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RING THE BELL: Dale McDowell wins emotional season-opener at Sunshine Nationals

McDowell out dueled Dennis Erb, Jr. and Kyle Larson to win his 13th World of Outlaws race

BARBERVILLE, FL – Jan. 21, 2022 – After four months of being out of a race car, Dale McDowell got to ring a victorious bell Friday evening at Volusia Speedway Park – its significance twofold.
It was a bell rung with a straw hat and a checkered flag, signifying his victory during the World of Outlaws Late Model season-opener at the Sunshine Nationals. But also, to further signify his victorious battle with cancer.
McDowell, 55, of Chickamauga, GA, was diagnosed with prostate cancer and unsure if he’d ever race again. However, after surgery, support and four months of recovery, McDowell won. And in his first return behind the wheel of a Super Late Model, he proved to everyone – and himself – no speed was lost.
“I want to be tough,” McDowell said. “I realized you need to be tough. But it’s very emotional. I have to thank the good Lord above for letting me come back and do what I love because four months ago I didn’t know what was going to happen. I haven’t been in a car in four months.
“Hats off to my brother. Everyone who took care of me while I was sick and stuck by us.”
He kicked off the weekend qualifying third fastest in Group A, behind rookie contender Kyle Hammer who was fastest overall. Then, he went on to win his Heat Race and draw the pole for the 30-lap Feature.
When the green flag flew to commence the 2022 season for the World of Outlaws Late Models Friday evening – after being postponed from Thursday night – McDowell darted ahead of the stout field with outside polesitter Devin Moran hanging to his outside. The two dueled side by side for the opening lap before McDowell’s precision around the bottom lane prevailed.
Once the black #17m found clean air out front, McDowell never looked back.
Four cautions plagued his journey around the half-mile track and put the hungry field of drivers to his bumper each time. However, none of the contenders who stepped up to the plate could match McDowell’s speed.
Moran’s attempt faded early as Chris Madden and Dennis Erb, Jr. got by him to move into the runner-up and final podium spot, respectively, before the end of Lap 3. Madden held the runner-up spot for 10 laps with no advances on McDowell. After a caution with 18 laps to go, Erb bested “Smokey” on the restart and powered his way through the corner to move his blue #28 machine into second.
But, like those before him, couldn’t catch McDowell and had to settle for a strong points run to open the season.
“To get a good start down here, we’ve got about seven races or so (between Sunshine Nationals and DIRTcar Nationals). We have to make the best out of it and come out of Florida with a good run in the points. To have a good start here is real good. Hopefully, we can keep it up here for the rest of the week.”
Behind Erb, 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson was on the move, making his way from 11th to the podium with 10 laps to go. He tried to challenge the Series veteran in the closing laps for the runner-up spot but remained third at the line.
Also on the move throughout the race was Fox Factory Hard Charger Hudson O’Neil, having raced his way from 18th to fifth.
“All in all, I think we had a good race car,” O’Neil said. “To be able to drive all the way up there was really good. We picked up most of our time on restarts. I don’t know if our race car was amazing, we didn’t really pass a whole lot of people while racing, just on restarts off of mistakes and stuff. All in all, we’re happy with how everything turned out, and we’ll keep digging.”
For McDowell, the $10,000 victory was his 13th career World of Outlaws win and his first with the Series since 2016. However, its significance will triumph all other milestones.
“I just can’t tell you how ecstatic I am to be here,” McDowell said.
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series returns tonight for the second round of the Sunshine Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park. If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision.
Tickets for the Sunshine Nationals are available at the track or by clicking HERE.
1. 17M-Dale McDowell[1]; 2. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[5]; 3. 6-Kyle Larson[11]; 4. 44-Chris Madden[3]; 5. 71-Hudson O’Neal[18]; 6. 25-Shane Clanton[10]; 7. 1-Brandon Sheppard[4]; 8. 111V-Max Blair[12]; 9. 16-Tyler Bruening[14]; 10. 18-Chase Junghans[13]; 11. 29-Darrell Lanigan[20]; 12. 97-Cade Dillard[17]; 13. B1-Brent Larson[23]; 14. 8-Kyle Strickler[6]; 15. 14M-Morgan Bagley[21]; 16. 99B-Boom Briggs[24]; 17. 11-Gordy Gundaker[26]; 18. 81E-Tanner English[19]; 19. 1R-Josh Richards[7]; 20. 32-Chris Simpson[25]; 21. 28M-Jimmy Mars[15]; 22. 9-Devin Moran[2]; 23. 20-Jimmy Owens[16]; 24. 89-Ashton Winger[22]; 25. 19R-Ryan Gustin[9]; 26. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[8]; 27. 45-Kyle Hammer[27]
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including: DIRTVision (Official Live Broadcast Partner), Hoosier Racing Tire (Official Tire), iRacing (Official Online Racing Game), SIS Insurance (Official Insurance Provider) VP Racing Fuels (Official Racing Fuel); contingency sponsors include Arizona Sport Shirts/Gotta Race, ARP (Automotive Racing Products), Cometic Gasket, COMP Cams, Fox Factory (Hard Charger Award), MSD, Penske Racing Shocks, Quarter Master, Slick Woody’s (Quick Time Award), and Wrisco–Wieland Metal Services (Exclusive Racing Aluminum); along with manufacturer sponsors, including: Capital Race Cars, FIREBULL, Integra Shocks, Intercomp, K1 Race Gear, Racing Electronics, Reliable Painting, and Rocket Chassis.

McDowell out dueled Dennis Erb, Jr. and Kyle Larson to win his 13th World of Outlaws race
BARBERVILLE, FL – Jan. 21, 2022 – After four months of being out of a race car, Dale McDowell got to ring a victorious bell Friday evening at Volusia Speedway Park – its significance twofold.It was a bell rung with a straw hat and a checkered flag, signifying his victory during the World of Outlaws Late Model season-opener at the Sunshine Nationals. But also, to further signify his victorious battle with cancer.McDowell, 55, of Chickamauga, GA, was diagnosed with prostate cancer and unsure if he’d ever race again. However, after surgery, support and four months of recovery, McDowell won. And in his first return behind the wheel of a Super Late Model, he proved to everyone – and himself – no speed was lost.“I want to be tough,” McDowell said. “I realized you need to be tough. But it’s very emotional. I have to thank the good Lord above for letting me come back and do what I love because four months ago I didn’t know what was going to happen. I haven’t been in a car in four months.“Hats off to my brother. Everyone who took care of me while I was sick and stuck by us.”He kicked off the weekend qualifying third fastest in Group A, behind rookie contender Kyle Hammer who was fastest overall. Then, he went on to win his Heat Race and draw the pole for the 30-lap Feature.When the green flag flew to commence the 2022 season for the World of Outlaws Late Models Friday evening – after being postponed from Thursday night – McDowell darted ahead of the stout field with outside polesitter Devin Moran hanging to his outside. The two dueled side by side for the opening lap before McDowell’s precision around the bottom lane prevailed.Once the black #17m found clean air out front, McDowell never looked back.Four cautions plagued his journey around the half-mile track and put the hungry field of drivers to his bumper each time. However, none of the contenders who stepped up to the plate could match McDowell’s speed.Moran’s attempt faded early as Chris Madden and Dennis Erb, Jr. got by him to move into the runner-up and final podium spot, respectively, before the end of Lap 3. Madden held the runner-up spot for 10 laps with no advances on McDowell. After a caution with 18 laps to go, Erb bested “Smokey” on the restart and powered his way through the corner to move his blue #28 machine into second.But, like those before him, couldn’t catch McDowell and had to settle for a strong points run to open the season.“To get a good start down here, we’ve got about seven races or so (between Sunshine Nationals and DIRTcar Nationals). We have to make the best out of it and come out of Florida with a good run in the points. To have a good start here is real good. Hopefully, we can keep it up here for the rest of the week.”Behind Erb, 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson was on the move, making his way from 11th to the podium with 10 laps to go. He tried to challenge the Series veteran in the closing laps for the runner-up spot but remained third at the line.Also on the move throughout the race was Fox Factory Hard Charger Hudson O’Neil, having raced his way from 18th to fifth.“All in all, I think we had a good race car,” O’Neil said. “To be able to drive all the way up there was really good. We picked up most of our time on restarts. I don’t know if our race car was amazing, we didn’t really pass a whole lot of people while racing, just on restarts off of mistakes and stuff. All in all, we’re happy with how everything turned out, and we’ll keep digging.”For McDowell, the $10,000 victory was his 13th career World of Outlaws win and his first with the Series since 2016. However, its significance will triumph all other milestones.“I just can’t tell you how ecstatic I am to be here,” McDowell said.UP NEXT
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series returns tonight for the second round of the Sunshine Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park. If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision.Tickets for the Sunshine Nationals are available at the track or by clicking HERE.RESULTS
1. 17M-Dale McDowell[1]; 2. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[5]; 3. 6-Kyle Larson[11]; 4. 44-Chris Madden[3]; 5. 71-Hudson O’Neal[18]; 6. 25-Shane Clanton[10]; 7. 1-Brandon Sheppard[4]; 8. 111V-Max Blair[12]; 9. 16-Tyler Bruening[14]; 10. 18-Chase Junghans[13]; 11. 29-Darrell Lanigan[20]; 12. 97-Cade Dillard[17]; 13. B1-Brent Larson[23]; 14. 8-Kyle Strickler[6]; 15. 14M-Morgan Bagley[21]; 16. 99B-Boom Briggs[24]; 17. 11-Gordy Gundaker[26]; 18. 81E-Tanner English[19]; 19. 1R-Josh Richards[7]; 20. 32-Chris Simpson[25]; 21. 28M-Jimmy Mars[15]; 22. 9-Devin Moran[2]; 23. 20-Jimmy Owens[16]; 24. 89-Ashton Winger[22]; 25. 19R-Ryan Gustin[9]; 26. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[8]; 27. 45-Kyle Hammer[27]
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including: DIRTVision (Official Live Broadcast Partner), Hoosier Racing Tire (Official Tire), iRacing (Official Online Racing Game), SIS Insurance (Official Insurance Provider) VP Racing Fuels (Official Racing Fuel); contingency sponsors include Arizona Sport Shirts/Gotta Race, ARP (Automotive Racing Products), Cometic Gasket, COMP Cams, Fox Factory (Hard Charger Award), MSD, Penske Racing Shocks, Quarter Master, Slick Woody’s (Quick Time Award), and Wrisco–Wieland Metal Services (Exclusive Racing Aluminum); along with manufacturer sponsors, including: Capital Race Cars, FIREBULL, Integra Shocks, Intercomp, K1 Race Gear, Racing Electronics, Reliable Painting, and Rocket Chassis.

SUNSHINE MAGIC: Florida’s Mark Whitener powers to DIRTcar Pro Late Model victory

“The Magic Man” won the opening race for the DIRTcar Pro Late Models at Sunshine Nationals
BARBERVILLE, FL – Jan. 21, 2022 – Less than 24 hours after sitting upside down in his Super Late Model, Mark Whitener climbed out of his DIRTcar Pro Late Model with a straw hat on his head and a smile on his face.The Middleburg, FL driver found strength in his consistency and pure will to claim the first DIRTcar Pro Late Model Sunshine Nationals victory of the week Friday evening at Volusia Speedway Park – after the race was postponed from Thursday night.Whitener “The Magic Man” said he was sore and battled brake issues in the final half of the 25-lap Feature, but knew he had a strong new Savage chassis underneath him.“I knew I had a pretty good hot rod,” Whitener said. “This is a new car for us. Thanks to Jason Welshan at Savage (Chassis). That was scary in the Super last night. My hands are sore. I’m sore all over… but to be in Victory Lane for this Sunshine deal, it’s pretty much at home for us. Just appreciate everyone that puts this show on. Everybody is doing the best job they can.”Shan Smith led the field to the initial green flag with Whitener in tow. The two paced ahead of the field in the early stage of the race, while Nevin Gainey made his way from fifth to third in the first two laps.Smith held a strong command of the lead around the half-mile track until lap traffic became a hindrance. During an attempt to pass a group of slower cars around the outside, Smith was pushed out of the groove into a dirty lane, losing grip and allowing Whitener to sneak underneath him. The two raced side by side for a straightaway before Whitener launched ahead with the lead and never looked back.“When I was leading and got to lap traffic, I should’ve just rode in behind those guys but I was afraid that Mark (Whitener) was going to dive out there to the outside and just drive around me and I’d get caught with my pants down. I just dive-bombed those guys around the outside and they kind of hung me out to dry when I was lapping them. That was the race.“Basically, if you got off the bottom you were done. So, I want to thank all my guys for helping me and supporting me. We’ve been busting our butts like everyone else here.”Whitener lost his rear brakes with 10 laps to go and had to readjust his approach to each corner but stayed committed to the bottom. Smith began to pull in Whitener, getting close enough to grab his bumper with eight laps to go. However, he hit a rut in Turn 2 and faded back into the clutches of Cory Hedgecock in third.Three laps later disaster almost struck Whitener as a car slowed to a near stop in front of him to turn into the pit area, forcing him to lock his brakes and wrangle his car straight to avoid a collision. That allowed Smith and Hedgecock one last attempt at Whitener.The “Magic Man” was in another dimension, however, needing only a corner to distance himself from his hunters again.He drove away to claim a needed victory in a doubleheader day of racing around The World’s Fastest Half-Mile in which he’ll be pulling double duty with the DIRTcar Pro Late Models and World of Outlaws Late Models.“I’d just like to thank everybody that is out here,” Whitener said. “All these fans and everybody that helps me on this car. Especially Jason Welshan at Savage Chassis. First night out and this thing was badass.”UP NEXT
The DIRTcar Pro Late Models return tonight for the second night of the Sunshine Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park. If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision.Tickets for the Sunshine Nationals are available at the track or by clicking HERE.RESULTS
1. 5-Mark Whitener[2]; 2. 32-Shan Smith[1]; 3. 23-Cory Hedgecock[6]; 4. 17-Nevin Gainey[5]; 5. 05-David Whitener[9]; 6. 6-Clay Harris[8]; 7. 66K-Dylan Knowles[7]; 8. 4-Rye Faulk[10]; 9. 66-Jody Knowles[3]; 10. 22-Jeremy Steele[13]; 11. 10-CChad Olsen[15]; 12. 2-Trynt Lloyd[16]; 13. 01G-Jason Garver[18]; 14. 71-Bo Allen[20]; 15. 28M-Sam Mars[12]; 16. 66-JJake Knowles[26]; 17. 2W-Justin Williams[21]; 18. 17SSJR-Brenden Smith[24]; 19. 127-Austin Yarbrough[23]; 20. 45T-Tom Fiebelkorn[19]; 21. 51-Mikey Kopka[22]; 22. 01-Jason Welshan[25]; 23. 38-Garrett Mosley[11]; 24. 25-Donnie Chappell[17]; 25. 00S-Richie Stephens[14]; 26. 14-Wil Herrington[4]
DIRTcar Racing is brought to fans by many important sponsors and partners, including: DIRTVision (Official Live Broadcast Partner), Hoosier Racing Tire (Official Tire), SIS Insurance (Official Insurance Provider), VP Racing Fuels (Official Racing Fuel), iRacing (Official Online Racing Game), Arizona Sport Shirts/Gotta Race, Chevy Performance Parts, and NAPA Auto Parts (SDS). Contingency sponsors include: ARP (Automotive Racing Products), ASI Race Wear (SDS), Bassett Racing Wheel, Bell Helmets, Beyea Custom Headers, Bicknell Racing Products (SDS), Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux (SDS), Cometic Gasket (SDS), COMP Cams, Fast Shafts, Fox Factory, Jerovetz Motorsports Shock Service, K1 Race Gear, KSE Racing Products, MSD, Mulit FireX, Quarter Master, Schoenfeld Headers, Summit Racing Equipment, Velocita USA, Wrisco-Wieland Metal Services (Exclusive Racing Aluminum). Along with manufacturer sponsors, including: FIREBULL, Intercomp, and Racing Electronics.

2022 SCHEDULE: 50th NAPA Super DIRT Week, big events highlight 2022 for Northeast divisions

DIRTcar 358 Modifieds, Pro Stocks and Sportsman set to thrill across New York and beyond
WEEDSPORT, NY – Jan. 21, 2022 – Northeast racing is set for an action-packed adventure in 2022 with the DIRTcar 358 Modifieds, Pro Stocks and Sportsman competing in an assortment of high-profile events, including the 50th NAPA Super DIRT Week.Between the three divisions, DIRTcar Northeast racing will compete at 13 of the best tracks across New York, and a few beyond.The 358 Modifieds will venture to Brockville Ontario Speedway, in Brockville, ON, along with the Sportsman, which will also make two trips to Bear Ridge Speedway in Vermont. A couple weeks after NAPA Super DIRT Week, the Pro Stocks and Sportsman will head south again to compete in the Drydene World Short Track Championship in North Carolina.“All of us at DIRTcar are excited to present schedules that will bring the best 358 Modified, Pro Stock and Sportsman racing across the Northeast to fans and competitors alike,” said DIRTcar Northeast Series Director Dean Reynolds. “This is a special year with the 50th NAPA Super DIRT Week, making for a historic season across all three divisions.“Due to the situation with the pandemic, we’re in constant communication with our Canadian partners and hope for the best outcome all around to return to racing in Canada.”RELATED: Super DIRT Week’s 50 Greatest Driver RevealsMake sure to check DIRTVision’s schedule of broadcasts as several events will be broadcast live on the premier dirt racing streaming service – including every race during NAPA Super DIRT Week and the World Short Track Championship.DIRTcar 358 Modifieds
The DIRTcar 358 Modified 2022 season will feature nine events across eight different tracks, starting with the High Bank Holdup Weekend at Fulton Speedway, April 30, and concluding at Brockville Ontario Speedway, Oct. 15.In between those events again includes the Super DIRT Week Kick Off Party at Weedsport Speedway and the Hurricane 75 at Brewerton Speedway. However, this year, both are a day earlier. The Kick Off Party will be Tuesday, Oct. 4 and the Hurricane 75 will be Wednesday, Oct. 5. They lead to the $20,000-to-win Salute to the Troops 150 at Oswego Speedway, Saturday, Oct. 8.2022 Schedule
Saturday, April 30 – Fulton Speedway – High Bank Holdup Weekend
Thursday, June 23 – Mohawk International Raceway
Wednesday, Aug. 10 – Thunder Mountain Speedway
Friday, Sept. 9 – Can-Am Speedway
Friday, Sept. 16 – Mohawk International Raceway
Tuesday, Oct. 4 – Weedsport Speedway – Super DIRT Week Kick Off Party
Wednesday, Oct. 5 – Brewerton Speedway – Hurricane 75
Saturday, Oct. 8 – Oswego Speedway – Salute to the Troops 150 (50th NAPA Super DIRT Week)
Saturday, Oct. 15 – Brockville Ontario Speedway – Northeast Fall NationalsDIRTcar Pro Stocks
Several big events await the DIRTcar Pro Stocks for their 10-race 2022 schedule.It starts with the season opener at Can-Am Speedway where they’ll join the Super DIRTcar Series for the Thunder on the 1000 Islands. Then, they’ll make their way through New York, again joining the Super DIRTcar Series at Weedsport Speedway, Sept. 10, during the Cavalcade Weekend and Sept. 24 during the Malta Massive Weekend at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.The DIRTcar Pro Stocks will conclude their season with three big events in a row. First will be during the Super DIRT Week Kick Off Party at Weedsport Speedway, Tuesday, Oct. 4, before entering the big stage on Sunday, Oct. 9, for the DIRTcar Pro Stock 50 at Oswego Speedway. Then, the Series will venture to Concord, NC for the Drydene World Short Track Champion at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, Oct. 27-29 – a nonpoints event.2022 Schedule
Saturday, April 9 – Can-Am Speedway – Thunder on the 1000 Islands
Sunday, July 10 – Glen Ridge Motorsports Park
Saturday, Aug. 27 – Lebanon Valley Speedway
Saturday, Sept. 10 – Weedsport Speedway – Cavalcade Weekend
Saturday, Sept. 17 – Mohawk International Raceway
Saturday, Sept. 24 – Albany-Saratoga Speedway – Malta Massive Weekend
Friday, Sept. 30 – Fulton Speedway
Tuesday, Oct. 4 – Weedsport Speedway – Super DIRT Week Kick Off Party
Sunday, Oct. 9 – Oswego Speedway – DIRTcar Pro Stock 50 (50th NAPA Super DIRT Week)
Thurs.-Sat., Oct. 27-29 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte – Drydene World Short Track ChampionshipDIRTcar Sportsman
Four regions of DIRTcar Sportsman will bring the popular division to fans across New York and beyond throughout 2022.The division will visit 13 New York tracks in total throughout the year, in addition to visits to Bear Ridge Speedway in Vermont, Brockville Ontario Speedway with the DIRTcar 358 Modifieds in October and a return to The Dirt Track at Charlotte with the DIRTcar Pro Stocks for the Drydene World Short Track Championship – a non-points event for both.The two latter events are also a part of the seven-race Fall Championship Challenge, featuring the Malta Massive Weekend, Outlaws 200 Weekend and NAPA Super DIRT Week.The West Region schedule will be announced at a later date, along with an update on the Canadian regions.2022 Schedule
Central Region
Friday, April 29 – Fulton Speedway
Wednesday, June 29 – Can-Am Speedway
Thursday, June 30 – Land of Legends Raceway
Wednesday, Aug. 10 – Thunder Mountain Speedway
Wednesday, Aug. 24 – Ransomville Speedway – Mike Bonesky Memorial
Saturday, Sept. 10 – Can-Am Speedway
Sunday, Sept. 11 – Weedsport Speedway – Sportsman ClassicNorth Region
Saturday, April 30 – Airborne Speedway
Thursday, June 23 – Mohawk International Speedway
Saturday, Sept. 10 – Can-Am Speedway
Saturday, Sept. 17 – Mohawk International RacewayEast Region
Saturday, April 30 – Airborne Speedway
Saturday, May 14 – Bear Ridge Speedway
Sunday, June 19 – Glen Ridge Motorsports Park
Sunday, August 21 – Glen Ridge Motorsports Park
Saturday, Sept. 10 – Bear Ridge Speedway
Fall Championship Challenge
Friday, Sept. 23 – Albany-Saratoga Speedway – Massive Malta Weekend
Fri.-Sat., Sept. 30-Oct. 1 – Fulton Speedway – Outlaw 200 Weekend
Wednesday, Oct. 5 – Brewerton Speedway – Hurricane 50
Sunday, Oct. 9 – Oswego Speedway – Chevrolet Performance 75 (50th NAPA Super DIRT Week)
Saturday, Oct. 15 – Brockville Ontario Speedway – Northeast Fall Nationals
Thurs.-Sat., Oct. 27-29 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte – Drydene World Short Track Championship

DIRTcar Racing is brought to fans by many important sponsors and partners, including: DIRTVision (Official Live Broadcast Partner), Hoosier Racing Tire (Official Tire), SIS Insurance (Official Insurance Provider), VP Racing Fuels (Official Racing Fuel), iRacing (Official Online Racing Game), Arizona Sport Shirts/Gotta Race, Chevy Performance Parts, and NAPA Auto Parts (SDS). Contingency sponsors include: ARP (Automotive Racing Products), ASI Race Wear (SDS), Bassett Racing Wheel, Bell Helmets, Beyea Custom Headers, Bicknell Racing Products (SDS), Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux (SDS), Cometic Gasket (SDS), COMP Cams, Fast Shafts, Fox Factory, Jerovetz Motorsports Shock Service, K1 Race Gear, KSE Racing Products, MSD, Mulit FireX, Quarter Master, Schoenfeld Headers, Summit Racing Equipment, Velocita USA, Wrisco-Wieland Metal Services (Exclusive Racing Aluminum). Along with manufacturer sponsors, including: FIREBULL, Intercomp, and Racing Electronics.

