A.J. Foyt

A.J. Foyt, the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 four times, will serve as the grand marshal for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship event Oct. 6-7 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Foyt, who fields a pair of Verizon IndyCar Series entries for Tony Kanaan and Matheus Leist, will deliver a competition command from Race Control and meet pilots from the world's most prestigious aerial racing series, including fellow Texan Kirby Chambliss.

"I'm honored that IMS asked me to be the grand marshal for the air races," Foyt said. "Any time I can do something at the Speedway, I'm happy to do it because I always enjoy it. I owe a lot to the Speedway - that is what made me.

"It will be my first time to see a Red Bull Air Race, which is something that I'm really looking forward to. I had planned to go last year, but something came up and I couldn't make it. I would like to see one before I pass on. I don't have a bucket list, but if I did, this would be on it."

Foyt, a Houston native, is one of the greatest, most recognized drivers in motorsports history. He won the Indianapolis 500 in 1961, 1964, 1967 and 1977 as a driver and again in 1999 as a team owner with driver Kenny Brack behind the wheel.

"A.J. Foyt is synonymous with excellence and speed at Indianapolis, so we're happy to welcome him to the Speedway for this weekend featuring the best pilots and aerial competition in the world," IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. "A.J. always graciously says that IMS made him, and not the other way around, but A.J.'s passion for and success in the Indy 500 add significantly to IMS lore, and it's always special for everyone to have him back home again in Indiana for any event."

McDonald joins RLL engineering staff

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced on Oct. 2 that respected engineer Allen McDonald has joined the team as senior development engineer and has signed a multi-year deal.

“Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is recognized as one of the best teams in the IndyCar pit lane and I am excited to be part of that,” McDonald said.  “I’m looking forward to working with everyone at RLL from the drivers to owners to the crew and hope I can contribute to the team’s future success.”

In addition to other notable successes, McDonald was race engineer or technical director for two IndyCar Series championships, two Indy 500 race wins and three Indy 500 poles, most recently as 2018 Indy 500 pole-winner Ed Carpenter’s race engineer.

“I’m very pleased that Allen has finally decided to join our team,” said Bobby Rahal, team co-owner with David Letterman and Michael Lanigan. “I have respected his ability for a number of years, dating all the way back to his time as an engineer at PacWest in the CART days and have shown interest in having him join our team. Allen obviously brings a lot of experience and success to the team but perhaps one of the biggest things I am excited about is the fact that he brings a fresh set of eyes and perspective.  I can only think that he’s going to raise our level of engineering even higher than I feel it already is. We are very pleased and are looking forward to a productive offseason.”

Changes coming to Raceway at Belle Isle Park

As the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear prepares to celebrate the 30th Grand Prix in Detroit in 2019, event organizers have announced some exciting new enhancements that fans will experience May 31-June 2 at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park.

Tickets to the 2019 Grand Prix go on sale next Tuesday, Oct. 9, and fans will enjoy more access and more options than ever before at next summer’s celebration in the Motor City.

“We’ve listened to feedback from our fans and we’ve made some changes that we believe will create an even better experience for everyone at next summer’s Grand Prix,” said Bud Denker, Chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear. “With more access, new seating options, the opportunity for all ticketholders to get closer to their racing heroes in the Fifth Third Bank Paddock and at the Autotrader Winner’s Circle next to Scott Fountain, we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate the 30th Grand Prix in Detroit with our fans on Belle Isle in 2019.”

For the first time in the history of the Detroit Grand Prix, ALL ticketholders will have access to the Fifth Third Bank Paddock – known as the “locker room of motorsports.” Included with all tickets, fans will be able to see their favorite teams and drivers up close in the garage area and have access to the historic James Scott Memorial Fountain to experience all the excitement at the Autotrader Winner’s Circle throughout the weekend. Tickets will start as low as $45 for General Admission access to the venue.

Some new viewing experiences will also be available to Grand Prix fans in 2019. The Cars.com Grandstand 1 will relocate to the opposite side of the race track, across from pit lane. The new location will provide fans enhanced viewing options of the race cars coming down the fast front stretch, along with the action in the pits and the on-track battles entering Turn 1.

Turn 3 on the Belle Isle track always includes a lot of action at the end of the longest straightaway. That area will now feature double the seating as Grandstand 3 on the driver’s left side of the circuit will become a value priced reserved grandstand while the new General Admission Grandstand 4 will be positioned on the driver’s right side of the track in Turn 3. With the new Oudolf Garden coming to Belle Isle, there will no longer be a grandstand in Turn 5. A new General Admission Grandstand 7 will be located in the “horseshoe” at Turn 7, featuring awesome sightlines of the cars coming off the fastest part of the track on the backstretch.

Fans will get a chance to enjoy more of the beautiful race venue on Belle Isle in 2019. The distinctive Chevrolet Front Stretch Bridge over the track and pit lane will be open for everyone to visit the Fifth Third Bank Paddock and Scott Fountain, including easy access from the new Cars.com Grandstand 1 location and the City of Windsor Grandstand 2. There will also be a new pedestrian bridge over the track at Turn 8 to provide access to all the activities in the “horseshoe” for all ticketholders.