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Dreams to Realities …

October 12, 2012

Well, well, well … I leave a blog alone for 6+ months, and it gets all dusty on me. I know, I know … here I start my own, personal INDYCAR-based blog, and then I leave it alone through the entire 2012 IZOD IndyCar Season. Plus, all my proposed in-session tweets, and humor, and “GREEN BEANS” commentaries disappear. Kinda surprised there haven’t been APB’s put out for me.

Allow me to explain – strike that – too long to explain. Allow me to summarize myself. Even that may be too long.

Back in February, I wrote a blog entry called “Making INDYCAR better … personally“. In a nutshell, I was invited to interview for a new “webmaster” position within INDYCAR. Out of countless people whom submitted resumés for this position back in May/June 2011, along with several personal recommendations provided by my “insider” contacts, not to mention my racing friends, I lived out a dream. An interview. With a company I believe in. In a sport I have an insatiable passion about.

On the morning of February 28, 2012, I received a call from INDYCAR thanking me for my interviews. While I did make their selection extremely difficult, I was the 2nd overall selection for the position. Disappointed & heartbroken? Absolutely. But I wasn’t bitter, to be honest. I knew I gave INDYCAR my best, and I was proud of the time/effort/money I spent for this opportunity. I really felt I made INDYCAR better.

On February 29th, things got weird. I don’t mean weird in a strange way, but weird in a “even-Hollywood-couldn’t-dream-about-imagining-this” kinda way.

That morning, my great uncle (and the man whom my middle name comes from) passed away after a long illness. I’m honored to carry his name as my own. As family gathered over the next few days, my job search temporarily stopped. I needed to be with my family, not only to mourn my uncle, but also reflect on my interview process with INDYCAR. Did I flub something? What could I have said or done differently? Sometimes, self-reflection is good, but you can’t beat yourself up on it too long. My uncle did know about my interviewing with INDYCAR, and he was thrilled for me, wishing me luck before my first interview.

In remembering my uncle that week, I could see that I had adopted a few of his personality traits. He loved the outdoors. He loved woodworking as a hobby. He had a passion for cars – although his flavor were in Model-T’s and the classic cars. I also believe he was a reserved, quiet person. I wouldn’t call him shy by any means, but – I dunno – my impression was that he might have been a little difficult to get to know on a personal level, but once one broke through that shell, he was one of the best human beings one could ever want to meet. I think I’m the same way. Perhaps wrongly, I tend to keep my feelings/emotions really bottled up in check, esp. if they involve personal issues, which may be why starting close friendships is much more difficult for me than just making acquaintances with people. As much as I try to be an extrovert, I’m probably an introvert by nature. It is for this reason that something tells me “higher powers” began the day he passed. Something clicked that day. Something completely, and to this day is still, unimaginable. Something … well … divine.

My uncle’s funeral was held the following Monday (March 5th). As family members began their journeys home the following day, I recall helping my father at his real estate office. That afternoon, while uploading photos for appraisals, I received an email from INDYCAR. Something happened, and they wanted to know my availability for a phone call 1st thing Wednesday morning, March 7th. My schedule became instantly cleared.

On Wednesday, I had a phone call with INDYCAR. Long story short – the person whom INDYCAR selected over me for the new webmaster position had accepted another position March 1st, not 72 hours after accepting the position. INDYCAR was now in a bind, and needed to bring someone in. Would I still be open to the opportunity on a 90-day-trial period? A new website was scheduled to be launched in 2+ weeks, and they desperately needed someone to get them through at least the Indianapolis 500. After the 500, INDYCAR would take a benchmark to see whether they’d continue with me as their employee, and vice-versa – whether I would want to continue with INDYCAR.

I think the words I said were: “Um … uh … yeah, I’m still interested.”

The next words on the other side of the phone call were: “That’s the best thing we’ve heard all week. When could you be in Indianapolis to start?”

“I was planning on being in Indianapolis tomorrow anyway for the Big Ten Basketball tournament, but I don’t have a ticket yet. To be honest, I could start tomorrow.”

“Sounds good. 8am. See you tomorrow.”

On March 8th, 2012 at 8am Eastern … I began my career as the new Director of Online Strategies for INDYCAR.

I’ll stop there for now. Over the next few days/weeks, I’m going to try to start piecing together the last 6 months (March-September 2012) over a few blog entries. I won’t give inner-workings of INDYCAR … some things need to be private and confidential, so I hope you understand. However, what I hope I *can* provide is a broad picture of the biggest whirlwind adventure I’ve ever been on. How I’m going to blog this adventure, I don’t know. How long it’s going to take – again, I don’t know. Just know this … if you’ve read this far, then you know I have a few stories to tell, recalling “pinch-me” moments, but similarly, times where I wanted to shake my head, scream, break down and leave this sport altogether.

But think of this for 10 seconds … an INDYCAR fan – just like yourself, just like several of Twitter followers you may be following, just like a few other INDYCAR bloggers you may already read – was given the keys to INDYCAR.com in 2012.

Now, isn’t that worth another blog entry (or two, or three) to read? I hope so. Stick around.

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Rubens Barrichello … moving the needle?

March 2, 2012

I’ve promised myself … a maximum of 1,200 of my own words after this paragraph … Verbosity, thy bad name is me. Here goes nothing …

On Thursday, March 1st, 2012, Rubens Barrichello inked a one-year deal with KV Racing Technologies, driving Car #8, sponsored by BMG / Embrase (LINK HERE), teaming with Tony Kanaan and E.J. Viso. Barrichello is a 19-year veteran of Formula One, with 322 career starts (#1 all-time) and 11 victories, including the 2002 U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis, finishing 2nd twice and 3rd twice in the overall Drivers Championship standings.

But will he move the needle for North American motorsports, particularly INDYCAR?

(Why do I feel like I just jumped into a lion’s den wearing boxer briefs made of raw Porterhouse steaks?)

Don’t get me wrong here … I get the hype. BELIEVE ME – I do. Rubens is as talented a driver as we have ever seen. (And there’s a period after that statement, mind you). He’s driven for 19 years, count ‘em 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19!, in Formula One. He has a fan base that makes most in motorsports – hell, ANYONE in motorsports – jealous. Look, here is the current list of 24 known 2012 Izod IndyCar drivers and their Twitter follower counts (numbers as of March 1st, 2012 @ 6pm Eastern)

  • Ryan Briscoe: 20,593
  • Helio Castroneves: 53,353
  • J.R. Hildebrand: 10,985
  • E.J. Viso: 16,069
  • Katherine Legge: 4,438
  • Sebastien Bourdais: 630, but 0 tweets since Feb 2010 … <sad trombone>
  • Scott Dixon: 20,488
  • Dario Franchitti: 50,227
  • Will Power: 23,196
  • Mike Conway: 9,436
  • Takuma Sato: 9,760
  • Justin Wilson: 15,689
  • James Jakes: 2,802
  • Ed Carpenter: 9,248
  • Oriol Servia: 9,673
  • Marco Andretti: 38,519
  • James Hinchcliffe: 12,066
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay: 19,143
  • Graham Rahal: 22,871
  • Josef Newgarden: 2,510
  • Simon Pagenaud: 4,020
  • Simona de Silvestro: 15,561
  • Charlie Kimball: 5,035
  • Alex Tagliani: 25,092

Let’s add up the numbers so far, shall we? That’s 401,404 followers … and let’s be honest. Many of us are following more than just one driver, right, so several of those numbers are duplicated eyeballs.

Oh, wait … whoops … I forgot a 25th driver:

  • Tony Kanaan: 448,438

Yes … T.K. has more followers as the other 24 drivers combined. Your total is now 849,842 followers. But then … today happens …

  • Rubens Barrichello: 1,473,315 (!!)

Now … I used to be a college math maj … HOLY SMOKES – DAT’S AN ARMY! I’d also be willing to bet many of those followers have only watched INDYCAR from an extreme distance, as I’m guessing many of his followers are either European and Brazilian. Again, not that it’s a bad thing.

But will he move the needle for North American motorsports, particularly INDYCAR?

History states that Formula One drivers have had well-received introductions to open-wheel racing in the United States. I’m not going to go back into the encyclopedia to note all the F1 drivers whom have raced in the Indy 500, or for that matter any of USAC/CART/CCWS/IRL/INDYCAR races. Each driver brought a legion of fans (remember Nigel & Emmo?), and became rather popular here in the States. That’s great, but that’s also ancient history to the new breed of North American motorsports fans: those that laid witness to (a) the split of CART/IRL, and (b) the meteoric rise of the 1800-lb buffalo in the room, NASCAR.

