Tony Stewart said he would endorse another attempt at “the double” by Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kurt Busch, who competed in both the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and the NASCAR race in North Carolina on the same day in May.
“I'm 100 percent supportive if he wants to do that again,” the 1996-97 Verizon IndyCar Series champion said at the Performance Racing Industry trade show in Indianapolis.
Busch earned Indy 500 Rookie of the Year honors with a sixth-place finish in an Andretti Autosport-prepared car. He then completed 406 miles in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but it was 194 short of complete the Indianapolis-North Carolina double.
Busch is one of four drivers to attempt it, and Stewart in 2001 is the only one to complete all 1,100 miles of racing.
“I thought for somebody that had not been in an IndyCar to go over there, and as tough as the IndyCar Series is right now, to have a performance like that was unbelievable,” Stewart said. “He did a phenomenal job."
Kimball returns for fifth season
Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced that Charlie Kimball and Novo Nordisk will return for their fifth season in 2015 with Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing to begin a new multi-year deal.
Kimball and Novo Nordisk initially partnered in 2009 when he was competing in Indy Lights. Diagnosed with diabetes in 2007, Kimball manages his diabetes with Novo Nordisk products both on and off the track.
Kimball, the No. 83 car and team are the focal points of a year-round diabetes education and awareness program. Each year Kimball shares his story and meets with about 10,000 people living with diabetes.
“I am really excited to continue to be a part of this great partnership with Novo Nordisk and Chip Ganassi Racing,” said Kimball, who recorded 10 top-10 finishes in the 18-race 2014 season. “The relationships we’ve built over the past four years, both on and off the track, are only getting stronger as I enter my fifth Verizon IndyCar Series season.
“From the guys at the shop prepping the car each and every week, to those within Novo Nordisk working on the Race With Insulin program, it’s truly a team effort.”
Earlier in the week, Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target) and Tony Kanaan (No. 10 NTT DATA) also were confirmed to driver for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams in 2015.
Ringel to get in initial laps in new Indy Lights car
First impressions by new Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires driver Ethan Ringel:
“The shop is probably the nicest I’ve ever seen. It’s like something out of McLaren, and the car is just stunning,” said Ringel, 20, a native of Windermere, Fla., who signed with the team Oct. 29 after competing in the Atlantic Championship Series in 2014.
Ringel visited the Indianapolis facility Dec. 11 and watched the Dallara IL-15 car he’ll be driving being built out. Ringel will be among the first drivers with the new car-Mazda engine package on track Dec. 16-17 at Palm Beach International Raceway.
“It will be my first time driving a new chassis, so it will be like driving in luxury,” he said. “I’m excited to get rolling.”
The first full-scale Indy Lights test is scheduled for Jan. 26-27 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Howard sets his sights on May
Jay Howard has been Ringel’s driver coach since 2010, and the 2006 Indy Lights champion will begin preparation soon for his Indianapolis 500 program with Bryan Herta Autosport in partnership with BBM.
“Everything (for the “500”) is all signed and I’m meeting this week with the sponsor Green 1,” said Howard, who last competed in the Indy 500 in 2011. “I’m excited that Bryan has given me the opportunity and I’m looking forward to getting back in the saddle.”
The Green1 car will carry the No. 97 and run in conjunction with the team’s primary No. 98 entry. Howard said the May 24 race will “be here before I know it.”
“You might race all over the world, but you have a separate preparation for the Indy 500,” he said. “It’s just so different and so unique, and that’s what makes it so special. I remember in 2011 on Race Day I woke up and couldn’t eat or even sit. I remember saying, ‘Someone please just get me my helmet.’ Once you put on your helmet, though, it’s all OK. I’ll start in early January really concentrating on May.”
Braille Battery has signed a long-term agreement to be the Official Battery of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and VP Racing Fuels will be the exclusive fuel supplier for the series in 2015. The four-year agreement will see VP's support expand to the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in 2016.