IndyCar Welcomes Back The Dragon

| , RacinToday.com Wednesday, December 19 2018


American endurance racing team DragonSpeed will run a partial IndyCar Series schedule in 2019 to prepare for fulltime INDYCAR participation in 2020.  

Team Principal Elton Julian announced that DragonSpeed will compete in five races next season, including the 103rd Indianapolis 500, powered by Chevrolet engines and with driver Ben Hanley.

Founded by Julian in 2007 to compete in sports car series around the world, DragonSpeed won the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge GTA championship and 2017 European Le Mans Series LMP2 title. In addition to its IndyCar Series effort, the team will continue competing in the 2019 World Endurance Championship, which includes the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the 1000 Miles at Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

DragonSpeed’s IndyCar Series schedule will include races on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 10, at Barber Motorsports Park on April 7, the Indianapolis 500 on May 26, at Road America on June 23 and at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 28.

“INDYCAR is enjoying a major upswing thanks to the quality of the racing produced by the current regulations,” said Julian, an American born in the Canary Islands. “The fans see it, the teams see it, the manufacturers and sponsors see it and I think NBC saw it when they decided to take on the (exclusive) television coverage. With so much interest from new entrants, we’re also grateful for INDYCAR’s support of our bid to join the series and to Chevy for making room for us in their engine program.”

Hanley, 33, is entering his fourth season with DragonSpeed but will be an IndyCar Series rookie. In addition to sports cars, the Brit has previous open-wheel experience in Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2, as well has being a tire test driver in F2.

“For the team, it’s a matter of our growing experience catching up to our ambitions,” Julian said. “The last few seasons of endurance racing have given us an intensive platform for developing our preparation, race engineering, pit stop and strategy skills. There are some impressive open-wheel credentials up and down the team, and Ben’s pace and exceptional detail feel for setup and tires should be a great asset.

“None of this is to underplay the difficulty of the challenge ahead, because INDYCAR is the toughest series we’ve ever contested, with the world’s biggest race as its centerpiece. On the other hand, we didn’t go from club racing a decade ago to a Pirelli World Challenge title in 2015 to Prototypes at Le Mans without climbing a few mountains, and I take a lot of confidence from the talent and spirit of the people we’ve put together for the next summit.” 

Jay Frye will become President of INDYCAR as part of Hulman & Company organizational changes announced by Mark Miles, President/CEO of the parent company.

Frye, who has led INDYCAR’s Competition and Operations departments since November 2015, will add Marketing and Communications to his responsibilities, effective Jan. 1. Miles will continue as CEO of INDYCAR.

Frye joined Hulman & Company, which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in 2013 as Chief Revenue Officer, leading the combined team of INDYCAR and IMS in sponsorship sales, licensing and account services. In 2014, the team secured a title sponsorship agreement with Verizon as well as the addition and expansion of several other corporate partners, including TAG Heuer and Panasonic.

Mark Sibla, INDYCAR Chief of Staff, Competition and Operations, similarly will expand his role with the Indianapolis-based sanctioning body, becoming Chief of Staff of all INDYCAR departments.

The reorganization is a result of C.J. O’Donnell’s resignation at year’s end. O’Donnell has been Chief Marketing Officer at INDYCAR and IMS since November 2013.

Curt Cavin, INDYCAR Vice President, Communications, and a new role to be filled of INDYCAR Vice President, Marketing, will report to Frye.

Additional organizational changes have been made at IMS, including:

_ Jarrod Krisiloff will have his responsibilities expanded at IMS, becoming Vice President, Facilities and Events. He has been Executive Director, Events, for the past two years.

_ Dan Skiver will become Director, Operations, and responsible for the many functions related to IMS events. Pat Garlock will be promoted to Assistant Manager, Facilities and Events.

_ Alex Damron will be promoted to Senior Director, Communications, for IMS and Hulman & Company, and corporate communications will be added to his responsibilities.  

| , RacinToday.com Wednesday, December 19 2018
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