Hunter-Reay enjoys Champion's Day in Manhattan

1. Auto Club Speedway technical penalty update: There were no technical penalties issued following the IZOD IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway on Sept. 15.

IndyCar Series 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Chevrolet with Michael Andretti
IndyCar Series 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Chevrolet with Michael Andretti

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

2. Hunter-Reay enjoys Champion's Day in Manhattan: Less than a week after winning the IZOD IndyCar Series championship, Ryan Hunter-Reay was standing on top of the world again. Only this time it was the Empire State Building's observation deck.

The location for a photo shoot with the Astor Cup and Q&A with media on Sept. 19 was among the multitude of stops the IZOD IndyCar Series champion made on the initial day of the Champion's Tour of New York.

"What a great day and what great memories -- from the top of the Empire State Building, which I learned today took just one year and 45 days to build, to being with my old friend and car owner Dave Letterman on his show," said Hunter-Reay, who clinched his first series title Sept. 15 at Auto Club Speedway in a season-long battle with a stout lineup of competitors.

"The view from the top of the Empire State Building was totally amazing. We did media and photos on the observation then they took us to a private viewing deck on the 103rd floor. Wow, what a stunning and amazing view. It's something I'll never forget; it was a clear day and you could truly see for miles and miles.

"The 103rd floor private deck was not for the faint of heart, and something I'll never forget. No fencing or high walls; just a knee high retainer between you and a lot of fresh air. (Wife) Beccy and I both thought it was spectacular and we thank the staff of the Empire State Building for allowing us to see the city with a totally unobstructed view."

The quick elevator ride was preceded by on-set interviews on CNN's "Starting Point" (it was host Soledad O'Brien's birthday), CNN International Sports and the Auto Smarts Radio Network, plus appearances on four Sirius XM Radio channels and an interview with the Wall Street Journal -- all before lunch.

Following a brief respite, Hunter-Reay participated in a Twitter chat on NBC Sports Network, interviews with Sports Illustrated, Bloomberg TV and Men's Health in addition to taping the "Late Show with David Letterman."

The interview with Hunter-Reay, who drove for then-Rahal Letterman Racing in the 2007 and '08 IZOD IndyCar Series seasons, will air at 11:35 p.m. (ET) Sept. 20 on CBS.

"The thing about the 'Late Show with David Letterman' that surprised me was back stage before I went on," Hunter-Reay said. "I am a race driver not an actor. Standing behind the stage waiting to be introduced you hear the crown laughing and having fun. You know you'll be out there with Dave soon and you want to keep them laughing and happy. I hope I did.

"It's also about 40 degrees on the set. I was wearing a brand new three-piece Tommy Hilfiger suit and that barely kept me warm from shivering. My Florida blood is too thin. I might have been better off in my DHL Sun Drop Chevy firesuit to stay warm. Dave was great and it was something I'll never forget."

The Champion's Tour continued Sept. 20 with appearances on "Fox & Friends" on the Fox News Channel and "The Morning Drive" on the Golf Channel in addition to more radio and print interviews. Then it's back home to Fort Lauderdale to unwind and let the accomplishments of the dramatic and grueling season sink in.

"Fun and memorable for sure," Hunter-Reay said. "I'd be glad to win the Indy 500 or championship again and repeat what we did."

3. Burns named GM of Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix: One of the most respected and experienced men in motorsports has joined the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix team. Charles Burns has been named General Manager of the Grand Prix and will oversee all day-to-day operations of the popular annual event, which will be held May 31-June 2, 2013.

Burns, 44, has worked with the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for more than 12 years, serving as Director of Security since 2003. The Indiana native has extensive operational and security experience, helping to direct 12 Indianapolis 500-mile races, seven Formula One Grand Prix events and numerous NASCAR and MotoGP races.

"We are delighted to welcome Charles Burns to the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix team," said Bud Denker, Event Chairman for the Grand Prix. "Charles has a wealth of experience in motorsports and major events and his expertise and management skills make him an ideal fit for General Manager of the Grand Prix. He is also very familiar with our event and with the various stake holders in our region from working with the Grand Prix team in his role with IndyCar in 2007, 2008 as well as this past year. I look forward to introducing Charles to our sponsors and the community in the near future."

A former Marine who worked as an Indiana State trooper for more than 10 years before transitioning to motorsports, Burns is experienced in all areas event management, including operations, sponsorship, security, media/community relations and more.

"I am very excited about the opportunity to lead the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix team," said Burns. "The Grand Prix is such a positive event for Detroit, for Windsor (Ontario) and the state of Michigan. The event has quickly established itself as one of the premiere races on the IZOD IndyCar Series and Grand-Am Rolex Series schedules. I look forward to working with Bud and the team, the sponsors, the city and state leadership and with the community, to grow the Grand Prix into the future."

Burns will be relocating to Detroit from Indianapolis with his wife Michelle and children Sydney and Brayden, while beginning his new position with the Grand Prix the first week of October.

4. Holmatro Safety Team honors one of its own: The success of any organization lies with individuals taking a proactive approach to addressing what's needed when. In other words, 'What can I do to help?'

At INDYCAR, the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy, transportation manager Louie Parsons is among those who keep the series moving forward.

Parsons received the Championship Drivers Association award for Outstanding Achievement and Service in the safety and care of the drivers by a vote of Holmatro Safety Team members. The award was presented at the Holmatro Safety Team recognition dinner Sept. 19 in Indianapolis.

"Louie has always been the person who quietly, behind the scenes, gets things done and done right," Holmatro USA president William "Giff" Swayne said. "He may not wear a Holmatro Safety Team suit every race, although he can and does fill in when needed, but he is no doubt a key member of the team.

"His dedication is evident in the appearance of the transporter and the trucks and the fact that no matter what the request if it is possible Louie will make it happen. I can't think of a member of the Holmatro Safety Team that is more deserving of this award and the recognition for a job well done and I would like to add my personal thanks to Louie for all that he does."

The Holmatro Safety Team is comprised of firefighters and paramedics - many of whom hold leadership positions in their local departments. Sixteen Holmatro Safety Team members, in addition to two doctors and three nurses attend each INDYCAR-sanctioned race. Three Chevrolet Silverado trucks carry state-of-the-art Holmatro safety equipment to attend to on-track incidents. A command vehicle with INDYCAR medical director Dr. Michael Olinger and a trauma physician complement the quick-response team. The vehicles and equipment are transported via tractor trailer, which Parsons drives.

"Louie is the person who takes care of everything before we even arrive at a race venue," said INDYCAR track safety operations manager Mike Yates, who won the award in 2002. "He came to our preseason safety training class a few years ago and now on occasion serves a vital role on one of the Holmatro Safety Team trucks in re-starting cars or using a quick-jack if needed. That was very proactive of him to want to learn, but that's the type of man he is."

Yates and two other Holmatro Safety Team members will travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina, next week to teach procedures and protocols to local event workers in advance of a rally race.

Earlier this month, Holmatro Incorporated announced a five-year partnership renewal with INDYCAR as the Official Rescue Tool Supplier for the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights. Holmatro, the global manufacturer and supplier of high-quality hydraulic products and rescue equipment, has provided trackside support at every IZOD IndyCar Series race since its January 1996 inaugural event at Walt Disney World Speedway.

Source: IZOD IndyCar Series

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Eric Gilbert
Teams Andretti Autosport
Article type Breaking news
Tags belle isle, holmatro, hunter-reay, izod