Texas Motorplex to Host Funny Car Chaos Season Opener and Finals in 2022

ENNIS, TX (January 19, 2022) — After hosting the largest Funny Car event in over 50 years in March of 2021 at the Texas Motorplex, the excitement and anticipation for the beginning of the 2022 Funny Car Chaos season has been building for almost a year. The season opener, Funny Car Chaos Classic, will happen March 24-26 at the famed track south of Dallas and early indications are this event will be even bigger. The season will conclude with the Funny Car Chaos Championship Finals at Texas Motorplex, October 7-8, to begin the 2nd annual Stampede of Speed. Over $45,000 will be awarded at this event and the 2022 Series Champions for both Funny Car Chaos and the Outlaw Fuel Altered Association will be crowned. 

“We are very excited to be working with the team at the Texas Motorplex to start and finish our 2022 Funny Car Chaos season at the Texas Motorplex,” said Chris Graves, Funny Car Chaos promoter and race director. “I grew up a Motorplex kid, this is where my addiction to the sport was born, so it means a lot to me personally, aside from the luxuries and professionalism the Motorplex venue and staff bring to our racers and fans. This facility is rich with history and that’s a tradition we aim to continue in working with the Meyer family and Andy Carter. The Stampede of Speed is a prime example of what hard work and passion can produce. The Motorplex continues to rise to the top and Funny Car Chaos is proud to be a part of that. We’re ready to put on a show, so you know what to do, be there!”

<Man O War Funny Car.jpg>

Additional information about both Funny Car Chaos events will be announced in the coming weeks. Each of these events will be recognized as major events for the Texas Motorplex, especially the season finale to begin the Stampede of Speed. Fan enhancements will be a major focus as well as highlighting the historic impact of these events. Plans are also in the works for a special screening of the recently produced Billy Meyer career documentary produced by as part of its Legends Series.

“We are thrilled to not just host another Funny Car Chaos event, but the Championship Finals is a huge plus for the Texas Motorplex and Funny Car fans across the country,” said Andy Carter, Texas Motorplex General Manager. “Chris is an amazing promoter and what he has built with Funny Car Chaos is so impressive. Last year we had over 60 Funny Cars and we think we can attract just as many competitors for both races.”

Tickets are on sale now for the Funny Car Chaos Classic and tickets for the Funny Car Championship Finals, Texas NHRA Fall Nationals and the full week of the Stamped of Speed events will be available for purchase on March 14. For more information and tickets visit

Sunoco Race Fuels Bonus Money to Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Regulars

Batavia, OH (January 19, 2022) – The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series is pleased to announce bonus money awards from Sunoco Race Fuels to racers that follow the series in 2022. Sunoco, an industry powerhouse manufacturer of high-performance racing fuels, will continue their exclusive partnership as the “Official Fuel” of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series again in 2022.
As the “Official Fuel” of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, Sunoco will offer several programs and incentives for racers that follow the series. Sunoco Race Fuels will continue as the title sponsor of the Road to Wheatland loyalty program. The Sunoco Race Fuels Road to Wheatland program will award a cash bonus to the top-fifteen (15) drivers in the championship point standings with perfect attendance headed into the Show-Me 100 weekend at Lucas Oil Speedway in May.
Sunoco will once again reward drivers that use Sunoco Race Fuel exclusively under the “Race for Gas” program. Any driver utilizing Sunoco Race Fuels exclusively will earn points at each series event. The driver that earns the most points throughout the season will be crowned the Sunoco Race for Gas Champion and receive a $3,000 cash bonus at the year-end awards banquet. Second-place in the Sunoco Race for Gas standings will earn a $2,000 cash bonus, while third-place receives a $1,000 cash bonus.
Sunoco Race Fuels will also return as the title sponsor of the North/South 100 weekend, held annually in August at Florence (KY) Speedway. The Sunoco Race Fuels North/South 100 has been a pillar on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series slate for over a decade now and will pay a monumental $75,000 to win in 2022. This event has grown into one of the “must attend” crown-jewel events of the year for drivers and fans alike.
“Sunoco couldn’t be more excited with our partnership with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. We feel it is the most competitive late model series out there and that is why we chose to continue to support this group. Sunoco Race Fuels has been involved with the series since its inception and even though some of the names and faces change from time to time, the quality of the program has never changed. This is in perfect alignment with Sunoco Race Fuels and our commitment to quality when it comes to our product offering. Everyone at Lucas Oil has been a pleasure to work with, from the staff to the drivers and the tracks we support. We look forward to the start of the season,” stated Russ Bradford, National Sales Manager for Sunoco Race Fuels.
For decades, Sunoco’s fuels have been associated with racing excellence. Today, Sunoco has expanded the reach of its racing fuels line around the world to include all types of professional motor sports and other activities where premium race fuels make a difference. With its unsurpassed innovations and years of experience, it’s easy to understand why more and more engine builders, racers, tracks and sanctioning bodies choose Sunoco over all other racing gasoline combined. It takes high-performance racing fuels that are willing to go the distance – fuels like those produced by Sunoco. As the largest manufacturer of racing gasolines in the world, Sunoco has a 40-year track record of winning performances. To learn more about Sunoco Race Fuels, visit:
“The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series’ continued growth and popularity as the premier national touring series for dirt late models would not be possible without great partners like Sunoco Race Fuels that support us. Sunoco’s partnership includes several incentives and programs to benefit the racers directly. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Sunoco for years to come,” stated Wayne Castleberry, Corporate Sales and Marketing for Lucas Oil Motorsports.


– 2018 US Nationals winner will race part-time schedule with Dan Mercier Racing –

Elkhart, IN (January 19, 2022) — The 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing season will see another familiar face in the Top Fuel ranks as fan favorite and 2018 US Nationals Top Fuel winner Terry McMillen today announced he will compete on a limited schedule, competing in six to eight national events in 2022, so he can continue to support his son Cameron’s junior dragster career. McMillen will race under the Dan Mercier Racing banner.

“We met Dan in 2017 when he purchased a Top Fuel dragster from us and we have stayed friends,” said McMillen, who has two career Top Fuel wins and finished in the Top Ten in 2020. “He runs a family operation just like us, so it is a perfect partnership. After spending last year with Cameron at the track I knew the only way I would come back right now was if I could race around Cameron’s schedule.”

Dan Mercier Racing purchased the Terry McMillen Racing operation so the veteran driver will be returning to the same livery that he earned his first No. 1 qualifier at the Dodge Nationals in 2020 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. 

“2022 will certainly be the long-awaited dream year for Mercier Racing,” said Mercier. “There’s no better time to make a serious commitment to the big leagues. Having the opportunity to have Terry as a driver will give the Mercier Racing team a tremendous chance to improve and compete against the best. Our focus now is on winning rounds and national events.” 

During the 2021 season McMillen spent time with his son attending junior dragster races and pursuing other business interests. As McMillen and Mercier began talking about competing in 2022 McMillen was adamant that he would only race if it didn’t distract or conflict with Cameron’s racing schedule. Mercier, a serious Top Alcohol dragster racer who has raced a handful of Top Fuel events, also had a request of his own regarding Cameron which included the youngster coaching Mia Mercier, Dan’s two-year old daughter, in a few years to drive a junior dragster. In return Mercier has offered coaching tips to Cameron if he decides to make the jump to a Top Alcohol Dragster.

“This season will hopefully be just the beginning of a beautiful partnership of passion and performance between our two teams and families,” added Mercier.

The team will be making further announcements in the coming weeks. The current plan includes possible races at the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, New Hampshire, the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, and the fall NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway outside of Charlotte with additional events to be determined.

Cadillac Racing begins season prep with the Roar

Drivers of five Cadillac DPi-V.R entries will challenge for Rolex 24 pole
·      Reigning DPi Manufacturer Champion ready to hit the track·      Pipo Derani seeks to successfully defend Driver Championship·      No. 01 V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R is “Champions Cadillac”
DETROIT (Jan. 18, 2022) – Cadillac Racing’s initial steps to successfully defending its Daytona Prototype international (DPi) Manufacturer, Team and Driver titles in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be taken this week at the Roar Before the Rolex 24.
Drivers for five Cadillac DPi-V.R entries will get a handle on the powerful and nimble race cars during two days of practice on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course before a 100-minute race for the Motul Pole Award sets the grid for the 60th Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 29.
“The 2022 season is going to be awesome and we’re looking forward to getting on track,” said GM Sports Car Racing Program Manager Laura Wontrop Klauser, who recently was named “Person of the Year” by l’Automoibile magazine. “Cadillac Racing has a strong team and driver lineup for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, and the Roar is an important part of the process of getting race ready.”
A Cadillac DPi-V.R has won the overall Rolex 24 At Daytona title four times since the latest iteration of the prototype class was instituted in 2017. The fifth victory will tie Ferrari for third place on the all-time list.
Cadillac Racing DPi-V.R Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona lineup with team affiliation:No. 01 V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R (Chip Ganassi Racing)Renger van der Zande, Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon, Alex PalouNo. 02 Cadillac Accessories Cadillac DPi-V.R (Chip Ganassi Racing)Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Marcus Ericsson, Kevin MagnussenNo. 5 JDC-Miller Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R (JDC-Miller MotorSports)Tristan Vautier, Richard Westbrook, Loic Duval, Ben KeatingNo. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R (Action Express Racing)Tristan Nunez, Pipo Derani, Mike ConwayNo. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R (Action Express Racing with Hendrick Motorsports)Jimmie Johnson, Mike Rockenfeller, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
Pipo Derani, who returns to co-drive the No. 31 Wheldon Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, will be joined for the full season by Tristan Nunez as Action Express Racing seeks to claim its second consecutive Driver and Team Championships. The No. 31 Cadillac started from the pole in the 2021 race.
“We are excited to get back racing,” team manager Gary Nelson said. “I am very proud of our team; everyone showed up at the shop for work before dawn on the Monday after the weekend that we secured the championship back in November. Since that Monday, the team has worked very hard to prepare everything for the Whelen Engineering No. 31 Cadillac and the Ally No. 48 Cadillac.”
Action Express Racing will field the No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R in association with reigning NASCAR Cup Series championship Hendrick Motorsports in the four endurance races. With seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson co-driving, the No. 48 Cadillac DPi-V.R finished second overall in the 2021 Rolex 24.
“Last season we finished second just a few seconds back. We have such a strong lineup. This is a huge opportunity for me,” said Johnson, who will make his ninth Rolex 24 At Daytona start.
The Cadillac Racing lineup fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing expands to two cars for the 2022 season. Renger van der Zande, the 2016 IMSA Prototype Challenge driver champion and two-time Rolex 24 winner, returns behind the wheel of the No. 01 V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R. He will be joined for the full complement of events by four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais. Six-time INDYCAR champion Scott Dixon and 2021 INDYCAR title-winner Alex Palou join for the first endurance race to form a “Champions Cadillac” entry.
“It’s going to be an exciting season,” said Bourdais, who co-drove to an overall Rolex 24 victory in 2014 and a class win with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2017. “I have great teammates with Renger, Scott and Alex for this race that everyone wants to win. I can’t wait to get going.”
Two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Earl Bamber and versatile driver Alex Lynn are the full-season drivers in the No. 02 Cadillac Accessories DPi-V.R. Kevin Magnussen, van der Zande’s teammate in the No. 01 last season, and IndyCar Series driver Marcus Ericsson will co-drive the No. 02 for the Rolex 24.JDC-Miller MotorSports, which won the 2021 Twelve Hours of Sebring, will seek to add to its victory total with Tristan Vautier continuing his fulltime driver in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R.
Sixteen-time IMSA race winner Richard Westbrook will join Vautier for every event, while Loic Duval shifts from a full-season role to co-driving in endurance races. Ben Keating, the 2021 Le Mans Prototype 2 champion, will be the team’s fourth driver for the Rolex 24.
“It feels great to be going into our fourth year together in the Cadillac DPi-V.R,” Vautier said. “I really look forward to partnering with Loic again, and a very warm welcome to Richard and Ben.”
On-track activity is Jan. 21-23, which includes test sessions and the 100-minute qualifying race that sets the Rolex 24 starting grid. Peacock will stream the qualifying session live at 2 p.m. ET. Rolex 24 race week runs Jan. 27-30, with the twice-around-the-clock event starting at 1:40 p.m. ET Jan. 29.
Cadillac Racing DPi-V.R notables:2021 – Five victories. Manufacturer Championship. Drivers’ Championship (Pipo Derani, Felipe Nasr – Whelen Engineering). Team Championship (Action Express Racing)2020 – Three victories. Manufacturer Endurance Cup Championship. Endurance Cup Drivers’ Championship (Konica Minolta Cadillac). Endurance Cup Team Championship (Konica Minolta Cadillac)2019 – Four victories. Manufacturer Endurance Cup Championship. Endurance Cup Drivers’ Championship (Konica Minolta Cadillac).2018 – Four victories. Manufacturer Championship. Drivers’ Championship (Eric Curran, Felipe Nasr – Whelen Engineering). Team Championship (Whelen Engineering). Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup (TPNAEC) Manufacturer Championship. TPNAEC Drivers’ Championship (Eric Curran, Felipe Nasr – Whelen Engineering). TPNAEC Team Championship (Whelen Engineering).2017 ­– Seven victories. Manufacturer Championship. Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup (TPNAEC) Manufacturer Championship. Drivers’ Championship (Jordan and Ricky Taylor – Konica Minolta Cadillac). Team Championship (Konica Minolta Cadillac). TPNAEC DPi Driver Championship (Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Filipe Albuquerque – Mustang Sampling Cadillac). TPNAEC DPi Team Championship (Mustang Sampling). 


TGRNA Set to Support NHRA, Formula DRIFT and GT4 in 2022

PLANO, Texas (January 19, 2022) – Toyota NHRA, Formula DRIFT and GT4 series drivers will compete under the Toyota Gazoo Racing North America (TGRNA) banner beginning with the 2022 racing season. TGRNA will serve as the North American arm for Toyota’s global motorsports division, Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR).

“The opportunity to introduce TGR North America to the NHRA community in 2022 and continue the support in Formula DRIFT and GT4 competition is a big moment for everyone involved in Toyota’s overall motorsports program,” said Paul Doleshal, Group Manager, Motorsports and Assets for Toyota Motor North America. “The ability to showcase the GR family of vehicles on the race track and ultimately be a part of applying racing performance to production vehicles is something that we all strive for through motorsports. Showcasing the capability of our race enthusiast engineers to our new and existing fan base of enthusiasts is the overarching goal of the program.”

TGR’s focus in motorsports allows Toyota’s engineering teams the ability to push vehicles to their limits on the track, ultimately creating better engineers and ever better vehicles. TGRNA will focus on providing U.S. customers with performance sports cars, built by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts, and look to deliver excitement to fans of both cars and motorsports.

For NHRA drivers competing in the Funny Car class, they will debut the new GR Supra body at the season kickoff event in Pomona, California. Those drivers competing in the Top Fuel category will also carry TGRNA colors for all 22 NHRA national events.

Toyota’s Formula DRIFT drivers will compete in the GR Supra along with the GR86 for the 2022 season while the GT4 drivers in IMSA and SRO will also field the GR Supra GT4. The GR badge on all these vehicles represents Toyota’s dedication to producing exciting, race inspired vehicles. Only the vehicles that survive the grueling paces of development and track performance have earned the GR badge.

These racing series are the most ideal locations for TGRNA to enter North American motorsports as they are home to some of the most grueling forms of motorsports coupled with the most passionate fans and participants.

The NHRA season begins on February 20 at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona (California). Formula DRIFT will kick off their season in Long Beach, California on April 2 and the GT4 will take to the track for the IMSA schedule at Daytona International Speedway on January 29 and in SRO competition on February 25 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

# # #

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in the U.S. and North America for more than 60 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands. During that time, Toyota has created a tremendous value chain as our teams have contributed to world-class design, engineering, and assembly of more than 40 million cars and trucks in North America, where we have 14 manufacturing plants, 15 including our joint venture in Alabama (10 in the U.S.), and directly employ more than 47,000 people (over 36,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (nearly 1,500 in the U.S.) sold nearly 2.8 million cars and trucks (nearly 2.4 million in the U.S.) in 2019.

$200K Bonus Added to Georgia-Florida Speedweeks from Ag Protect 1

Batavia, OH (January 18, 2022) – Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series officials are excited to announce additional bonus money up for grabs compliments of Ag Protect 1. Drivers with perfect attendance during the 14 speedweeks events beginning with the January 27th season opening event at Golden Isles Speedway, have the opportunity to win a $20,000 bonus, a $100,000 bonus or possibly a $200,000 bonus based on a driver’s performance during speedweeks.  Teams will compete in three nights of competition at Golden Isles Speedway, two nights at Bubba Raceway Park, three nights at All-Tech Raceway, and conclude at East Bay Raceway Park with six nights of racing. If a driver wins all fourteen (14) events during the Wrisco Industries Inc. Winternationals, that driver will earn $145,000 in winnings, in addition to the Ag Protect 1 bonus of $200,000, for a massive total of $345,000. The Ag Protect 1 bonus is available to any driver competing in all 14 scheduled Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, Wrisco Industries Inc. Winternationals events. Any one driver winning a minimum of eight (8) races during the January 27th – February 12th events will receive a $20,000 cash bonus. If a driver wins ten (10) of the 14 events, that driver will receive a $100,000 bonus, and if a driver wins all fourteen (14) speedweeks events, they will receive a $200,000 bonus. **  Ag Protect 1 offers Commercial Inland Marine, Business Auto Liability, and General Liability for Specialty Vehicles, Teams, Trailers, Motor/Toter homes, and spare parts. Ag Protect 1 and Premier Crop Insurance can provide you with a plan that fits your needs. For more information visit about Ag Protect 1 visit their website at
“We, here at Ag Protect 1, are proud to extend our partnership with Lucas Oil Motorsports with the addition of the Late Model Dirt Series. We look forward to meeting the Late Model Dirt Series competitors and watch them compete all season long. Our Motorsports Insurance has seen tremendous growth with the Pro Pulling League thanks to the directors, John and Kristi. This insurance is a great benefit and protection for all motorsports owners to cover their race cars, spare equipment (tires, chassis, engines, tools), trailers, and auto for truck/toters. has an online form that will take less than 5 minutes to complete for a Free Quote. We want to thank our clients that trust us with their business, and we look forward to working with new clients. We also want to thank Team Lucas and Wayne for his first-class work on this deal. We are very excited for 2022 and what the future holds,” Darrick Barga, Director of Specialty Insurance with Ag Protect 1.  Ag Protect 1 Bonus Program – 2022 Speedweeks Events:
**A minimum of 11 of the scheduled 14 Wrisco Industries, Inc. Winternationals speedweeks events must be completed, with a minimum of 30 cars entered at each of those events. To be eligible, the driver must have perfect attendance in all Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Wrisco Industries Inc. Winternationals speedweeks races in 2022. 
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Speedweeks Tire Rule:Left Rear/Fronts – Hoosier Rib (28.5) 1300Right Rear – Hoosier (29.0) 1300 NRM, (29.0) 1300 NRMW, (92) LM40*Must use the same set of 4 tires for Time Trials, Heat Races, and B-Mains (and Strawberry Dash at East Bay).*For the A-Main, competitors may use 1 new right rear tire.*Flat tire must be replaced with a used tire of the same compound and construction to retain starting position.
About Ag Protect 1: We offer Commercial Inland Marine, Business Auto Liability, and General Liability for Specialty Vehicles, Teams, Trailers, Motor/Toter homes, and spare parts. Policy length is 12 months, renewable each year. Also offer Event Insurance and Prize Indemnity. Ag Protect 1 and Premier Crop Insurance can provide you with a plan that fits your needs. Specialty Vehicle, Crops, Animals, Loans, and Marketing. We have 12 Agents throughout the Midwest so we can help no matter where you live. Call 877-452-3012 or visit their website at
About Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt SeriesFounded in 2005, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series showcases the talents of the top dirt late model drivers from across the country. In 2022, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will sanction 65 events across 18 states, including some of the biggest marquee events in the industry, providing dirt slinging, sideways, door-to-door racing action lap after lap.  The series receives national exposure through a television package filmed, produced and edited by Lucas Oil Production Studios. Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events will be streamed live on MAVTV Plus, with broadcasts on MAVTV Motorsports Network.   The in your face excitement of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series is second to none in motorsports. For more information, including the latest news, tour schedule, driver information, and more, visit the official website at:
2022 Official Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Marketing Partners
2022 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Partners Include:Advanced Powder Coating, Ag Protect 1, Allstar Performance, Arizona Sport Shirts,, Automotive Racing Products, Big River Steel, Bilstein, Black Diamond Chassis, Boyd Bilt Fabrication, Brandon Ford, Brodix, Capital Race Cars, Cornett Racing Engines, CP Carrillo Pistons,,, Dirt Draft, Dirty Girl Racewear, Dixie Chopper, E3 Spark Plugs, Earnhardt Technologies Group, eBay Motors, Etchberger Trucking, Fast Shafts, General Tire, Heath Lawson Photography, Holmatro, Hoosier Tire, Hot Rod Processing, Keyser Manufacturing, K&N Engineering, LINE-X, Longhorn Chassis, Lucas Oil Products, MAVTV Motorsports Network, Mega Plumbing of the Carolinas, Midwest Sheet Metal, Miller Welders, MSD Performance, MyRacePass, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Öhlins Shocks, OPTIMA Batteries, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Outerwears, Penske Racing Shocks, Performance Bodies, Pit Stop USA, Pro Power Racing Engines,, Rocket Chassis, Rugged Radios, Schoenfeld Headers, Simpson Race Products, Slicker Graphics, Stop Tech Brakes, Sunoco Race Fuels, Super Clean, Swift Springs, Summit Racing Equipment, Thermo-Tec Automotive Products, UNOH – University of Northwestern Ohio, Vahlco Wheels, Vic Hill Race Engines, Whelen Engineering Company Inc, Wrisco Aluminum, 5150 Race Trailers
For the Latest Information – Visit


