Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines: 1. Championship contenders unveil new IZOD IndyCar Series Trophy 2. Homestead-Miami Speedway to Salute Castroneves, Kanaan in "Grand" Style 3. Herrington joins O2...
Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. Championship contenders unveil new IZOD IndyCar Series Trophy
2. Homestead-Miami Speedway to Salute Castroneves, Kanaan in "Grand" Style
3. Herrington joins O2 Racing Technology
4. Clarke to debut at HMS
1. Championship contenders unveil new IZOD IndyCar Series Trophy: Either Dario Franchitti or Will Power will receive the inaugural IZOD IndyCar Series Championship Trophy following the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Oct. 2.
Both title contenders were part of the unveiling of the 3-foot-tall, 45-pound trophy during a media event Sept. 28 at the W Hotel on South Beach in Miami.
IZOD collaborated with and commissioned acclaimed sculptor Ted Gall to design and create the award, which conveys the intertwined nature of man and machine in the 21st century. The stainless steel sculpture of man with outstretched arms balanced on a single wheel rests atop an African Pedauk hardwood base.
"We're not just a human form; we're what we use all the time," said Gall, who added he intends all his work to be both visually and psychologically intriguing. "It used to be if you were a cowboy you'd ride a horse. Now we're really attached to wheels our whole lives. The arms are imploring; they're reaching out for that golden ring, for that big win."
Through a 16-race duel across three continents, Verizon Team Penske driver Power and Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Franchitti have been piling up points in seeking that golden ring - the IZOD IndyCar Series title.
Power takes a tenuous points advantage into the season finale, which will feature a 27-car field on the 1.5-mile oval. Power's sixth victory of the season would secure his first IZOD IndyCar Series title. Franchitti, the reigning Indianapolis 500 champion, needs to finish at least two positions ahead of Power in the 200-lap race to claim his third championship in four years.
After informally talking with IZOD IndyCar Series drivers, other motorsports participants and IZOD principals, Gall sought to create a piece of artwork for the champion to proudly display as a testament to their accomplishments throughout the season on the most diverse set of racetracks in motorsports.
"The drivers were really tired of getting bowling trophies," Gall said. "They're bowls or something that doesn't relate to what they're doing. IZOD has gone beyond other sports. Rather than give out the run-of-the-mill trophy, they're giving artwork to the drivers about what they are."
The angular-cut base of African Pedauk, which has a natural orange or yellow hue, was darkened by a process of ebonizing, and Gall added some texture to either side for "a little bit of an art deco feeling to it."
"The combination of stainless steel and the dark wood is wonderful," Gall said. "The steel is very strong and very industrial and very gutsy and the wood is very warm and beautiful. It's a nice combination of strength and richness."
Similar trophies will formally be presented to the second- and third-place championship finishers at the Championship Celebration on Oct. 3 at the W Hotel on South Beach in Miami. Only one arm is outstretched on each of these 26-inch-tall trophies.
"They're a little bit more aggressive; they're reaching out, they're grabbing for that win," Gall said.
In addition to Franchitti and Power, Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon are in the running to receive the runner-up and third-place awards.
"What better way to end our first year as the title sponsor of the IZOD IndyCar Series, than to collaborate on the design of a Championship trophy that will lead us into a new era of IndyCar racing," said Mike Kelly, executive vice president of marketing for Phillips Van-Heusen (parent company of IZOD). "We wanted to create something that would truly represent the speed, excitement and innovation that is the IZOD IndyCar Series and we feel that Ted Gall, with his compelling aesthetic and thought-provoking vision, was the perfect artist for the project.
"The final result, with its outstretched arms reaching into the future, is a stunning statement that pays tribute to the amazing athletic champion that will win it."
2. Homestead-Miami Speedway to Salute Castroneves, Kanaan in "Grand" Style : Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan will put a twist on the traditional Grand Marshal command prior to the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"Drivers, start our engines!" will be the Miami spin on the most famous words in racing for the Oct. 2 Cafes do Brasil Indy 300, which will determine the IZOD IndyCar Series championship. The South Florida's IndyCar Series stars will serve as co-Grand Marshals and deliver the command to start engines from inside their race cars to kick off Saturday's race.
"There isn't a better fit for the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 Grand Marshal role than a tag-team of Helio and Tony - IndyCar stars who represent South Florida with class, integrity and certainly success on the track.," said Matt Becherer, president of Homestead-Miami Speedway. "We're honored they have accepted our invitation for Saturday's IndyCar Championship, and we're so gracious to both for all they have done to promote first-class racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway. To deliver the command for Saturday's Championship is a sincere thank you to a couple of IndyCar's best while racing on their home track of Homestead-Miami Speedway."
3. Herrington joins O2 Racing Technology: O2 Racing Technology announced Sept. 27 that Daniel Herrington will pilot the #36 Quamtel/DataJack entry in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"I've known Daniel for several years now, and it's always been a pleasure working with him," Olson said. "We've got a lot of laps at Homestead, and with Daniel driving and Dave McMillan engineering, our expectations are high for a great result heading into the off-season. Daniel's smart, mature, and talented, and we're super-excited about the opportunity to work together as we both begin working on our 2011 programs."
Herrington, a 23-year-old native of Winston-Salem, N.C., earned his first win at Chicagoland Speedway in 2009 and is eager for the opportunity to once more show his talents thanks to an opportunity from a former teammate in Firestone Indy Lights, O2 Racing Technology team owner, Mark Olson.
"After watching from the sidelines for most of the year, I was very excited to hear about the opportunity with O2 for the season finale," Herrington said. "I have known both Mark and the engineer Dave McMillan for a number of years, with Dave bringing me my first Indy Lights podium in 2007. I am excited to work with them again. "
The race will be the home race for O2RT's sponsor Quamtel, which is based in the Fort Lauderdale area.
4. Clarke to debut at HMS: Up-and-coming USAC driver Henry Clarke will join Davey Hamilton Racing for the Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka 100 at Homestead-Miami Speedway after successfully completing Firestone Indy Lights rookie testing at Kentucky Speedway on Sept. 22-23.
"He did a really good job," said Kevin Blanch, IZOD IndyCar Series technical director, who oversaw Clarke's rookie test. "He's an Impressive young driver and doing the right thing trying to get race experience before trying to race in Firestone Indy Lights full-time. I think he'll be an asset to the series when he gets there."
Clarke, the 2009 USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of The Year, claimed his first USAC national sprint car victory at Toledo in July. He currently ranks in the top 10 in both USAC National Sprint Car and National Midget points.
The 21-year-old native of Villa Park, Calif., relocated to Indiana in May to race for Keith Kunz Motorsports in the USAC series.
The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season concludes with the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 on Oct. 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race, which will decide the IZOD IndyCar Series championship, will be telecast live in High Definition at 6 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 212. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season concludes with the Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka 100 on Oct. 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.