Rubens is immensely popular in European countries, in Brazil & South America, and pretty much any country with Formula One. But … here in the States, where Formula One has struggled mightily to establish a solid foothold? Yes, he’s a well-known name Formula One driver, and U.S. Formula One fans, even many of us INDYCAR fans, know of him and his wonderful (deserved) accolades in racing. However, fans of that 1800-lb buffalo in the room may have heard of him, but also may not really care. He may not “move their needle” as INDYCAR might hope … unless they cast Rubens himself as Jean Girard in “Talledega Nights 2 – The Ballad of … well … Some Character Played By Steve Carell”.

But will he move the needle for North American motorsports, particularly INDYCAR?

When Randy Bernard took office two years ago (to the day, if I recall), one of the things he mentioned was trying to bring the motorsports fan, sponsors, and media back to INDYCAR. The “split” was pure hell for them, and they migrated to other forms of racing, be it NASCAR, NHRA, USAC, Formula One, whatever. How do we bring those people back? Similarly, how do we introduce INDYCAR to fans, media, and potential new sponsors whom have not experienced this form of racing, where it’s been marketed having the most talented, versatile drivers in the world on a variety of courses, from small ovals to road courses to super speedways to street circuits to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

As I sit here and think about it, just the addition of Barrichello to the grid actually boosts the second portion of Randy’s direction. Not only do we (INDYCAR) want to bring fans affected by the “split” back to enjoying INDYCAR and open-wheel racing, but INDYCAR also needs to grow in directions the sport has not had in almost two decades. Do you think there are going to be more eyes watching Rubens and INDYCAR this year? Um – 1.4 million followers on Twitter alone?!?!? You better bet your sweet bippy there’s going to be! “Danicamania” level? Perhaps not necessarily here in the U.S., but potentially yes, Danicamania level – outside of the U.S., all without the pictorial spreads. That, to me, is rather intriguing, because with non-U.S. eyes comes non-U.S. opportunities. More people and media worldwide – now starting to pay (or pay more) attention, which could potentially equate to more sponsors (foreign & domestic alike) paying attention. This has the makings of a calm-before-the-storm moment in INDYCAR, but more for international audiences.

But will he move the needle for North American motorsports, particularly INDYCAR?

That my friends, will be a $64 question for 2012. There’s been a stigma of F1 and its drivers that there’s some stuck-upity-ness in the series. Personally, I blame Bernie Ecclestone and the powers that be in regards to how F1 is so locked down regarding personalities and passion. I’ve seen more personality shown by a piece of Saran wrap than by F1. Rubens Barrichello, in my mind, doesn’t have this stigma. Every time I’ve seen him on television, he seems laid back, enjoys life with his family, and knows when the visor goes down, he will give no quarter. He seems quite outgoing, and personally, I can’t wait to meet him & shake his hand, welcoming him to INDYCAR. I think fans will really latch onto Rubens, and to be honest, I really hope Rubens latches onto INDYCAR fans. If that happens, then yes – the needle can be moved positively. I do not think the needle gets pegged on any readout, per sé, but additional movement in the positive, in conjunction with INDYCAR’s positive movement over the last 2 years, is a welcome addition.

Now, can Rubens win a race this year? Hmm … I don’t know, to be honest. Looking at his F1 career, he does have 3 wins in Monza, Italy, which is a permanent old-school road course. So, if I were to toss a dart for a Barrichello win in 2012, I’ll go with Mid-Ohio, which has the flavor of Monza – long straights, sweeping turns, a couple technical areas. In fairness, though, adding Rubens to the KVRT lineup should make Tony Kanaan wickedly better – and wouldn’t it be a site to see Rubens & T.K. on the same podium somewhere? Don’t count THAT out either.

But will he move the needle for North American motorsports, particularly INDYCAR?
He will move the needle for North American motorsports, particularly INDYCAR!

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Making INDYCAR better … personally

February 28, 2012

No one could deny or claim we haven’t made mistakes along the way. We have. But our only goal every single day with IndyCar is to better it and make it stronger. We have fantastic drivers, we have outstanding teams, and partners willing to invest millions into the series in an effort to help this series thrive and ensure IndyCar will be here for another century.

- Randy Bernard, INDYCAR CEO
(State of INDYCAR address, February 13, 2012)

As a kid, I grew up with big dreams. I recall wanting to be a truck driver or bulldozer operator. It migrated as I became interested in sports. Baseball was my game, although becoming a BMX bike racer always sounded cool, too. Of course, I also had visions of driving in the Indy 500 against A.J., Mario, and “Lonestar J.R.”. Yeah, typical childhood dreams of glory. My father taking me to IMS for qualification weekends didn’t deter those dreams much.

My family’s first Atari 2600 entered our living room in 1981, and things changed again. In between my share of “Indy 500” and “River Raid“, I became fascinated with computers. I knew I wanted my career to revolve around computers, even before I entered high school. Perhaps nerdish, but I really enjoyed math, the sciences, and computers in general. Plus, I knew there was big bucks in them too.

Fast forward to 1997 … I had already completed my undergraduate Computer Science degree, and was about to complete my Masters in Computer Science, when a boyhood dream company came calling for me and my skills – Caterpillar. Here I was, involved with computers and being asked to work for one of the biggest heavy machinery companies in the world. I began living my boyhood dream – bulldozers & computers. Wow!

Unfortunately, dreams have a way of fading. In 2009, I left Cat to pursue a newer direction of computers, that which involves the most important, but the least thought of, part of software, web site, and mobile design – the user herself. Talk about stepping off into a black abyss, during one of the roughest economic stretches the U.S. had seen in decades. Being unemployed and a graduate student (again) equates to many sleepless nights, hopeful for the future.

My final graduate project allowed a melding of two passions in life, computers and racing. My project was accepted by the school, so I now have a 2nd Masters degree, this time in Human-Computer Interaction. To complete my epic educational journey (with an unknown employment future), I submitted 6 copies of my final report to select INDYCAR personnel in May 2011. I requested no compensation – my compensation was already received with my degree. I didn’t really expect any response.

Then – it happened.

I can recall the event & location: a rain-soaked May Indy Tweetup morning gathering in the IMS Legacy suites. One of the INDYCAR directors saw my name tag and stopped me. He thanked me personally for the project, thought it was well done & informative, and they hoped to make use of it. He then mentioned an opportunity … a new position being created within INDYCAR … Webmaster.

Naturally, the 8-year-old in me screamed like a little girl seeing New Kids On The Block for the first time (old school). I mentioned I’d take a look at the description. Read the description thoroughly, at least 100 times. Yep – I wanted it. And the fortunate powers that be forwarded my resume directly onto the hiring manager’s desk, and other fortunate powers added their individual 2-cents in favor of me. There would be no way to thank everyone enough.

Fast forward to the start of 2012. I had been informed by INDYCAR personnel the position was put on hold pending 2012 strategies. Little did we know at the time those strategies included an altogether web site redesign and complete reorganization of their digital strategy. But, they thanked me for my persistence in the position, and that I should stay tuned because the position may be unfrozen soon.

Then, it happened … again.

(paraphrasing) “David … We’d like to schedule a meeting with you regarding our INDYCAR Webmaster position …”

(*light headed*) (*room spinning*) (*internal 8-yr-old screaming – again*)

“It would be my pleasure …”

(*thud*)

Fast forward to current … it’s Sunday morning, February 26, 2012. I’ve had two sets of meetings with INDYCAR. I’m not sure you’d call them “interviews”, per sé. Yes, they were interviews, but never had the uneasy feelings of “unknown question/answer” sessions like typical interviews. As a computer professional, I felt confident in my skills/experiences, and what I would provide, technically and strategically, to INDYCAR. As a fan of motorsports, I rode Cloud 9 to the outer reaches of the universe those two days. The veil of INDYCAR was briefly lifted for 2+ hours, a groom preparing to see a beautiful bride … and it was wonderful. And that was just the interview part.

I attended last night’s Winter Indy Tweetup, an annual gathering of INDYCAR Tweeters for fun, frivolity, and just good conversations. It felt right again. The building excitement leading up to the 2012 season was measurable, visceral, palpable. Throughout the day, I kept thinking … these are racing fans. These are fans that can and will help build INDYCAR’s fan base. These are fans, drivers, teams, sponsors, promoters … whom I want to share my professional skills and knowledge with, not just my INDYCAR fanaticism.

These are the people whom I want to be a webmaster for. Their webmaster. Their portal inside INDYCAR, using INDYCAR’s biggest portal to them (outside of the events themselves) – electronic media.

