Team Penske owner Roger Penske, who has won 12 races at Texas Motor Speedway – including seven in the Verizon IndyCar Series – will be the 16th person inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Additionally, four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will be presented the Bruton Smith Legend Award. Both will be honored April 3 at the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala benefitting Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter.
Penske is the only owner with INDYCAR and NASCAR victories at Texas Motor Speedway, including the 2013 Verizon IndyCar Series race with Helio Castroneves. The Firestone 600 is scheduled for June 7.
The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame, located in the outdoor atrium adjacent to The Speedway Club, is free to the public.
Simpson receives award for lifetime of contributions
Motorsports safety innovator and former Indy car driver Bill Simpson was presented the Justice Brothers-Shav Glick Award, which annually goes to an individual who has made significant contributions to motorsports in California. Simpson (photo below with Ed Justice Jr.) has made safety contributions in all forms of racing for more than 50 years.
“It’s an honor to be the recipient of the 2014 Shav Glick Award, joining some of my good friends from California who have won this award in the past,” Simpson said. “For more than 50 years I’ve enjoyed working to make auto racing safer for its participants around the world, designing better helmets, firesuits, restraint systems, and more, through innovative uses of technology.
“Just recently, I’ve begun to take what I’ve learned in making racing helmets and moved that technology to my new company, SG Helmets, which manufactures high-tech football helmets at the youth, varsity, and professional levels. It’s a product and company I am very proud of.”
Singing a sweet note
U.S. Air Force Maj. Christopher L. Barnett, stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, will sing the national anthem before the start of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Anna de Ferran, the 19-year-old daughter of Indianapolis 500 winner and two-time CART champion Gil de Ferran, will sing “God Bless America” during the pre-race ceremonies.
Tampa Bay-area race fans will have the opportunity to participate in a race of their own March 28 following on-track activity in St. Petersburg. Proceeds raised from the 5K will benefit Wish for Our Heroes, a national organization that supports U.S. active-duty military who are facing difficulty. To register, CLICK HERE. … At 7:30 p.m. March 27, INDYCAR drivers will be featured in the annual Festival of States Parade that will make its way through the streets of downtown St. Petersburg. ... Drivers representing 10 countries are listed on the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg entry list.