JANUARY 18, 2022 TEAM PENSKE DRIVERS SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN, JOSEF NEWGARDEN AND WILL POWER met with members of the media during 2022 NTT INDYCAR Series Media Content Days. Full transcripts: SCOTT MSLAUGHLIN, NO. 3 PPG TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET:THE MODERATOR: First up today is Scott McLaughlin. Welcome back for year two. I saw the other day you were shoveling snow.SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Pretty excited about that it looked like.SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I was busy as a one-legged cat in the sandbox doing all that sort of stuff, shoveling on the driveway. It was unbelievable.No, it was a lot of fun. I can see why people get over the snow, that’s for sure. We just had another dumping in North Carolina, which is pretty cool. Always cool waking up to it. Never really done that before in my life.
THE MODERATOR: What else in the first year of ‘Scott Sees America’ stuck out besides the racing?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Oh, I think the biggest thing is everywhere you go in America, it almost feels like a different country. The west coast is different than the east coast. You have Wisconsin, they talk a little different. You go down in the south, they talk a little different compared to people in the north. It’s cool. I really enjoy the cultures, stuff like that.Had a lot of fun, especially in Wisconsin. I had a lot of fun with the cheese factory we went to. Cheese curds, really good.
THE MODERATOR: If I looked at your first season in INDYCAR, I would have been surprised most of your success would have been on ovals. Really took to it quickly. Was there something leading into the preparation that suggested to you ovals were going to be a strong suit for you?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I was pretty bamboozled with that myself. The ovals are completely new to me. It’s something that I didn’t have any bad habits where the road courses I thought potentially I had some bad habits from my time in the Supercar, how I wanted the car to feel versus how it needed to be to be fast was different than what I initially wanted.It wasn’t till the last few races, probably last six or seven, where I felt a lot stronger on the road courses and street courses, felt like I had a direction on where I wanted to go with the car.But the biggest thing for me is overcoming qualifying, getting that right off. I’ve said that a number of times. I feel like my race pace is decent, especially on the road course. Just a matter of making it all happen when it counts in qualifying to get me a good spot for Sunday.Look, I was surprised, but I love the ovals. I wish there were more. I think it’s a cool form of racing. I think that’s why INDYCAR is so special. It’s so diverse, so different. You get a lot of disciplines you got to get ready. I enjoy that.
THE MODERATOR: The team goes from four cars to three cars. Puts a little extra spotlight on you to be concerned about. Have you noticed much change yet in how the operation works?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: It’s interesting. I haven’t been here with three cars. I’ve seen it, come and watched it occasionally over the years. Certainly feeling like it’s a little bit more under control I guess you could say. A lot more people and more projects than it was, whereas it was a bit more spread out last year.Certainly everyone has done a good job. Wishing Simon all the best at his new venture. We are excited to challenge ourselves again. Obviously we wanted to be better than we were last year as a team. We’re working very hard to do that. Us three drivers are getting along very well. Hopefully we can make that happen.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.Q.(No microphone.)SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, braking for me, I wasn’t too bad. More worried or more focused on trying to feel comfortable with the aero package, knowing exactly how much aero I want in the car.I haven’t driven a huge amount of aerodynamics in any race car before. For me I’ve been just trying to get used to that, find the balance right. The last six or seven races I felt like I actually had a pretty good balance there for myself.Yeah, there’s so much time in that little area you got to get right. If you don’t quite get it, you just lose time like that. That’s two or three rows. So competitive. It’s just going to get more competitive. I have to make sure I’m onto it.I worked hard with my engineers over the off-season just to understand the different packages that I tried throughout the season, what stuck out to be good, what stuck out to be bad. Trying to build a little toolbox when we go to the races again, go to tracks that I know now this year.
THE MODERATOR: Did you find anything relative to your training that needed to be different for year two that you were lacking in year one?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah. I mean, my shoulders and stuff, trying to get them more stronger this off-season. Actually really gone hard on the weights, more harder than I’ve ever gone just beef up and be stronger to manhandle these cars. You really got to do it, especially on those hot laps in qualifying where you have sticky tires, the track is gripped up. You have to make sure you can hustle the car, especially at a place like Barber or even Detroit was quite difficult. Yeah, I’ve been working really hard at that. Then obviously the general fitness sort of side.The heat of the car obviously got higher because of the windscreen. Everyone is battling with that. I think INDYCAR are doing a great job with apparatus to help us with cool suits, drink systems that can get better and better which hopefully can help us.
Q.Do you feel experience with the cars or familiarity with the tracks are more important for second year?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: To be honest, I think the tracks. I felt like I got a pretty good handle with the car halfway through the season. It’s just going to tracks I didn’t know. You basically waste a first session just getting used to them.It’s not an excuse, but that’s just how it is. You come back at the end of the race, you’re like I found out something in the race that if I did that in qualifying or practice, that’s 1 or 2/10ths. 1 or 2/10ths in this field is huge.I’m feeling excited. I don’t know if it’s going to change the world. It’s certainly going to make me feel more comfortable heading to each track, each race knowing the lefts and the rights, what curbs to hit, what not to hit. It’s going to be a lot of fun doing that.
Q.Did you feel as a rookie that you met your expectations or did you feel a little disappointed?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I think in some ways, I’d lie if I wasn’t disappointed a little bit. I think we showed some really good promise on the ovals and stuff. I felt really strong there, which surprised me a little bit. I probably exceeded my expectations on the ovals.But the road courses, I would have loved to have qualified better. I was really content with my races. I felt really strong in the races. I did a few mistakes I probably shouldn’t have made. On the qualifying side, especially that has been my strong suit in other categories for many years. Working very hard to get better.Certainly I feel like I’m in a good spot right now head space-wise, where I am in my development to continue moving forward.
Q.You talked about some of the differences of this team moving from four cars. Even late in the season we heard Josef make a point to talk about how your contributions were really big. You were playing a pretty big role in some of those engineering meetings already. How much bigger of a role, you, Will and Josef will need to lean on you going into year two with the team scaled back?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: That’s a good question. I guess I’ve got to step up, absolutely, to make sure that I’m at the point where I know what I’m feeling in the car, what changes and developments we’re making.We’ve built a solid base there, but we’re all in the same direction where we want to go. I feel like the best thing is we’re on the same page, like I said.I think it’s going to be interesting. I feel like I’m a lot more confident in my feedback and how I’m giving the feedback back to the engineers, giving the feedback back to Josef and Will, which will certainly help us move forward.I think around that Gateway time is when I felt I was really feeling comfortable with the race car, knew exactly what I was talking about a little bit there.Yeah, I don’t think I’ve lost any of that. Certainly feel like I’m going to, like I said, step up. I know I’m ready for that, ready to move the team forward along with Josef and Will.
Q.Tim Cindric said he hoped you would be somewhere right around the top 10 in points at the end of your rookie season. You were fairly close. He would love to see you somewhere around the top fives with podiums and maybe a win in year two to judge your progress. Do you feel that’s a reasonable expectation?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, for sure. I certainly believe I can do that. I feel like I’ve got a great team behind me. I feel like I’m in a good spot to really move my way forward.I’m not really going to forecast wins and stuff like that. I certainly feel like I can be right there and challenge for them. I feel like I got the pace to do as well. Like I said, I have to sort my qualifying out. That’s half my job done if I can qualify in that top eight. It’s going to be a lot easier to move forward through that than starting 15th, 16th.I’m in a good spot, like I said before, feeling-wise. Looking back at 2021, I think if I had finished some of the races where I probably should have, Indy was one that stuck out with the big points, the pit lane penalty really cost me a ton there. Everyone says everything, but I certainly felt we were going to be right inside the top 10 which would have completely changed my points structure, I probably would have made the top 10 by end of year. Ifs and maybes. I have to make sure I finish the races as I should and that will certainly help out positions as well.
Q.Based on some of the questions you’ve been asked already about your rookie season, do you feel you are judged a bit too harshly by media or fans?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: No, no. I’m fully content with how it was all judged and whatever. I think everyone was very nice to me. It’s a big deal joining Penske, a big organization. Always a lot of pressure. I knew that was going to be the case.Like I said, I feel like I’m on the right trajectory. As long as I’m happy and the team’s happy, that’s the main thing.You can’t really focus on that too much from my side. I feel like I’m in a good spot. We’ll continue working forward. Yeah, there’s no one that really puts more pressure on me than myself. I think I’ve always been like that throughout my career. That will certainly be the case moving forward as well.
Q.What about the fundamental driving aspects? Anything particular that you’ve worked on with the data you have access to, the off-season, to work on some specific things you need to improve on?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, understanding the way that the track transitions. We’ve always been very quick in practice and right there or there about, the top eight, top six. You sort of hit qualifying and it sort of just goes down a hole a little bit. Wondering why that was.We feel like we got a few ideas why that was. Potentially going the wrong way with some setup. What was very interesting, I went through the whole year with some engineers. I felt like we worked out — there was a common trend going on. I felt like we were being a bit too aggressive on a few things that made the car really hard to drive when I needed to hit it at peak speed in qualifying.It was nice to go through all that and certainly have a focus area. I feel like we’re in a good understanding of where we need to be come practice to qualifying, especially St. Pete this year.
Q.What is crazier, Supercars or first race in INDYCAR?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: What was my favorite you said?
Q.Which was much crazy for you?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Oh, much crazier (smiling).No, not crazy, but just probably like starting my first oval was pretty crazy. Like I never really have driven in a huge pack before. Heading into turn one with 16 or 17 cars ahead of me in Texas was a pretty eye-opening experience, rocks and stuff hitting my windshield. I was hearing noises I never heard before.Supercars, it was a good time. I felt like I was very comfortable with my surroundings there. Here it was a little bit different. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was a thrill. That’s what is so cool.
Q.What is your opinion about your countryman Liam Lawson? Do you think he should try to join INDYCAR in the future?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Liam Lawson?
Q.Yes.SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I don’t know. He’s on a pretty good trajectory to Formula 1. He’s probably New Zealand’s next hopeful to be in the Formula 1 seat. I certainly hope he tries very hard to get all the way there.Yeah, there’s always — regardless of where he wants to go, obviously his goals are Formula 1 at this point. I certainly wish him all the best. He’s a great little driver, someone that New Zealand is very proud of.Me and Scottie will look after things over here. If he wants to come to Indy one day and have a challenge, we’ll welcome him with open arms I’m sure.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET:THE MODERATOR: In the room now, right on schedule, in fact ahead of schedule, Josef Newgarden.JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Hi, everybody. A little Zoom going there? I didn’t know what type of kerfuffle I was walking into.THE MODERATOR: Bamboozled and kerfuffled. Both from Team Penske.JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Well, you know, we’re very broad with our words.
THE MODERATOR: Conor just said you gave the stamp of approval on his haircut.JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I did. I think it looks a lot better this year. I wasn’t fully truthful with him last year. It didn’t look fantastic. It was pretty high, right? Now he has it set down. It looks good. He can pull off the mullet, which is hard to do. Not many people can do that. It actually genuinely looks good on him, which is amazing. Right on. I wouldn’t look good with a mullet, I don’t think so. But he looks good with it. I’m happy for him.
THE MODERATOR: Last year we saw the great example that every lap matters. The season starts and you have the problem on lap one, you have the Road America thing. Either one of those things goes differently you’re right there in the championship hunt. Talk about how important maximizing every moment is.JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I mean, it’s a collection of every race. For me, I knew immediately last year that we’d already given a Mulligan away, which you will. That was one for the year that you’re not going to get back. Now you have to be more on your game every weekend going forward.Ideally when you start the year, you want to sort of build your bank account, build up some credit, build a little bit of a nest egg in there. If you can deplete that at certain times throughout the year, have something to fall back on. When you start the year like we did in Barber, you’re taking out credit and you have no money to pay for it.Yeah, for me it was not a championship blow. It was just not the way you wanted to come out of the gates. It was disappointing. But I think we clawed back. Got in position in plenty good time. Unfortunately we just were short to end the season. The performance we needed at the end of the year wasn’t enough.Some other things could have gone our way, without a doubt. Anyone can say that any year. Everyone’s going to have their story. Yeah, we were just short at the end of the day.
THE MODERATOR: I was on a call with you a couple weeks ago. You’re 30 years old now, you might be at the real prime of your career. Do you feel you’re maybe in as good a place as you’ve ever been?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think so. When I show up, I’m not there to lollygag. I’m happy to get going, give my best effort every day.I am motivated. I’m very, very motivated to do a better job every year. I think we can elevate. Every year that we finish, I feel like we can elevate the next year and improve at our craft all around.Yeah, I feel like I’m at my prime as a person, within my profession. I think I’ve got the best people around me. I’ve always got tremendous confidence when I show up.
THE MODERATOR: Engineering changes. How will that impact the year?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It’s going to be a new dynamic this year. We do have, yeah, quite a bit of shifting around from everybody. But I think the core nucleus of our team is solid. It doesn’t matter who you put where, there’s so much strength within the team that it can always pull through and be what you need.I’m excited in one way because it’s a new group in some respects, brings heightened, I think, energy and alertness. You can’t get lazy. At times when you’ve been with a group a little while, you can start to get lazy. I’m talking about myself. Everyone kind of knows the routine, we don’t have to really check in as much, we don’t have to be as critical.When you have new people onboard, you’ve got to make sure you’re really educating everyone, constantly affirming how you feel about things. I feel like you might not miss as much. In that way it could be invigorating for us to have a little change-up.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.Q.Between the inaugural event and now with the Detroit announcement going back downtown, you’ve been key factors in promotion of those. Seems like you’ve more than ever become the face of the sport, the main promoter. Are you okay with that role? Something you like?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I absolutely love INDYCAR. It is my mission to help INDYCAR grow as much as possible, especially with Roger’s leadership. I think we’re all pretty happy and fortunate to have Roger leading the charge and feel like we can take the series to new heights.I’ve always struggled with the media aspect of the sport just because it doesn’t come natural to me. The natural thing for me is to drive the race car, give feedback, try and put together a really solid race weekend. That’s what I’m here to do.The other components to it, trying to promote the sport, make it interesting, understand our strategies of how we’re marketing our sport, how we’re getting across to people, that’s all really, really important, right? We’re not going to go anywhere or have a sustainable future if we don’t do that stuff.I’m happy to do my part. Nashville was a great lift for us, great market. I’ll continue to do as much as I can. From that standpoint, yeah, I’m totally fine with it.
Q.This may be a bit of an unfair question. For this year, which would you prefer if you had the choice, a hometown win in Nashville, Indy 500 win, or a third championship?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Well, look, if I win a race in Nashville, you can butter my backside and call me a biscuit. That’s going to be a good day.I’m pumped to go back. We didn’t have a good first year. We got to look at it. I think that’s probably the track we can improve the most sadly enough. I really thought that was going to be a place we could shine and we just didn’t.Yeah, I’m excited to go back there. Hopefully we can get it better than we did this last season in 2021.
Q.Can you share who your new engineer is?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I don’t think we’re allocating everybody at the moment last time I spoke with the team. I think we’re still deciding some things. It’s going to be a great group, I can tell you that. I’m real, real excited.I’ve always been proud of the groups I’ve been able to work with. I would have been just as happy to keep the group as last year, but I’m equally excited what we’re going to have for this season.
Q.Series just announced a new prize, a new sponsor for a million dollar prize for winning on road course, street course, oval. You’ve been good at different tracks. Is that something as a driver that will motivate you even more?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Definitely. I think in INDYCAR you have the opportunity to be good at all disciplines, which is what makes INDYCAR what it is. We always preach that.I think to be the best at the championship you have to be good at all disciplines. The series just adding an extra incentive, the great initiative of what the sponsor is doing also to give half of that to a charity I think is just wonderful.Absolutely. Puts a little bit more motivation in you to not only do that, but you want to do it first, right? You have to do it first in order to win. There’s a little bit of pressure there, too, to get on it quickly at the beginning of the season.
Q.You’ve had teammates, teammates go. You have actually changed teams in your career. Is it going to be strange seeing Simon and Helio on a different team together?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Very. It was strange seeing Simon this morning. You’re so used to seeing him in Team Penske gear, talking to him, communicating on text. We’re getting a lot of the same information from the same people. It was odd seeing him on the other side this morning.I think to your point, him and Helio together is going to be very strange not seeing them on Penske. They’re going to be a really strong force. You can’t deny they’re going to be incredibly tough competition.For us it really elevates the series as far as the difficulty in trying to be the best. They’re going to be people we have to watch out for. We know that. We know their strengths and they’re going to be there.
Q.How are you feeling about the total lineup of the team? You have Scott who obviously has a lot of promise, a very different point in his career. How do you feel you’re going to work together? Is it going to affect your chances at a championship this year?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I mean, there was a lot of ruckus last year about how we were performing at the beginning of the season. Are we not gelling together? What’s happening with Team Penske?I felt like we had great form right from the beginning of the year. Things just weren’t working out. When you have a young whippersnapper like Scott McLaughlin, he fits into the team so easily. He started to develop and contribute at the end of the year.Because we’re going down to three cars to me is not a negative. I think we’re just going to be more focused. With Scott now being in year two, it’s really going to tighten up the way we work together, what he does to contribute.With Will, myself and Scott, I see a really good unit there to push forward. I’m really excited about what we have to work with. I think it’s a really good situation for all of us.
Q.How are you feeling about the work you’ve done in the off-season on the 500? You had the best average finishing position of anyone in the championship last year. The 500 being double points is a big issue for that. Have you found anything to move forward?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I hope so. I would be lying if I told you I didn’t feel confident after the off-season last year. I felt like we had put as much energy and effort into the 500. It just didn’t bear fruit unfortunately.It wasn’t from a lack of effort. Everyone did a tremendous job of trying to find solutions that we needed at the Speedway. Unfortunately they just didn’t pan out.There’s really only one thing to do, and that’s just to keep going. I mean, us at Team Penske, there’s no other choice than to just keep going, keep finding answers, keep working hard. That’s what we’ve done again this off-season.I think we’ve done everything in our power to try to put our best foot forward. There’s no doubt when we show up to the Speedway, there’s nothing acceptable except excellence. That’s just how it is when you’re at Team Penske. That’s what we expect of ourselves.We’re working towards that. I think we have found good things to put forward. We’ll just have to wait and see if it’s enough. We’re going to keep working till we get to race day.
Q.You called Scott a young whippersnapper. He turns 29 in June. What does that make you?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Well, a couple years, it makes you a lot older, right? You age a lot in a couple years.He is so young to me. He has this childlike exuberance which is rare to see in a 28, 29-year-old. He’s been so fun to have on the team because INDYCAR is so different to him from anything he’s ever done in his young career.It was really to me exciting to have him part of the team. It’s starting to wear off a little bit, right? He’s not as much of a puppy. He’s almost getting to his twos and threes, to compare it to a dog. He’s kind of mellowed out. He’s still got a very big fire burning to do well.He’s here for one reason, too, and that’s to succeed. I can tell you he’s going to be pushing very hard which is good for all of us. If he’s fast and pushing, it’s going to be good for all of us at our team.
Q.You’re 30. You talked about getting older. You’re expecting your first child. How are you feeling about that? How might that change your life?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I’m so excited. I think it’s funny to see the dynamic shift. I was the one that wasn’t as excited to start the family. Not as much as Ashley. Now that we’re doing it, now that we’re close, I’m the one that’s like more excited. Ashley is the one that gets a little bit more nervous.It’s so funny to see the dynamic shift. I’m elated. I can’t wait. I’m really proud of her. She’s going to be a great mom in my opinion. It’s one of the reasons I love her, because I think she’s going to be such a great mom. It’s going to be cool, I’m excited for that.As far as the year and how I manage that, I don’t know how that’s going to completely change. It seems like the years I’ve had in INDYCAR, the ones that have had more chaos in my life are the ones that tend to go better. I hope that leads to good things for us this season.
Q.When is the baby due?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: April.
Q.A race weekend or…JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It’s off right now. Hopefully we can hit the gap right (smiling).
Q.You competed in Europe long time ago. You were close to Formula 1 when you went back to the U.S., sometime after your INDYCAR championship there were rumors of Formula 1. What are your F1 ambitions and do you still have them?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: For me the allure of F1 I think is the gravity of the cars. When I think about F1, I think about a manufacturers championship, trying to build the quickest cars that you can within — I should say within an unreasonable budget. That’s what was exciting about it.The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve been in racing and watched Formula 1, I don’t know it’s somewhere I really want to race. It doesn’t look as much of a driver’s championship to me. It’s a very impressive championship, it always has been. It’s something I would certainly like to do. I’d like to drive everything that I could to have the experience. Then I’d have more firsthand knowledge to really speak on it.I think INDYCAR is really where you’re going to get the most competitive product as a racing driver. When you’re a driver at the top level, you want to have an opportunity to compete, to win the championship, to win big races regardless of your situation.I think unfortunately that’s not present in Formula 1. So from that standpoint, it’s not as appealing. But I’d never say never on anything. You just never know how this stuff shifts.For me INDYCAR is my life. It’s a championship I care about more than any in the world. I want to see it flourish because it really deserves a lot of recognition I think for the incredible championship it is.
Q.Have you nailed down what the issue was in the 500?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I don’t know if you can. For me it’s going to be a dollop of this, a dollop of that. It’s a million areas, right?I don’t think we can pin our hat on one thing. There was no smoking gun. There usually isn’t. With Indianapolis, we just have to double down. We had to look at everything and hopefully it turns out to be 10 to 20 little things we found. We put all those together and it makes the difference for us.We certainly aren’t looking at one thing from last year that we felt like was deficient and we think that’s 80% or 90% of the problem. I don’t know that we can do that.That wasn’t the case. We looked at every area. We certainly saw some deficiencies in certain parts of the car. There were things found, but I don’t think it’s one thing or another. It’s going to be multiple things.
Q.Oval performance in general, the fact that we’re going to have a doubleheader at Iowa means that you can put a hundred points in the bank already.JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think is hard to say that. Past performance doesn’t necessarily transfer to future performance. I want to be very careful that we don’t ever feel that way going to Iowa.Obviously we had tremendous success there and we normally have good cars. It’s a couple years up the road. We haven’t been there. We weren’t there last year. We need to go testing I think and potentially see where we’re at, make sure we stay ahead there. It’s an important weekend because it’s a hundred points.I’m hoping we can repeat our past performance, but I’m not resting on it.
Q.Obviously Detroit is only going to be one race this year. Is that a disappointment to you because you generally perform pretty well there?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I guess I’m indifferent to it. I didn’t even realize it was one race until very recent.I’m just as excited to go there. I think we’ll still have a great show. If anything, I think it helps the burden of the team a little bit more. I feel really positive for our crew members because they’re going to be feeling it as they always do after May. I think that will be nice for everybody.Yeah, one show, two shows, I don’t know that I feel too different about it. We’re still going to have a great race. Love that track and hope we can still perform there like you said we have.
Q.You talked about media in the series, growing the sport. From your perspective as the series is trying to build off of the momentum of last year, from a driver’s standpoint, how do you weigh the job or the task of building your brand, being as personable as possible to fans on and off the track while also juggling the sponsors, everyone that you have to promote whenever you’re in front of a camera?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I try to keep it simple. For me you have to be authentic. I try to be exactly who I am and let people see that.You know what, that’s not always going to be the most popular thing. There are always going to be drivers that are more interesting, naturally more popular. I think that’s okay.The growth of this series is going to take the collection of all of us. It’s not going to be one person, one group. All of us have to be doing our job. There’s enough interesting personalities for everybody in this series. There’s going to be someone that you like to follow. That’s what sports is all about. You want people to root for, you want people to root against.I guess the burden of trying to grow the sport, it’s simplified for me. I’m just myself. I’m a competitor first and foremost. I love to compete. I want to be the best of the field. That’s kind of my shtick. You have everyone else that’s filtered in there. They have their storylines, too.I think there’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of opportunity here in our sport, which people recognize. There’s an incredible amount of parity. There’s a tremendous platform to show up, if you’re a good competitor, put in the work, you can succeed. We’ve got to push that with everybody, keep trying to find new ways to reach people and tell our story. That’s as simply as I can say it.
Q.You were somewhat outspoken earlier this off-season about the weight of the car, the development of it moving forward. Is that something you feel like has been addressed in talks with Jay Frye, other folks, as far as the development of new car coming in 2023?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, definitely. I mean, Jay and his team are extremely receptive to the feedback. There’s no animosity that I want to go or the other drivers want something from the series, we want something different. I think we’re all pushing in a common direction. It’s just a matter of how we get there, what the timeline is.That’s more the details of the new engine coming onboard, what are the components that come with that, when is there a new car that comes online with it, as well.I was vocal about the weight. I think it’s important that we keep the weight relatively low, low for an INDYCAR. In this series I think it’s good for multiple reasons. It’s good for performance. It’s good for safety.We don’t have to make the cars (indiscernible), but I think we have to keep them relatively light, that they’re not too heavy that it starts to impact safety or features like we have no power steering.There’s a balance like everything. I think INDYCAR is very receptive to that. They’re working on it. I think they will continue to try to find solutions to keep us in a good window, which is what I’ve been really asking for, just keep us in a good window.
Q.I know right now Team Penske is probably focusing on what they do more so than looking at the competition. In addition to the rookie class, you have two guys that have experience in other forms of racing that are going to be full-timers, Romain Grosjean with Andretti Autosport, that looks like it has potential to be a pretty good combination, and Jimmie Johnson running the full season. What do you expect to see out of those two running full-time deals?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think with Grosjean, for sure he’s going to have a good step forward. He already started his journey on a pretty solid footing, right? He was already very good at Coyne. I think he’ll be the same at Andretti, potentially even better. They’re going to be strong competition for us.Jimmie is going to have some continuity there, which is great. He’s going to have the full schedule like you said. I’m really interested to see how he does on the ovals. That’s going to be more akin to what he’s used to. I would expect him to be a little elevated there. We’ll continue to see how he does in year two. Great brand for our series, good to have those guys there.I’ll leave you with one thing. If you’re not supposed to eat food at night, why do they have a light bulb in the fridge? I can’t put my finger on that. I don’t know about you guys, but it’s strange to me.FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
WILL POWER, NO.12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET:THE MODERATOR: We have Will Power joining us here. Will, what do you think? Down to three cars, ready to roll?WILL POWER: Yeah, it’s going to make a big difference. No…
Q.What is the difference?WILL POWER: Really not much. I don’t think it’ll be a big difference. A little bit quieter in the engineering office.
Q.How’s home life with the little one around?WILL POWER: It’s good. It’s very enjoyable. Very, very enjoyable.
Q.What do you think you’ll need to do this season to kind of improve on what happened last year?WILL POWER: I mean, a good example of that was the second race at the Indy Road Course. The first race we struggled. Obviously reviewed that very closely and then came back and were once again very strong.We had quite a few tracks we struggled at last year, so we’ve got plenty of stuff to look at. We’ll do our homework and try and understand why we struggled and then move — yeah, do what we do best.
Q.Do you think in that regard then, kind of condensing the team down to three cars, will that improve things in terms of the way you kind of pick up data amongst yourselves?WILL POWER: I didn’t get the exact question.
Q.Just in terms of when you guys are exchanging data between the three of you, is that better than doing it with four?WILL POWER: No, it’s better to have more data, but it’s still three cars, still plenty of data.
Q.Apologies for the sidestep from INDYCAR, but given your past involvement, I was wondering if you have any thoughts about the recent changes at Force Indy regarding Myles Rowe with the team now choosing to leave USF2000 and focus on Indy Lights and Ernie Francis Jr instead?WILL POWER: Yeah, Myles is start working with him to get something, actually. He’s going to — pretty sure he’ll be starting the season in F2000. I’m pretty confident in saying that.Yeah, I think with Ernie Francis Jr., I think Roger wants to get an African-American in the INDYCAR Series as soon as possible. I think with his experience and talent, there’s a good chance that he’ll be the guy.We’ll see, but certainly keeping Myles on the Road to Indy.
Q.Are you still in contact with him, with Myles? Are you trying to help him further his career?WILL POWER: Yes. Yep. Still speaking to him, still texting with him and still working to get him in a seat for this year.
Q.You spoke about this in written format, but could you talk through how instrumental Kevin Kalkhoven was in getting you where you are today?WILL POWER: Yeah. I mean, from a series perspective, he kept Champ Car alive, between him and Jerry Forsythe, and from a team perspective he gave me that opportunity in 2008 where I was probably going to — I wasn’t sure where I was going to be. I was fortunate to end up with that team. It was a great team to drive for. I got the last Champ Car win at Long Beach there with Kevin, so I was very sad to hear of his passing. I think he contributed a lot to open wheel racing in the U.S.He will be remembered for what he did for open wheel racing.
Q.What will be the focus for this year to be a better year than last year?WILL POWER: I think, yeah, we’ve done some good development for this year. Obviously going to — whenever you struggle it always seems to — you always seem to come back stronger because you have a closer look at exactly what’s going on and why.Yep, I hope we’re more competitive.
Q.It seems there’s some reshuffling in the engineering department at Team Penske, but they always leave you and David Faustino alone. How important is that, that they let the two of you remain one item?WILL POWER: Yeah, I think that was — yep, very grateful. You get to know your engineer so well, and he knows you so well. You certainly mix well to get the car going in the right direction quickly.Yeah, it feels very at home you could say.
Q.Also, Graham Rahal was in here today and stressed the point that the weight of the INDYCAR with all the changes and the aeroscreen and now hybrid has gotten significantly heavier. You used to be INDYCAR’s king of the road winning all the road course races and street course races back about 2010, 2011. How big of an impact is that going to have on the drivable of the car?WILL POWER: I think the car is too heavy. I think once they add that hybrid thing, it’s too much. Too much. It already was with the wind screen. It’s become less and less nimble.They’ve got to find a way to lose some weight out of the car.FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