Do I want to be their face, their voice? ABSOLUTELY … so long as they show latitude for me as well. I am a fan, just like them, but with this position comes unbelievable responsibility. Being offered the INDYCAR webmaster position would be similar to winning an election … complete elation to being given the launch codes to a nuclear reactor-style position, but then realizing the enormity of the position. You know – one of those “Oh, God – what have I done? What have I done?” moments. But I remain resolute. I yearn to hear their words, positive and negative alike, regarding the new digital strategies within the new website, or within the mobile app, or anything electronically-associated with INDYCAR.

I can do this. I will do this. I would not waiver. I would not quit. I would be strong. I would be smart. I would be – INDYCAR.

“… our only goal every single day with IndyCar is to better it and make it stronger.”

I sit here typing this blog entry, hoping. Not so much regarding the “employment” aspect, but more on the future of this adventure. I keep recalling Mr. Bernard’s State of INDYCAR closing remarks, resonating like a gong. Every day, I see myself reading those words, inspiring an early start to the day, whether it may be at a cubicle/desk, or on that 3:45am red-eye flight to wherever asked or needed.

I recognize there are others whom have interviewed for this position as well. I do not know whom they are, nor backgrounds and education combinations. If I am selected, I know I have been chosen from a field of outstanding candidates, each themselves ready to push INDYCAR to new heights. If I am not selected … (not thinking about it, but) … I want to believe in my heart & soul, I made INDYCAR’s decision very difficult. I gave INDYCAR a new, passionate perspective with being Webmaster, and there’s little doubt I would have been a great addition, making use of experiences with a multi-billion dollar company, dual Masters degrees, and an innate passion for INDYCAR. Bitterness – there will be none. Even without the Webmaster position, I must continue to make INDYCAR better. My passion will still be true to this great sport – unwavering, unyielding, resolute.

It’s time for everyone to put its faith back in IndyCar … I’m confident that the strong staff at IndyCar, along with the drivers, the teams, the sponsors, the promoters and all the fans can bring IndyCar to a new height.  So let’s sit back, buckle up and hold on tight because 2012 promises to be one helluva ride.

- Randy Bernard, INDYCAR CEO
(State of INDYCAR address, February 13, 2012)

Mr. Bernard – Randy – thank you for allowing me the opportunity to talk with your INDYCAR team regarding the Webmaster opening. You have an outstanding staff. Be proud of them, their efforts, and their passion for their jobs to improve this wonderful sport. They are unbelievably excited about 2012. After speaking with each one them, I cannot be more excited about 2012 as well. It has already been a helluva ride these past two weeks, and I look forward to helping INDYCAR as your Webmaster.

I’m ready – passport’s ready – command’s been given – engine’s at full-song and ready – all I need is the green flag waved my direction.

PostScript (28-FEB-2012): David was informed this week he was not selected for the INDYCAR Webmaster position, but the decision was very, very difficult. It was mentioned he was the clear second choice by the organization.

No tears. No bitterness. No anger or bad words regarding the decision. None of it. — AND AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, I WANT (BEG) NONE OF IT FROM ANY OF YOU, EITHER! It would be unwelcomed & undeserved to INDYCAR, and hey – it’d make me look like a whiner, too. Bad, bad, bad. So don’t go tweeting, emailing, Facebooking, etc. to IndyCar about your disappointment for me. I’m uber-proud of what I did and, more importantly, who I was during the interview process. I really am. I didn’t sugarcoat or exaggerate anything. I was true to myself, my heart, and my soul, and I have confidence they saw that, too.

There is little doubt – no, make that ZERO doubt – in my mind … over the last 2 weeks, I personally made INDYCAR better. The series, the sport … all of it. Out of who-knows-how many applications & resumes they had to have received, I helped INDYCAR find one single, more-qualified candidate than myself to fill a behind-the-scenes job as Webmaster. Can you, the readers of this blog, look into the mirror and truthfully say the same?

My absolute congratulations to the new INDYCAR Webmaster, whomever you are. I hope one day to meet you and “talk shop”. I wish you all the best of luck in 2012. I know you are going to have a MEGATON of things on your plate in a short amount of time. Keep vigilant, keep going, keep pushing INDYCAR forward.

I, for one, will have your back.

As for my immediate future … well, um … anyone need a web & user experience design guy? Have dog, will travel (haha). Just so long as I can get to a few INDYCAR races this year – for blog purposes, of course – we’ll all be good. Wonder if INDYCAR needs an intern to help them out in May? Wonder if INDYCAR would be kind enough to grant media credentials to me?

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2012 Cars – IZOD IndyCar Series

February 19, 2012

A few weeks ago, I recall tweeting an initial breakdown of car/driver/engine combinations. Of course, I swapped one team’s engine contract, and was electronically backhanded for my faux pas (Thanks, Pippa! I owe you). So, I came up with a spreadsheet of my own, so that I can see the combinations on my own. As of today, we are roughly 5 weeks from the start of the INDYCAR season in St. Petersburg, FL, so it may be high-time for my breakdown of current car combinations.

Here is what I will do. Below are the combinations that are known, sorta-known, and unknown. I am going to try to keep this list as up-to-date as possible, such that when we have additions/inclusions/updates, you’ll see them here. The FIRST line you will see below is the last update date/time, so keep your eyes peeled – if you see/hear any changes needed, send me a comment (right-hand column) or put one below. I will, of course, provide recognition for those whom help. For simplicity purposes, I will order this list by known car number. If a team has a car signed/sealed/delivered, but no car number, I will note it at the end of the list.

Finally, I am also going to *attempt* to put known livery photos as well, because pictures are worth 1000 words, especially in racing. Since I haven’t seen the DW12 in action with my own eyes (*yet*), I’m only going to show pictures that I can properly give full credit to, in order to give credit where credit is due. Kapish? OK – let’s do it.

LIST BREAKDOWN UPDATE:
01
-MAR-2012 at 12:30PM Eastern Standard Time (US)

Car #2 – Ryan Briscoe

Team: Penske Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: IZOD (though could have other associate sponsors with one- or two-off liveries)

Update (27-FEB-2012): Better photo taken from this weekend’s test at Infineon Speedway

Image of Car 2 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: Kevin Toy (@KevinToy888), via Flickr

Car #3 – Helio Castroneves

Team: Penske Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: Shell V-Power (though could have other associate sponsors with one- or two-off liveries)

Image of Car 3 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: LAT Photo (latphotousa.com), via IndyCar.com

Car #4 – J.R. Hildebrand

Team: Panther Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: U.S. National Guard

Image of Car 4 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: LAT Photo (latphotousa.com)

Car #5 – E.J. Viso

Team: KV Racing Technologies
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: CITGO / PDVSA (along w/ associate sponsors Herbalife, Mindeporte CANTV, SBA Airlines)

Update (27-FEB-2012): We had seen both Rubens Barrichello & E.J. Viso in KV’s test Car #5, so now we’ve received the official word from them. No livery to make of just yet, but expect something CITGO-ish with the red/blue/white combinations. Seeing E.J.’s test helmet, though – oh, baby. Vertigo! So … for now, we’ll move Rubens down below. (DC)

Car #6 – Katherine Legge

Team: Dragon Racing
Engine: Lotus
Sponsor: TrueCar.com (believed primary sponsor, but not 100% confirmed)

Car #7 – Sebastien Bourdais

Team: Dragon Racing
Engine: Lotus
Sponsor: TBD

Notes: My guess would be Sebastien will drive Car #8, which Dragon Racing holds rights to. This would equate to Dragon Racing having Cars #6 & #8, and we all know how sexy single-digit numbers look.

Update (22-FEB-2012): Well … Katherine just spilled a few beans via Twitter (Link Here). She now states Sebastien will be driving Car #7, rather than Dragon’s original #8. This makes me wonder if they still have rights to the #8 … which might be another story in-and-of-itself, but I won’t go digging too much. I think Jay’s going to be quite content with two cars in 2012. (DC)

Car #8 – Rubens Barrichello

Team: KV Racing Technologies
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: BMC | Embrase

Update (01-MAR-2012): AND BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE! On behalf of IndyCar fans worldwide, welcome Rubens Barrichello to the series. There is little doubt this makes a few drivers, teams, fans stand up and say “S*** just done got real.” There was a rather grainy picture of Rubens livery scheme … looked mostly blue with black, which should look sharp, but might look relatively similar to the *proposed* livery colors of Team Barracuda – BHA.  In either regard, this is gonna get goooooooooood. (DC)

Car #9 – Scott Dixon

Team: Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: Target

Image of Car 9 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: LAT Photo (latphotousa.com), via IndyCar.com

Car #10 – Dario Franchitti

Team: Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: Target (though, knowing TCGR, there may be multiple liveries for Dario)

Image of Car 10 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: LAT Photo (latphotousa.com), via IndyCar.com

Car #11 – Tony Kanaan

Team: KV Racing Technologies
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: Going to put GEICO down, as well as Itiapava as an associate (thought probably a primary for Sao Paolo race).

