Dixon Given New Zealand Award

New Zealand Ambassador to the United States Mike Moore presented two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon the New Zealand Order of Merit during an Investiture Ceremony on May 10 at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The New Zealand Order of Merit was instituted 1996 and is awarded to those “who in any field of endeavor have rendered meritorious service to the Crown and nation or who have become distinguished by their eminence, talents, contributions or other merits.”

Dixon, who on May 12 will begin preparations for the Indianapolis 500, was honored for services to motorsport. He won at Indianapolis in 2008.

Clean-shaven Hinchcliffe

Hinchcliffe's beardJames Hinchcliffe is a man of his word, so off came his beard.

The “Mayor of Hinchtown” made good on his wager with fellow IZOD IndyCar Series driver Wade Cunningham that he would shave his facial hair following his first podium finish in the series. He accomplished that at Long Beach in mid-April.

“I think at least once in every man’s life he should get a straight-edge razor shave from a professional barber,” Hinchcliffe said before the race April 29 in Brazil. “I’ll show up on Opening Day a baby-faced Hinch.”

That he will, with likely ribbing from his Andretti Autosport teammates and GoDaddy.com crew.

Franchitti has bull's eye on new number

The Target Chip Ganassi Racing car of two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti will carry No. 50 for the 96th Running of the Indianapolis 500 in honor of Target’s 50th anniversary.

New Number For Dario Franchitti for Indy 500Target and team owner Chip Ganassi have partnered for almost half of those 50 years.

“It’s a tremendous source of pride for not only myself, but our entire race team,” said Ganassi, who has four Indy 500 wins as a team owner and was the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in 1983. “They have been, and continue to be true ‘partners’ in every sense of the word.  Running the No. 50 car at Indianapolis is a fitting way to pay tribute to their longstanding success and achievements in the business world over the past half century.”

The distinctive Target bull’s eye will serve as the zero in the car number. Both Franchitti and teammate Dixon will have the traditional bull’s eye on the chest of their firesuits changed to the 50th anniversary logo for the month.

IMS Hall of Fame Museum collection expands

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation has acquired numerous assets from the Vel's Parnelli Jones Racing Collection, including a number of famous racing cars, for permanent display by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.

Parnelli Jones is synonymous with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He won the 1963 Indianapolis 500 and in 1970 and 1971 was the winning co-entrant, along with his longtime friend and business partner, Vel Miletich. Jones also was the first to officially lap the IMS oval faster than 150 mph, in 1962.

Among the Indianapolis 500 and other cars recently acquired from the collection and on display at the Museum are Jim Clark's 1964 Lotus/Ford, the 1968 Lotus "wedge" turbine-powered car, the "Johnny Lightning" P.J. Colt/Ford in which Al Unser won the 1970 and 1971 Indianapolis 500, the 1972 Parnelli/Offy, the 1974-75 Parnelli-Ford DFV driven by Andretti in Formula One and more.

Jones will sign autographs and meet fans from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day (May 23) in the Vel's Parnelli Jones Racing Collection room at the IMS Hall of Fame Museum.

Of note

Longtime Indy 500 and IndyCar sponsor Jonathan Byrd's has joined FP Journe as a sponsor of the No. 64 car driven by Jean Alesi. ... HoneyBaked Ham of Bloomington, Ind., will be a sponsor of No. 39 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car of Bryan Clauson.