JANUARY 18, 2022 ED CARPENTER RACING DRIVERS ED CARPENTER, RINUS VEEKAY AND CONOR DALY met with members of the media during 2022 NTT INDYCAR Series Media Content Days. Full transcripts: ED CARPENTER, ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET:THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Ed Carpenter. Welcome back. Another year. You got a busy plate of drivers, races, goals are probably still the same. Rinus VeeKay. You signed Conor Daly. You’re in a driver suit still yourself.ED CARPENTER: Still got it on somehow (smiling).
THE MODERATOR: What are your thoughts coming into this one?ED CARPENTER: I’m excited. It’s nice to have some continuity, expand the continuity a little bit. For me obviously still chasing Indianapolis and as many other races and wins as I can compete in.With Rinus, looking forward to year three. He had a lot of success over his first two seasons, had a breakthrough win last year. Also had some inconsistency last year which you can see at times in year two.I think he’s entering the phase of his career where he’s starting to mature as a driver and also a person, becoming more independent. At the end of the day he’s still a kid, he’s so young. So I think you’re just going to see him come into his own skin and talent even more so this year.I know Conor, having worked with him, I think he’ll benefit from being able to focus a little better on one team, one home, not bouncing around, looking for his next opportunity. Looking forward to that continuity.The two of them did work well together over the past two years. Having a good understanding of each other to be able to carry that forward I think will be a good thing for the team.
THE MODERATOR: You’ll run two cars at all the races except Indianapolis?ED CARPENTER: That’s what we’re confirmed for today. That could change.
THE MODERATOR: Is it difficult to say or you’re really pursuing yourself in some oval races?ED CARPENTER: No, we’re definitely working towards me doing some more, but just not to a point we’re going to lock it in yet. I have a desire to race more. This opportunity came about that kind of steered us that direction as a team and business. When you get those, to me it was very similar to the process of me not running full-time in 2014.This is a great opportunity for our business with a new partner coming in to transition the 20 car to one full-time driver. I know I’ll be at Indy. Maybe you’ll see me at some or all of the other ovals.
THE MODERATOR: That means a different car number for you?ED CARPENTER: Yeah, I think so.
THE MODERATOR: Do we know?ED CARPENTER: There’s a couple candidates. We haven’t fully come to agreement yet, but…
THE MODERATOR: Questions.Q.Was the decision to make the 20 car full-time based purely on financials or were there other reasons behind it?ED CARPENTER: The 20’s been full-time. Moving it to one driver versus a split role I think is what you’re alluding to.Yeah, I mean, everything we do at some level is partnership related. We had the fortune to bring on BitNile as a partner. They were looking for one driver to go behind for the season. I’m definitely not going to go back to running road courses outside of an emergency sub situation if required.Definitely sponsor, business driven for sure.
Q.Obviously Rinus has already been discussed as a future champion, multiple race wins across a season. How do you feel about keeping hold of him in the long-term? If he has a good season, it’s great for the team, but means he’s more talked about as well.ED CARPENTER: Yeah, that’s natural. I think some years there’s more movement than others. Every team’s after talent, whether it’s behind the wheel or on the car, the engineering office. I don’t remember an off-season that’s gone by where I haven’t had to defend myself from within from someone wanting to get a driver, engineer, mechanic.It’s the nature of the beast, what we do. You can’t prevent it. You just have to try to provide an environment and opportunity from within that makes them want to stay with Ed Carpenter Racing.I know Rinus enjoys his environment right now. It’s our job to make sure we’re providing him with opportunity to meet his goals that he has personally and professionally, give him a place where he can accomplish those.We both want the same thing. If we have a successful year, I think we’ll be positioned well to carry on. If he feels like he needs something else, he’ll be able to pursue that when he can. The goal is for him to be with Ed Carpenter Racing for a long time.
Q.You mentioned a couple minutes ago putting Conor in a car with one team. He tweeted this was a multi-year deal. You said maybe the comfort that might bring him. What do you hope to see more of from Conor this year knowing he’s going to have a full season in the car, planning and scheming for what his future in 2023 is going to look like?ED CARPENTER: Yeah, I think we have a good feel for each other. Conor knows where we’ve struggled and what our emphasis has been as a team to improve. We’ve been working with him long enough that we know what his strengths are and areas for improvement on his end as well.For sure Conor, he’s fast, he’s been able to produce good qualifying results and have some good runs. I think the goal for him this season is to maintain that pace that he’s shown throughout the rest of a weekend. That’s not pointing the finger at him and saying he needs to do that, it’s a group effort. That will be the collective focus, to finish off weekends a little better than we were able to last year.
Q.You’ve seen INDYCAR on this upward swing, growth arc. We have 14 races on network TV, some added momentum in some other areas. What would you like to see the series do to continue on this upward swing and take advantage of some of these opportunities you have this year?ED CARPENTER: I think we need to do everything in our power, which I believe that everyone is, to make sure the product we’re putting out there with this opportunity that we have, with the growing number of network races, to be putting the right product out to market to continue the growth, not only cater to the great fans that we have but to draw in more fans and grow the base.At the end of the day that’s going to be the thing that continues to drive us forward. We have a great product, but it can always be better. That needs to be the goal.
Q.With regards to the upcoming year, you came close to getting a podium at Indianapolis. What would it mean to get back to the podium this season?ED CARPENTER: That’s the plan. Indy was a tough one last year. We had a great car. We were right where we wanted to be the first stint, had a pit lane stall for some reason. I thought I made a mistake, but there was a bit of an anomaly that caused that. Spent the rest of the 450 miles catching up just to get to the lead pack for the race to end.I still feel really good about the cars that we have for there. Just need to be able to get through with a clean execution the whole way, be in position for it.We just got back to the front too late last year.
Q.What impressed you about Rinus as a driver?ED CARPENTER: I mean, he’s just one of those rare guys that comes along that is an exceptionally talented, naturally gifted driving a car, maximizing the car. He never gives up. He’s pretty strong at all types of circuits that we go to, whether it’s short oval, speedway, road course, street course, he’s pretty versatile.He definitely has all the tools to develop into a champion. That’s the goal with him, is to get a championship.
THE MODERATOR: Rinus VeeKay had an injury last year mid-season after Indianapolis. Never really found his stride afterwards. Do you have some commonalities that help explain that?ED CARPENTER: That’s been a big topic of conversation internally and a lot of other people have asked that, as well.Certainly I think it was a setback in preparation training, et cetera. The other thing that I think factored in a little bit late in the year, he went to a couple venues that he hadn’t been to or raced at in the past with the way the previous season was. I think there’s a combination of factors that took place. In some instances we just didn’t do a good enough job executing through an event.At the end of the day it’s not something that’s making me lose sleep at night. I’m pretty confident that as a group we’ll get back on track.
THE MODERATOR: You talked about your problems early in the Indy 500 last year. The second half of the race was one of your best segments. Is that as good as it’s been except for the year maybe you finished second?ED CARPENTER: In its entirety, yeah. I think we had a really good car, we were fast, not quite good enough in traffic. Had we not had that issue, could have just been in the top five all day, I think it would have given us an opportunity to finish higher than what we did.Yeah, I think the team collectively, we had really good cars. Conor led the most laps, Rinus was up there leading as well. We had what we needed. We just didn’t put together a complete race with any of the three cars.
THE MODERATOR: Back to the Zoom for more questions.
Q.For 2023 there’s quite a radical difference coming both with the power unit, other parts of the car. How much time can you focus on the 2022 car when you’re also having to have people off to the side investigating all your possibilities for the ’23 machine?ED CARPENTER: I would say for the most part right now with the information that we currently have access to, we’re really focused on the now and this coming season. There’s going to be a point in time probably after we get through the month of May where we’ll start getting more information and getting more involved directly with the next season’s changes.But as we sit here today, the ball’s not really in our court, so to speak, on that side of things, on the preparation. It’s going to come before the season’s over. I feel like we’re prepared as a group to manage that. But right now everyone’s focus is on 2022.
Q.As a part-time driver, you’re eligible to be Chevrolet’s test driver for the 2023 spec engines.ED CARPENTER: Yeah, I don’t know how all that’s going to shake out yet. I’ll definitely do whatever I’m asked to do.
Q.Conor had a really good run at the 500 last year. Obviously you want to win it as a driver. What would it mean to you to win it as a team owner? Was there a point when you looked up and said, Oh, crap, I have a good chance to win this with one of my other cars?ED CARPENTER: First off, I’ll be happy, for sure be happy, if any of our team cars can win. Everything we do is as a group and a unit. That doesn’t mean that I would not want to win it myself if I got to pick.We definitely go there with the same intention on every one of our cars and every one of our drivers. It’s hard to say what my emotions would be like as far as happy meter personally and professionally. Either way it’s an accomplishment.I know from seeing how Bryan Herta, for example, reacted with winning it as an owner, it’s equally as impactful for what we’re doing, which is on a different level.As far as it goes in the race, I don’t really pay attention to that so much or think about that. Obviously I’ll see and know when they’re up there, but really just focus on my own race and cockpit at that point, not thinking about scenarios like that, just staying focused on my job at that moment.
Q.There’s a lot of popular drivers that have been in this race, but you’ll always go down as the hometown boy, hometown hero. You get great cheers from the fans in qualifying and in the race. How important is that to you?ED CARPENTER: I mean, it makes it fun. At the end of the day what we’re doing is fun. We’re all extremely lucky to be able to drive race cars for a living, to be able to drive INDYCARS for a living, compete in the Indy 500, the greatest race in the world. It definitely makes it more fun.The year there was no one there, it was awful. It wasn’t the same. I think it was an eye opener for everybody. Once we got going, you move past it. The energy level and the excitement just wasn’t the same with no one there.Yeah, it’s gratifying. When you’re around a long time, people eventually like you, so… Thankful for that (smiling).
Q.What is your approach to training during that time and staying in shape? What kind of guidance do you give to the other guys to be able to put up with the season?ED CARPENTER: I’ve worked with the same trainer for quite a while. We have our routine kind of that’s evolved over the years as my schedule has changed and I have to balance my driver schedule and owner schedule. Conor and I actually work with the same trainer so we train together I would say 75% of the time, schedule permitting.Rinus himself, he’s had someone that he’s worked with in the past. He just made a change in working with the same trainer as me somewhat now as well.I don’t question any of our guys’ preparation.
THE MODERATOR: Thought your training was chasing children.ED CARPENTER: That’s what I do from 4:30 to whenever I go to sleep.
THE MODERATOR: Asher, you’re on, brother.Q.Is there still any contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay on getting in?ED CARPENTER: I talk to Ryan still because we’re friends. We have been for a long time. I’m not sure that there’s really an opportunity at the here and now, which Ryan and I have talked about. But I will always continue to talk to Ryan because he’s a good guy. I’m sure he’ll end up being around at some point, whether it’s with us or someone else because he definitely still has a desire to be here.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
THE MODERATOR: Quite disappointed you moved out of Speedway, Indiana, where we are receiving the slightest bit of snow.RINUS VEEKAY: I’m sorry. I’m not good with the cold. I enjoy sunshine a lot more.
THE MODERATOR: Second season with Ed Carpenter Racing is about to begin. Your thoughts? Optimism, I assume?RINUS VEEKAY: Yeah, I’m very optimistic. I think this off-season we have not just waited around for the season to come around, but we have definitely taken all of our time to improve compared to last season.We definitely knew what we had to improve, so we spent a lot of time going over it, tried some different stuff. I’m curious to see how much we will improve this next season.
THE MODERATOR: Your boss was asked earlier about the second half of your season after the collarbone injury. Was that a factor in the second half of the season or did you think it was going to some new tracks?RINUS VEEKAY: There was one race — actually two races. I missed Road America. Mid-Ohio, I wasn’t 100%. I was happy to be back in the car, but I wasn’t 100% yet. The rest of the races I had no problems with the collarbone.I think the biggest problem was, yeah, I think as a team we were just struggling a little bit getting up to pace, showing up fast. Instead of tweaking the car a little to get the last few 10ths out, we were just trying to determine the whole setup.I think we just struggled a little bit, which can happen. It only showed the whole team what we had to improve for the coming season.
THE MODERATOR: What is new on your car this year?RINUS VEEKAY: A lot. I think the thought about the whole car setup is different. I have spent a lot of time with my engineer, even staying at his house on weekends, doing fun stuff, but still making sure my feedback will be translated in a different way so he can take everything, like every little thing I say, translated into the setup.Right now he has a better view of what I need in the car than before this off-season. So I think we definitely improved. I think everyone’s really at the same level of we know what everyone needs on the car.
THE MODERATOR: Was that Woody?RINUS VEEKAY: Brent is the strategist. Matt Barnes. Actually right now while I’m in Indy I’m staying at his apartment. I’ve been here already for five days. I’ve been at the team, yeah, tried to show my face as much as possible, even when it’s off-season, be part of the team.
THE MODERATOR: Are you going to give out the address, a pizza party tonight?RINUS VEEKAY: No pizza for me. I’ve been eating out too much this week.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q.You obviously came through the Road to Indy. New crop coming in this year. What advice do you have for them?RINUS VEEKAY: First of all, very proud of the Road to Indy of producing such talents, making sure they get to INDYCAR. That’s also quite something. Getting the talent to win in your series is one thing, but really making them have a career in INDYCAR is special.I hope they will do very well. I think for them it’s hard to see. In the Road to Indy, you’re winning a lot if you do well. David Malukas. You’re racing for wins every weekend. In INDYCAR, they will probably not come close to a win in like the first 10 races because they’re learning, everything is new. It’s a lot different than you’re used to. It’s a lot more stuff.If you think you got everything, there’s so much more you can learn. I think just being patient, focused on your weekend’s execution. Whenever you do well enough to win a race, it will come your way.
Q.How beneficial is it to you this season going into the year with not having the consistency of having Conor with you but also having him as a full-time teammate this year?RINUS VEEKAY: Yeah, I’m very happy for Conor that he’s back again. It’s always been a lot of fun. I think it will definitely help Conor, too, to have a full season with one team, one team only. It will not only help Conor but also his crew, if they’re just working with one guy.I’m very happy with it. I think it was definitely very good. I’m looking forward. He was on an upward curve throughout the last part of the season last season. If he can pull that through, I can get back to what I was like the beginning of last season, we can both go for many top 10s and good results.
Q.I wanted to ask if one of the targets for you guys is specifically consistency? Obviously we saw you driving like a bat out of hell in GP of Indy. We come back to the Indy road course, you’re kind of relatively nowhere. We’re seeing Penske, like Will Power did the opposite of that. Is that something that you feel you have a handle on as a team?RINUS VEEKAY: Yeah, we definitely have put a lot of focus on it because it’s not something — yeah, it’s not something that you forget so quickly. If you look at Romain Grosjean, he had two consistent Indy GPs, which is very good for him.I think what was basically the big factor between those two weekends was NASCAR running in the second one. The more they started running, the worse my car started to feel. I think we were not proactive enough on making setup changes towards, yeah, like fighting that NASCAR rubber.
Q.Obviously you led quite a few laps at Indy, as did Conor. Do you feel you are ready to fight? Say you got involved with the same kind of fight with a veteran as Helio like Palou did last year, do you feel like you’ll be ready to take that fight to any veteran INDYCAR driver?RINUS VEEKAY: I definitely think so, yeah. I have a lot of experience now in Indy actually, running in the front, passing cars and everything. I know with Ed Carpenter Racing I have a great car.Yeah, I just cannot wait for the Indy 500 this year. I think really I feel like a veteran now going to my third Indy 500. Just, yeah, I might have an advantage being a little younger and not knowing the dangers compared to Helio.
Q.Ed was in before talking about you. You’re young, but it’s your third year, you came through the Road to Indy. You’re growing up. He talked about your finding some independence. What do you think he meant by that?RINUS VEEKAY: Can you repeat the question? Sorry.
Q.Ed was saying that you’re growing up, becoming more independent. What does that entail?RINUS VEEKAY: Well, I was always having a lot of fun. I still have a lot of fun, as long as when that goes away there’s a serious problem.At the beginning of last season, like everything was fine. I was joking a lot. Sometimes a little too joke-y. We got some hard weekends in a row. It really made me think. I think it really opened my eyes to always keep looking for that little bit of extra speed that’s hidden for the weekend.Now I know that I’ve won my first INDYCAR race, I want to win more. Yeah, in the future I want to win an Indy 500 and also become an INDYCAR champion. To be able to do that, yeah, I need to get every — find every little speed I can from wherever I can.I think last half of the season really opened my eyes in a good way. I think it really matured me, too.
Q.When you were talking about the car setup for this year, you said there’s some different thinking behind it. What have you been trying to do there, what the new thinking of the setup of the car is?RINUS VEEKAY: Yeah, so what I said, I have spent a lot of time with my engineer. We’re always in a very serious setting where we’re always talking about racing, thinking very deeply.But now because I was staying at my engineer’s house for so much time, actually we’re just laid back talking, very chill. If you don’t dig so deep, you say very normal things that actually you never think about saying.We talked about some stuff about setups. He really knows what I need from a car right now. I said a few things in the off-season which kind of opened his eyes, gave him a direction of thinking which way we have to go on which tracks.I think that definitely helped. I think team atmosphere has never been better than it is at the moment.
Q.You’ve been connected to someone who is going to be sought after in the driver market if you have a good season. Is that something you’ve taken with you on your journey in 2022? Is it something you think about that essentially there’s going to be some big teams looking at you in the future?RINUS VEEKAY: Yeah, I know that’s the case at this moment. I’m not really thinking about it. For now I’m just focusing on every weekend producing the best possible result what we can do. Yeah, actually for me actually I want to show myself and show the team that we can actually stay competitive throughout the whole season. I will see whatever happens after that. I think as long as you show the best driver you are, the best part of yourself, you will always have a future in INDYCAR.
Q.Ed mentioned with growth and maturing, he said you either changed up your workout routine or switched trainers altogether. Can you talk about how as a driver you go about deciding to switch things up from a physical standpoint.RINUS VEEKAY: Yeah, so this off season I’ve been focused on being physically fit a lot, especially after what happened to my collarbone. I didn’t really have any complications, but I just wanted to be stronger. I felt like the stronger I am, the more work I put in, you will definitely feel the difference on track.I actually did a lot of strength training. Then I got into the simulator. I was complaining to the guys, There’s no force in the steering wheel. It’s so light.They’re like, No, Rinus, it’s about the same strength as it was before.I’m like, Okay, that was a good sign.That was funny. But actually, yeah, I was always (indiscernible) around with my personal trainer. We actually stopped working together after four years. Yeah, it was time for me for some change, trying something else.I think for me not being 24/7 with a personal trainer also makes me just go head first in some other things that normally I would let him do. If there were, like, things with the team, if I’m in Indianapolis, right now I’m staying at my engineer’s place, trying to be doing a lot of stuff with the team, where with him I would always take off, go work out. I still do that but then on my own or with a trainer in Indianapolis.
Q.I wanted to get your thoughts on your countryman Max Verstappen had an exciting finale. Your thoughts on how that went down?RINUS VEEKAY: Yeah, it was a crazy season finale. Probably the craziest in history with Hamilton leading the championship every lap until the last one almost.Yeah, it was a lot of controversy about FIA, how they handled stuff. Well, Max definitely got — definitely was the better one. How do you say that?
THE MODERATOR: It worked out better for him.RINUS VEEKAY: It worked out better for him this time. But Hamilton had a lot of luck. It worked out for Hamilton several times earlier in the season.If you look at the stats, Max was the better driver last season. Definitely a deserved championship for him.
Q.When you think about the upcoming wins for yourself, would you rather they be that exciting or a straightforward victory?RINUS VEEKAY: Really depends. Really depends, yeah. I like a good straightforward victory where you’re just faster than everyone else, you sweep the floor with them. I think that’s pretty cool.But any kind of win, a win is a win. I would take any kind of win as long as it’s fair.
THE MODERATOR: Apologize for saying this is your second year. 2020 kind of got away from me.RINUS VEEKAY: It did to everyone, right?
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for being here. Enjoy your day.RINUS VEEKAY: Thank you very much.FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
THE MODERATOR: Doing well. The season begins February 27th so you’re right on time.CONOR DALY: Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of par for the course really. I’ve done late deals before, I’ve done no deals before, and I’ve done I guess somewhat early deals before.Yeah, doesn’t matter, as long as we got it done (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: How did the process come together? It was a juggling act as it usually is.CONOR DALY: Well, I’m willing to tell you a great story about it. This truly is a very Conor Daly-type story, how this all came about.Everything kind of seemed to be going the wrong way, all of our deals we were working on were kind of pitter pattering out. I planned a 30th birthday trip to Las Vegas, obviously. At the time I had talked to a long-time friend of ours, both me and Doug knew him as well, Doug Boles. He had this idea for this meeting with this guy that was interested in racing, INDYCAR racing. I was like, You know what, happy to do it.Are you going to be in Vegas by chance like December 17, 18?I said, Funny you ask. Yes, I will be there for my birthday.I went out there with me, Alex Rossi and two of my other friends from Indy here, and Travis Pastrana met us out there as well.Had this meeting on Saturday. I was like, This is it, this is what I got. I have this meeting or I have nothing.We woke up Saturday. My friends, they were still celebrating. I was not. I was locked in. I was sweating. I was like we tried to have lunch. I ate food. Travis got in. He’s very exciting. It’s very tempting to start doing what Travis wants to do, which is like jump off of buildings, cool stuff like that.I said, Hey, I can’t. I got a meeting.I go to this meeting at like 6:00 in the afternoon, to do whatever they’re going to do with Travis and Alex.By the next hour and a half we shook on a deal what it was announced at. I was like, Wow, that was the craziest thing.After that I went back and shouted at Travis and Alex, my friends, I think I’m employed. We had an incredible next two days.Ed, I texted Ed that night. It was obviously — he’s on east coast time. It was very late for me by the time the meeting was done. Ed called me at like 5 a.m. Vegas time. I think I just did this deal. I was obviously still awake because we were celebrating.I said, Hey, man, how is it going?He was like, Is that legit?I said, I think so.He said obviously, Call me when you wake up.I obviously went to sleep for a while and called him. Yeah, incredible story. It was a wild. People always say, Conor, you spend too much time in Vegas.I was like, Guess what, got me a job this time, you losers.It was great. Worked out well.
THE MODERATOR: Multi-year?CONOR DALY: Yeah. It was an incredible deal. Todd at BitNile, the holding company, they want to do an incredible amount in INDYCAR. They love INDYCAR. Todd has been an INDYCAR fan for a long time, which is really, really cool.Obviously we love the people that support our sport, right, which is really cool. Now he wants to get directly involved. He’s big on undervalued assets. He thought I was an undervalued asset, which I appreciate. That’s great.We’re going to try to really blow this program up, have an incredible time with it, make sure we do the business that we can do for him, give the support that he’s given us for him and his companies.
THE MODERATOR: Somehow I’m not surprised.CONOR DALY: Yeah, me either. Travis, I tell you what, the look on his face when I told him.He’s like, Man, that’s awesome.It was great people to celebrate with. Alex Rossi, Travis Pastrana. Mount that on a wall somewhere.
THE MODERATOR: You’re going to be in the 20 car all year, which means Ed is not.CONOR DALY: Yeah. Since the announcement people every day are asking, Are you doing Indy?I’m like, What part of the full season is not the Indy 500?It’s really funny to see. It’s just hard for people to disassociate Ed. Even me, Yes, I think I’m doing the full season.What is Ed doing?I haven’t asked him yet, to be honest.Actually I have to thank Ed in a very large way because, I mean, he did step aside for me to drive the 20, which is really cool.He’s always been a great owner. He loves the team. He does a great job with who works with us. This was obviously a very business-driven move. It’s hard to jump out of the seat. I mean, I’m a race car driver. Ed is a race car driver. You know what I mean?Yeah, it will still be great to work with him at Indy. He’s the boss so he can do whatever races he wants, I’m sure. Who knows. All I know is I’m in for the season, which is great.
THE MODERATOR: Amazing stuff.We’ll go to questions.
Q.Had this deal not worked out, what were you going to do?CONOR DALY: Great question. I considered a lot of things. But I really don’t know. Anything that I had planned in the background, like a B plan, still obviously had to have some sponsorship, whether that was NASCAR truck racing or whatever it was. All of those deals were kind of not falling away but being subtracted from the numbers that we needed.I really don’t know. Doesn’t matter now, I guess (smiling).
Q.A full season with the same team. How good will that continuity be for you?CONOR DALY: Well, honestly it’s awesome. I have not had that since 2017. That’s a long time ago. I feel like I was a child back then. Didn’t even have a mullet, didn’t even have a beard. That was my second year in INDYCAR at the time. A lot has changed since then.I was speaking to my engineer Pete yesterday. He’s like, I’m really pumped to do the whole season with you. That’s going to be great.Yeah, it will be nice just to kind of have that relationship.It is awkward going from team to team. There’s no doubt about that. It’s just an odd thing. In racing you’re very much in-house, you know what I mean? You don’t want to share information with anybody else because you got to keep it in-house, keep your stuff going on. Everybody is a little bit like, Great to see you, where you going now? Someone else that we want to beat?Kind of an awkward situation. It will be something that I’ve craved for a long time just to get back to. It will be nice not taking stuff from one locker to another.
Q.We’ve only got a real direct front view of you. How is that mullet doing?CONOR DALY: We went a little bit more less. I don’t know what someone called it today.Josef said, That’s hot.I said if Josef is saying that, that’s good. Josef is a beautiful man. It’s important that he respects it right out the gate. That’s good. I’m going to write that down in my notebook later, my journal.
Q.As one of the most popular drivers in the series, what do you think INDYCAR could do in order to grow the fan base?CONOR DALY: Great question. Wow.I mean, every sport is looking to grow their fan base, right? It’s a power play all across the board. The more people that support it, the more your sport as you said, the people in the sport are succeeding.There’s a lot that people are doing all across the board. You’re seeing different entities with television programs, with different social strategies.I don’t have the answer for that. Everyone has their own opinion on that. I mean, I think for us as drivers, we have to do a lot more. I think it takes more work than it used to.Our goal as a kid, you were to be the best driver you could be. I think a lot of what we have to do now is be the best brand that you can be. The driving is obviously the most important part. If you’re winning races, doing things, that’s great. If there’s no one watching those races, that’s also a problem because then you need to be able to race more and win more. There’s also a lot of work you have to do to make sure there are races to win.I think there’s a lot that we have to do as personalities. I think there’s a lot of drivers in this series that are awesome, awesome talents, but also awesome personalities. I just think we have to work harder to do that. It’s not necessarily one person or the other. A lot of it comes from us, too.Would I love to see us have a Netflix show? Yeah, for sure. But I’d also like to go to the moon. I don’t know which one of those things is going to come first but it’s hard to do both of those things.There’s a lot of people that want to see our drivers and the series go to a very, very high level. Everyone is working to do that. It’s not like everyone is here sitting around hoping that it’s going to happen. Everyone is working towards that goal of seeing INDYCAR grow and succeed and have people get there. I have faith in those people that are working there.Hope is not a strategy. As long as we’re doing things, eventually that goal will be reached where our fans are continuing to grow. Hopefully see us all do cool things on the racetrack.
Q.Do you think, talking about the Netflix stuff, will be cool that you have some camera behind you? How do you think will be the dynamic if you have someone looking for you in every place that you go?CONOR DALY: I think it’s awesome. I think that’s the way to really bring people into what we are doing. I think there’s so much that we do that is not — when you watch the TV broadcast, we put on our helmet, we get in the car and we try to do things that not many other human beings can do on the planet, which is really cool. There’s also a lot that goes on to get there.I think that’s a massive step that could be discovered and will be shown for sure, so… There it is.
Q.On the media side, we’ve lost some really big names, full-time driver-wise, in the series from Hinchcliffe to Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sebastien Bourdais. We’re seeing a lot of maybe unfamiliar faces to a lot of INDYCAR fans. I know part of growing this fan base is getting the 14 races on network TV. Another part has to be having drivers build brands to make a lot of these young drivers be more familiar faces to a casual INDYCAR fan. What do you feel either drivers as individuals or the series can do to help build some bigger brands, bigger names?CONOR DALY: Well, I mean, the guys that you said that we lost, I could immediately tell you guys that we just gained. You know what I mean? There’s guys like Kyle Kirkwood. We know Jimmie Johnson and Romain Grosjean are full-time. They’re superstars, take a lot of attention. Kyle Kirkwood is an electric personality. I’ve hung out with him. I like that guy. He’s very, very talented.But as the previous question, we got to make sure that we make sure that people know that those guys are there, you know what I mean?I think there’s always a changing of the guard. There’s always people I’ve seen in the sport, out of the sport. It’s weird to think I’ve seen that, you know what I mean? Devlin deFrancesco that was coached when I was in INDYCAR. It’s wild. Devlin’s dad used to sponsor me when I was in F3. It’s crazy. It’s an awesome position to be in, see all these young guys like Callum, the rookie class is really cool, strong, you know what I mean?There’s a lot that is going on but there’s always going to be new people in and some people out, some people that come back, some people that go away. It’s kind of part of the game, right?I’m excited about the talent that we have. Obviously the full-time drivers right now, I mean, it’s probably the most full-time drivers we’ve had for a long time. It’s very, very exciting. Everything about it is really cool.You have Patricio O’Ward testing in Formula 1. People are saying, Is he going to Formula 1? Is he going to Formula 1? He’s in INDYCAR right now. That’s really cool. You know what I mean?
THE MODERATOR: With the rookie class, Tatiana, you have worked with.CONOR DALY: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: In Star Mazda?CONOR DALY: Tatiana was my teammate in 2010. It’s crazy to see. She’s been awesome. Her family is great, great people all across the board. I’ve obviously followed her journey since we were teammates. I keep up with her every now and then, talk to her every now and then. It’s cool to see what’s going on. It’s great. Have another female in the series, awesome. Great stuff.
Q.You seem like no matter what interviews, being on track, on Twitter, you seem like you’re a person who is always just yourself. You don’t ever seem like you have a façade or anything like that. I don’t know that you agree with this, but I know some fans feel maybe it’s because so many of these driver deals run year to year, sponsors are so important, some drivers maybe hold back or don’t show their true selves in front of the camera. Is that something you feel like would go a long way helping build some of these driver brands or get fans to know more about a driver? I as a person who follows the series know all those drivers, but maybe the casual fan might not know who Kyle Kirkwood is off the track, something like that. Is that something you feel would be important?CONOR DALY: I mean, I think a lot of people agree with how I do things. A lot don’t obviously.I think I would love for everyone to be able to see these guys how I see them sometimes. You know what I mean? That’s never going to happen. We’re never going to see certain people in the lights. They don’t want them to see theirselves, right? Everyone is going to do what they want to do.Teams are going to have certain policies as well, right? There’s a team effort that goes around with their drivers.I mean, I can only say what I can say, right? We have incredible people here. We have incredible people that want to see this series succeed. I think in general who doesn’t in this paddock want us to grow, right?Again, the common goal for everyone is to, like, be better, be more successful. Everyone wants to win races. Everyone wants to succeed. Everyone wants to make more money. By doing that all together, we can all hopefully attain that common goal.I would love to see a lot of us work together to do that I think better. There’s a little bit more we probably can all do together.Do I have the answers? No. I’m not the INDYCAR wizard of success obviously. I think there’s a lot of cool people that we have in the series that are working to make that happen and I trust those people.
Q.What does the continuity of the deal with ECR do for your confidence?CONOR DALY: I think it takes confidence to be at a very, very high level. I’ve been a guy that’s there to do a certain amount of races. Now I’m the guy that’s doing all the races, which is really cool.I know that us as a team, we have done so much together already. I think from year to year we’ve shown that we’ve improved for sure in a lot of different areas. I’m excited for what’s ahead. I think when I listen to my engineer say, Hey, we’re going to test here, here, here and here.I’m like, That’s a lot of places, which is great. If I get to Texas, wow, haven’t done that in a long time. If I get to test at Iowa, haven’t done that in a long time. That will be really, really cool. I can’t wait for those types of things. It builds the confidence.Confidence right now is at an absolute massively high level. I can’t wait.
THE MODERATOR: Appreciate your time. Congratulations on your Vegas trip.CONOR DALY: Thank you. Yeah, Vegas, you always hope is successful for many, many different reasons. This one was extremely successful.


