IndyCar prepares for long haul to Brazil

Leave a comment

The IZOD IndyCar Series’ annual trip to Brazil is always an adventure, and it all starts with the packing.

About 400,000 total pounds of cargo will be carried by two 747-400F planes to Sao Paulo, Brazil, where the series will stage the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle next weekend. In addition, Firestone Firehawk tires, fuel and Dallara parts and equipment are being shipped over via ocean cargo vessel. When everything arrives in Sao Paulo, it’ll all be transported to the Anhembi Park complex that houses the 2.5-mile, 11-turn street circuit.

Each entrant is limited to 9,000 total pounds, and today at Indianapolis International Airport, the loading for the 5,000+ mile trip to South America began (the flight itself is slated for Sunday). After numerous trips overseas in recent years, the IndyCar teams are pros when it comes to having everything together.

“It’s a major undertaking to get everything packed,” Andretti Autosport team manager Ziggy Harcus told IndyCar.com. “And the paperwork side is another undertaking. Then you have the consumables — you have to make sure you take enough that you need but not waste it. We’re organized; we’ve done it quite a few times with Brazil and Japan.”

Amongst the cargo that’s shipped over via plane are the cars themselves, which are stacked up in twos on specially-made racks.

You can catch the Sao Paulo Indy 300 on Sunday, May 5 at 11 a.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network, or online and on your mobile device with NBC Sports Live Extra.

Dodge to celebrate 50th anniversary of Hemi motor at NHRA U.S. Nationals

Photo courtesy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Leave a comment

When this year’s NHRA U.S. Nationals plays out from August 29 through September 3 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, a lot of folks are going to be channeling one of the most famous lines in motorsports:

“Hey, that thing got a Hemi?”

Dodge and parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Thursday – on National Hemi Day, no less – announced that it will celebrate the Hemi’s 50th anniversary of Super Stock cars with the 18th annual Dodge Hemi Challenge during the U.S. Nationals.

Cars that will take part in the Challenge will be 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda cars – “The most iconic of the Mopar package cars,” touted a Dodge press release – in a head-to-head battle.

The Dart and Barracuda were purpose built for use solely on a drag strip. The 23 entrants in the Challenge will drive their personally owned versions of the ’68 ‘Cuda and Dart.

The winner of the Challenge – which will be held August 30-31 – will take home a $15,000 purse, while cash rewards will be available for all 16 drivers that qualify for final eliminations.

“The Dodge brand is proud to serve as title sponsor of the NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge, an event that spotlights the legacy and power of the 426 HEMI engine,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America.

Beahm added, “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock cars that debuted back in 1968 and are still competing today, which makes our support of this edition of the HEMI Challenge extra special.”

One special incentive for contestants is the 42.6-pound NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge trophy, created in the spirit of the 426 (cubic inch) HEMI engine.

Jimmy Daniels has won the Challenge the last two years and goes for a three-peat in this year’s race within a race. His father, Jim Daniels, won the race in 2010.

The Challenge’s all-time winningest driver is Charlie Westcott Jr. of Parma, Michigan, who captured the Challenge in six different years: 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Follow @JerryBonkowski