Notes: (22-FEB-2012): I have (still) yet to see an official announcement from either KVRT or TK. Below is a picture from Tony rolling around Texas yesterday, so as far as we all know, he’s all but signed/sealed/delivered. And I don’t know about you … this may be the first car visible from space. Can we run a night race using black lights? (DC)

Image of Car 11 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: Tony Kanaan (@TonyKanaan), via YFrog

Car #12 – Will Power

Team: Penske Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: Verizon (I’ll wager this stays constant through 2012)

Image of Car 12 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: LAT Photo (latphotousa.com)

Car #14 – Mike Conway

Team: A.J. Foyt Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: ABC Supply

Image of Car 14 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: Steve Swope Photography (steveswopephotography.wordpress.com)

Car #15 – Takuma Sato

Team: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: Mi-Jack (known to be one sponsor, but not sure if it’s full-time primary, or just associate sponsor)

Notes: (22-FEB-2012): Car #15 was announced in the press release. Yesterday, the team sent out some initial photos of Takuma’s livery. Car is a little “plain” looking, but it’s a start. Once we see a few more sponsor decals, I’ll update accordingly. (DC)

Image of Car 15 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (@RLLracing), via Facebook

Car #20 – Ed Carpenter

Team: Ed Carpenter Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka

Image of Car 20 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: Ed Carpenter Racing (@ECRIndy), via Photobucket.com

Car #22 – Oriol Servia

Team: Lotus DRR
Engine: Lotus
Sponsor: Lotus / Telemundo / RollCoater / WIX Filters / Valspar / Charter / etc. (Expect rotating primary sponsors, but confident color schemes will remain black/gold)

Notes: (22-FEB-2012): Lotus DRR unveiled the black/gold #22 yesterday afternoon, and it’s a sweetie. Gracias to the outstanding PR staff at Lotus DRR, Liz & Brie, for the photos. (DC)

Image of Car 22 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: Lotus DRR (@LotusDRR), via TwitPic

Car #26 – Marco Andretti

Team: Andretti Autosport
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: RC Cola (part of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, so expect multiple liveries this year)

Car #27 – James Hinchcliffe

Team: Andretti Autosport
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: GoDaddy

Car #28 – Ryan Hunter-Reay

Team: Andretti Autosport
Engine: Chevrolet
Sponsor: TBA (but expected to be SunDrop soda & DHL, similar to 2011 – waiting on official announcements)

Car #38 – Graham Rahal

Team: Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: Service Central (can envision one-off liveries, depending on geography, for NTB, Tire Kingdom, & Big O Tires, but Service Central expected to be primary)

Image of Car 38 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: LAT Photo (latphotousa.com), via IndyCar.com

Car #67 – Josef Newgarden

Team: Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: TBD

Notes: (24-FEB-2012): Hurray! Press release makes it official. Josef will be driving Car #67 for SFHR. And, with an agreement with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team will be not only a Honda team, but also will be full time. Josef has been saying time-and-time again that the team will be ready … who am I to argue. Great news all-around. We’ve seen a few pictures of a previous IC-03 with the Walgreens livery scheme, but nothing with a DW12. So – let’s hold off on sponsor/livery until the official announcements are made. (DC)

Car #77 -  Simon Pagenaud

Team: Sam Schmidt Motorsports
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: TBD

Notes: I would assume Car #77, but I’m not so sure. Haven’t really heard much from SSM regarding the potential deal w/ Davey Hamilton Racing, so I’m going to keep it off the list for now. Have this feeling HP Computers would be primary of 2nd car, and associate of Simon, but really, it’s unclear, and I’ve got to have something more concrete than what we currently have.

(22-FEB-2012): I’m moving Simon Pagenaud up to a believed-known car number. Simon tweeted yesterday (Link Here) regarding the “77″, and there *was* a picture of the 77 driving around Barber, though still un-liveried / un-sponsored. We all know that’s going to change sooner or later, so I’ll hold off putting a photo up just yet.

Car #78 – Simona de Silvestro

Team: HVM Racing
Engine: Lotus
Sponsor: Entergy / Nuclear Clean Air Energy

Image of Car 78 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: HVM Racing (hvmracing.com), via Facebook

Car #83 – Charlie Kimball

Team: Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: Novo Nordisk / NovoLog FlexPen

Image of Car 83 - Initial Livery

Photo Credit: Steve Swope Photography (steveswopephotography.wordpress.com)

Car # 98 – Alex Tagliani

Team: Team Barracuda BHA
Engine: Lotus
Sponsor: Barracuda Networks

(27-FEB-2012): Dave Lewandowski reported on IndyCar.com (Link Here) that Tagliani & Team Barracuda BHA will be in the #98. Not really a surprise, to be honest. As a sidenote – the livery will be “officially” revealed on 08-MAR-2012, so have your Depends ordered. (DC)

———-

OK, with those listings out of the way, you’re probably thinking I’ve missed a bunch of listings. Not quite. Let’s take a look at some of the TBD’s in regards to car numbers, and some that are still up-in-the-air:

Car # TBD – Justin Wilson

Team: Dale Coyne Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: TBD

Notes: Wilson is going to drive for Dale Coyne again, that’s known. However, what car number he’ll be in is unknown. He won for Coyne at Watkins Glen in 2009 with Car #18. It’d be assumed Justin will drive #18, which seems to be Coyne’s primary car, and the 2nd car (if/when it is announced) will be Car #19. Also note – when Wilson tested in Sebring, he actually drove Car #19, which is why I’m leaving this one still TBD, especially since it was Coyne’s #19 that got the Leader Circle money. Sidenote – if Jakes gets signed, that’s the 2nd for Coyne, so don’t worry if I’ve only got one Coyne listed here temporarily. (DC)

Car # TBD – TBD

Team: Dale Coyne Racing
Engine: Honda
Sponsor: TBD

Update (27-FEB-2012): I’m going to put Coyne’s 2nd car on the board. I have this feeling this one will be Jakes’s car. Sponsor/Car #/Livery are unknown at this time. To be bold honest, I can easily see Jakes retaining his Acorn Stairlifts Car #18 car, and have Justin Wilson drive the Boy Scouts of America Car #19. Again – a lot of guessing there, but let’s see how sponsorships play out. (DC)

Car #60 – TBD

Team: Michael Shank Racing
Engine: Lotus (at least that is what was announced, though things change)
Sponsor: TBD

Notes: Doesn’t sound promising he is going to be able to answer the bell at St. Pete. Still, I would not be surprised if you see a black/copper livery at Indianapolis in May. I’m going to move this car down into the TBD category, since it’s unclear whether they show. I need a warm, fuzzy feeling official statement stating their plans before moving them back up into the grid. (DC)

So … that’s what I’ve got … again, I will try to keep this as up-to-date as possible, once we start the avalanche of announcements and pictures over the next weeks or so, leading into St. Pete. If you’ve got an update, and you can send me official announcements and/or creditable pictures, let me know – I want this list to be a good working list for everyone, not just for my own party-of-one.

Thanks and enjoy! – DC

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36 SuperCars, 36 Hours – Day 2

February 12, 2012

First … an apology for yesterday’s post (36 SuperCars, 36 Hours – Day 1) … it was a little long. I promise I will do better once the 2012 INDYCAR season starts up in earnest. However, I hope I didn’t scare you from Day 2!

Saturday, February 4th, 2011 – 7am Eastern

Ever try to sleep on one side of a double-bed with a 9-yr-old, whom seems to figure out a way to sleep perpendicular to you? Yeah, it didn’t go so well for me, but the nephew? That kid was OUT COLD! Anyway a warm shower and a cup … of … wait? No coffee in the lobby? *sigh* Thankfully, my 6+ years living in Lafayette helped my mentality. There was good coffee in my future.

  • Hotel to Veterans Parkway
  • Veterans Parkway to SR-38 West
  • SR-38 to to Creasy Lane to Ivy Tech

Image of Seattle Seahawks SuperCar
Car #18: Seattle Seahawks – Ivy Tech Community College, Lafayette, IN
(TimeStamp: 8:05AM Eastern)

A great way to start the morning off, because this IndyCar was a true looker (INDYCAR teams – take note!). That lime-green stripe was, let’s be honest, TRON-esque! Over the last year or so, I have thought this … wouldn’t a flat black / gloss black car with TRON-inspired stripes and matching rims look outstanding? I mean, if kids (ages 8-21 or so) can latch onto that color scheme, they would probably think that’s a cool-looking car. IndyCars have always look futuristic, because you can’t buy them off the rack at Dealership X … so capitalize on it! A futuristic-looking car could have a futuristic-looking paint scheme, and TRON > Owned by Disney > Which also owns ABC/ESPN > Which broadcasts the Indy 500 and other selected races … put 2+2 together, folks!

