Though they may not always agree on the racetrack, Verizon IndyCar Series drivers bear many resemblances to a family. They travel together, see each other all the time, argue, laugh. So why not make it official on national television?
Five Verizon IndyCar Series drivers – Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe, Will Power and Conor Daly – will join forces to represent INDYCAR on ABC’s popular game show “Celebrity Family Feud,” hosted by Emmy Award-winning TV personality Steve Harvey. The show’s second season premieres Sunday, June 26 at 8 p.m. ET, with specific episode air dates to be released soon.
The drivers will compete against Sports Illustrated swimsuit models Nina Agdal, Samantha Hoopes, Tanya Mityushina, Robyn Lawley and Hannah Ferguson.
In each episode of “Celebrity Family Feud,” celebrity families, and their immediate family members or extended TV families, compete to win money for charity. Each team is made up of a celebrity captain, with four relatives or friends playing along. The winning celebrity team is given a chance to win up to $25,000 to donate to a charity of its choice.
The Verizon IndyCar Series team will play for the Indy Family Foundation, a fund intended to aid those in the motorsports community (regardless of the sanctioning body) who find themselves in financial need due to hardship caused by illness, injury or death.
“The Indy Family Foundation is a huge part of our series,” said Daly, rookie driver for Dale Coyne Racing. “It’s really important to get everyone involved, so it’s awesome to be able to compete to raise money for them.”
“Celebrity Family Feud” returned to the air in 2015 and was ABC’s highest-rated summer show. Other contestants throughout the 2016 season include Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama grand marshal and country music superstar Sara Evans, world champion boxer Laila Ali, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, actress Melissa Joan Hart and more.
ABC is one of INDYCAR's television partners, broadcasting five Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2016, including the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 14 and the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 29.
Several drivers were huge "Celebrity Family Feud" fans before signing up to compete, including 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Kanaan and his wife, Lauren.
“We have the game on our iPads and play it in the (motorcoach) to relax on nights before the race,” said Kanaan, who drives for Chip Ganassi Racing. “When we’re at home we watch it all the time. We have some recorded on our DVR and some channels that show the old shows, so when the baby’s asleep we turn it on and watch Steve (Harvey).”
Castroneves (pictured at right with SI swimsuit model Agdal), the three-time Indy 500 champion from Team Penske, is no stranger to the national television spotlight and has been chosen as team captain. With his experience on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” (Season 5 champion, Season 15 competitor) and more recently, NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior,” the choice is natural.
“Being the team captain, it doesn’t mean I’m going to be the best player, but I think we’ll put the right people in the right place,” Castroneves said. “I think we have a good strategy, and anytime we have competition, when you’re talking about drivers, we’re going for it. So it’s going to be fun.
“We know our competitors, they’re very tough and smart, but we feel we can beat them.”