Notes: Franchitti a man about town

Dario Franchitti at SiriusXMReigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti made a whirlwind media tour of New York on March 19.

Franchitti, who begins defense of his title in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (a race he won in 2011) on March 25, visited with reporters and editors of Time Magazine, Men's Health, Sports Illustrated, CNN World Sport, SiriusXM, The Daily and The Golf Channel among other media outlets.

Last week, three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves had a similar media blitz in Los Angeles with "Good Day LA," Nacion ESPN, FOX Sports Radio, FOX International, local print reporters and a national radio tour.

Castroneves was building support for the 38th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in mid-April.

HPD's Berkman moves to another area: Honda Performance Development president Erik Berkman, who also served as vice president of Corporate Planning and Logistics for American Honda, will become president of Honda R&D Americas, Inc. effective April 1.

Berkman will be responsible for all North American new-vehicle design and development. He will succeed Hiroshi Takemura, who will return to Honda Motor in Japan as Deputy Director of Automobile Operations.

Art St. Cyr will succeed Berkman in both of his current roles. St. Cyr comes to HPD from Honda R&D, where he has served most recently as chief engineer.

Of note: KV Racing Technology announced that American Racing Custom Wheels will be team a sponsor this season. American Racing has a long and respected history with roots in aftermarket performance wheels dating to the golden era of hot rodding in the mid-1950s.