Anyway, my sisters saw my desperation for coffee – Panera Bread for breakfast was requested! (Did I mention I love my family and how my addictions have rubbed off onto them?) Two good reasons: (a) we had an hour to kill before our next car, and (b) we had about an hour before the next cars back in Indianapolis opened anyway. A good cup of dark roast and a sweet-onion poppyseed bagel entered my system, and I was on cloud nine – low-carb diet be danged! Our foursome was ready for the rest of the morning.

  • Ivy Tech to US-52 South
  • US-52 South to IN-28 East
  • IN-28 East to I-65 South
  • I-65 South to I-865 West
  • I-865 West to I-465 South
  • I-465 South to 86th Street West
  • 86th to Moore Road North

Image of Washington Redskins SuperCar

Car #19: Washington Redskins – Traders Point Creamery, Zionsville, IN
(TimeStamp: 9:19AM Eastern)

We spent a little time here. It was a nice car in Traders Point’s “Big Red Barn” (literally). But, it was also Sister #1′s father-in-law’s favorite team, so a few additional pictures with the grandson in front of the Redskins car – OK, I’ll let it slide.

We started taking looking at the next three cars, all in Carmel, knowing we wanted to stop to look for potential SuperBowl gear for the nephew at a Meijer. We also started thinking about possibly Dick’s Sporting Goods, which would help lead us on our next directions.

  • Back to I-465 North – then East to Meridian Street North
  • Brief stop at Carmel Meijer store (*sad trombones for SuperBowl gear*)
  • Meridian Street North to Clay Terrace Mall

Image of Tampa Bay Buccaneers SuperCar
Car #20: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Clay Terrace Mall, Carmel, IN
(TimeStamp: 10:17AM Eastern)

OK, for many INDYCAR fans on Twitter, this car needs no introduction. This was HVM Racing’s one-and-only “PorkChop”, driven by Simona de Silvestro. Over 2011, we got to know him well, along with his driver and his very-own PR representative. While he was decked out as a friendly swash-buckler, we fans can only hope he enjoys a grandiose retirement. And, BTW, he looked good (*fist bump*). I felt it necessary to inform the volunteers at the car, whom were also in charge of the shuttle buses to downtown, about PorkChop, including my proof – the ever-famous “PorkChop Tattoo” in the cockpit. They were giddy with excitement, and my nephew even gave him a little nose rub. He can now say he’s touched an Indy 500 legend.

Enough reminiscing! Gotta fly! Too many minutes, not enough cars! Wait … scratch that – reverse that.

  • Clay Terrace to Rangeline Road South
  • Wow – that was quick!

Image of San Francisco 49ers SuperCar
Car #21: San Francisco 49ers – Indiana Design Center, Carmel, IN
(TimeStamp: 10:41AM Eastern)

Purty, ain’t she? Yeah, we thought so, too. This was one of the cars I wish was in a better lit area, because the gold on this car was just pristine. Next up was just down the road, too.

  • Rangeline Road South to City Center Drive West

Image of Jacksonville Jaguars SuperCar

Car #22: Jacksonville Jaguars – The Palladium, Carmel, IN
(TimeStamp: 10:53AM Eastern)

This was my first time in the Palladium, and the combination of arts/theater with the combination of the Jaguars colors/cars – it worked well. It really did – almost like it was wearing a prom night tuxedo to a ritzy black-tie affair. Adjacent, I had to poke my head into the auditorium, and HOLY SIMOLEONS! As God as my witness, I hope it’s not my last visit there. It has immediately gone into the memory banks for a date night … someday. Sisters #1 & #2 were also impressed and had visions of sending my parents there for a date night (even though they’d have to make a weekend of it). Nephew – nah – he was ready for the next car, because it was another one of HIS teams!

  • City Center Drive East to Rangeline Road South
  • Rangeline Road South to 116th St. East
  • 116th St. East to Allisonville Road North … Hello, Conner Prairie!

Image of Chicago Bears SuperCar

Car #23: Chicago Bears – Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, Fishers, IN
(TimeStamp: 11:22AM Eastern)

Believe it or not, on our entire trip, this was the car we saw most fans with corresponding jerseys getting pictures taken. Of course, it was DA BEARS. The nephew was all-gaga, though even he admitted, it wasn’t at the level of the Eagles car, but still was right up there. Back to the road!

  • Allisonville Road South to 116th St. East
  • 116th St. East to Municipal Drive Circle

Image of Cincinnati Bengals SuperCar

Car #24: Cincinnati Bengals – Fishers Train Station, Fishers, IN
(TimeStamp: 11:45AM Eastern)

Wait a minute – STOP THE PRESSES. What’s that?!? Whoa, whoa, whoa! Whoa! Whoa! We may have a new leader in the clubhouse for car designs! This one – geebus! Oh, Cincinnati … you have your Reds, your Bearcats, your Musketeers, your Cyclones, but … OH … how I love thee Bengals on an IndyCar! (*swoon*). Something tells me the City of Fishers had some say in getting this car to their city, because their new high school is, after all, the Fishers Tigers.

Dear IndyCar teams … you want to turn some heads with a livery that’ll have people talking? There you go!

Next!

  • 116th Street to I-69 North
  • I-69 North to Southeastern Parkway (Exit 10) to Hamilton Town Center

Sister #2 found out that the next car was stored in the former Borders of Hamilton Town Center, so we went looking … and found it! Cool! Parked the car, walked up to the building, and … locked. Went around to the other side – locked. Looked for people inside the room – none. No volunteers. We asked a security guard, and found out no one had shown since it was to be opened at 11am. ARGH – here we were in Noblesville and 50 yards from the car, yet, no dice. We can see the car, too! It’s right-freaking-in-front-of-us!! Frustrated, we decided to try a few more places around the area for SuperBowl gear (man, that stuff is/was HARD to find when you weren’t downtown), and we returned to Hamilton Town Center for another shot.

Thankfully, I think the security guards got the message with visitors asking. While there were no volunteers present, mall security went ahead and opened the room up. All’s well that ends well, too!

Image of Buffalo Bills SuperCar

Car #25: Buffalo Bills – Hamilton Town Center Mall, Noblesville, IN
(TimeStamp: 1:16PM Eastern)

We spent a little time here too. Sister #1 is the Vikings fan. Nephew is a Colts & Bears fan. My brother-in-law? A Buffalo Bills fan. And they live in Southern Illinois??!!?? What happened?!? Where’d I go wrong?!? So some extra pictures for “dad” were in order.

OK, we’re now running a little bit behind, but we were still in decent shape. However, the hunger pangs were starting to creep up on all four of us. Perfect! We were on our way to one of my favorite places in Indianapolis … Broad Ripple!

  • I-69 South to I-465 West
  • I-465 West to Keystone Blvd South
  • (A quick stop at Walmart near 75th for another shot for stuff – a little success here!)
  • Keystone South to Broad Ripple Avenue
  • Broad Ripple Ave through “The Strip” to College Ave.
  • College Ave. North to 67th St. East

Image of New York Jets SuperCar

Car #26: New York Jets – Indianapolis Arts Center, Indianapolis, IN
(TimeStamp: 2:07PM Eastern)

Well, whaddya know! This is one of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s (@SFHRIndy) cars. Now, I don’t know Sarah personally, though I’ve briefly met her once. This car was nicknamed “Old Faithful”, as shown on the cockpit dash, so I’m guessing this was their backup car for most of last year. However, you never know … “Old Faithful” could’ve been the car that won the Kentucky 300 in October 2011. Perhaps that’s a question I can ask Sarah or her team one day. Sharp car, by the way.

Hear that whistle? That’s lunch! And not only have I hooked both sisters on my passion for IndyCar, I’ve also hooked them on another Indy staple … Bazbeaux Pizza! A couple 10″ twin pies showed their way onto our table, and we ate like kings!

It was during lunch we received the best news possible … one of my followers (Jason – @larsoni27) sent me a tweet. He found the missing Giants/Patriots/XLVI cars, and wouldn’t you know, they were in Speedway and available for pictures! We were going to do it! #36Cars36Hours sounds so much better than #33Cars36Hours, and with 36 cars possible and with a stout lunch, we were gonna finish strong! Lock-and-load’em up!