JANUARY 18,2022 ARROW MCLAREN RACING SP DRIVERS PATO O’WARD AND FELIX ROSENQVIST met with members of the media during 2022 NTT INDYCAR Series Media Content Days. Full transcripts: PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 ARROW MCLAREN RACING SP CHEVROLET:
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Pato O’Ward, driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Felix just came in here and said there isn’t anything we don’t know about you because you give us everything you have. So let it roll.PATO O’WARD: I’ll let it roll.
THE MODERATOR: Talk about your excitement for this season; you’ve got the McLaren organization that seems to be riding a big wave of momentum. Just talk about the excitement.PATO O’WARD: It’s cool, man. It’s really cool to be a part of this new McLaren acquisition with the team, and we’re all one team, Extreme E, Formula 1, INDYCAR. It’s really, really cool to see, great to be a part of it. There’s been a lot of hard work in the off-season, a lot, a lot of hard work. I know we say that every year, but I sure hope that all these long hours and long days are going to be for something, and yeah, we’re ready to get rolling.
THE MODERATOR: What is your routine? You talk about long days. I assume that’s all in meetings and sim work and so forth?PATO O’WARD: Thankfully I haven’t been in the sim yet. But specifically the engineers, I’m not taking all the credit on this because all I’ve had to do is just maintain myself in shape and as ready as I can mentally and physically, but in terms of actually having really long days and hours, trying to find little bits and pieces of time here and there. It’s all the engineers.Hopefully the end of our championship last year lit a fire under their butts that hopefully pushes throughout this year.
Q.What has to change or improve this year for you to win the championship?PATO O’WARD: I mean, in short, I just don’t think we’ve had a very consistent car. Where we’ve been strong, we’ve been very strong, but where we haven’t been strong, we’ve been very weak, and that’s where we’ve lost a lot of points. I feel like there’s no sugar coating it. It’s just not good enough.I have to try and maximize what I can control, and I know the engineers are going to do their part. We’re not up to where Penske, Andretti and Ganassi are. We sure as hell are trying to and working hard for that, but they are Penske, Ganassi and Andretti for a reason.Yeah, I think we’re definitely on the way. It’s been a path, but I think we keep getting better and we keep putting the bar higher and higher every year. This year we’ve got it pretty much as high as you want it to be. We were close to the 500 win. We were very close to the championship win. Yeah, there’s just — the big cookies are left.
Q.We’ve seen you do a lot of stuff this off-season with the McLaren Formula 1 team. It almost felt like you were a part of that crew already. Does it kind of feel the same to you?PATO O’WARD: I mean, they’ve been so welcoming. Man, it was such a cool experience in Abu Dhabi and just all the preparation that I had before then, it was definitely just something very new. But I think it’s just going to make me better in every way, and definitely trying to learn as much as I can from that side and try and bring stuff over here to try and just boost everything up because I feel like the little bits and pieces we can get from here and there are just going to help our performance and make us all better.
Q.Is that an end goal for you to be able to drive those crazy fast cars around the world?PATO O’WARD: For sure, yeah. That is definitely — I mean, my dream to be a race car driver started with that, so I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t.
Q.The fact that you got to drive that, does it almost kind of — it’s like here’s a new toy for you to try out, but now you’ve got to kind of focus on what your job at hand is. Is it almost like, do you see yourself sometimes sitting there thinking, man, I’d like to be back in that McLaren?PATO O’WARD: Oh, man, it was so cool. You can tell that those cars are literally designed to go as fast as possible, within regulations, but it’s designed to be as quick as possible.I think last year’s car was pretty much the fastest Formula 1 spec ever for a very long time. That was pretty cool that I got to test that and drive that. I can assure you it was ridiculously fast. Yeah, really cool feeling inside of the car.
Q.But for a driver who’s in a series where you basically have a chance to win almost any race that you’re entered in, how do you manage the expectation level that if you were in F1 you could be driving top of your game and maybe not winning?PATO O’WARD: Yeah, I mean, I feel like honestly the motto that anyone can win in INDYCAR is — if you take the safety cars out of the equation, then that is not possible at all.When you get safety cars that end up basically throwing away a leader’s race or many of the leaders’ race, then yeah, it turns into people from the back being able to win, but from outright pace, there is still a difference from top teams to smaller teams to medium teams. There is still significant differences. Maybe not so much in qualifying sometimes, but in terms of just so many things that are factors that play into the race, pit stop, in laps, out laps, strategy. There’s so many things that aren’t car pace that go into the race, which a lot of the times in F1 there’s just I think a lot less of that because the races are not as fast — sorry, not as long. There’s usually let pit stops, which makes the overcut and undercut windows less opportunity just because there’s less pit stops.But there is obviously a lot bigger differences from teams to teams. Yeah, in F1 we’ve seen that if a strategy call that a yellow flag or a safety car really gets into the place where it really would send the leaders to the back, we’ve seen that that can happen and people that you would never expect to win will win in a car that people will never bet on because strategy — that’s what safety cars do. They mix everything up.But we have a lot more of that in INDYCAR for sure.
Q.Also, this team is more McLaren than it’s ever been since they’ve taken more ownership stake into the team. You as a driver, it’s going to be the same guys you worked with when it was McLaren SP. They’re still there, but do you feel that sense of expectation level that basically it’s mostly McLaren now that owns the team?PATO O’WARD: Yeah, for sure you can see the push and you can see the objectives that McLaren is trying to achieve. I think what we’ve been able to achieve already is pretty stellar in terms of how much true development that has been going into it. But you can see the push that everybody wants to do what I want to do. We want to win. We want to win championships. We want to win 500s. That’s why we do this. We wouldn’t be doing this if it were for something else because it’s too much sacrifice and too much time away and too many hours for this to just be, oh, I just want to be on the podium. No, we want to win.
Q.I’m wondering how your neck is doing; was that what you worked on most since Abu Dhabi?PATO O’WARD: Yeah, this big boy is ready. I’ve been working on it since the day that I got back home. Yeah, for sure.
Q.Have you worked on everything else or was that your priority?PATO O’WARD: No, everything else. I mean, I’ve stayed very active, just trying to stay as active as I can because weirdly that’s how I recharge, just being very busy and active, having fun with my cousins and family. Just staying home and doing nothing at home maybe is good for one or two days maximum, then I stir myself crazy.Yeah, I’ve been working on everything. I’ve just bumped up the amount of hours that I’m training just because I have to sneak in quite a bit of that of neck, but I’m not taking away from anything else.
Q.I’m curious where you stand with the super license and what do you have to do to get one?PATO O’WARD: I have no idea. That’s a great question. I mean, to me it’s ridiculous that someone that’s been fourth and third in the INDYCAR championship can’t get 40 points in the super license. To me that’s — yeah, I think many drivers agree with me.But from what I understand, fourth would give you 10 points, third gives you 20, so I’m assuming I’m at 30 points of the super license. Yeah, I haven’t really stressed on that side because as much as I say, oh, maybe you can get a few points here, points there, at the end of the day you have to leave it to the people that want to give it to you. If they don’t want to give it to you, then sorry, bud, you’ve got to have another year and get 10 more points, I guess.
Q.You talked about the consistency that you felt like the No. 5 team is really needing to fight for that championship; is that something that in any testing or work in the shop this off-season, something you feel like you guys have pinpointed a couple items that you can come into 2022 a little better or are you guys still needing some races to either confirm anything or find any more data that you’re searching for?PATO O’WARD: I mean, it’s hard to tell right now. I haven’t jumped in the car. I haven’t done any testing because testing is very limited. We’re going to have one day before St. Pete. It’s going to be in Sebring, which I mean, is not really enough time to fix all our issues, but it’s definitely at least one day to be able to test things out.Yeah, I really don’t know. You look and analyze things here and there and you’re like, oh, this is going to help us and this is going to help us, but I think that’s just you being positive and trying to find what was going on, but until we actually test them on track and I get to feel them, I think that’s when we’ll truly know if all our work in the off-season is going to pay off or not.It’s not going to be just from one race to another. It’s going to take all year to keep getting better and better and better. I sure hope we can roll off the trucks better than what we had last year at certain tracks.I think that’s the biggest thing. If you roll off well, you’re in a pretty good position to have a good race.Like I mentioned, there’s other times where you qualify on pole and you always get burned by yellow. There’s so many other factors that you can’t control, but what we can control is our car performance, what I do in the car and how we go about things and how we deal-with-them.We’re trying to really maximize all of that, but it’s really hard to pinpoint and see what’s going to help us or not because we weren’t very far off.I mean, we were whenever we didn’t have pace at all, but yeah, it’s really hard to tell if we found it or not. Just really have been testing different things here and there and hopefully two or three of those things give us what we need.
Q.I know Felix is really hopeful that this can be kind of a breakthrough season for him with this team in year two. With still kind of waiting to see what he can be for you as far as a teammate and this team already looking at adding a third full-time car for 2023, do you have any concern as someone who I know wants to be in this championship hunt just about the progression of the building of this team when you guys are still trying to hone in on that second car to be as competitive as you were last year?PATO O’WARD: Yeah, I mean, I think he’s going to have a good season this year. I sure hope he does because we both need each other out there. We both want to be in the championship hunt. We both want to be winning races.I really hope that it happens for both of us. I really want to — I’d really like to share a couple podiums with him. I feel like that would be really cool for all of us as a team.
Q.I know you’re someone who’s really aware of media and the global perception of INDYCAR moving forward. We’ve lost some big faces this off-season as far as guys that won’t be returning in full-time capacities, have a lot of young new guys that maybe a lot of casual fans don’t know. What do you feel like INDYCAR needs to do to take advantage of these 14 races they have on network TV to try and build some of these younger names and younger brands in this sport to start to rival a NASCAR, Formula 1 in the American racing series for fans?PATO O’WARD: Man, it’s a tough one because with all these things that you can be doing marketing-wise, it all comes at a cost. It all comes at a price. The budgets are different. The budget that Formula 1 has is going to be stratospheric compared to what INDYCAR can do. Same with NASCAR. Every series has its own things.But I think first off, we need to hop on the train of having a show because racing itself is not going to do enough. People need to see what’s behind that in order for them to get interested because it’s like any sport. Like for example, I didn’t watch golf at all. I didn’t watch NFL. But I met someone that plays in the NFL, and I met someone that plays in the PGA, and now I am interested in watching from time to time because I have a friend there and I have someone to cheer for.I think that’s the biggest thing. People need to meet the faces behind the helmet, and for me that’s the biggest thing. Whatever the cost may be, that is, I think, the biggest return that they’ll ever get.You’ve seen it in Formula 1. Formula 1 is growing insane, and it’s all because of the Netflix series. I think an important thing is that it has to be done in a platform that people have and people watch, not just spend it and have it somewhere where it’s not really reachable by many people.There’s so many different factors, but to me that is the biggest thing. I have heard that it’s definitely in the plans of doing it. I haven’t heard any updates.I feel like that would be a game changer for our series, and not just doing it, but it has — the bar has been set high where I think everybody within the series has to be willing to work together. Everybody has to be real and show the emotion, and it can’t be fake. It can’t be fake engineering meetings. Whatever you’re going to be showing, it has to be real.Apart from INDYCAR doing their job, which is going to be getting the show, but I think us as teams and drivers, we need to be on board with just agreeing with the fact that this is going to pretty much be a reality show. There has to be some drama. There has to be something for people to watch.Everybody has to try and be real, because if it’s not, it’s not going to be good enough, and people won’t watch. It has to be like it is, like just real.But I know sometimes — not that teams want to make it fake, but teams don’t want to show certain aspects of the team. There’s many different factors that I feel like play into making this very successful, but in general just having a real show of real people, real emotions and just giving something to the people to just watch, and to entertain, I think that’s going to skyrocket the series.The racing product is already there. I don’t think we need to focus a lot on the racing product. I think it’s what’s outside of it to bring people into the sport.
Q.Last year we saw you having a great year. This year what do you have in mind? We saw you in Formula 1 at Abu Dhabi, but do you like to go to that series or keep yourself in INDYCAR?PATO O’WARD: Do I like to what?
Q.To stay in Indy, or do you prefer to go to Formula 1 in the future?PATO O’WARD: I mean, right now I have one focus, and that one focus is in INDYCAR. I want to give these guys their first championship. I’d love to give them their first 500. This is what my focus is right now.Who knows if F1 will be an option or won’t be an option. Obviously if it comes about, I will 100 percent take it and every single driver in my position would do it because it’s Formula 1. That’s what I grew up watching and that’s what I grew up dreaming of. That same dream that you have as a kid will never go away.Right now, like I said, I have a challenge here, and I want people to enjoy. I want people to enjoy me in INDYCAR. I want them to know what INDYCAR has to offer, I want them to enjoy me in INDYCAR, the racing. There’s so many cool things about it that so many people — oh, Pato went to Formula 1. Well, I will tell you whenever I go to Formula 1 if I ever going to Formula 1, but for now enjoy me in INDYCAR.It’s just cool. I’m just really enjoying myself, really enjoying with the team and enjoying that everything is pretty close by. It’s different, but yeah, the same mentality I’m going into it, I want everybody to have the same. Just enjoy it.
THE MODERATOR: Remind us, the football player, Kenny Moore. The golfer is…PATO O’WARD: Abraham Ancer.FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
THE MODERATOR: Driver of the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. Felix, a new season. I know it was not the season you wanted last year, but the team has upgraded the engineering staff. It’s a new year for you.FELIX ROSENQVIST: It is. It’s nice to have a clean start. Obviously learned a lot last year. It was a tough one to go through. I’m not going to lie about that. I think those seasons are what — they make you stronger. When you’re winning, things are easy, but I think those really define you, if that makes sense. Yeah, it’s good to have a new start.I think plenty of things have changed, but mainly everything is the same in the team. I mean, we’re growing as a team. We have some new people on board on my car and in the team in general, but the foundation is the same, which I think is good, because I got to know everyone really well over the last year.It’s also good to keep doing what you’re doing because I think end of the year we definitely picked up the pace, and not exactly where we wanted to be, but it’s good to keep building on that where we ended last year.
THE MODERATOR: Talk about the optimism in the team.FELIX ROSENQVIST: (Audio interruption.) There are going to be a lot of players in the mix in the front. So yeah, I’m excited to see what it’s going to be when we hit Sebring.
Q.Now the team is more McLaren than it’s ever been. Even though it’s the same guys at the shop putting everything together, it’s just kind of living up to the McLaren brand. How much do you feel that inside as a competitor?FELIX ROSENQVIST: I think you definitely feel it, especially after the announcement was made last year that they’re acquiring a bigger stake of the team. I think there’s a change in how we think and how we operate, but I think the good thing, what they’ve done well, is to keep what we had before, as well. It’s not like we’re just a completely new team. We kept our philosophies, which has worked. We’re a very competitive team. We’re a successful team.I think McLaren has led us to just keep doing what we’re doing with added support both on the engineering side or financial backing. I think in every area there’s a lot of stones to be unturned during the off-season, and we’re just trying to improve a little bit everywhere.I think that’s where INDYCAR is at this stage. You can’t just find a massive gain anywhere. You have to keep working at the little details. I think that’s what McLaren has allowed us to do.
Q.Because of what happened in Detroit, it really set you back to what you were hired at that team to do in the first place. How important is it for you to get off to a really fast start in 2022?FELIX ROSENQVIST: It’s for sure important to start the year not in the way that I did last year. I think it’s also important to not try to overcomplicate and overachieve. I think we just need a solid start to the season to kind of get it going in a smooth way. That’s the way you want to do it in INDYCAR. You don’t want to risk it all in St. Pete and then have a lot of catch-up to do.For sure we can’t have a season like we had last year. I don’t have to explain all the things that happened. I think Detroit was only a little part to be honest in everything that was going down.We’re excited and we have no reason to think that’s going to happen again. As I say, if we can get off to a smooth start that’s going to help a lot, as well.
Q.With your new engineer Craig Hampson, does it give you a bigger confidence level than you had before this?FELIX ROSENQVIST: I’ve known Craig for quite some time now, and I think personally we get along. I think that’s what makes me most excited to work with him.He was on my radio already last year. He was calling my races for the last bit of the season.But I like to talk with him about the car, and in general we spend quite a lot of time just discussing different things about setups and life in general, which I think is good. You kind of need that almost like father-and-son relationship with your engineer, and we spend a lot of time together. I feel like we really get along on a personal level, so I’m excited about that.His record speaks for itself. He’s been in this business for a long time, and INDYCAR is a category where you need that kind of hands-on experience. You can’t just win by being let’s say the most clever engineer. You have to kind of feel the sport and you know what’s going on and see it with your own eyes. I think that’s what Craig really has.
THE MODERATOR: To clarify, Craig was your strategist last year or he was just on the radio?FELIX ROSENQVIST: Whatever you want to call it. He was in my ear. I don’t know the official term for it. It’s so different from what you see in Europe. In Europe you would say he was my engineer but here I guess you would say he was my strategist or calling the race.
Q.I wanted to know if you could explain in simple terms how different your car felt at the start of the year compared with how different it felt at the end of the year, and was it just a feel thing and a confidence building thing or was it simply actually making it faster?FELIX ROSENQVIST: I think a bit of both. I think it was never an easy car to drive for me or Pato for that matter. It was definitely something to get used to in the beginning, and somewhere along — we had a Portland test in the middle of the year and I think that’s where I actually found — we make some big grounds in the setup for my liking, and I think that gave me some confidence with the car, and it all kind of spiraled in the right direction, let’s say.As I said before, it’s just details. It’s not — you’ll never find something that is like, oh, now we’re winning every race. It’s always the small things.But I think that’s actually the time we found something that worked, and the results went a lot better from that point, so just that little added confidence just took me to another level really.Those are the kind of things you want to find, and now we had an off-season to really look at things, and you sit back and go through all the data, go through all the races, and I’ve had some time to really work on myself and feel prepared in a different way compared to what it was at this time last year.
Q.Is it safe to say that your car is now set up so that you and Pato have diverged a lot more for 2022 in terms of car setups?FELIX ROSENQVIST: I mean, that’s a target at least, but with the amount of driving we get these days, nothing is for sure. I mean, we have one day of testing before we hit St. Pete, and there’s a lot of expectation and a lot of things we’re going to have to get done in that day at Sebring.I’m not going to make any promises about what’s been done or what’s going to be done, but let’s say we’re pretty confident that we made some big grounds when it comes to drivability, which was the main issue for me last year.
Q.Just wanted to ask about Craig again. Wanted to ask how much of an initial impact you think he can have because obviously it’s been a big topic of conversation about him joining you and I wonder if people can overestimate the impact on what you’re going to be doing this year really.FELIX ROSENQVIST: (Audio interruption.) Focus over the off-season. I’d say I have great hopes and expectations working with Craig, but I don’t think — that change alone is not going to change the world, but there’s much more in the background going on let’s say.
THE MODERATOR: What has been your off-season? Any big accomplishments or boxes checked or vacations taken?FELIX ROSENQVIST: No vacations actually. There was quite a lot of time spent with family that I didn’t really get to do last year, so that was nice. That felt needed after a tough year.I’ve been spending quite a lot of time on the simulator doing some virtual championships over the winter, so that’s been fun. It’s not really for nothing more than fun really, but that’s been eating up quite a lot of time.Just kind of had some time to reflect on things and get some good old energy back into the system.
Q.Can you tell us something about Pato that people don’t know.FELIX ROSENQVIST: I think everyone knows everything about him because he’s not really a closed person, is he.
Q.What is he like to have as a teammate?FELIX ROSENQVIST: Great fun, man. I mean, you can see I’m smiling right now just thinking about it. I think we have a perfect combo because both of us are pretty open with each other. We’re not really hiding stuff. In general we have a good time. Like it makes the day go quicker when you have days like this or long days with filming or media or whatever. It just makes time pass quickly when you have fun with each other.I guess that’s more than you can expect sometimes in racing. You can’t pick your teammates. Most of them are fast, but many of them are not maybe the guy you want to spend the day with.No, it’s good fun. We spend quite a lot of time outside of our professional hours, as well, and dinners and just hanging out. It’s really good fun.
THE MODERATOR: Were you suggesting that today is a long day?FELIX ROSENQVIST: Let’s see. Let’s see. It started early, that’s for sure.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Pro Late Models Set to Tackle Third Annual Sunshine Nationals at Volusia

