1. INDYCAR increases teams' Leaders Circle payout to $1.25 million for 20152. Dixon would join elite company with 12 Hours of Sebring victory3. Allison Transmissions marks centennial with CFH Racing at IMS4. Castrol EDGE returns as Bryan Herta Autosport associate sponsor5. Of note:
Local company supports AndrettiKaram, Kimball to attend IMS Night with Indiana PacersGanassi adds Global Rallycross team
1. INDYCAR increases teams' Leaders Circle payout to $1.25 million for 2015: INDYCAR announced today an increase of $250,000 to its Leaders Circle program, which raises the total annual payment for eligible Verizon IndyCar Series entrants to $1.25 million.
A total of 21 entrants are entered in the Leaders Circle program for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
"INDYCAR is invested in the continued support of its teams," said Derrick Walker, INDYCAR President of Competition and Operations. "The Leaders Circle program rewards INDYCAR teams for full-season participation and helps each of them with an additional source of funding. The program is also an asset to our promoters as it guarantees over 20 cars at each Verizon IndyCar Series event. As INDYCAR continues to grow we're excited about opportunities like this that are beneficial to the teams that compete in our series."
The Leaders Circle program was established in 2002 to provide incentives to teams that participate full time in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Each Leaders Circle member is assured a minimum of $1.25 million if the entrant successfully qualifies for all of the 16 Verizon IndyCar Series events in 2015, including the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Twenty-one entrants were selected based on final 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series final entrant points.
All Leaders Circle entrants will continue to compete for bonuses that will now be paid to the top-12 finishers - an increase of two positions compared to 2014 - at each Verizon IndyCar Series race aside from the Indianapolis 500. Non-Leaders Circle entrants also will compete for payouts awarded to the top-three finishers in each race excluding the Indianapolis 500.
The Verizon IndyCar Series driver champion and championship entrant again will share a $1 million bonus, with second through 10th in the standings sharing bonuses totaling $320,000. The recipient of the Verizon IndyCar Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year award will receive a $50,000 bonus.
2. Dixon would join elite company with 12 Hours of Sebring victory: Three-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon can join an elite group of competitors by driving to victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring this weekend.
Dixon co-drove the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Prototype with Tony Kanaan, Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray to the overall victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January. Only eight times have drivers won at Daytona International Speedway and Sebring International Raceway in the same year.
Indy car racing luminaries A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti and Lloyd Ruby are on that list.
This weekend, Dixon will join full-season drivers Scott Pruett and Joey Hand in the No. 01 entry.
"Sebring is one of those iconic motor races in the world and I think we'll have a good chance," said Dixon, who also won the 24-hour race in 2006. "I'm looking forward to working with Scott and Joey again."
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates' entry won the 2014 12 Hours of Sebring with drivers Marino Franchitti, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas.
Also in the Prototype class, Sebastien Bourdais returns to co-drive the No. 5 Action Express Racing and Justin Wilson will co-drive the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian entry. Both are former overall winners of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Simon Pagenaud, who earned a podium finish in the 24-hour race in January, returns to co-drive the No. 4 GT Le Mans class entry for Corvette Racing.
For more on drivers participating in the endurance race, visit IndyCar.com.
3. Allison Transmissions marks centennial with CFH Racing at IMS: Allison Transmissions will celebrate its centennial in part by being an associate sponsor on the No. 20 CFH Racing car driven by Luca Filippi in the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9 and by Ed Carpenter in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 24.
Allison traces its corporate lineage to the founding of the Indianapolis Speedway Team Co. on Sept. 14, 1915.
As a co-founder of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and part-owner of several racing teams, James A. Allison established a precision machine shop and experimental firm on Main Street in Speedway called the Allison Experimental Co. to support his racing endeavors. As a race team owner, Allison won the 1919 Indianapolis with driver Howdy Wilcox.
"We're honored that Allison Transmission chose to celebrate their centennial with CFH Racing," said Carpenter, a team co-owner. "In addition to producing world-class products, they are great neighbors and supporters of the community."
4. Castrol EDGE returns as Bryan Herta Autosport associate sponsor: Bryan Herta Autosport announced that Castrol EDGE has extended its associate partnership with the team for the Verizon IndyCar Series season.
"We are very pleased to continue our association with the Castrol EDGE brand, which includes promotion of Castrol EDGE to customers in our great new car dealer network," team owner Bryan Herta said. "With Castrol's support, 2015 is shaping up to be our best yet."
Gabby Chaves, the 2014 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion, will drive the No. 98 Honda in the 16-race season.
"Castrol EDGE is our most advanced motor oil, providing superior motor oil strength for engines that work harder due to higher engine pressures, helping vehicles to maximize performance, " said Dan Hanson, Castrol's OEM workshops director. "Our partnership with Bryan Herta Autosport gives us a tremendous platform to showcase that performance and to connect with IndyCar fans.
5. Of note:Local company supports Andretti: Indianapolis-based Delivra has joined Andretti Autosport as its official provider of email marketing. ... Karam, Kimball to attend IMS Night with Indiana Pacers: Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Charlie Kimball and Sage Karam will sign autographs and participate in activities March 21 as Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts IMS Night with the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The first 4,000 attendees will receive a co-branded Pacers/Wing & Wheel window flag, distributed by the 500 Festival Princesses. ... Ganassi adds Global Rallycross team: Chip Ganassi Racing is expanding into Global Rallycross with two entries.