Zak Brown takes name out from IndyCar CEO consideration

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Zak Brown, who IndyCar has long courted to be its new CEO, told multiple reporters Tuesday he is withdrawing his name from consideration for the position.

Instead, Brown will focus his time and resources on Just Marketing International, his Zionsville, Ind.-based firm that has been the one of the most successful sponsor selling agencies in motorsports.

“I’m a huge fan of IndyCar, it’s a great product and it certainly would have been a great opportunity and challenge,” Brown told the Associated Press. “Mark (Miles, Hulman & Co. CEO) is fully aware of my passion for IndyCar and my desire to contribute to the series’ success in any way I can, but at this time that cannot be in the CEO role.”

Brown will relocate with his family to England this summer, to expand JMI’s business interests. Some of Brown’s experience with JMI was recently highlighted in a blog post authored by MotorSport Magazine’s Gordon Kirby.

The restructuring of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s organizational structure has been underway since Miles’ appointment; the latest hire was Derrick Walker, confirmed by IndyCar on Monday.

Walker is IndyCar’s new President of Competition and Operations, with other IndyCar top leadership duties falling, for the moment, to Miles and interim IndyCar CEO/IMS CEO Jeff Belskus.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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