Whitener, Hedgecock, McCarter and more set to battle for $10,000 grand prize on Saturday

BARBERVILLE, FL – Jan. 18, 2022 – The first two editions of the DIRTcar Sunshine Nationals saw the Pro Late Models with the highest car count of any division on the card. That trend looks to continue this weekend as the best Crate-engine drivers in the nation gather at Volusia Speedway Park in search of one $10,000 grand prize.

A night of practice starts the on-track activity on Wednesday, Jan. 19, followed by two nights of preliminary racing action before the finale on Saturday night. The Pro (604) Late Models race for $1,500 on Thursday, $2,000 on Friday and the $10,000 check on Saturday, making this one of the most lucrative Crate Late Model races on the winter racing calendar.

All three nights of racing will be broadcast live on DIRTVision. Sign up for a FAST PASS subscription today and be on the lookout for the following drivers to make some noise this weekend.

Here are the drivers to watch and storylines to follow this weekend…

MAGIC SHOW – Mark Whitener, of Middleburg, FL, comes into the Sunshine Nationals as one of the most accomplished 604 Crate Late Model racers in the field. Last season, he won two Crate Racin’ USA Challenge Series events en route to the Series title, plus a $10,000 marquee victory in the RUSH-sanctioned Bill Emig Memorial event last summer.

Magic Man was a threat to win on both nights of Sunshine Nationals Pro Late Model competition last year, coming in third behind Michael Page and Mack McCarter in the Thursday night prelim before a sixth-place run in Saturday’s finale to cap off the weekend.

ON A MISSION – If there’s any driver coming to Volusia this weekend with a strong sense of vengeance, it’s Super Late Model veteran Michael Page.

Page, of Douglasville, GA, is one of only two Pro Late Model Feature winners in event history, breaking inaugural champion Kyle Bronson’s event win streak with a victory in the opening night last year. After a wash-out on Friday, Page took to the track for the Saturday finale and dominated to win the 30-lap event, or so it seemed at first. Upon a failed post-race engine inspection, Page was disqualified, handing the win over to runner-up Bronson.

This weekend, Page is projected to be in the Pro Late Model field once again, aiming to win the big show and avenge his lost championship from 2021.

MACK IS BACK – Mack McCarter, the 2021 Sunshine Nationals Pro Late Model champion from Gatlinburg, TN, returns to Volusia this weekend to defend his title just one year after denying Bronson of a repeat.

McCarter had an impressive showing against a 64-car field last year, finishing runner-up on both nights of competition. Over 55 total Feature laps, McCarter advanced 35 spots of position, going 19th-second on Thursday and 20th-second on Saturday. For his efforts, a shiny trophy for his cabinet after edging out Bronson for the title by five points.

CRATE MASTER – Two-time Crate Racin’ USA champion Cory Hedgecock joins the Pro Late Model field this weekend, looking for his first trip to Sunshine Nationals Victory Lane after winning big two weekends ago in Alabama.

Hedgecock, of Loudon, TN, has the early season momentum rolling with a win in the Crate Late Model portion of the annual Ice Bowl event at Talladega Short Track, defeating several Crate touring regulars he’ll encounter again this weekend.

Hedgecock’s Sunshine Nationals track record has been strong as well, coming home 8th in the 2020 finale, followed by a third-place to McCarter and Bronson last year.

TRIPLE THREAT – The cousin-trio of Jody, Jake and Dylan Knowles are all projected to be in attendance this weekend, chasing their first Sunshine Nationals victories.

Dylan was crowned champion of Crate Racin’ USA’s Winter Shootout Series in 2021. Jake finished third in Crate Racin’ points last year and ran second to Hedgecock at Talladega two weeks ago, while Jody ran two spots behind in fourth.

Jake and Jody have both made the Sunshine Nationals big show on Saturday night in both years they’ve competed. All three drivers made the finale last year as well; Jake topped the clan with a ninth-place finish.


First weekend for team, Chevrolet and Corvette C8.R in GTD PRO category · Three-day test ahead of Corvette Racing’s quest for repeat Rolex 24 wins· 100-minute race Sunday to set grid for 2022 IMSA opener· Pair of Corvette C8.Rs part of 13-car GTD PRO field
DETROIT (Jan. 18, 2022) – Corvette Racing starts a new year in a new classification this week with the annual Roar Before the 24 – a three-day test at Daytona International Speedway ahead of next weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona.
For the first time since 2014, Corvette Racing will participate in a new category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: GT Daytona PRO (GTD PRO). It serves as a successor to GT Le Mans (GTLM), a classification in which Corvette Racing won more races and championships than any other program since 2014. The next goal is to replicate that same success in a full season of GTD PRO competition, which will feature 13 entries at Daytona.
The team’s Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs for the Roar and Rolex will look similar to the GTLM trim. A revised wing profile will mean a slightly different level of downforce at the rear of the Corvette. The C8.R will run on customer Michelin tires, per GTD regulations.
Under the skin, the GTD-PRO Corvette will retain the same 5.5-liter, flat-plane V8 with a slightly decreased power output over the GTLM rules package. An anti-lock braking system (ABS), tested by Corvette Racing at Belle Isle’s race in June, also will be featured on the IMSA C8.R along with other driver aids that are mandated by the class regulations.
Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg won last year’s Rolex 24 in GTLM to lead a 1-2 finish for Corvette Racing. The trio in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R is back for a chance at two in a row. Full-season teammates Garcia and Taylor won the last two GTLM Driver championships and seek to use Daytona as a springboard to another full-season championship run.
While Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy will contest the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2022, they will return to Daytona in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C8.R alongside new teammate Marco Sorensen. Milner and Tandy were second to their Corvette Racing teammates in the 2021 Rolex 24 with Sorensen set for his second Daytona start.
The learnings from the Roar and the Rolex 24 also will serve to further development of the customer Corvette Z06 GT3.R that will be available to independent teams beginning in 2024.
The Roar Before the 24 is set for Friday-Sunday with the 100-minute qualifying race set for 2:05 p.m. ET on Sunday. Live coverage will be available on Peacock in the United States and outside the U.S.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Every year, we see how important the Roar test is for race preparation. With the Rolex 24 being the first race for us in a new category, it will be difficult to learn and understand things that every other team that has raced in GTD already knows. We will have to play catch-up to be competitive. But I have a lot of faith in Corvette Racing. Our experience can help us achieve that.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “I’m super excited to get back to Daytona. Even with it being a shorter offseason than usual, it feels like it’s been forever since we’ve been at the track. We’ve got a lot of new things to look forward to with the new GTD PRO class and a little different C8.R than we’ve raced before. It’ll be our first time having the car out on track with competition in this spec, so it’ll be interesting to see where we stack up. There’s going to be a long list of items we’ll be wanting to check off throughout the Roar test to give us confidence going into the Rolex 24.”
NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “The Roar will be super important for us – maybe even more than the last couple of years. It’s an all new class and the field is much bigger and very diverse… simply bigger than years before. So it will be interesting in learning about who is strong where, which drivers are strong and where we fit in. It’s going to be interesting to find out where we are with our car compared to the other GTDs. We haven’t had an extreme amount of running in this spec so we are definitely going to use the Roar as a big learning tool. I’m excited to jump back in the car. It’s a little different now with ABS of course and some minor differences. It’s going to take some adjusting again. Coming off our Rolex win last year, it’s definitely a positive feeling coming into the Roar. I’m looking forward to it.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “At the end of last season, I didn’t think we would have the chance to race in IMSA this year. So this is a nice bonus to get us back into the groove of racing. Things will be a little different with some changes to our Corvette C8.R for the new GTD PRO category but they are items we’ve tested before in the simulator and on the track. So much of the success you have at Daytona is down to the preparation going into the race. I feel that’s where we are really strong. It looks like it’s going to be a deep and competitive field so let’s see how myself, Nick and our new teammate Marco pick up over these three days.”
NICK TANDY, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Daytona this year will be a challenge but it’s one we’re looking forward to. It’s looking like a very strong grid in GTD PRO, which should make great racing but also means getting a top result that much harder. It’s a brand new class to IMSA racing, however it shares many technical and sporting regulations with GTD and some of the teams transitioning from GTD to Pro might have a bit more experience and knowledge. One thing that Corvette Racing knows is how to win long endurance races so we go with high hopes, but we also know we still have work to do. For example the Roar test will be the first time the C8.R will run in GTD spec at Daytona. For me personally, it will be the first time I drive the car in GTD trim with the spec Michelin tires used for our class. The test days often don’t seem to last very long so we’ll need to be well prepared to make the most of all the on-track running we can get. I’m also personally excited to work with Marco for the first time. We first raced against each other back in 2007 in Formula Ford so I’ve known him a long time even though we’ve never shared a cockpit together. I’m sure he’ll fit in perfectly and be a big asset to our team alongside Tommy and myself.”
MARCO SORENSEN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: Honestly, I can’t wait to meet and work with the full Corvette Racing team and get things going. To go racing with a team like this is going to be a real pleasure. I met some of the team at the race shop and got my first real look at the C8.R and spent some time in the simulator last week. It’s a really good setup and very useful to help me get ready for Daytona. The Roar and the qualifying event are obviously good opportunities to get some laps in the car and get comfortable with everything so we can get the job done in the real race.”
Corvette Racing at Daytona1999No. 2 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Chris Kneifel/John Paul Jr. – 3rd in GTSNo. 4 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Scott Sharp/John Heinricy – 12th in GTS 
2000No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Chris Kneifel/Justin Bell – 2nd in GTSNo. 4 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Franck Freon – 10th in GTS
2001No. 2 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Chris Kneifel/Franck Freon – 1st in GTS (overall win)No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Dale Earnhardt/Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 2nd in GTS 2014No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Ryan Briscoe – 10th in GTLMNo. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Robin Liddell – 5th in GTLM
2015No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Ryan Briscoe – 1st in GTLM (Magnussen fastest race lap)No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Simon Pagenaud – 3rd in GTLM (Gavin pole)
2016No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 2nd in GTLM (Garcia fastest race lap)No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 1st in GTLM (Winner by 0.034 second)
2017No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 4th in GTLMNo. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 9th in GTLM
2018No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 3rd in GTLM (Magnussen pole)No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 4th in GTLM 2019No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 6th in GTLMNo. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 8th in GTLM 2020 (Rolex 24 – January)No. 3 Corvette C8.R: Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg – 4th in GTLMNo. 4 Corvette C8.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 7th in GTLM 2020 (WeatherTech 240 – July)No. 3 Corvette C8.R: Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor – 1st in GTLMNo. 4 Corvette C8.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner – 5th in GTLM
2021No. 3 Corvette C8.R: Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg – 1st in GTLMNo. 4 Corvette C8.R: Tommy Milner/Nick Tandy/Alexander Sims – 2nd in GTLM


