Verizon IndyCar Series daily news brief – the April 23rd edition

Grand Prix of Indianapolis field grows to 25

Franck Montagny made his last Verizon IndyCar Series appearance at Sonoma in 2009 (Photo Courtesy of IndyCar)

Franck Montagny made his last Verizon IndyCar Series appearance at Sonoma in 2009 (Photo Courtesy of IndyCar)

In an announcement that was a bit of a surprise, Franck Montagny was named to pilot the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda at the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 10, 2014.  In retrospect, the announcement likely shouldn’t have come out of left field because the four car Andretti Autosport stable has already expanded to five cars by adding Kurt Busch for the Indianapolis 500.   With the crew already in place, adding the Grand Prix of Indianapolis to the team’s calendar makes a lot of sense.

“I am very happy to be back with Andretti Autosport; I have already felt ‘at home’ during my visits,” Montagny commented. “Participating in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis in the temple of motorsport that is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a true moment of happiness.”

Montagny, a 36 year old native of Freurs, France, will be making his third Verizon IndyCar Series start.  He finished second in his debut at Long Beach in 2008 and scored at 20th place finish at Sonoma in 2009.  The latter race was with Andretti Autosport, who Montagny also contested American Le Mans Series races with in 2008.  He spent four years as a Formula 1 test driver, making seven starts with the Super Aguri team in 2006.

Despite being an accomplished open wheel driver, Montagny is probably best known for his prowess behind the wheel of a Le Mans Prototype where he spent four years as a factory Peugeot driver.  His impressive results include two second and two third places finishes in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Recently he has been part of a French Formula 1 broadcast team and was just named to the Formula E drivers club.

Sponsor for Jacques

Dollar General is back to sponsor Jacques Villeneuve in the Indianapolis 500 - they previously sponsored him in the Brickyard 400 (photo courtesy of IMS)

Dollar General is back to sponsor Jacques Villeneuve in the Indianapolis 500 – they previously sponsored him in the Brickyard 400 (photo courtesy of IMS)

Jacques Villeneuve will have a very familiar sponsor when he takes to the 2.5 mile oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his refresher test on April 29th.  Dollar General, who sponsored the 43 year old Canadian the last time he appeared in Indianapolis for the 2010 Brickyard 400 will be the primary sponsor the No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.

“I have so many wonderful memories of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway throughout my career, including my last appearance at the track in the Brickyard 400 when I also was sponsored by Dollar General,” Villeneuve said. “It’s been 19 years since I ran this race, but returning with a team like Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and a household-name sponsor like Dollar General is going to give me a fantastic opportunity to perform at a high level.”

Dollar General is a Goodlettsville, Tennessee based retailer who has 11,000 stores in 40 different states.

It’s official… three more in the LBC

The Long Beach Press Telegram is reporting that the Long Beach city council voted 8-0 to approve a three year contract extension with the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, meaning the Verizon IndyCar Series will remain in Long Beach through at least 2018.  The deal also includes two one-year renewal options .  A crowd of 180,000 enjoyed the cars, stars and sun at this years event.  

Gamers rejoice

Codemasters announced via their blog that on June 27th they will be releasing GRID Autosport for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.  Their previous release, GRID 2 had started to move the popular racing game away from being simulation based and had angered some of their core customers.  Grid Autosport will bring the game back into line with what Codemaster’s customers were previously used to with their racing games, a career oriented racing sim with many options on what type of cars and circuits the gamer wants to race on.

The exact cars and tracks that will appear in the game have yet to be announced but a Verizon IndyCar Series DW12 does make an appearance in the announcement video:

Are you still looking for 500 tickets… 

Check out this fantastic promotion that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Kroger are running from Thursday through Saturday:

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What I’m reading:

IndyCar Video of the day:

This commercial that is running locally in Birmingham got me pumped up for the race this weekend:

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I have been an IndyCar fan since the mid 1980's and like to cover the news that no else does.

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