It’s not overtly contentious, but there’s a family feud brewing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with a World Cup semifinal at its core.
National allegiances have placed Verizon IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves of Brazil and his girlfriend, Adriano Henao of Colombia, on opposite ends of the pitch, and fireworks of a different sort will be bursting from the start of the match at 4 p.m. (ET) July 4.
“I’ve been following (soccer) since I was very young and this is a huge year because Colombia hasn’t been in the World Cup for 16 years and they are playing very well,” said Henao, whose family will attend the match at Estadio Castelao in Forteleza, Brazil. “Unfortunately for Helio, Colombia is going to take Brazil out.”
Henao is so confident that a wager will be placed. Maybe a team kit swap to be worn in public or a spa weekend, she suggested.
“We’re both very competitive and at home we’re always sparring. I tell him all the time that everything from Colombia is better, and of course he says everything – from food to art -- from Brazil is better,” she continued.
Castroneves said Colombia, which advanced with a 2-0 victory over Uruguay, has lived up to its darkhorse role in the tournament, but the host country is primed to claim its sixth World Cup.
“I have a match every day of my life with Adriana – in a good way,” the three-time Indianapolis 500 champion said. “Colombia is playing very well, but I’m telling her it’s the last opportunity to watch them play in the World Cup.”
The barbs are likely to be flying between drivers at an INDYCAR-sponsored “watch party” in the Pocono Raceway paddock. Castroneves and Tony Kanaan will be in the minority. Among Verizon IndyCar Series drivers from Colombia are Castroneves’ teammate and Florida neighbor Juan Pablo Montoya, Sebastian Saavedra, Carlos Huertas and Carlos Munoz.
The watch party will be streamed live on IndyCar.com.
Iowa Corn extends sponsorship through 2015 race
The Iowa Corn Promotion Board and the Iowa Corn Growers Association has extended its sponsorship of the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway through 2015.
Iowa Corn has been the race entitlement sponsor since the first Verizon IndyCar Series race at the speedway in 2007. Cars are fueled with E85. The Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DeKalb is July 12.
No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing entry fined
INDYCAR announced post-event infractions from the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Race 1, which was held June 28 at NRG Park.
INDYCAR officials have fined Dale Coyne Racing for a pair of technical violations on its No. 18 Verizon IndyCar Series entry driven by Carlos Huertas. The entrant was found to have violated Rule 18.104.22.168 (Rear Wing Height) and Rule 14.7.2 (Fuel Cell Capacity) of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook. The team was fined a total of $10,000. INDYCAR officials determined that the infractions did not impact the finishing order of the race or final position of the offending team.
The members may contest the imposition of the penalty pursuant to the procedures and timelines detailed in the review and appeal procedures of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.
Special helmet design contest with auction to follow
The Graham Rahal Foundation is hosting its third helmet design contest in partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises awareness and funds to fight childhood cancer, to give children and families directly affected by cancer the opportunity to submit their personal designs.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is inviting children and families involved with the organization to create a design on a pre-made helmet template with a theme of, “What Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation means to me.”
Design entries will be submitted through July 11. Rahal will select five designs from the entries that will be published at http://www.grfcontests.org. Fans will vote for the winning helmet design from July 14-21, and the design receiving the most votes will be featured on Rahal’s helmet in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 24.
The contest winner will receive a full-size helmet replica featuring the design and autographed by Rahal. The Graham Rahal Foundation will auction the race-worn helmet on Rahal’s celebrity eBay page at http://givingworks.ebay.com/graham-rahal/, with proceeds directed to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
Rahal’s No. 15 National Guard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car (photo below) will feature a special livery for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 fueled by Sunoco to commemorate the Fourth of July weekend and honor the more than 350,000 Army National Guard Soldiers.
Some sizable numbers
Ratings for the NBCSN telecasts of the June 28 and 29 Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston were up 73 percent and 86 percent, respectively, over the October 2013 telecasts.
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg officials have reported to the Pinellas County (Fla.) Tourism Development Council three-day attendance of 148,985 and 30,809 hotel room nights for the event in March.
Five drivers entered in the Pocono INDYCAR 500 fueled by Sunoco – Mikhail Aleshin, Jack Hawksworth, Carlos Huertas, Juan Pablo Montoya and Carlos Munoz – will make their debut in a Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway. Munoz and Hawksworth competed in Indy Lights at the track in 2013, with Munoz winning the race. ... Two-time CART champion and 2003 Indianpolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran will test the Andretti Autosport Formula E car this weekend at Donington Park in England. De Ferran is a consultant to Honda Performance Development. ... Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship contender Gabby Chaves turns 21 on July 7.