Notes: Daly will drive No. 88 at Pocono to honor Clauson

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Dale Coyne Racing will honor the memory of Bryan Clauson by entering driver Conor Daly in the No. 88 BC Forever Honda at this weekend’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.

The team also announced that Pippa Mann will drive its second entry, the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda, for the Aug. 20-21 race weekend. The ABC Supply 500 is scheduled to be the 13th of 16 races to be completed in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

CLICK HERE: ABC Supply 500 entry list

Clauson, 27, died Aug. 7 from injuries sustained the night before at the Belleville (Kan.) Midget Nationals. A U.S. Auto Club short-track star with more than 100 victories, Clauson drove the No. 88 Dale Coyne/Jonathan Byrd’s Honda in May at the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Clauson finished 23rd in the race, his best showing in three Indy 500 appearances, and proceeded to win the feature sprint car event that night at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway.

Daly and Mann were teammates with Clauson for the Indianapolis 500 and are honored to carry on his legacy this weekend at Pocono. “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” was one of 200 events in winged and non-winged sprint cars, midgets and other forms of racing that Clauson was attempting to compete in this year. The native Californian and Noblesville, Ind. resident, who used the phrase “Park It” whenever he won a race, had already collected 27 victories in 2016 and was leading the prestigious Belleville Nationals when the accident occurred that claimed his life.

“It means a lot to our whole team to be driving the No. 88 BC Forever entry this weekend,” said Daly, the Verizon IndyCar Series rookie whose normal car number is 18. “I think everyone enjoyed working with Bryan throughout the month of May.

Pippa Mann“Jonathan and David Byrd have sort of accepted us into their family. They already had a big racing program with Bryan and then they added me and Dale Coyne Racing to that as well. It’s going to be a great way to pay tribute and obviously a little extra motivation to ‘Park it’ in Victory Lane for Bryan.”

Mann (left) will be making her first Verizon IndyCar Series start since finishing 18th in the Indy 500. She equalled her career best by finishing 13th in a Coyne entry at last year’s Pocono race and will adorn her racing helmet this weekend with a “BC Still Chasing 200” decal.

“When I heard from Dale last week that he had decided that I would drive the No. 19 car this weekend, it meant so much to me because it gives me the opportunity to be one of the drivers helping Bryan reach his 200 starts this year,” said Mann.

“(Clauson) told me this May he always wanted to run this race, so I hope between Conor and I, he sees this as us making those starts for him.”

Practice for the ABC Supply 500 begins at 9 a.m. ET Saturday. Qualifying is set for 1:30 p.m., with a final practice at 5 p.m. All three sessions will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com, with NBCSN’s qualifying telecast airing at midnight ET Sunday. Live coverage of the 200-lap race starts at 3 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

VIP opportunity for Pocono aids Conquer Paralysis Now

Conquer Paralysis Now, the foundation formed by INDYCAR team owner Sam Schmidt to help find a cure for paralysis, is offering a special opportunity for race fans to meet Schmidt and his Verizon IndyCar Series drivers, James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin, at this weekend’s ABC Supply 500.

Fans can meet and have a photo opportunity with the drivers and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports co-owner, receive an autographed memento and Conquer Paralysis Now gift, sit in an air-conditioned Pocono Raceway skybox, receive a parking pass and pit/paddock pass. Cost of the package is $500 per person or $900 for two guests on race day Sunday or $350 per person or $600 for two on qualifying day Saturday, with proceeds going to the foundation.

“Anyone who loves racing shouldn’t miss out on this terrific opportunity which not only provides VIP access to the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team, but also supports our mission of funding research for a paralysis cure,” said Debra Miller, CPN events director. “Plus, you get to watch the race in air-conditioned comfort while dining on great refreshments.”

For more information on the VIP program or to register, email Miller at dmiller@ConquerParalysisNow.org.

Schmidt, the former Verizon IndyCar Series driver paralyzed in a testing accident in 2000, founded the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation the same year. Initially it raised money to fund medical research and provide access to rehabilitation equipment and services to those in need. In 2014, Schmidt announced a new name and mission, forming Conquer Paralysis Now and the CPN Challenge to drive the development of treatments for spinal cord injuries to help patients regain everyday functions. The CPN Challenge program plans to award nearly $20 million in grants and prizes over the next decade.

Bannon named Long Beach director of marketing

The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach announced that Martin Bannon has been named director of marketing and sponsorship for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which will run for the 43rd time April 7-9, 2017. Bannon, who has worked for the grand prix since 1993, replaces the retired Mike Clark.

In addition, Richard Martinez has joined the grand prix as manager of corporate sales, assuming Bannon’s previous position, and will oversee its hospitality and group sales functions. Martinez served as a grand prix marketing intern in 2008 and worked for the event seasonally from 2009-16.

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