IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines

1. INDYCAR Conference Call with Mike Hull and Tim Cindric

2. If you missed it: INDYCAR Conference Call with Sage Karam and Gabby Chaves

3. O'Gara to race at Auto Club Speedway

1. If you missed it: INDYCAR Conference Call with Mike Hull and Tim Cindric: Earlier today, Target Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull and Penske Racing president Tim Cindric participated in an INDYCAR Conference Call to discuss the MAVTV 500.

Selected quotes from the call are below.

Q. Mike, leading the championship with Scott is a situation you've been in before a couple times. Last week when he was on the call he said he's not changing his approach to the weekend even though it's a 500‑mile race and the championship is on the line. Does planning for a 500‑mile race change the way you approach a championship?

MIKE HULL: I think you plan for the race. That's the focus. The race is what we do. Living for race day is what it's all about for us. The championship, if you win races or you finish at the front consistently, you have an opportunity to win championships. Some races are bigger than others I suppose in terms of the gravity, but this one is a big gravitational race because of what it represents, so we'll work hard for the race.

Q: Penske and Ganassi are the two heavyweights of the IndyCar Series, and I seem to ask this every time you guys join us on the call, but what makes you guys title contenders year in and year out?

MIKE HULL: I'll speak for us at Chip Ganassi Racing in reference to Mr. Penske and Tim and Penske Racing. When we started as a group many years ago, Penske Racing was the team that not only ‑‑ you wanted ‑‑ some people say we raced with these people. Well, as a matter of fact, you're either in the race or you race against somebody, and we set our minds to try to create an organization that would be equal enough in every respect to race against the best in the business, and I still consider Penske Racing to be the best in the business. That's what drives us, to be honest about it, and I think that's what drives us to be with them race in and race out, wheel to wheel, every weekend, because that's the measure.

There are other teams that we race against that do the same job, but what you have to do is you have to create a mindset that you're going to do the job season in and season out, and that's what we saw in Penske Racing when we tried to form the organization that we formed.

Q. Tim, a Team Penske driver battling for the series title again, seems to follow the script every year, but this year it's Helio Castroneves, and he finds himself chasing somebody for the first time since June. What is the team's mind-set this week as it chases Scott Dixon for its first title since 2006?

TIM CINDRIC: I think it's obviously one that you just have to go out and try and win the race. I don't really know how else to approach it with the way the points are now. I think Mike and his guys, they were able to execute in Houston and we weren't. That's kind of the bottom line. It's put us in a position where we have to go out and win, and really aren't in control of our own destiny in the way that Mike and Scott are. Certainly wish we had Houston to do over again, but that's how racing goes.

Q: Penske and Ganassi are the two heavyweights of the IndyCar Series, and I seem to ask this every time you guys join us on the call, but what makes you guys title contenders year in and year out?

TIM CINDRIC: I appreciate the comments, Mike. I think that for us, (team owner) Roger (Penske) has always set the mark way before my time as far as how you gauge success, but at the end of the day, it's the competitiveness, and fortunately both of our organizations have the resource and the ability to attract the best people. When you look at the drivers that Chip has in his organization and the ones that Roger has had over the years, they're usually proven quantities, and they're ones that are used to competing with the type of pressure. You have to want that, and I think both organizations want to be in this position at the end of the year.

Mike and his group have done a much better job than we have here in the past five or six years of executing at the end of the year and throughout the year to where our bad races are really bad, and you can't have those with the way the series is. You have to be able to finish something. I think you can look at many of these last four or five years, and you can look back, and for sure you want it to be differently.

We do struggle as an organization with all the things that Mike said that Roger has stood for and his successes of second isn't good enough, and I think that's the mindset that both groups have, is that second isn't good enough, and that's what you need. But the difference really is the people that I think both groups have and the continuity that we have with not only our sponsors but our people, and the people certainly make the difference because they're the ones that really execute on race day or they don't. But I think the reason why we're all involved in it really is just the passion we have for the sport.

2. If you missed it: INDYCAR Conference Call with Sage Karam and Gabby Chaves: Earlier today, Firestone Indy Lights drivers and championship contenders Sage Karam and Gabby Chaves participated in an INDYCAR Conference Call to discuss the Lefty's Kids Club 100.

Selected quotes from the call are below. An MP3 Audio recording and full transcript of the call is available on http://media.indycar.com

Q: Just talk a little bit about how you are approaching Fontana this weekend.

SAGE KARAM: It's the second year in a row that we're battling it out. I figured it would come down to us three. I think we definitely had a powerhouse team this year, bringing the top three in from Star Mazda, which is now Pro Mazda. Going into Fontana, no different from any other weekend. People are asking me what do I need to do to win the championship. I really don't have to look into it too hard. If I win the race, I win the championship. (Team co-owner) Sam (Schmidt) said to me before the race in Houston, win the race and you're going to win the championship. That's our main focus is win the race, and hopefully we can get the title from there.

