Notes: Newgarden among INDYCAR drivers named for Race Of Champions

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Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden will compete for the first time in the Race Of Champions, joining fellow INDYCAR drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya in the prestigious all-star event set for Feb. 2-3 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Montoya, the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, is the defending Champion of Champions, having earned the title as an ROC rookie when the event was held in January at Marlins Park in Miami. The Race Of Champions is an annual contest bringing together some of the world’s greatest drivers from motorsport’s major disciplines – including INDYCAR, Formula One, sports cars, rallycross and more – to battle head-to-head in identical machinery, in both individual and national team competitions.

Entering its 31st year, ROC has taken place at venues around the globe including London, Paris, Barbados, Beijing, Bangkok and the Canary Islands before coming to North America for the first time this year in Miami. The 2018 event will be the first for ROC in the Middle East, at Riyadh’s King Fahd International Stadium.

Montoya is excited to return to defend his championship.

“When I came to the Race Of Champions for the first time this year, I immediately regretted never having done it before,” Montoya said. “It was an amazing experience and (ROC President) Fredrik Johnsson and his team put together an amazing event. It’s all about fun but when you go to the grid it’s unbelievable how focused you are.

“I still don’t know what gave me the edge in Miami. It must have been beginner’s luck.”

Foyt named grand marshal for Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

A.J. Foyt, whose unparalleled racing career includes more Indy car wins (67) than anyone and victories in sports-car endurance races at Le Mans, Daytona Sebring, has been named grand marshal for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring event in March. Foyt, whose last major racing victory came in the Sebring race in 1985, will also be inducted into the track’s hall of fame later in 2018.

“A.J. Foyt is America's greatest race car driver," said Wayne Estes, president of Sebring International Raceway. "Whether in sports cars, Indy cars, stocks cars or anything with four wheels, and whether on a road course, superspeedway, dirt or mountainside, A.J. Foyt fielded and drove winners in every form of motorsport. That he put his final exclamation point on his incredible driving career by winning at Sebring makes his return here all the more meaningful to the fans and competitors at the 66th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.”

Foyt teamed with the late Bob Wollek in a Porsche 962 IMSA GTP entry to win the Twelve Hours of Sebring in 1985.

“I really used to enjoy racing at Sebring in my younger days, and am glad to have won the 12-hour race there with my good friend Bob Wollek,” Foyt said. “It's an honor to be named grand marshal and I'm looking forward to that weekend.”

Tickets on sale for popular Rev event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Tickets to Rev presented by Fifth Third Bank, the must-attend dining and entertainment fundraiser at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that kicks off activities for the month of May, went on sale today at revindy.org. The 2018 event is set for Saturday, May 5.

Rev brings together Verizon IndyCar Series drivers, racing legends, national celebrity chefs and more than 60 of local top chefs and craft cocktail makers to produce an evening of memorable strolling dining. In addition to unique dishes inspired by INDYCAR driver collaborations with local chefs, the event features a variety of music and entertainment, including opportunities to visit the racetrack’s famed yard of bricks, see the iconic Borg-Warner Trophy and have photo opportunities with vintage race cars.

Proceeds from Rev benefit Indiana University Health’s statewide trauma and critical care patients. Tickets to this year’s event sold out and the limited number available for the 2018 version are expected to sell out quickly.

Launched in 2014, Rev has raised more than $1.7 million to provide care for patients across Indiana in need of critical care, including drivers and fans at the IU Health Emergency Medical Center located in the IMS infield.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe, the 2016 Rev honorary chair, said he and his fellow drivers look forward to the event every year.

“As drivers, we kind of selfishly love going to the event because we definitely benefit directly from the money raised for the infield care center at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” Hinchcliffe said. “But in addition to that, they throw a hell of a party. It’s such a cool way for us drivers to kick of the month of May, and it totally puts us in the mood for all of the events that come after it. The philanthropy team at IU Health has done an incredible job of shaping this into the premier event on Indianapolis’ social calendar.”

Andretti Autosport opening shop for charity garage sale, autograph session

Andretti Autosport is opening its Indianapolis race shop to fans on Tuesday for a charity garage sale benefiting the Michael Andretti Foundation that will also include a driver autograph session.

Attendees will have the chance to purchase team memorabilia and have items autographed by the team’s 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series driver lineup of full-timers Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi and Zach Veach, as well as Indianapolis 500-only driver Stefan Wilson. The charity garage sale runs from 2-6 p.m. ET Tuesday at Andretti Autosport headquarters, 7615 Zionsville Rd., Indianapolis, Indiana 46268. Items available for purchase include hats, t-shirts, jackets, sweatshirts, race-used wheels, umbrellas and more. The driver autograph session from 3-4 p.m.

Andretti Autosport encourages those attending to participate bring canned food items that will be donated to Gleaner’s Food Bank in Indianapolis. Donors will receive one raffle ticket per canned good donated for a chance to win a prize at the conclusion of the event.  

Long Beach fans have opportunity to ‘Run The Course’ themselves

For the first time in more than 35 years, people will have the unique opportunity to run the world-famous Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach circuit when the Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach stages its first “Run The Course” 5K event on April 8, 2018, a week before the Verizon IndyCar Series race on the California street course.

Entry fees from the event will benefit Long Beach area charities that include the Long Beach Special Olympics, Ronald McDonald House, Century Club, Operation Jump Start and others. The 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) course for the run will incorporate much of the grand prix race circuit, starting at the official start/finish line on Shoreline Drive, heading up Pine Avenue and Seaside Way, the returning to Shoreline Drive for the finish.

Entry fees for the “Run The Course” event, as well as additional information, will be available when registration opens in January. The 2018 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is the third race on the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. It will mark the 35th consecutive year that Indy cars are competing on the iconic street circuit.

Public ticket sales set for Toronto, Mid-Ohio events

Ticket sales for the Honda Indy Toronto open to the public starting at 10 a.m. ET Tuesday. The event on the streets of Exhibition Place is set for July 13-15 and will be the 12th race on the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, with all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder conducting doubleheader race weekends.

All two-day ticket options will go on sale, including reserved grandstand seats, general admission and pit and INDYCAR paddock passes. Renewal customers have until 9 p.m. Monday reserve or upgrade their 2017 seats. Orders for 2018 may be placed at hondaindy.com or by calling (877) 725-8849. 

Ticket sales are open now for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with the race weekend set for July 27-29. Visit midohio.com or call (419) 884-4000 for more information. In addition to individual event tickets, Mid-Ohio is offering season passes to the track’s five major events in 2018 for $275 through Feb. 1.

From the fans