Notes: Castroneves takes on 'American Ninja Warrior' obstacle course

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On a rain-soaked night in Indianapolis, Helio Castroneves was the lone Verizon IndyCar Series driver able to take to the “American Ninja Warrior” course in Indianapolis.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 champion and Team Penske driver, along with Ed Carpenter Racing driver Josef Newgarden and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, was selected by producers of the popular NBC obstacle course challenge show to compete in its eighth season. NASCAR’s Ricky Stenhouse was also scheduled to compete and will participate in the course tonight along with Newgarden and Kanaan.

After arriving at 6 p.m. ET Wednesday for a course walk-through, Castroneves didn’t take to the course until 1:30 a.m. this morning, following several hours of weather delay. The set was arranged around Indianapolis’ popular Monument Circle landmark in the heart of the city’s downtown.

“It was incredible to be here on the set of ‘American Ninja Warrior,’” Castroneves said. “The goal coming into the competition was to show that INDYCAR drivers are athletes, too, and even though our training is a lot different than the amazing athletes competing here on the show, I am happy with how I performed. It was an unforgettable experience.”

The “American Ninja Warrior” episode with the Indianapolis competition is scheduled to air in prime time in June on NBC, whose partner network NBCSN telecasts 10 Verizon IndyCar Series races this season.

Fans can join private unveiling of ‘Tribute to A.J. Foyt’ car

Race fans can win a limited opportunity to attend the May 10 private unveiling of the No. 35 “Tribute to A.J. Foyt” Alfe Heat Treating Special Honda that Alex Tagliani will drive in the upcoming Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

The car number pays homage to the 35 record consecutive starts that the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner made in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Tagliani will team with Verizon IndyCar Series regulars Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth in the AJ Foyt Racing three-car entry for the May events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The private unveiling will take place at the Foyt Wine Vault on Main Street in Speedway, Ind., a few blocks from IMS. Foyt, team president Larry Foyt, the three drivers and Kurt Westman, founder and CEO of Alfe Heat Treating, will be on hand.

Fans can enter a Facebook contest May 3 to win a ticket for two to the “35 Unveiling,” plus two tickets to the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. A question will be posed hourly on Facebook beginning at noon ET May 3 and alternating between the Alfe Racing and AJ Foyt Racing fan pages, running through 4 p.m. The first person to correctly answer each question wins admission for two to the unveiling (winners must be 21 or older, or accompanied by someone who is) and two tickets to the grand prix.

The five winners will be able to meet and have their picture taken with Tagliani, Sato and Hawksworth at the unveiling, plus enjoy gourmet appetizers and award-winning Foyt wine.

Of note

Verizon IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe was in Chicago on Wednesday to appear on a taping of “Steve Harvey.” The entertaining segment with the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver will air on the syndicated show the week of May 16. Visit steveharveytv.com for the time and channel that the show airs in local markets. … Chip Ganassi Racing driver Charlie Kimball made the rounds Wednesday in Detroit, in conjunction with the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. The driver of the No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet drove a Corvette pace car on the Belle Isle track, helped with some track construction, attended the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association lunch at Comerica Park and spent time with patients at Detroit Medical Center, the official healthcare services provider for the grand prix. “It was awesome to spend some time with the patients at Children’s Hospital and, as drivers, we appreciate all the DMC does to support the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix,” said Kimball. “Hopefully we can see some of the patients on Belle Isle when the race returns the first weekend in June.”

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