Q: Talk a little bit about battling a teammate for the title. You guys both know that you guys have equal equipment, and if you're struggling you could actually look at the other guy's data. Talk about battling a teammate for a championship.

SAGE KARAM: I think battling Gabby is going to make it a little bit easier just because I know what he's got compared to what I've got, and I see his data, I see his video. Everything he's doing is going to be in front of my eyes. You know, there's no hiding anything, and there's no secrets. We're still teammates. We're still going to be sharing data. We're still going to be acting as a team, but we're going to race each other hard, and I think it's definitely better to be racing Gabby going into this weekend knowing that I'm going to be having all his stuff and all his video and everything compared to if I was racing (Carlos) Muñoz where I wouldn't know anything and there would be a lot more X‑factors. I think it definitely plays in both of our hands that we're racing each other, other than somebody else on another team.

Q: Sage, I know that a couple of the guys have had some tests with IndyCar teams already, and I know it's a little early to be looking ahead to something like that, but have you had any discussions with any teams at this point about what might happen in 2014 if this thing works out in your favor this weekend?

SAGE KARAM: I really haven't had much discussion about IndyCar. The focus has really been on trying to get this title nailed down. I don't think anybody really thought we would be in this position at the end of the year, and I mean, even with the start I had and the mid‑season troubles I've had, I almost was doubting myself that I was going to even be in this position. So I kind of almost wrote off IndyCar next year. And then we turned our season around and we got here. But no, I really haven't been in any discussion. I'm sure after this weekend if things go well, I'm sure that we'll talk to Sam. He's going to be the first guy we go to, obviously, and then we'll go from there and see what happens.

Q: I know last year you battled Jack Hawksworth and Sage for the Pro Mazda title, so a title fight is nothing new to you. But talk about how you are approaching this last race at Auto Club Speedway.

GABBY CHAVES: Funny thing you mentioned that because last year it was the same three guys fighting for the title and promoting the championship, the same three guys who are first, second and third in the Indy Lights championship this year. I seemed to be stuck in the middle last year and trying to squeeze my way one position for this last race. Interesting for that, but I think the preparation that we've had all year leads to this last race, which will be the most important race possibly of our careers. We've been preparing very hard fitness‑wise and mentally and working on the simulator and working with the team and everything. This is where it comes down to the line.

Q: Talk a little bit about battling a teammate for the title. You guys both know that you guys have equal equipment, and if you're struggling you could actually look at the other guy's data. Talk about battling a teammate for a championship.

GABBY CHAVES: Like Sage said, there's nothing to hide from each other. You can't go out there and work out a magic trick and hope that the other one is not going to find out because we're sharing everything. That will play into someone's advantage, whether it be him or me. We're running our team, so first of all we've got to look at the team and say, wow, what a great job they're doing, not only this season but in the past seasons, as well. They always give us cars to win races and win a championship. I think it's going to be a very interesting last race. I know Sage has got a comfortable lead in points. The way I see it all I have to do is go out there and win the race, and whatever happens behind me happens. I can't control anything from there on. So I've just got to go out there, do my best and see if it plays in our favor or not.

3. O'Gara to race at Auto Club Speedway: Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing development driver Kyle O'Gara will compete in the Lefty's Kids Club 100 at Auto Club Speedway -- the Firestone Indy Lights season finale on Oct. 19.

It will be the second Firestone Indy Lights race for the 18-year-old Indianapolis resident through a partnership between Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. O'Gara's No. 67 entry will be sponsored by SFHR co-owner Wink Hartman and Hartman Oil.

"I'm very excited to be back behind the wheel of an (Indy) Lights car this week," O'Gara said. "I can't thank everyone at SPM and SFHR enough for all of their help."

Added Hartman: "As Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing grows, we always look for the opportunity to support the development of our drivers and team members. Kyle O'Gara is an important part of our team culture and has contributed greatly to our success on and off of the track."

O'Gara, brother-in-law of team co-owner Sarah Fisher, drove in the Firestone Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May.

"Indy didn't turn out the way we wanted it to, but we are really looking forward to having a good result in California," O'Gara said.

At Auto Club Speedway, O'Gara will rejoin Sage Karam, Gabby Chavez and Jack Hawksworth for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Karam and Chavez will contend for the series championship in the 50-lap race (7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network).

"I'm very pleased to have Kyle back in the SPM car for Fontana," team co-owner Sam Schmidt said. "He showed excellent speed and maturity at Indy in May, but we didn't translate that into representative results. I appreciate the efforts of everyone involved that enabled him to get a second chance."

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The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the MAV TV 500 on Oct. 19 at Auto Club Speedway. The race will be televised live by NBC Sports Network at 8 p.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 211, www.indycar.com and the INDYCAR 13 App for most smartphones and tablets. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Lefty's Kids Club 100 on Oct. 19 at Auto Club Speedway. The race will be televised by NBC Sports Network at 7 p.m. (ET) on Oct. 19.