JANUARY 17,2022 AJ FOYT RACING DRIVERS DALTON KELLETT, KYLE KIRKWOOD AND TATIANA CALDERON met with members of the media during 2022 NTT INDYCAR Series Media Content Days. Full transcripts: DALTON KELLETT, NO. 4 K-LINE AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET:THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Dalton Kellett. Welcome.DALTON KELLETT: How’s it going?
THE MODERATOR: We spoke to you the other day, you had one teammate. Now you have two.DALTON KELLETT: As of this morning, two. It’s exciting.
THE MODERATOR: Let’s talk about your role in this. Probably going to do a little bit of advising and coaching and leading as the senior member of this organization. Seems strange to believe 24 races in, a senior member. How does that role suit you?DALTON KELLETT: I mean, I would put some air quotes on that. The team and I have talked. Realistically I’m not Seb with four championships and all the wins under his belt. The relationship between myself and Kyle and Tatiana won’t be the same. I think it will be a communal engineering. The experience I do have, haven’t had a chance to have yet in INDYCAR, I’m sure when those moments come up, there will be questions. I’m more than happy to lend whatever experience I can to help them along.
THE MODERATOR: Better to have experience than no experience.DALTON KELLETT: 100%.
THE MODERATOR: You must have some empathy for what they’re about to go through. It’s a challenging road.DALTON KELLETT: It’s a big undertaking even for the most prepared drivers. Kyle certainly is one of the most successful drivers to come out of the Road to Indy in a while. It will still be an adjustment for him I’m sure. When you get into INDYCAR, there’s a lot that you have to learn as far as the feedback you need, Firestone reds, the schedule, the cadence is different than it is in Lights. There’s a lot more going on as far as the engine, dampers, feedback, all that.That will be certainly an adjustment. It’s exciting to see how the team gets on.
THE MODERATOR: You referenced Bourdais, maybe not specifically things he did for you, but what a difference having a real veteran in an organization does for a young driver.DALTON KELLETT: I think for me it was great to have sort of — whether his way of doing things is the right way or not, it still gives you a direction that you and as the rookie can kind of riff off of. It took some of the decision making out of my hands, sort of put it in his. I was able to focus on driving technique, the bits of feedback I was giving to the engineer.For me coming into it green as far as INDYCAR is concerned, that was a good thing. Then specifically just looking at, like, sort of Seb’s braking technique. Things I caught onto that we talked about that were helpful.
THE MODERATOR: How much undertaking is that going to be for the new drivers going to a new venue?DALTON KELLETT: It’s always an adjustment when you haven’t been somewhere. Thinking back to Detroit, Nashville, I think those were the only two new ones for me last year. To be honest, I felt like those two events were actually strong for us, for our program.I think a big part of that is doing the preparation on the simulator and the team looking at video. I think as long as they’re the type where they can get something out of the sims, I think that will be a good preparation tool for them. Obviously that’s kind of like specific to each person, whether you like simulators or not. For me I thought that was a good tool preparing for those races.
THE MODERATOR: They say in sports the jump from year one to two is the biggest jump. Did you see that jump in your improvement? I assume you would expect that to carry over into year three.DALTON KELLETT: As far as what I felt personally, I felt there was a tangible, sizable jump there. The results weren’t what we always wanted, but we had some highlights at Gateway, some races that were going well. We had some consistency issues that I feel like we’ve dealt with from the mechanical side that shouldn’t hamper us.Coming back at it with the experience of sort of that year and a half is going to be really helpful.
THE MODERATOR: Your oval program, obviously that’s where your biggest strength had been previously. I was going to note Gateway, you finished 12th. You must feel Indianapolis, maybe Texas, good places for you?DALTON KELLETT: I think so. I think the ovals were sort of less of a question mark for us last year. I think still kind of the theme of last year was that qualifying was a bit of a struggle. Track position is just so important in these races, if you don’t get that good starting position, it can be really difficult to make the positions up. It’s really to work on the qualifying side. That puts you in the position to have sort of a place that you can kind of strike from, not just — when you’re starting towards the back, you’re already in a bad spot as far as the first pit cycle with the leaders coming up close. Being up the field at the start is goal one, no matter what track you’re on.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.Q.You mentioned ovals, last season being a bit of your strong suit. Qualifying something you need to focus on. What in particular with qualifying do you need to focus on? On the back end of that, what have you been working on the most during the off-season?DALTON KELLETT: I think with qualifying, really it’s getting the most out of that. You really have one or two laps to kind of get it done, ensuring that the first lap you’re up to speed enough where you have a lap in the bang. Once you already have that safe lap, really just going to 100% and maximizing everything you can to get every last hundredth out of the car and yourself on that last lap that counts. I think that’s really the focus.It’s really to the point where it’s more of a mental game than a technique, all that. You know what you need to do, it’s kind of executing it without making mistakes, or if you make a small mistake just moving on and not being too affected by it. It’s really getting that mental approach down where you can attack qualifying like you need to.
Q.You mentioned your two other teammates, which makes A.J. Foyt now a three-car operation. Do you think this will help your development process? Will there be too many cooks in the kitchen?DALTON KELLETT: That’s a good question. Obviously anytime you add another entry to an existing program, there’s going to be a learning period and a time where we’re all getting used to how the work flows together.The good thing is that there’s two fresh faces, so it’s kind of like a fresh start. Not like you’re throwing something into an existing program. The team has done a great job as far as putting the necessary personnel together. I’m confident from that standpoint in my limited time with Kyle and Tatiana it seems they’ll be great to work with. We’ll have to see how things work out.
Q.Tatiana tested with A.J. Foyt last season. She obviously knows her stuff within the team. How beneficial is that going to be to you with her bringing in a fresh perspective, also with Kyle as well?DALTON KELLETT: Certainly. I think they’ll both bring some fresh aspects to what we’re thinking from a setup standpoint. That is kind of the good thing about rookies, I felt it in the last couple years, there was a time with Seb where he had a preconceived notion of what the car should be and what it could be before the aeroscreen. You add in the aeroscreen, it totally affects, changes what the car can even do. Sometimes it’s beneficial to have that blank slate. I think that will be a good thing.Obviously Tatiana is coming with a pretty wide background as far as her experience in different formulas, different cars. Same with Kyle. He’s racing Daytona in a couple weeks. He’s obviously been doing pretty well in the Road to Indy. They’re both coming in with a lot of great experience. It will be exciting to see what they bring to it as far as the setup and technical standpoint.
Q.What would be a strong, solid season for you? Top 10s or further up?DALTON KELLETT: I think given where we were last year, we want to be incremental, right? You want to focus on breaking the top 15, do that consistently, then kind of go from there.I think for the first quarter of the year, definitely the main goals are improving in qualifying and consistently finishing ahead of where we were last year. If we can be getting towards that 15 to 12 mark where we finished up at Gateway for our best finish last year, if we can best that at this point this year and be a little more consistent around that range, that would be a very strong step up for the team and myself.
Q.Last year you were the teammate of Sebastien Bourdais. What have you learned from him?DALTON KELLETT: To give you a really specific example, I think something that we see in junior formula, sort of the way you attack the brakes is prescribed in a very specific way. Seb without going into specifics was maybe doing things a little bit differently, just the way he was ramping up the brakes, kind of leading into it, was a bit different to what I’d done previously. I thought that was a good — it wasn’t like I applied it everywhere because sometimes what works for one person doesn’t always work for the other. It sort of made me think about rechecking what I was doing, think about the technique that I hadn’t really considered.When you see someone doing it a bit differently, you kind of think back and sort of reevaluate what you’re doing, see what works and what doesn’t. Moments during the year he was doing things differently, we talked through it. That was a good learning opportunity for me.
Q.If Paul Tracy and Greg Moore were racing now, you be just an INDYCAR fan from Canada, who would you be looking for more?DALTON KELLETT: I would probably be Team Greg. I love P.T. He’s certainly a Canadian legend in the INDYCAR world. I think Greg was definitely a fan favorite as well. I would be Team Red Gloves. Sorry, Paul.
Q.Now that you’re taking a leadership role, which advice would you give Tatiana and Kyle? Which advice would you give to each of them?DALTON KELLETT: I think the best thing you can do as a rookie really is to take things step by step, whether you’re experienced or not. Coming into an INDYCAR is going to be a big adjustment, there’s a lot going on. Focusing on what you’re doing, trying to excel at one thing, maybe not getting too lost in the big picture, really focus on what you can control at that moment.Then just making sure you’re staying on top of preparation, being kind of ready when you get to the track. These weekends go a lot quicker and are a lot busier than you might have been in, say, Indy Lights or different series. Where you thought before you might have had the time to do some prep, video or data, you’re probably not going to have the time to do as much of that stuff as you did before. Making sure you’re kind of ready when you get to the track is a good way to start every event.
THE MODERATOR: It changes from teammate to teammate, but how quickly do you establish a bond?DALTON KELLETT: Depends on personalities. Some you click with right away. Some it grows a little bit. Seb and I weren’t best buddies right off the bat. After the year we spent together, that relationship got better and better. Might be an age thing, too. When you’re younger, have more common interests, you might click right away.As far as working together, I think we’re all professionals. As far as the engineering room goes, I think that’s going to come together certainly by the end of the first event or so I’d say. The initial sort of gelling, then from that you’re getting more and more in tune with each other.
THE MODERATOR: You’ll be with Tatiana and Kyle at Wednesday’s test. Will you spend more time thinking about the changes that are made, how that applies to your program, or more attentive to their needs?DALTON KELLETT: My engineer asked me to bring a camera, take some video and stuff, so I have some assignments as far as stuff they want to get. The focus is obviously on the two cars that are there at the test. That’s the objective for that day.From my perspective, I’m certainly going to be also spending time just hearing how they talk with the engineers, seeing what the changes are, what the effects are. It will be an interesting exercise to kind of see the other side of it, see how the team is working together. I’d say a little bit of both.
Q.Your third season, now you’re the seasoned veteran. How strange is that, the longest tenured driver out of this group of three?DALTON KELLETT: It’s a unique position to be in. It’s certainly exciting. I think we talked about it a bit earlier, but it’s important to emphasize. I think the relationship is different when you have a rookie like myself the last year and Seb, a seasoned veteran, a known quantity, versus what we’re going into this year, which is a semi veteran and then two rookies. I think it will be maybe a bit more of a communal aspect.On the flipside there’s definitely experience I have had doing a year and a half in INDYCAR that the other two won’t. Certainly in any situation that I can help and offer my experience, I’ll be certainly doing that.
Q.Last week fellow Canadian announced he’ll be running an entire IMSA season, Robby Wickens. How proud are you of being able to see him be able to get to the point in his rehab to return to racing?DALTON KELLETT: Yeah, I’m confident to say there were a lot of tears shed that day by a lot of people in the racing industry. An inspiring story. I train at Pit.Fit, where Robby does a lot of his rehab. To see him work that hard in the last few years is inspiring. I know Robby back from the karting days. To see Brian seem give him a chance to get back in it, it’s an amazing thing.FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
KYLE KIRKWOOD, NO. 14 ROKIT AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET:THE MODERATOR: Welcome Kyle Kirkwood. You’ve had some time in the car. Will you have more before St. Petersburg? Excitement so far?KYLE KIRKWOOD: I’m ecstatic. Finally starting now. Got through the holidays. Seems surreal for me. I thought there would be a moment where I’d be able to take a break, look back at my career over the junior formulas. Now I’m ready to get into it, start racing. Yeah, there hasn’t been time to relax. We’re all gas right now trying to get ready for the start of the season here in February. 
THE MODERATOR: We learned the other day that Kyle is big on spear fishing and spending a lot of time around the ocean. We’re sorry for your luck this morning being in Indianapolis.KYLE KIRKWOOD: Yeah, it’s definitely colder here. You don’t want to get into the water here. Most of the lakes are frozen, that’s what I’ve found out. I’ve only seen snow like 10 times. Flew up here Saturday, there was snow. Making snowballs out in front of Chris Wheeler’s house.The water stays warm in Florida, spend a lot of time in the water surfing, spear fishing, diving. That’s kind of how I grew up.
THE MODERATOR: 10 times of seeing snow?KYLE KIRKWOOD: I rarely ever see snow.
THE MODERATOR: Where would your experience have been?KYLE KIRKWOOD: In the snow? I’ve seen it once in Canada, once when I went to France for the FIA award banquet, started snowing, which I thought was incredible, right before I went to the awards ceremony. Saw snow a couple days ago. I’m kind of forgetting where else I’ve seen it. Not many times.
THE MODERATOR: Second time here this season. Pretty lucky.KYLE KIRKWOOD: Oh, really?
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.Q.You came up through Road to Indy. Had quite a bit of success in each level. Are you tempering your expectations at all or are you expecting to be right up at the front?KYLE KIRKWOOD: Of course it’s going to be a tougher crowd racing in INDYCAR. I fully expect that. That’s what I’ve known coming up through all the ranks. Most of the drivers in Road to Indy are rookies. I’m coming into INDYCAR as a rookie where there are veteran drivers that have been here for 15 years I think some of them have been.It’s all new to me. Of course, I have to take a step back, know I need to learn some things. Most of the time, most of the categories, I came into it knowing I probably had the most knowledge. Now I’ve got probably the least.
Q.Another advantage of the Road to Indy is you race on a lot of the same tracks as INDYCAR. There are a few you haven’t been on. Any you’re looking forward to?KYLE KIRKWOOD: I would make it easy and say the Indy 500. I’ve never driven on a superspeedway. Never driven a car with speedway trim on it. Did a test with Andretti. I have a feeling for how fast the car is going to be, but I’m really looking forward to getting on some ovals.
THE MODERATOR: Tony Kanaan mentioned this is his 24th INDYCAR season, 24 in INDYCAR.KYLE KIRKWOOD: That’s incredible. That’s incredible. It shows I’m a rookie coming into it. He’s been racing it longer than I’ve been alive.Q.You have a veteran driver starting his third season in INDYCAR, two rookies. When you think about A.J. Foyt, the dynamics of that team, it’s pretty interesting, especially when you put A.J. in the middle of it all. Almost like you’re learning from the man who created it.
KYLE KIRKWOOD: That is very true. I have not had the honor of meeting A.J. yet or being able to speak with him. I’m hoping to very soon. That guy is a world of knowledge, right? He’s been around this sport for so many years, seen everything. Hopefully I can hone in on him and get as much as I can from him.Being around A.J. Foyt Racing has been phenomenal. They’ve been super open, brought me in as their family, been awesome with sharing data with me, making sure I’m super up to speed with their tests.
Q.Can you talk a bit about your off-season. I know there were heavy rumors about possibly getting into Andretti, then it became Foyt. Talk about that process.KYLE KIRKWOOD: I have to jog my memory how much I can talk about it.I know Michael did come out at a press conference speaking about the F1 deal, whatnot. Just bounced off of him. They did have the option for a period of time. Once they found out they couldn’t fill me into a seat, they opened up that option. We made some calls. A.J. Foyt Racing was the best fit for us.
Q.You get one track in the world to race on, what would it be? What are you driving?KYLE KIRKWOOD: That’s a good question.There’s two races that I’ve always loved. I’m going to name two off. It’s going to be the 500 in INDYCAR, something I’ve watched ever since I was super young. Then Monaco in F1. Two pretty easy go-tos there.
Q.Slightly awkward question. Obviously we’ve seen Foyt struggling over the last couple of years. Does that take any pressure off you in your learning season, that less is expected of you than if you had been thrown into a Ganassi or Penske car?KYLE KIRKWOOD: It does. It does take pressure off of me. At the same time I think it’s beneficial for me because, like I’ve said, the team has been super open with me. They want to learn, too. I’ve been able to bring some kind of experience over from my history, try and hone in and try and get something out of our car here.I think we’re going to grow together as a team. I think the chemistry has been working out perfectly.
Q.Obviously Dalton has some experience. He’s made the same transition as you. Obviously Tatiana has no experience. Is that also difficult to have one relatively inexperienced and one totally inexperienced?KYLE KIRKWOOD: That’s kind of been my entire history in junior formulas. I’ve never really had somebody to base stuff off of. It’s nothing new to me. I wish I did have a mentor coming up through Road to Indy, F4, F3. I really didn’t. It’s nothing special. I’ve kind of been in this position my entire life.
Q.A.J. should be useful there.KYLE KIRKWOOD: Very much so.
Q.You can’t hit the motor with a hammer. Didn’t work for him.KYLE KIRKWOOD: Right (laughter).
Q.Other than the Indy 500, what track are you most looking forward to?KYLE KIRKWOOD: I’m going to say Mid-Ohio. Mid-Ohio has been a track I’ve had the most success at. Actually I would say Mid-Ohio and St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg is like a home race for me, somewhere we always start off the season. I really enjoy that place, a lot of good memories there. But Mid-Ohio is a place that I’ve driven so much at over every single one of the categories I’ve been in. I’ve won it in every single category I’ve driven in. That’s somewhere that I always look forward to going back to and racing at. Like I said, it’s a place I have the most experience at.
Q.I know you said you haven’t talked to A.J. yet. You probably do most of your dealings with Larry. Eventually you will cross paths with A.J. What do you hope to learn from him or experience?KYLE KIRKWOOD: Yeah, the biggest thing I want to ask him is stuff about ovals because that guy is a legend around ovals, right? Even though it’s something so far back in history or in the past, it definitely translates over to today.As much information as I can get out of him for ovals. In the Road to Indy, we only did a few ovals, we ran at St. Louis, then Lucas Oil Raceway. My oval experience isn’t that vast. I think having him on my side is definitely going to help that.
Q.You’re one of many INDYCAR drivers that are going to be in the Rolex, not a new event for you, but a new class. I know Lexus wants to win it very badly. How much could a big weekend in Daytona sort of launch your year?KYLE KIRKWOOD: That’s a good question because every single one of my seasons have all been based off of kind of momentum it seems like. Usually my worst race is the first race of the year, then I build on top of that, I start getting strings of wins by the end of the year. Obviously it’s going to be a lot harder in INDYCAR. That’s my tendency.Starting it off early with the 24 hour, trying to get into that race mode, is super important. I did it last year. It was a huge help. Being with the Lexus guys, Vasser Sullivan, has been a blessing in my career because I’ve learned so much with them in sports cars that actually translates over to INDYCAR.
Q.This team has been up and down the last couple years. As a rookie joining a team where you don’t have a ton of experienced teammates on a team that has been still working hard to get a podium or a win these last several years, what will you use to gauge what you would deem a successful season?KYLE KIRKWOOD: I think that kind of comes with us in the team, how we perceive us doing well. I think that is just capitalizing on what we can do, right?If we come into a weekend, we know we can do well, we don’t do well, that’s not a good weekend for us, we haven’t maximized what we can do.Our goal is to progress the car as much as possible. I need to learn myself as a new INDYCAR driver, as a rookie. Like I’ve said, I think we can build off of each other and maybe grow something great. There’s some big things happening with the team, a lot of new people onboard, some new development going on.I think we have the good chance of turning some heads this year.
Q.You would say maybe more of a subjective thing or feeling, internal way to grade your season rather than off of podiums and wins?KYLE KIRKWOOD: That’s correct, yeah. You can only do as well as you can, as well as the equipment is, how well I’m driving, whatever it might be, what the conditions are. It all comes from within. I don’t think you can look from the outside, you can’t be in third person trying to figure out how you’re doing. That just comes from within. How you feel as a team is more important.
Q.Three Road to Indy championships. What has that program meant to your career? Would you be here without it?KYLE KIRKWOOD: 100% no. Not 100%. It’s made it so much easier for me because as everyone knows finding sponsorships, funding, junior categories, is nearly impossible. The return on investment for sponsors is pretty much non-existent because there’s none of this broadcasting, being able to put things out. A lot of sponsorships aren’t visible.Having those scholarships from the Road to Indy has been absolutely crucial for my career. That all started from 2012, my first scholarship was with AJ Allmendinger, a couple years later Team USA scholarship. After I would be the P4 scholarship, Honda had a scholarship to go to F3. All the Road to Indys, leading up now to what is INDYCAR, a 1.25 million dollars scholarship into INDYCAR. I don’t think I would have made it here this quick.I think there’s a possibility I would have still made it to INDYCAR without the scholarships, but this has obviously made it a much easier transition.
Q.At the beginning of your career, maybe you were aiming for Formula 1. Do you think getting into INDYCAR is a step towards Formula 1 or do you think INDYCAR will be it in your progress?KYLE KIRKWOOD: That all depends on kind of what happens, doesn’t it?I think every young karting driver when you’re five, six, seven years old, you look at Formula 1 as the pinnacle. But there is kind of a transition in my mind when I was probably 10 or 11 years old where I started watching the Indy 500s. This is what I want to do.I think INDYCAR is very enjoyable. I think there’s been some past F1 drivers that have come over here and said if you have the chance, come do this 100%.I kind of look at it as where I want to be in my life. I like to stay over in the States, to be honest. That keeps me over here. I love INDYCAR racing. This is the ultimate goal for me at the moment. I don’t foresee anything happening where I change my plans and move to Formula 1.
THE MODERATOR: Today is often a day of rookie trouble from the veterans. Any pranking going on?KYLE KIRKWOOD: Nothing yet. Nothing that I’ve noticed.
THE MODERATOR: Keep your head on a swivel.KYLE KIRKWOOD: I was actually thinking that this morning in the hotel. This is Content Day. There’s definitely going to be some rookie pranks going on.
THE MODERATOR: You arrive on a day without Rossi, without Herta, without Conor.KYLE KIRKWOOD: Without Conor especially, yes (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: You figured out the pecking order. Kanaan you might want to watch on.KYLE KIRKWOOD: My head is on a swivel around him always.FastScripts Transcript by ASAP SportsTATIANA CALDERON, NO. 11 ROKIT AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET:THE MODERATOR: Welcome Tatiana Calderon. Tatiana, this was announced this morning, your ride with AJ Foyt Racing and Rocket as the sponsorship. I know this has been in discussion. Give us some background on how long the process has been.TATIANA CALDERON: Yeah, it’s been an amazing time that I have spent with Rocket for the last two years in Super Formula in Japan, but obviously when the chance came to test an INDYCAR last July and I felt really great with the team in the car, of course. We’ve been in discussions really since then, but good things take time, and we finally managed to put everything together last week.I’m very excited, very thankful to both Rocket and AJ Foyt for this amazing opportunity and to really start this thing quite soon and get acclimatized with the car and the team around me.
Q.You’ve had the one test; what has been your other INDYCAR experience in terms of attending races? How many have you been to?TATIANA CALDERON: Well, I started my career here in U.S. in Star Mazda 10 years ago. It’s been a while. So I know some of the tracks that I tried to remember everything. Of course a lot of things have changed. But I’ve always been kind of following INDYCAR because also I come from Colombia, Juan Pablo Montoya has been racing here in America for many years. He’s been kind of my idol, as well.But in the garage it was only Mid-Ohio that I had the chance to really see an INDYCAR team from the inside. Yeah, a lot of things to learn for me this year.
Q.The Japan transition has been very good for — we saw last year with Alex Palou. Do you expect to be prepared for this endeavor?TATIANA CALDERON: Yeah, I think Super Formula is a great preparation for any single seater series. I think it’s a super quick car, very tricky. Also I had to learn how to communicate differently. The culture was very different, as well. But I think that has prepared me more for this opportunity.Of course I don’t expect anything to be very easy, particularly at the beginning, because I’ve only done one test day in INDYCAR. I think we’ll have probably three days before the first race.A lot of things to take in, but I think it was a great preparation with Super Formula and sports cars that I have been racing the last couple of years, as well, to help with fuel save, with tire save and pit stops and all that. I think it’s been quite good for my career.
Q.Have you been to the team shop down in Texas yet?TATIANA CALDERON: Not in Texas, but their one here. We spent last week doing some seat fit and getting back into rhythm with everybody. Yeah, I’m excited to actually drive for the first time here in 2022.
Q.You have such an extensive resume behind you; what is it about INDYCAR that caught your attention, and also, do you believe that INDYCAR does a good job with female representation in motorsports?TATIANA CALDERON: I think INDYCAR has always been in my radar. I think I’ve always been very competitive, and I want to be where the best drivers are at, and I think INDYCAR is pretty high up there on the single seater ladder. I’ve always enjoyed single seaters quite a lot, as well.It’s an honor to be racing in INDYCAR after I started my career 10 years ago, and I was just watching those races. Yeah, huge privilege in that sense, and I think here in America, in INDYCAR, there has been many female drivers coming through, so I think there is more opportunity at the moment for us here.I will obviously make the most out of this opportunity, and I’m really hoping that I can do well and inspire even more girls to join in in karting, in single seaters, and that they know this is also a great opportunity to showcase that.Yeah, can’t wait to get started and see where we end up in the first race, but obviously build up to it step by step, and I think as long as we improve every time we’re on track, then I’ll be happy.
Q.Have you had a chance to meet AJ yet?TATIANA CALDERON: Sadly, no. We were supposed to meet very soon, but with all this COVID situation, with the weather, it’s been — it has not been easy. He had a birthday yesterday, as well.Yeah, hopefully very soon.
Q.Do you have any idea what to expect?TATIANA CALDERON: No, I think obviously I’ve read a lot of what he’s done, about the Indy 500, as well, everything that has won. I think it will be a privilege to be able to share some experiences with him, to look at him in the eyes. I think that’s one of the biggest things I would say sometimes when you have that connection, that feeling with somebody. Hopefully it will be very soon.
Q.Did you give any consideration to the ovals?TATIANA CALDERON: Yeah, definitely. Obviously I’ve only tested the car one day back in July, so we thought to take things easy to start off with, the road courses, build up to hopefully test in an oval, see how I feel, see how my confidence with the car comes.But of course who wouldn’t love to do Indy 500 one day. Yeah, we’re just taking it step by step.
Q.Are you still going to be a reserve driver, or has that come to an end?TATIANA CALDERON: I’m not sure at the moment, but my full focus is obviously here in INDYCAR. I want to do the best job I can, and I think in order to do that, I need to be focused on one thing. We’ll figure out the next bit in the future, but I’m just super excited with this opportunity and to be present and focused on one thing.
Q.We’ve had a lot of successful drivers from Formula 2 and Super Formula recently coming to INDYCAR. You’ve done both. What do you think your experiences, how can they help you getting into grips with INDYCAR this year?TATIANA CALDERON: Well, I think they will be very useful, all those experiences, particularly because there’s not much time that we have in the car in preseason, so only a couple of days of testing, so I’m kind of used to that. But yeah, all the tracks sort of will be quite new, especially with an INDYCAR. It’s quite a heavy, big car, just with the tires to get a feel for the degradation, as well, here.Because I’ve been changing continents and cars and tire manufacturers, I think that’s definitely going to help me to speed up the process, but I still want to take step by step this steep learning curve.Yeah, I don’t expect it to be any easier, but I definitely feel more ready than I was a couple of years back if I had the opportunity. Yeah, looking forward to making the most out of it and to learn as quick as possible.
Q.As I recall, now that I think more about it, weren’t you involved with Derek Daly and his driving academy years ago, so therefore you must have quite a relationship with the daily family and Conor even?TATIANA CALDERON: Yeah, we were teammates with Conor when we were driving with Juncos Racing in Star Mazda, and I worked with Derek, as well, the first couple of years that I was here in single seaters.Yeah, I’ve always felt really, really confident here. Everybody has been very open to help, as well, and yeah, I have a lot of relationship with many of the drivers that are here in INDYCAR. Yeah, it will be fun to see them back on track again after so many years.
Q.Who else in this paddock have you raced with?TATIANA CALDERON: Well, I raced against Alex, a little bit against Pato in Formula 2 where he did only one race. I’ve raced with Montoya, as well, in the World Endurance Championship. Yeah, I need to think, but there are many others for sure. Lundgaard, Callum Ilott, as well.
Q.Quite a few.TATIANA CALDERON: Yeah, I’m pretty sure I have more, but — Felix Rosenqvist, as well, in Formula 3. Yeah, a lot of familiar faces.