  • College Ave South to Kessler Blvd West
  • Kessler Blvd to Michigan Road South (with a stop for Gas-up #3 at that corner – the Hyundai thanked us)
  • Michigan Road South to …

Image of Carolina Panthers SuperCar

Car #27: Carolina Panthers – Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN
(TimeStamp: 3:38PM Eastern)

Again, similar to the 49ers SuperCar, I really wish this car would have been put in more open lighting. The Carolina blue on this car just SCREAMED AND OOZED awesomeness when combined with the black & silver. The Carolina Panthers font just looks mean, smooth, and perfect for an IndyCar. Again, another livery that looks 230 MPH standing still.

As we were walking out of the IMA:

Nephew: “Uncle D.J. That’s a cool place. I’d like to come back to visit again.”

Nevertheless, Sister #1 just glanced at me. It was his first time mentioning he’d like to truly visit an art museum. Perhaps this kid has a little more on the brain than sports. I mentioned to him that he’d have to take a picture of the basketball hoops outside as we go to the next SuperCar. As we left on 38th Street, I slowed down to have him take a look at “Free Basket”, which is the exhibit with basketball hoops and arches all over. He was so excited to take a picture of it. He’s ready for more art … and we all were ready for more SuperCars as we entered the homestretch!

  • Michigan Road South to 38th St West
  • 38th St West through I-65 to Lafayette Road North

Image of Detroit Lions SuperCar

Car #28: Detroit Lions – International Marketplace: Service Center for Contemporary Culture & Community, Indianapolis, IN
(TimeStamp: 4:02PM Eastern)

A couple things about the Lions car. First, I’m happy for an organization like this to have a SuperCar. This area has been known for many years to be a little rough-around-the-edges, but there is a growing hope for Lafayette Square and this intersection. However, I also know how rough the area is, so I understood why the SuperCar wasn’t in the glass-enclosed entry room, especially during the overnights. The car was in a secondary room, which is where the former Firestone Tire Shop had their actual shop. However, the car was put in one of the bays of the shop, rather than in the middle of the shop, which made the lighting around the car rather adventurous. If the organizers had moved the car into the center of the room, even if for a few hours during the day, I think this car would have really shined.

The second note about this car. This is one of Panther Racing‘s show cars, as you could tell the vinyl skin of the Lions livery was placed over the top of  the National Guard livery & decals. However, this car had another facet that made me take a step back. Along with “National Guard”  & “Panther Racing” logos, it also had a driver name … Dan Wheldon … visible through the overlay. Dan was a 2x Indianapolis 500 champion whom tragically lost his life in an accident at Las Vegas. He was also one of IndyCar’s most vocal advocates of the sport. He was a champion, he was a racer’s racer, and he was a husband & father. He is also missed by IndyCar fans worldwide – including this one. My nephew called this car “The Ghost Car”, and while that might have been a little cruel to call it such, something tells me Dan might’ve gotten a quick chuckle over my nephew’s naiveté. Be there little doubt I will one day introduce him to who Dan was.

A quick moment for remembrance … and we were off … to the happiest place in Indianapolis year-around (with or without the Superbowl in town)

  • Lafayette Road to 38th St. West
  • 38th St. West to Georgetown Rd South

Sister #1: “OK, keep your eyes for some grandstands that look like baseball bleachers.”
Nephew: “OK, I’m looking.”
Sister #2: “I think you’re looking the wrong direction. Look to your left.”
Nephew: “Is that the whole track? That’s pretty small.”
Me: “That’s only one turn. Look WAAAY down there. That’s the next turn – Turn 1.”
Nephew: “This place is HUGE!”

I think he gets it.

Image of New Orleans Saints SuperCar

Car #29: New Orleans Saints – Indianapolis Motor Speedway Administration Building, Speedway, IN
(TimeStamp: 4:23PM Eastern)

You know … if this car were to have been painted black/gold with a white stripe, it would have probably given the Eagles car a run for its money. Still, it was very sharp to look at. Although … hindsight being 20/20 … I think this car should have been a Dallara IR03 (the most recent version before the upcoming DW12′s). It would have been more appropriate. On the side note, Sister #1 picked up a pamphlet for the IMS Kids Club for the nephew – I have this feeling there’s going to be a new member soon. Time to head around the corner – it’s starting to get dark outside, gotta scoot!

  • 16th St. East through the Georgetown Rd/Crawfordsville Rd intersection (i.e. 16th & Georgetown) to Main St.

Well, that was a quick trip. After showing the carload where Sarah Fisher’s new facilities were going to be located, and the sheer brilliance of what Charlie Brown’s Steak & Pancakes was all about (too bad we couldn’t stop), it was time to enter Speedway’s newest resident and four (4) current occupants!

Image of Houston Texans SuperCar

Car #30: Houston Texans – Dallara IndyCar Factory, Speedway, IN
(TimeStamp: 4:38PM Eastern)

This was sharp. I mean – SHARP. The right amount of navy blue, red, and white. Thoughts of how this livery would look on a DW12 car went through my mind, along with the statements “Please?” and “Thank You!” Whoever designed this livery should be congratulated.

However, as mentioned earlier – we found out duplicate cars here, too!! Woo-Hoodle!!

Image of New York Giants SuperCar
Image of New England Patriots SuperCar
Image of SuperBowl XLVI SuperCar #2

Cars #31, #32, & #33: New York Giants, New England Patriots, & SuperBowl XLVI Cars – Dallara IndyCar Factory, Speedway, IN
(TimeStamp: 4:38PM Eastern)

We had found our duplicates! They were beauties, too! The Giants was an older G-Force (obvious), but I couldn’t put my finger on the Patriots. Come to find out this car is used by the Indy Racing Experience group as one of the single-seat cars fans can drive themselves in! I am now EXTREMELY intrigued!

I now have a goal, which I am making public to you all: I want to lose 35 lbs. in 2012. If I can do so, I am going to not only do a 2-seater ride for the first time, but I’m also going to drive a single-seater and express my inner-Arie Luyendyk to the Speedway! Thank you.

After taking a quick walkthrough of the visitor’s area at Dallara, it was time to leave. Three cars remain!

  • Main St. South to 10th St. West
  • 10th St. West to I-465 South
  • I-465 South to US-40 (Washington St.) West for a few miles

Image of Baltimore Ravens SuperCar

Car #34: Baltimore Ravens – Metropolis Mall, Plainfield, IN
(TimeStamp: 5:36PM Eastern)

A couple of funny stories with this one. First, we couldn’t find the car to save our lives. We drove all around Metropolis for it, and just had no luck. We saw the signs for it, but it wasn’t anywhere. Out of sheer luck, nephew caught it out if his eyes, and we were saved! We parked, entered the room, and had 5 visitors greet us. We told them about our #36Cars36Hours adventure, and they went bonkers! We were the first people they had met that were trying to do all the cars, and this was late Saturday! They couldn’t get enough of our individual stories about how we found every car so far, and where we were heading next. Nephew walked out of that room with all sorts of swag (as did all of us).

One of the volunteer stories came out, too, which I found interesting. When “wrapping” the cars up with NFL liveries, the physical cars between the Ravens and Jaguars were accidentally swapped! In other words, this physical car should have been the Jaguars, and the Jaguars car should have been the Ravens. The reason being is that the Metropolis room reserved for the SuperCar was up on the 2nd floor (where we saw the SuperCar signs), but this car seen here was too heavy for the crane, so they had to scramble to find an open room that could have the car slip into. The room the car was in was the only empty storefront room that could handle it.

As for the car itself: It was sharp, though the green LED lights on either side of the car weren’t needed. They looked out of place. Now if that was a blacklight or more spotlight-ish, MAMA!

It was time for the white flag! One destination left!

  • US-40 East to Ronald Reagan Parkway South
  • Ronald Reagan Parkway to I-70 East to IND Exit

Image of Pittsburgh Steelers SuperCar

Car #35: Pittsburgh Steelers – Indianapolis International Airport (IND) – Main Rotunda, Indianapolis, IN
(TimeStamp: 6:26PM Eastern)

Image of San Diego Chargers SuperCar

Car #36: San Diego Chargers – Indianapolis International Airport (IND) – Baggage Claim, Indianapolis, IN
(TimeStamp: 6:56PM Eastern)

We had found them! All 36 SuperCars! The adventure – successful. Pittsburgh’s car, just like the team jersey motif, was just smooth, bold, classy. It was brilliant. I’m sure if we had seen this car during the day, it would have easily been top-3 in my mind, because of the classiness it exuded. The Chargers car – now THAT was sharp. I remember the days of Chip Ganassi’s Target cars with the lightning bolt trim, and this car made me yearn for it once again! I love that bold bolt along the side, although I couldn’t make out what was sticking out of the fuel intake (just looked weird).

