Houston License Plates

Be on the lookout soon for an automobile (or truck) with a Texas license plate bearing INDY CAR.

The personalized license plate will be sold to the highest bidder at the Great Plate Auction 2013 at the Houston Auto Show. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Graham Rahal will host the auction Jan. 25 (7 p.m. in Hall B of Reliant Center; free to the public). Proceeds benefit area charities.

Indy car racing returns to the area with the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers on Oct. 4-6 on a temporary street course around Reliant Park. GET TICKETS 

On Jan. 26, Rahal and Miss Grand Prix of Houston, Angela Anderson, will greet show attendees from 2:30-3:30 p.m. at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers booth. On display during the show is the No. 14 ABC Supply Co.-sponsored car for A.J. Foyt Racing.

“Having IndyCar back in Houston is so exciting for our town,” event managing director Austin Crossley said. “One Texan will show their true fan pride by having INDY CAR on their license plate. The number of INDYCAR fans is growing all the time, and growing especially fast in Texas. This plate will stand for that, and all the thrill, skill and technology that IndyCar represents.”

The high bidder will own the plate for 10 years, and it is legally transferable.

Catch the show and recognizing engineering

Jim Campbell, Chevrolet’s U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports, took some laps on the Belle Isle circuit last week with IZOD IndyCar Series driver/broadcaster Townsend Bell behind the wheel of a Camaro ZL1.

The segment will air as part of NBC Sports’ coverage of the North American International Auto Show (noon-1 p.m. ET) Jan. 27. The Belle Isle course will host the first IZOD IndyCar Series doubleheader race weekend June 1-2. GET TICKETS

The new Cadillac ATS was named North American Car of the Year at the show in Detroit. IndyCar program manager Chris Berube was the lead development engineer on the project before joining GM Racing.

See the statue with cowboy hat

Parnell Jones'i Baby Borg on display at IMSParnelli Jones, who last week was presented a special BorgWarner Championship Driver’s Trophy to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his Indianapolis 500 victory, has loaned the “Baby Borg” to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum for display through May.

His sterling-silver portrait on the base of the trophy includes his ever-present cowboy hat, which he wore during the pace car ride around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway following his victory. At least it was on his head part of the way; it blew off on the backstretch and Jones hasn’t seen it since.

“I always thought someone would return it, but it never happened,” he said.

The portrait on the base of the trophy replicates the one on the Borg-Warner Trophy, which is on permanent display at the Hall of Fame Museum. Read: Hat to be returned

Of note

Mario Andretti will be featured again in a TV commercial for “The Fastest Seat in Sports Sweepstakes.” Shooting took place last week at Auto Club Speedway in California. Go to shophonda.com for details about entering for a two-seater ride at an IZOD IndyCar Series event with Andretti as the driver. … A Justin Wilson mobile application for iPhone and Android users was recently launched.