If it wasn’t for an eleventh hour deal struck less than a week before the 2011 IndyCar season opener in St. Petersburg, Tony Kanaan might not still be racing in IndyCar today, and have had the chance to capture his elusive first Indianapolis 500.
Kanaan lost his ride with Andretti Autosport – then called Andretti Green Racing – at the end of 2010 when sponsor 7-Eleven withdrew its longtime support. Since then, Kanaan has had to chase sponsorship on his own to help keep his career alive with KV Racing Technology, which is co-owned by Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser (pictured with Kanaan).
“The past three years I’ve been working extremely hard, probably even harder than driving the car, to find the sponsorship to keep surviving,” Kanaan said in a press conference Monday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “I’m not saying I’m not going to keep doing that. I would like to have a little bit less pressure on my side, to just really concentrate about driving.”
Even this year, several reporters have discovered that Kanaan’s No. 11 entry – which has been backed by a consortium of sponsors including Hydroxycut, Mouser Electronics, Itaipava, N-O-XPLODE energy drink, HIPPINO.com among others – did not have the full support to continue for the rest of the season.
KV has added Imran Safiulla, longtime supporter of Simona de Silvestro, to its management team to help keep the team on track with de Silvestro’s second car. Additionally, KV has re-entered a partnership with James “Sully” Sullivan of SH Racing that first occurred in 2011, to help keep Kanaan’s car sponsored.
“I’m happy where I’m at,” Kanaan said of his status at KV, as he is in a contract year this year. “I’m confident that with this we can build something solid for the following year. We’re so sketchy up until this race, we didn’t even know if we were going to do the entire year. Now I’m pretty sure we will.”
We’ve written a fair bit on MotorSportsTalk about the efforts Pippa Mann has done in working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness. Susan G. Komen has supported Mann’s last two runs at the Indianapolis 500, when she’s driven the No. 63 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.
This being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the awareness hit a new level with Mann working alongside breast cancer survivors to paint the start/finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic Yard of Bricks pink for the day.
IMS president Doug Boles also joined in the opportunity.
View a selection of photos and social posts below. More is linked here, via IndyCar.com.
For the second year in a row, Mercedes is poised to wrap up the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in Sochi at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.
Mercedes won its first F1 teams’ title in Russia last year, having returned to the sport as a works constructor in 2010. When it last enjoyed such status in the 1950s, there was no championship for the teams.
Just as it did in 2014, Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 this season, winning all but three races and sweeping to eight one-two finishes to leave drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Nico Rosberg battling for the drivers’ title for the second straight year.
Now, Mercedes seeks the knock-out blow in the constructors’ title race by officially wrapping it up in Sochi this weekend.
To do so, the team must simply outscore rivals Ferrari by three points this weekend. The lead currently stands at 169 points, with 215 still on offer. After Sochi, there will be 172 remaining.
“We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a one-two finish,” team boss Toto Wolff said.
“A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target – but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”
The tire allocation for this weekend’s race could pose problems to Mercedes just as it did in Singapore, potentially allowing Ferrari to spoil the party and delay the victory celebrations at Brackley.
However, if the form book is to be trusted, Sochi could be playing host to another Mercedes party on Sunday night with a second world title in the bag for the Silver Arrows.