As the world rings in 2016, INDYCAR will play a prominent role in activities across the nation. From Boston to Indianapolis to Pasadena, the spotlight will be shining on the Verizon IndyCar Series over the next few days.
New Year's Eve Car Drop in Indianapolis
For the second straight year, Indianapolis will usher in a new year with the ceremonial “drop” of an Indy car at the stroke of midnight. It will cap an evening of outdoor festivities and entertainment along the pedestrian-friendly Georgia Street area of downtown Indy that was first developed when the city hosted Super Bowl XLVI in 2012 and has been a popular gathering place since.
The centerpiece car, emblazoned with the color scheme and logo promoting the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race coming in May, has been on display the past few weeks inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home to the NBA’s Indiana Pacers.
Hinchcliffe Making His New Year’s a Winter Classic
INDYCAR will be represented on the East Coast by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe, who will be a guest of Verizon IndyCar Series partners Firestone and Honda at the NHL’s annual Bridgestone Winter Classic in Foxboro, Mass. The popular annual New Year’s Day outdoor professional hockey game is set this year for Gillette Stadium, home to the NFL’s New England Patriots.
The game will feature two of the NHL’s original teams, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens. Hinchcliffe, a native Canadian, will feel right at home on the ice. He is scheduled to attend practices for both teams and a professional women’s hockey game on Dec. 31, a New Year’s Eve party that evening, the game itself on Jan. 1 (1 p.m. ET, NBC) and will join in a public skate along with members of Boston’s Boys and Girls Clubs at the stadium Jan. 2.
And yes, Hinchcliffe plans to get a sneak peek at the track layout for the Grand Prix of Boston powered by LogMeIn, the temporary street-course race that makes its Verizon IndyCar Series debut over Labor Day weekend 2016.
Everything’s Coming Up Roses for Hunter-Reay
Meanwhile, Ryan Hunter-Reay has a very important job out West. The 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner will pace the 127th Rose Parade on New Year’s morning in Pasadena, Calif., in the new and highly touted Acura NSX on behalf of Honda. The parade airs on numerous networks, including ABC and NBC, beginning at 11 a.m. ET.
Hunter-Reay and his family spent part of today at the parade float preparation area, helping to place roses on floats. While he will feel right at home leading the field, it will be at a tortoise’s pace of 2.5 mph compared to the 200-plus mph he’s used to reaching in his Andretti Autosport Honda. Hunter-Reay’s wife, Beccy, and sons, Ryden and Rocsen, will watch the parade from the grandstand. Later that day, Ryan will be at the 102nd Rose Bowl game featuring No. 5 Iowa and No. 6 Stanford.
Pasadena, of course, isn't far from Long Beach, Calif., site of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the third stop on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule April 15-17.