We also hit the bonus plan. Sister #1 & nephew were able to get SuperBowl swag they wanted at the airport, though I’m sure they paid through the nose to buy them. We also stopped the clock on our adventure:

Car #1 (Arizona): Seen at 10:22AM Eastern – 03-FEB-2012
Car #36 (San Diego): Seen at 6:56PM Eastern – 04-FEB-2012
Total Elapsed Time (Official): 32 Hours, 34 Minutes

We exited IND, know our challenge was met. The four of us looked tired, but we were also excited! We did it. Were there others that did it as well? Were there others crazy enough to try to do what we did? To be honest, we hoped so, because there would be stories abound. Alas, a quick call back to Southern Illinois to tell the relatives of our success and heading back home.

The trip home was uneventful, since I have driven it countless times

  • I-70 West through Terre Haute, IN on to Effingham, IL & I-57 South
  • I-57 South to Exit 53 – IL-13 (Marion, IL/Carbondale, IL)
  • IL-13 to Carterville, IL – home of Sister #1 & nephew

And wouldn’t you know it … at the 36-hour mark – ON THE NOSE – we were 300 yards from their house. Kinda put a cherry on top of the adventure.

Now that you’ve seen the pictures, know that our foursome took almost 400 pictures. I’ve posted only one picture of each car we saw. I’m sure there are plenty other pictures that you might have wanted to see. If there are others you’d like to see, comments are welcome below, and I’ll toss a few more of requested NFL teams into the Flickr account for perusal.

So, that’ll do it for our #36Cars36Hours adventure blog. Hope you enjoyed the trip as much as we did. Tomorrow, I’m heading to Indianapolis to start looking for rental houses (suggestions?) and to attend the “State Of INDYCAR” presentation. The iPhone will be on full charge entering the presentation, so prepare for some tweets! I’ll also have a review posted sometime next week, too. Until tomorrow!

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36 SuperCars, 36 Hours – Day 1

February 11, 2012

Did you ever do something that sounded so crazy, it might actually be fun (and be called crazy at the same time)? Well, a weekend ago, I think what my sisters, nephew, and I did would qualify as such.

First, let me introduce you to them. I have two younger sisters, both of which I have now passed my IndyCar addiction onto. Sister #1′s first 500 was in 1996, and she became immediately hooked. Sister #2 joined our Indy 500 excursions later on (I’m thinking 2000 or 2001 was her 1st, but I can’t recall), and has only missed one since – although a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris barely trumped the ’08 500. I also have a 9-yr-old nephew, and he is just now starting to experience IndyCar. He still hasn’t been to IMS when practice or the 500 is going – he’s a little leery regarding large crowds & loud noises – but I think he’s coming around.

Late last year, when it was announced that several “indycars” were going to be decorated in NFL team colors and distributed throughout Indianapolis & Central Indiana, Sister #1 jumped ALL OVER IT: hook, line, sinker, rod, reel, and the “Orca” fishing boat. She wanted to see them all – not lined up downtown (as they were the previous weekend), but when they were distributed. Being a teacher just south of Southern Illinois University’s campus, she (*ahem*) came down with a 24-hour cold and took a personal day. Sister #2 immediately came on board and took a personal day from her work at SIU. Sister #1 even talked with my nephew’s school, and pulled him out of school for Friday. As I am currently unemployed, it became clear – four people, small car, all SuperCars in 2 days. Game on.

My family lives in extreme Southern Illinois (as do I – for the time being), but since I lived in Indianapolis for almost 3 years, they left me to do the logistics. They didn’t mention I would also be doing the driving – all of the driving … ow. This blog post – is just of the SuperCars, with the singular goal … #36Cars36Hours

6am Eastern on Friday, February 3rd. (that’s 5am Central, where our adventure started – I was up at 4:15am)

  • IL Rt 13 East to I-57 North
  • I-57 North to I-64 East … Illinois/Indiana border … and one HECKVUA sunrise over the Midwest.
  • I-64 to US-231 North … of course, nephew kept his eyes on a secondary prize – Holiday World – not this trip, sir!
  • US-231 North to Jasper, IN … stop #1 for SuperBowl stuff (and McDonalds coffee #2 for me)
  • Continue on US-231 North to IN-45 near Crane, IN
  • IN-45 to … HOLY SMOKES, WE MADE IT … Bloomington, Indiana .. start the #36Cars36Hours clock!

Image of Arizona Cardinals SuperCar

Car #1: Arizona Cardinals – Fountain Square Mall, Bloomington, IN
(TimeStamp: 10:22AM Eastern)

  • Gas up #1 at corner of IN-45 & IN-46 (after 270-ish miles) … “c’mon slowpokes x3, we gotta scoot!!”
  • IN-46 East (after showing sisters & nephew IU’s Memorial Stadium & Assembly Hall) through Nashville, and on into Columbus, IN!

Image of St. Louis Rams SuperCar

Car #2: St. Louis Rams – The Commons, Columbus, IN
(TimeStamp: 11:35AM Eastern)

  • IN-46 West back to I-65 North … Both sisters swoon as I gun past Edinburgh’s outlet mall.
  • I-65 to IN-44 East towards Shelbyville, IN
  • Arrive in Shelbyville … left turn, right turn, left turn, right turn, left turn, right turn … what kinda backwards direction is this?!? Finally!!

Image of Cleveland Browns SuperCar

Car #3: Cleveland Browns – Sandman Brothers GMC, Shelbyville, IN
(TimeStamp: 12:29PM Eastern)

Now, I realize some backtracking was coming. From the back seat, it was … the voice

Sister #1: “Deej … I’m going to have to find a restroom soon.”
Me (showing my bachelorhood): “Can you taste it yet?”
Sister #1: “What?!?”
Me: “You’ve got 25 miles – you can make it.”
Nephew: “Yeah, mom. You had to have that large McDonalds tea.”
Sister #1: “WHAT?!?!?”

  • IN-44 West (military style: left/right/left/right/left/right) back to I-65 North
  • I-65 North to County Line Road West
  • County Line Road to US-31 North
  • US-31 North to Greenwood, IN … much to the relief (literally/figuratively) to the passengers

Image of Green Bay Packers SuperCar

Car #4: Green Bay Packers – Greenwood Park Mall, Greenwood, IN
(TimeStamp: 1:11PM Eastern)

After a quick stop for refreshments and quick lunch (Chicken McBites – meh), it was time … TO THE CITY!!

  • US-31 to Southport Road East to I-65 North
  • I-65 North to … the Racing Capital Of The World … Indianapolis, IN … and Washington St. Exit
  • A couple quick turns and we arrived at Indianapolis Arsenal Tech High School

Image of Indianapolis Colts SuperCar

Car #5: Indianapolis Colts – Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center, Indianapolis, IN
(TimeStamp: 1:56PM Eastern)

As a sidebar, my nephew is a big Peyton Manning fan. He was decked out in his jersey, and was almost in tears seeing this car he was so excited. It was too bad they had this car shoehorned against a wall in a small room, because I would have loved better angles. Oh, well – back to the Hyundai!

  • Various meandering between Arsenal Tech and Meridian Street (won’t bore you with road details)

Image of Dallas Cowboys SuperCar

Car #6: Dallas Cowboys – Indianapolis Children’s Museum, Indianapolis, IN
(TimeStamp: 2:30PM Eastern)

As we exited the Children’s Museum (one of which I cannot overemphasize how AWESOME it is – if you have kids and are in Indianapolis – GO! Your kids will thank you later), I started dreading what was coming next … parking downtown for the several cars there. I heard rumors of $20-$500 parking, and we were only going to be there a few hours. Originally, I thought I got lucky with free, on-street parking near IUPUI, but realized it was a “No Parking 4pm-6:30pm” zone. My heart sank. So … I went for a long shot and came up roses!! IUPUI Visitor Parking – $5 for 3 hours – OMG! YAHTZEE!!!! The bonus? We were 2 blocks from our next SuperCar!

