying for Race 1 for the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans will be held May 31. It’s a free day for fans sponsored by Comerica Bank.
“I’m really looking forward to the race,” said Hildebrand, who is coming off a fifth-place finish at Long Beach. “With the new track layout and surface I think it’s going to be great for fans. And the Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans will be a real challenge for the teams and drivers.”
5. Beatriz visits World Cup venue under construction: Two of the biggest sporting events to take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, over the next 18 months collided April 30 when IZOD IndyCar Series driver Ana Beatriz visited the site of the Arena de Sao Paulo, which will serve as the city’s World Cup venue next summer.
Beatriz, a native of Sao Paulo, was excited to visit the stadium, which is located in the eastern part of Brazil’s largest city — 13 miles from Anhembi Park, the home of Brazil’s IZOD IndyCar Series event. The project is about 70 percent complete and expected to be completed by year’s end.
“Arena de Sao Paulo will be the most modern stadium in Brazil,” said Beatriz, who will drive the No. 18 Ipiranga Honda for Dale Coyne Racing in the fourth Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle on May 5. “It was cool to have the opportunity to visit it before it’s ready and understand the whole project.”
In addition to hosting five World Cup events, including the opening match of the tournament and a semifinal, Arena de Sao Paulo will serve as the home stadium for Corinthians, Sao Paulo’s most popular soccer team.
The 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues with the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle on Sunday, May 5, on the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The race will be televised live at 11 a.m. (ET) by the NBC Sports Network (Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 211 and www.indycar.com. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Firestone Freedom 100 on Friday, May 24, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast by NBC Sports Network live, during the network’s coverage of Carb Day.