LONG BEACH, California – A theme of adventure, but one of a different kind for Loki the Wolfdog and owner, Kelly Lund.
Loki, a popular star on Instagram with over 1.4 million followers, put the paws to the pavement Thursday at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and was joined by Verizon IndyCar Series driver Spencer Pigot. A creative avenue to reach to a new audience, Rising Star Racing played a major role in getting the social media star as the primary sponsor on Pigot’s No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet for the race weekend.
The track experience was new to Lund, a 30-year-old from Denver, but it was one he enjoyed with his favorite furry companion.
“It’s a lot of fun, man,” said Lund. “We’re all about new adventures and usually that has to do with being out in the woods and doing things like that, but I’m all about challenging myself and even Loki. Being here, being part of the race team and partnering up with these guys is totally out of this world for us and we are really getting a kick out of it.
“It’s all fresh. I’ve never been to a race before and it’s cool to see the culture.”
The moment was built as a memory that stands out from Lund and Loki’s typical adventures.
“Typically, we do a lot of snowboarding and a lot of back country skiing,” Lund said. “So those are some adventures, but really the things that stick to me the most are things that I’ve done with friends or made relationship through.
“That’s kind of why I’m here, honestly, because I’ve made relationships with these guys and want to be here and support them.”
Pigot, the 2015 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion, enjoyed the insightful stories shared by Lund and took a liking to Loki. The second-year Verizon IndyCar Series driver said he learned “how it came about and how it started being so popular and just Kelly wanting Loki to kind of live how he would’ve in the wild.
“They take him snowboarding and different stuff like that, but he gets to experience a normal wolfdog life as much as he can. It’s been really interesting.”
Loki also looked on Thursday night as Pigot and his crew won the pit stop competition at the annual Long Beach Thunder fan event. The ECR team had a best time of 6.78 seconds to outdo Sebastien Bourdais and Dale Coyne Racing’s 7.52 seconds.
Power shares drumming enthusiasm with talented teen musician
When he’s not a driving the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet for Team Penske or spending time as a new father with son Beau, Will Power enjoys playing the drums. It’s why Power was excited Friday to see Cole Marcus, a renowned drummer appearing in the upcoming movie “I Can Only Imagine.”
Power, the 36-year-old Australian, met talented teen Marcus a few years ago at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and has maintained an interest ever since. Marcus visited the Long Beach paddock again Friday and spent time with Power in the Team Penske compound.
“I’ve kept up with him and watched his stuff on YouTube,” Power said. “We don’t get to talk that often, but if I was out (in Southern California) for a while I would definitely look him up and hang out with him.”
Despite busy schedules preventing a combined drum session, it hasn’t stopped the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion from seeking advice from time to time.
“Yeah, he’s a mega drummer, so it’s definitely cool to get some tips off him. He’s a really cool guy.”
A two-time winner at the 11-turn, 1.968-mile street circuit, Power wants to make a return trip this year, partly because it would be his first victory since the birth of his son in December.
“It’d be fantastic to have my son in Victory Lane,” Power said. “That’d be a cool feeling.”