Image of Kansas City Chiefs SuperCar

Car #7: Kansas City Chiefs – Glick Indiana History Center, Indianapolis, IN
(TimeStamp: 3:13PM Eastern)


Image of Tennessee Titans SuperCar

Car #8: Tennessee Titans – City Market, Indianapolis, IN
(TimeStamp: 3:34PM Eastern)


Image of Atlanta Falcons SuperCar

Car #9: Atlanta Falcons – Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
(TimeStamp: 3:52PM Eastern)


Image of New York Giants SuperCar (DW12)
Image of New England Patriots SuperCar (DW12)
Image of SuperBowl XLVI SuperCar #1

Cars #10, #11, & #12: New York Giants (DW12), New England Patriots (DW12), & SuperBowl XLVI Cars – SuperBowl Village, Indianapolis, IN
(TimeStamp: 4:17PM Eastern)

At this point, we started looking for the duplicate Giants, Patriots, and XLVI cars. These were the only cars that had known duplicates, as one set was always in the Village, and the second set was used in the “11 Rows Of 3″ display on the south spoke of the Circle the weekend prior. We asked many volunteers, most thought we were crazy – but finally, we found a volunteer whom could verify with us there were duplicates. However, they weren’t around. No one in SuperBowl Village knew where they were. We ended up assuming they would be put on display at Lucas Oil Stadium, so as we walked down, barriers prevented us from getting to the stadium (rightfully so). Sadly, at this point, we began wondering if our quest was really going to end up #33Cars36Hours. Where were the missing cars?!? The tweets went out … no answers … perhaps they, too, needed to track them down. No time to dawdle over potentially spilled milk – a couple quick snapshots of the stadium, plus the monstrous XLVI roman numerals on the Circle, and we had to scoot again!

  • IUPUI Parking Garage to I-70 East
  • I-70 to IN-9 South into Greenfield, IN
  • Getting lost at Greenfield HS, since every parking lot wasn’t connected to each other, plus one-ways surrounding … *sigh*

Image of Miami Dolphins SuperCar

Car #13: Miami Dolphins – Greenfield Central HS Fieldhouse, Greenfield, IN
(TimeStamp: 6:09PM Eastern)

Time to high-tail it … Wagon’s East!

  • IN-9 back to I-70 Eastbound
  • I-70 East to US-27 South in Richmond, IN (that’s a haul when you’re feeling under the time crunch)
  • A little off the beaten path in Richmond, and we stumbled onto an old-school fire station. Hey, guess what!

Image of Denver Broncos SuperCar

Car #14: Denver Broncos – Firehouse BBQ & Blues, Richmond, IN
(TimeStamp: 7:17PM Eastern)

Oh, the smell of that place was absolute heaven, and it was PACKED! You give me some good BBQ, and I will inhale it. Sadly, I knew our time couldn’t be wasted. After some good photos in the restaurant’s waiting area (and a stellar “Tebowing” by the nephew near the rear wing), we had to skedaddle.

  • US-27 back to I-70 briefly to US-35 North
  • US-35 to the Muncie By-Pass … a quick glance at the iPhone for time … I think we can make it and one more.
  • Muncie ByPass to McGalliard Road … to … to the slowest moving train I have seen in 6 months!!! NO!!! Quick-glance left & right … and a dejected head-hang.
  • Train’s now gone (thanks to @MuncieTrain) … FINALLY!!!

Image of Oakland Raiders SuperCar

Car #15: Oakland Raiders – Muncie Mall, Muncie, IN
(TimeStamp: 8:22PM Eastern)

Logistics stated … we had 35 minutes to make our final car of the day … quoting The Hunt For Red October … “This one’s gonna be close!!”

  • McGalliard Road to IN-332
  • IN-322 to I-69 South to IN-32(?!?) … uh-oh, Sister #2 might’ve jumped the directional gun on this one …
  • IN-32 back to IN-9 South
  • IN-9 South to … Nephew: “THERE IT IS, WE HAVE 90 SECONDS!!” … (*screeching tires*) (*hard right*) … “RUN!!”

Me: “Um … there’s a movie theater in there. I think the doors will be open” (2 Masters Degrees, and I figured that out!)

Image of Minnesota Vikings SuperCar

Car #16: Minnesota Vikings – Mounds Mall of Anderson, Anderson, IN
(TimeStamp: 9:02PM Eastern)

Sister #1 is a Vikings fan … in Southern Illinois. Figure THAT one out. I have no idea if/when I dropped her on her head when she was a child, but she’s been a long-time Vikings fan. Sadly, she forgot her “Helga” Vikings hat at her school, because that would have been a great picture. We spend a little more time here because of her fandom, but that was OK, we had made it. We did 16 of 33 (or 36) cars on Friday. What a wild Friday.

But …

Well, let’s just say our logistics weren’t over. Our hotel that night was in Lafayette, where we would start Day #2. The foursome was also starving – you can only go so far on Twizzlers and (for me – being on the low-carb diet) black coffee. It was time for food. Then I had the epiphany … can we do one more AND get dinner at the same time? HECK YEAH – LET’S DO IT!!

Gas-up #2 in Anderson … screw the mileage, we gotta go. We can do this!

  • IN-9 South to I-69 South
  • I-69 South to I-465 West (along the north side of Indy)
  • I-465 West to Keystone Avenue exit to 82nd/86th Street East
  • Nephew (sounding tired): “Did we make it, Uncle D.J.?”

Image of Philadelphia Eagles SuperCar

Car #17: Philadelphia Eagles – Fashion Mall at Keystone at the Crossing, Indianapolis, IN
(TimeStamp: 10:01PM Eastern)

When we saw this car, it was both a relief that we saw it on Friday, but also made us realize just what we were doing. The Eagles car livery was just drop-dead gorgeous – easily the “prettiest” car we saw.  All four of us were gushing about it. It was sharp. It was clean-looking. It had the Eagles’ wings on the top of the sidepods that just made it pop. The green/silver/white combination – wow. Even now … I would hope there would be INDYCAR teams that would find that color scheme and try copying it, because it just looked fast standing still. This is why we were driving all over Indiana … not for the SuperBowl, but for IndyCars.

A stop at the TGIFriday’s next to the mall, and onto Lafayette (where I lived for 6+ years). Hotel check-in time: 12:15AM Eastern – Saturday, February 4th. Final mileage for Day #1: 604.4 miles. Lights out 10 min. later – 7am alarm set.

Stay tuned – I’ll try to get Day #2 posted on Sunday … 17 SuperCars down … 16 (or 19?) SuperCars to go …

h1

(tap, tap) Is this thing on?

February 9, 2012

*ahem*

Back home again in Indiana
And its seems that I can see.
The gleaming candlelight, still burning bright,
Through the sycamores for me.
The new mown hay sends all its fragrance,
From the fields that I used to roam.
When I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash,
How I long for my Indiana home.

Lyrics from “Indiana”, by James Frederick Hanley (music) and Ballard MacDonald (lyrics)

The words above may not be known by the majority of America. But for motorsports fans, they’re more than words. They’re the words that welcome the world to the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indianapolis 500. Thus, I find it fitting that those same words are used for the inaugural post for my new blog, 11RowsOf3.com.

Over the last three years, many of you have followed my frequent tweets using my personal account (@djcraske). Many of you I have met, either in person or via Twitter. You’ve gotten to know me. You’ve gotten to know my personality. You’ve seen some of my photos. You’ve read my personal opinions and have seen my sense of humor (off-kilter as it may be). Hopefully, many of you have seen that I have this innate passion for INDYCAR, the Izod IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights, the Star Mazda Championship, and the Cooper Tires USF2000.

I’ve created 11RowsOf3.com to be a launch point for my inaugural blogging efforts regarding this passion. From frequent tweets, to photos, to media releases, to – well, let’s just say I’m starting at the proverbial “low man on totem pole” position, complete with rookie stripes, but we all have to start somewhere. So, what can you expect to see over the next few weeks/months of this adventure? Well …

  • I’ll be on site for the INDYCAR “State of the Series” presentation, Monday, February 13, 2012.
  • I will try to be on site for a few races this year. Indianapolis is a given, but without Kentucky on the schedule, we’ll have to see where I end up.
  • Tweetups? Yup, you bet. I’ll be there – or at least I hope to be. I’ll be in Indianapolis for the upcoming Winter Indy Tweetup later this month.
  • Photographs? Folks, you don’t realize how many digital photographs I have stored. A new Flickr account has been created, so hopefully we’ll have photos galore for you to review.
  • Twitter? Now – what kinda question is THAT?!? DUH!!! … (@11RowsOf3) … and, yes, there will (hopefully) be some frequent tweeting going on during practices, qualifications, and races.
  • More to come, I’m sure

So, with that stated, it is my hope that I do this passion justice, and I hope you feel free to express your opinions as well. The 2012 season nears, and it’s time to go racing.

David C.
Chief Editor, Chief Photographer, Chief Wahoo – 11RowsOf3.com

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