2022 Winternationals Bonus Money and Added Starting Positions

Batavia, OH (January 17, 2022) – Wrisco Industries Inc., a long-time partner with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series continues their title sponsorship of the Wrisco Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park in 2022. Additional starting positions have been added to the feature each night at East Bay Raceway Park, compliments of Wrisco Industries and
Wrisco Industries Inc. will give racers the opportunity at an additional starting spot in the feature event each night at East Bay Raceway Park based on the fastest qualifying driver that doesn’t transfer into the main event through a heat race or B-main. The additional starting spot will be titled the Wrisco Fast Time Provisional and will start 25th in each night’s feature event.
In addition to the Wrisco Fast Time Provisional starting spot in the feature event, drivers will have another opportunity to transfer into the feature by competing in the Strawberry Dash-presented by each night. Drivers that fail to transfer into the feature event through a heat race or B-main each can earn the 26th starting position by winning the Strawberry Dash-presented by each night at East Bay Raceway Park. The winner of the Strawberry Dash-presented by also collects a flat of Florida strawberries for their win in the dash. 
Racers that enter all fourteen (14) Lucas Oil Series speedweeks events starting with the Super Bowl of Racing at Golden Isles Speedway on January 27th will be eligible to earn extra cash awards from the Wrisco Speedweeks points fund. The top eight (8) drivers in the speedweeks point standings after the final event at East Bay Raceway Park and maintained perfect attendance through all fourteen (14) speedweeks events will receive additional cash awards, compliments of Wrisco Industries.
“We want to thank Jim Monastra at Wrisco Industries and Michael Rigsby from for the added incentives they are providing the racers during the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Speedweeks in 2022. Having partners that are willing to give additional incentives and cash to the racers during speedweeks shows their dedication and passion for our sport and allows us to continue with the most exciting events in Georgia and Florida during speedweeks. We look forward to another great year,” stated Wayne Castleberry, Corporate Sales and Marketing for Lucas Oil Motorsports.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series 2022 GA/FL Speedweeks
About Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt SeriesFounded in 2005, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series showcases the talents of the top dirt late model drivers from across the country. In 2022, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will sanction 65 events across 18 states, including some of the biggest marquee events in the industry, providing dirt slinging, sideways, door-to-door racing action lap after lap.  The series receives national exposure through a television package filmed, produced and edited by Lucas Oil Production Studios. Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events will be streamed live on MAVTV Plus, with broadcasts on MAVTV Motorsports Network.   The in your face excitement of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series is second to none in motorsports. For more information, including the latest news, tour schedule, driver information, and more, visit the official website at:
2022 Official Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Marketing Partners
2022 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Partners Include:Advanced Powder Coating, Ag Protect 1, Allstar Performance, Arizona Sport Shirts,, Automotive Racing Products, Big River Steel, Bilstein, Black Diamond Chassis, Boyd Bilt Fabrication, Brandon Ford, Brodix, Capital Race Cars, Cornett Racing Engines, CP Carrillo Pistons,,, Dirt Draft, Dirty Girl Racewear, Dixie Chopper, E3 Spark Plugs, Earnhardt Technologies Group, eBay Motors, Etchberger Trucking, Fast Shafts, General Tire, Heath Lawson Photography, Holmatro, Hoosier Tire, Hot Rod Processing, Keyser Manufacturing, K&N Engineering, LINE-X, Longhorn Chassis, Lucas Oil Products, MAVTV Motorsports Network, Mega Plumbing of the Carolinas, Midwest Sheet Metal, Miller Welders, MSD Performance, MyRacePass, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Öhlins Shocks, OPTIMA Batteries, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Outerwears, Penske Racing Shocks, Performance Bodies, Pit Stop USA, Pro Power Racing Engines,, Rocket Chassis, Rugged Radios, Schoenfeld Headers, Simpson Race Products, Slicker Graphics, Stop Tech Brakes, Sunoco Race Fuels, Super Clean, Swift Springs, Summit Racing Equipment, Thermo-Tec Automotive Products, UNOH – University of Northwestern Ohio, Vahlco Wheels, Vic Hill Race Engines, Whelen Engineering Company Inc, Wrisco Aluminum, 5150 Race Trailers
For the Latest Information – Visit


PHOENIX, AZ (January 17, 2022) — The stars of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series will begin preparing for their pursuits of Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock world championships from Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park outside of Phoenix, Arizona, during the PRO Nitro Spring Training test session slated for February 10-12. The testing sessions hosted by the Professional Racing Organization will be closed to the public except for Saturday, February 12, when fans who have purchased tickets to the NHRA Arizona Nationals will have the opportunity to purchase tickets for the on-track testing action. Fans may add on test session tickets to their Arizona Nationals ticket order online or they may call the NHRA Ticket Sales Center at 800-884-6472 if Nationals tickets have been previously purchased.

Almost 30 drivers from more than a dozen of the top professional NHRA teams, including nine current or former world champions, will be testing many with brand new race cars and new sponsors. 

“We are glad to bring the Nitro Spring Training event to Phoenix and Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park,” said Alan Johnson, the president of PRO. “This is an exciting time of the year when teams are getting ready for a new season. There were a lot of changes to many teams this off-season so getting drivers and cars as many passes as possible will be critical. We are looking forward to a great 2022 NHRA season and this pre-season testing session is the first chance for us to show off for our fans.”

Among those heading to Arizona are reigning Funny Car champion Ron Capps as well as the entire contingent of Kalitta Motorsports including Doug Kalitta and Shawn Langdon in Top Fuel and J.R. Todd in his brand-new Toyota GR Supra Funny Car.  John Force Racing will be represented by 16-time champion John Force, three-time champion Robert Hight and 2017 Top Fuel champion Brittany Force. Tony Stewart Racing drivers Matt Hagan and Top Fuel teammate Leah Pruett will be getting geared up for 2022. 

Additionally, Top Fuel drivers three-time champ Antron Brown, Tony Schumacher, Mike Salinas, Doug Foley, Jim Maroney and Justin Ashley along with Funny Car pilots Paul Lee, two-time Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson, and Bob Tasca III will be at the track. 2021 Rookie of the Year Dallas Glenn and Deric Kramer lead a diverse group of Pro Stock drivers who will be testing including Aaron Stanfield, Rodger Brogdon, Greg Anderson, Bo Butner, Troy Coughlin Jr, Fernando Cuarda Jr, Fernando Cuarda Sr, and Cristian Cuadra from Elite Performance. 

Gates will open at 8:00 a.m. and teams will make runs throughout the day. There will not be a set schedule for runs and the last runs of the day will begin at approximately 5:00 p.m. Most drivers are planning on making at least one run on Saturday, however due to the nature of testing there are no guarantees on driver participation. For additional information visit

The 2022 NHRA season officially begins February 18 in Pomona, California with the historic NHRA Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by  The Camping World Drag Racing Series kicks off Friday with one qualifying session for Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock, followed by two more passes Saturday and final eliminations on Sunday, February 20.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: World of Outlaws Late Models open 2022 Season at Sunshine Nationals

Sheppard, Richards, Strickler, and a stout Rookie class get ready to square off at Volusia Speedway Park

BARBERVILLE, FL – January 17, 2022 – The wait is finally over. 

The World of Outlaws Late Models kick off their 2022 campaign in Florida, Jan. 20-22, as part of the Sunshine Nationals Late-Model-Palooza at Volusia Speedway Park. 

Three nights of high-octane action will see The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet battle for a $10,000 top prize each Feature, giving one driver the chance to walk away with $30,000.

This year marks the Series’ second appearance during the massive Late Model weekend. Home state hero Kyle Bronson, of Brandon, FL, picked up the inaugural Sunshine Nationals win with the World of Outlaws.

Joining the Series at The World’s Fastest Half-Mile are the DIRTcar Pro Late Models and 602 Late Models.

If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live on DIRTVision – either online on with the DIRTVision App.

Here are top storylines to what for this weekend:

The Drive for 5: The Sunshine Nationals mark the start of a potential historic journey for Brandon Sheppard, of New Berlin, IL. He’s two wins away from taking the top spot on the all-time wins list and a championship at the end of the season would make him the first driver in the history of the Series to reach five titles.

Sheppard won his third consecutive title in November – fourth overall – tying Josh Richards for the most Series championships all-time.

He’s had a ton of success as The World’s Fastest Half-Mile racking up six victories, including a clean sweep of DIRTcar Nationals in 2019. Sheppard was consistent on tracks a half-mile or larger in 2021 — scoring one win, five top-fives, and nine top-10s.

“The Rocket Shepp” is also coming in hot. He scored two wins in New Mexico earlier this month in his family-owned car. 

Back with a Boom: Brandon Sheppard won’t be alone in the quest to claim the most World of Outlaws Late Model championships all-time. Josh Richards returns to the World of Outlaws Late Models full-time in 2022 behind the wheel of a car owned by fan-favorite Boom Briggs.

Like Sheppard, the Shinnston, WV driver has also found success at Volusia Speedway Park, winning five times at the Florida venue.

While “The Rocket Man” hasn’t been full-time with the Series since 2016, that hasn’t kept him out of Victory Lane. His last Series win came at the high-speed Bristol Motor Speedway half-mile last year. 

Freshman Orientation: The 2022 World of Outlaws Late Models’ rookie class is one to keep an eye on this season with impressive resumes among them. 

Six drivers have announced their plan to run for Rookie of the Year honors in 2022, all from different parts of the country. 

Max Blair, from Centerville, PA, has the most World of Outlaws success out of the group, having already claimed three Series wins. However, Tanner English, from Benton, KY, is the only driver with an entire season of a national tour under his belt.

Joining them in the rookie battle will be Gary Dillon, from Wilson, NC, Gordy Gundaker, from St. Charles, MO, Jacob Ulrich, from Sand Springs, OK, and Kyle Hammer, from Clinton, IL. 

As proven by last year’s Rookie of the Year, Tyler Bruening, a strong start to the season at Sunshine Nationals will go a long way to ending the season as the top rookie. While he didn’t pick up a win, his consistency catapulted him to third in points.  

Volusia Tickler: No driver had more success at Volusia Speedway Park in 2021 than Kyle Strickler. 

The Mooresville, NC driver won twice last season—the only driver to score multiple victories at The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.  

In January 2021, the “Highside Tickler” held off Late Model legend Scott Bloomquist to score his first career win at Sunshine Nationals and backed it up with a win to open DIRTcar Nationals last February.

In five races on the half-mile oval, Strickler only finished out of the top-five once—a sixth on the final night of DIRTcar Nationals.  


Jan. 20-22 – Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, FL


Volusia Speedway Park is a 1/2-mile oval
Online –  

Previous Volusia Speedway Park Winners
2021 – Kyle Bronson on Jan. 14, Kyle Strickler on Jan. 16, Kyle Strickler on Feb. 10, Devin Moran on Feb. 11, Brandon Overton on Feb. 12
2020 – Brandon Sheppard on Feb. 12, Jimmy Owens on Feb. 13, Feb. 14 & Feb. 15
2019 – Brandon Sheppard on Feb. 13, Feb. 14, Feb. 15 and Feb. 16
2018 – Tim McCreadie – Feb. 14; Dale McDowell – Feb. 15; Scott Bloomquist – Feb. 16; Brandon Sheppard – Feb. 17
2017- Shane Clanton on Feb. 24; Don O’Neal on Feb. 25
2016 – Josh Richards on Feb. 18, 19; Shane Clanton on Feb. 20
2015 – Shane Clanton on Feb. 19, 20, 21
2014 – Casey Roberts on Feb. 20; Kyle Bronson on Feb. 22
2013 – Scott Bloomquist on Feb. 21; Billy Moyer on Feb. 22; Darrell Lanigan on Feb. 23
2012 – Dennis Erb Jr. on Feb. 23; Billy Moyer on Feb. 25
2011 – Scott Bloomquist on Feb. 17; Scott Bloomquist on Feb. 19
2010 – Josh Richards on Feb. 11; Brady Smith on Feb. 13
2009 – Josh Richards on Feb. 12; Steve Francis on Feb. 14
2008 – Josh Richards on Feb. 14; Billy Moyer on Feb. 16
2007 – Josh Richards on Feb. 17
2006 – Earl Pearson Jr. on Feb. 16; Steve Francis on Feb. 18; Chris Madden on Oct. 14
2005 – Billy Moyer on Feb. 17; Tim McCreadie on Feb. 19; Scott Bloomquist on Oct. 29
2004 – Steve Francis on Feb. 3; Bart Hartman on Feb. 4; Shannon Babb on Feb. 6; Scott Bloomquist on Feb. 8 

$250,000 Potential Bonus with the New Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Quest for Cash

Batavia, OH (January 14, 2022) – Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series officials are excited to announce the Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Quest for Cash bonus in 2022. As part of the Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Cup, the Quest for Cash includes a potential bonus of $50,000, another bonus at $100,000 and a top bonus of $250,000. These bonuses are available to drivers that maintain perfect attendance with the series for the entire season and are based on a driver’s performance at the fourteen (14) Crown Jewel Cup Events in 2022. 
If a driver wins six (6) of the fourteen (14) Crown Jewel Cup events in 2022, that driver will receive a $50,000 bonus. A driver that wins eight (8) of fourteen (14) Crown Jewel Cup events will earn a $100,000 bonus and if a driver can win eleven (11) of the fourteen (14) Crown Jewel Cup events, that driver will earn a whopping $250,000 bonus.**
The Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Cup is a fourteen (14) race mini-series within the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series schedule. First place winnings for the fourteen (14) Arizona Crown Jewel Cup events in 2022 comes to an extraordinary $718,000. The Arizona Sport Shirts Quest for Cash rewards series drivers that compete in the Crown Jewel Cup events in 2022. The first Crown Jewel Cup event in 2022 will be the 53rd Annual Hillbilly 100 at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, WV on Friday April 8th paying $30,000 to win. 
“With the added bonus possibilities, these fourteen (14) Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Cup events on the 2022 schedule will be even more rewarding and lucrative for the drivers that follow the series in 2022,” stated Wayne Castleberry, Marketing and Sales for Lucas Oil Motorsports.
“We are very proud to be a part of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and continue our support to all racers, tracks, and great fans. We are very excited to add the Quest for Cash bonus to the Crown Jewel Cup mini series and offer some big bucks as bonus to the racers that follow the Lucas Oil Series, ” Gerald Newton, Arizona Sport Shirts. 
Arizona Sport Shirts will continue to have a presence at each and every Lucas Oil Series event in 2022 with the Official Merchandise Trailer of the series onsite at all series events. You can also purchase the Official Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series merchandise at their extensive online store at: 
Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Cup Event Schedule:April 8, 2022- Tyler County Speedway- 53rd Annual Hillbilly 100- $30,000 to winMay 28, 2022- Lucas Oil Speedway- Show-Me 100- $50,000 to winJune 4, 2022- West Virginia Motor Speedway- Historic 100- $50,000 to winJune 18, 2022- Smoky Mountain Speedway- Mountain Moonshine Classic- $50,000 to winJune 25, 2022- Lernerville Speedway- Firecracker 100- $50,000 to winJuly 3, 2022- Muskingum County Speedway- 21st Annual July 3rd Race- $30,000 to winJuly 9, 2022- Deer Creek Speedway- Gopher 50- $50,000 to winJuly 23, 2022- I-80 Speedway- Silver Dollar Nationals- $53,000 to winAugust 13, 2022- Florence Speedway- North/South 100- $75,000 to winAugust 20, 2022- Batesville Motor Speedway- Topless 100- $50,000 to winAugust 27, 2022- Port Royal Speedway- Rumble by the River- $50,000 to winSeptember 4, 2022- Tyler County Speedway- 54th Annual Hillbilly 100- $30,000 to winSeptember 17, 2022- Knoxville Raceway- Late Model Nationals- $50,000 to winOctober 15, 2022- Portsmouth Raceway Park- Dirt Track World Championship- $100,000 to win
**A minimum of 11 of the scheduled 14 Crown Jewel Cup races must be completed during the 2022 season with a minimum of 24 cars entered at each of those events. To be eligible, the driver must have perfect attendance in all Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series races in 2022. 
About Arizona Sports Shirts:Founded more than four decades ago, Arizona Sport Shirts has provided bold, unique, and effective apparel for race teams, businesses, and special events. Today, Arizona Sport Shirts continues its commitment to providing cutting edge apparel and merchandise found nowhere else. More information on Arizona Sport Shirts, including online ordering details, is available at:
About Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt SeriesFounded in 2005, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series showcases the talents of the top dirt late model drivers from across the country. In 2022, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will sanction 65 events across 18 states, including some of the biggest marquee events in the industry, providing dirt slinging, sideways, door-to-door racing action lap after lap.  The series receives national exposure through a television package filmed, produced and edited by Lucas Oil Production Studios. Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events will be streamed live on MAVTV Plus, with broadcasts on MAVTV Motorsports Network.   

Dodge//SRT and Mopar Partner With Tony Stewart Racing to Compete in NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series

  • Dodge//SRT and Mopar are partnering with Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) for the team’s inaugural season in the 2022 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Camping World Drag Racing Series 
  • Nine-time Top Fuel national event winner Leah Pruett will drive a TSR Top Fuel dragster with Dodge Power Brokers and Direct Connection livery throughout the season, continuing a partnership with Dodge//SRT and Mopar that started in 2016
  • Three-time NHRA Funny Car World Champion (2011, 2014, 2020) Matt Hagan continues his partnership with Dodge//SRT and Mopar that began in 2009 
  • Hagan will carry the Dodge Power Brokers and Direct Connection colors on his Tony Stewart Racing Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
  • Hagan has driven a Dodge Charger Funny Car in 293 races, earning 39 career wins, 32 runner-up finishes and 43 No. 1 qualifier positions
  • Announcement opens sixth “garage door” of the Dodge Never Lift campaign, which provides a two-year road map to the brand’s electrified performance future
  • Visit to view the 24 Months of Muscle calendar

January 14, 2022, Auburn Hills, Michigan – Dodge//SRT and Mopar announce their support of the newest team in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Camping World Drag Racing Series, Tony Stewart Racing (TSR). Dodge//SRT and Mopar will be primary sponsors for Top Fuel driver Leah Pruett and three-time Funny Car World Champion Matt Hagan in TSR’s inaugural 2022 NHRA season. 

Today’s announcement opens the sixth “garage door” of the Dodge Never Lift campaign, a 24-month road map to the brand’s electrified performance future. The Dodge 24 Months of Muscle calendar can be viewed at

“The Dodge brand has a long history of competing in and supporting motorsports.” says Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand Chief Executive Officer – Stellantis. “For nearly a decade, NHRA drag racing has been our primary motorsports focus, helping deliver products like the Dodge Demon, 1320 and Super Stock; cars that resonate with the Brotherhood of Muscle. These vehicles will hold a place in muscle-car history for years to come. The Dodge brand embodies the philosophy of the ‘last tenth,’ and we are not done pushing the performance envelope. So, we are extremely excited to partner with Tony Stewart and his drag racing team to help take Dodge to the next level. Tony is a racing legend with an attitude, personality and competitive drive that aligns perfectly with our goals.”

“I’m really pleased to have Dodge//SRT and Mopar as partners with our new NHRA venture as manufacturer and sponsor for our two entries in Top Fuel and Funny Car with Leah and Matt,” says Tony Stewart, TSR team owner. “It shows confidence in your program when an OEM wants to be on your team and for you to help support their program as well. They have obviously had a great relationship with both drivers for the last few years and to be able to continue that association is key to this team’s success and a huge benefit to the continuity for everyone involved. Having that kind of history definitely helps flatten the learning curve while raising expectations for our inaugural NHRA season. It’ll be nice to work with Dodge and Mopar again after sharing success together in USAC and the World of Outlaws nearly two decades ago. We are certainly setting the bar high and look forward to being competitive from the start.”

TSR was formed in November 2000. Since its inaugural season in 2001, TSR has earned 27 owner championships – 14 in USAC, nine in the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series, and four in the All Star Circuit of Champions TQ Midgets. TSR will embark upon its first NHRA campaign in 2022 while simultaneously running its sprint car program for a 22nd straight season. TSR’s NHRA and sprint car entries will operate out of its existing 25,000-square-foot facility in Brownsburg, Indiana.

Pruett’s and Hagan’s nitro-fueled drag cars will have primary branding throughout the season that spotlights the recently announced Dodge Power Brokers and Direct Connection programs.

The Dodge Power Brokers dealership program is the exclusive source for all new Direct Connection performance parts, including tuner, stage and performance kits for the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and race-ready kits for the Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak. Dodge Power Brokers dealership staff will be trained to deliver a performance-focused customer service experience.

Pruett first joined forces with Dodge//SRT and Mopar in 2016 and has consistently competed among the top contenders in each of the last five seasons. The 33-year-old Redlands, California, native has nine Top Fuel national event victories, nine runner-up finishes, 12 No. 1 qualifier honors in 172 races, a career best elapsed time run of 3.631 seconds and a best speed of 334.15 miles per hour. She will drive the Dodge Power Brokers Top Fuel dragster this year.

“It was very important to me to continue the close relationship I’ve had with Dodge//SRT and Mopar in this new journey with Tony Stewart Racing,” says Pruett. “I’m appreciative of the support that Dodge and Mopar, and all their fans, have shown me these past few years and I’m proud to fly their colors as we move forward together and work to bring home wins and a championship in 2022. Having Direct Connection branding on my dragster this season is really exciting because it has such a rich history of success at the drag strip with racers like Don Garlits, and it’s amazing to help continue to build on that legacy and introduce it to a new generation of Dodge enthusiasts.”

In addition to carrying on the legacy of drag-racing innovator and multi-time champion Garlits, representing Direct Connection has personal meaning to Pruett.

“While Dodge//SRT was developing the new Drag Pak, we were also testing and developing some of the stage kits,” Pruett said. “It seemed almost unbelievable that an OEM would make available various stage kits capable of adding so much additional power, all while maintaining the car’s warranty. To be on the presenting side of a massive program that I contributed to, while watching it progress in pure secrecy, makes me incredibly proud to run Direct Connection and Power Brokers on my Top Fuel dragster.”

Dodge//SRT and Mopar continue their long relationship with three-time NHRA Funny Car World Champion Hagan with primary sponsorship of his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car. The brands have supported Hagan since his rookie year in 2009.

With Dodge//SRT and Mopar on board, Hagan has vied for the Funny Car crown as either championship points leader or challenger heading into a season finale on seven occasions, including the 2021 season. Together, they have competed in 293 races, earning 39 Wally trophies, 32 runner-up finishes, and 43 No. 1 qualifier positions with a career best elapsed time run of 3.799 seconds and his best speed is 338.85 mph.

The 38-year-old from Christiansburg, Virginia, will drive his TSR HEMI®-powered machine dressed with Dodge Power Brokers and Direct Connection branding throughout the 2022 season.

“I’m so grateful to have represented and shared so many successes with Dodge//SRT and Mopar for most of my career and to say I’m excited to continue our relationship in this next chapter with Tony Stewart Racing is an understatement,” says Hagan. “I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead and introducing our passionate fans to a new-look livery featuring Dodge Power Brokers and Direct Connection. 

“My family has been a Dodge dealer since 1979 and we’re really proud of that. We’re also ready to celebrate Mopar’s 85th anniversary this year as we battle for a championship with a few wins along the way.”

The 2022 NHRA Camping World Series season kicks off February 17-20 with the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California, the first of 22 events on the schedule and broadcast on FOX and FS1.

DodgeGarage: Digital Hub for Drag Racing News

Fans can follow all the NHRA action this season at DodgeGarage, the one-stop portal for Dodge//SRT and Mopar drag-racing news. The site includes daily updates and access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads and merchandise. For more information, visit

@DodgeMoparMotorsports on Instagram

The @DodgeMoparMotorsports Instagram channel continues to share content capturing Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers on the track. Fans can see action from the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series and NHRA Sportsman grassroots racers, competing in classes such as Factory Stock Showdown, Stock and Super Stock, as well as additional motorsports series.


For more than 100 years, the Dodge brand has carried on the spirit of brothers John and Horace Dodge. Their influence continues today as Dodge shifts into high gear with muscle cars and SUVs that deliver unrivaled performance in each of the segments where they compete.

Dodge drives forward as a pure performance brand, offering SRT versions of every model across the lineup. For the 2022 model year, Dodge delivers the drag-strip dominating 807-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock, the 797-horsepower Dodge Charger SRT Redeye, the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world, and the Dodge Durango SRT 392, America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV. Combined, these three muscle cars make Dodge the industry’s most powerful brand, offering more horsepower than any other American brand across its entire lineup.

In 2020, Dodge was named the “#1 Brand in Initial Quality,” making it the first domestic brand ever to rank No. 1 in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS). In 2021, Dodge brand ranked No. 1 in the J.D. Power APEAL Study (mass market) — making it the only domestic brand ever to do so two years in a row.

Dodge is part of the portfolio of brands offered by leading global automaker and mobility provider Stellantis. For more information regarding Stellantis (NYSE: STLA), please visit

Follow Dodge and company news and video on:

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Twitter: @Dodge and @StellantisNA

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This year marks the 85th anniversary of Mopar.

A simple combination of the words MOtor and PARts, Mopar offers exceptional service, parts and customer-care. Born in 1937 as the name of a line of antifreeze products, Mopar has evolved over nearly 85 years to represent both complete vehicle care and authentic performance for owners and enthusiasts worldwide.

Mopar made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era with performance parts to enhance speed and handling for both on-road and racing use. Later, Mopar expanded to include technical service and customer support, and today integrates service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance customer and dealer support worldwide.

Complete information on Mopar is available at For more information regarding Stellantis (NYSE: STLA), please visit

Follow Mopar and company news and video on:

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Pat Caporali

Mopar Dodge//SRT Motorsports Media Relations Manager

Indianapolis – United States

Mobile: +1 248.421.9427