Andretti Sports Marketing to run Formula E race in Miami

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The Andretti Sports Marketing group has been selected as official event organizers for the new FIA Formula E Championship’s Miami street race, which will occur on March 14, 2015. Miami will be one of two U.S. races, along with Los Angeles, for the new all-electric open-wheel series.

In just the last two years, ASM has already made a sizeable footprint in the promoting game between IndyCar, Global Rallycross, and now FE.

“I’m excited that we are serving as the event organizer for the 2015 Miami Formula E race,” said Michael Andretti, CEO for Andretti Sports Marketing. “We at Andretti Sports Marketing are committed to making this event a world class experience and we anticipate a long and great relationship with Formula E.”

“We’re very pleased to be partnering with Andretti Sports Marketing to organize the Miami Formula E race,” FE series CEO Alejandro Agag added. “They bring with them a proven track-record of organizing not just large-scale motor racing events but providing spectators with an all-encompassing experience – just as they have done with the Milwaukee IndyFest with its festival atmosphere, unique infield activities, family-fun rides and live entertainment. This is exactly the type of event Formula E will bring to the streets and people of Miami in spring 2015 and we’re looking forward to putting on a great spectacle.”

ASM continues to promote IndyCar’s Milwaukee IndyFest event, now the ABC Supply Co. Wisconsin 250, held in August. The Miami race, though, will serve as its second event it will promote as the de facto replacement for the canceled Grand Prix of Baltimore, which ASM promoted for two years. Some of my informal conversations with Andretti have hinted at a greater Formula E presence, as Andretti Autosport will also field a team in the series.

This does raise a few eyebrows about certain actual and potential dates in the Florida markets, though. For one, the ASM group has long been linked to potential promotion of a new IndyCar street race in Fort Lauderdale, but the race has never been placed on an IndyCar schedule.

The March 14 date would seem to go head-to-head with the 12 Hours of Sebring, one of the flagship events of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Sebring has not announced its 2015 date yet – it could either fall the 14th or possibly a week later, the 21st – but it won’t lose much of its audience anytime soon and perhaps the difference in distance from central Florida to South Beach will provide for two different audiences.

Theriault clinches ARCA title before finale at Kansas

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) There is no long, convoluted story about how Austin Theriault came to Ken Schrader Racing, forging a team that so dominated the ARCA Series that it captured the title simply by showing up for the finale.

“We both wanted something to do,” the folksy Schrader said with a smile and shrug before Friday night’s race at Kansas Speedway. “He didn’t have a car to drive and I didn’t have a driver.”

So, they solved each other’s problem.

Theriault hopped into the seat and proceeded to win seven times over the first 19 races, building such a lead on his nearest challenger that he sewed up the title at Kentucky. And that made for a rather enjoyable weekend at Kansas, where all the pressure was off their team.

Along the way, Theriault became the first driver to win at a superspeedway, short track, dirt track and road event in the same season, and he swept the superspeedway and short-track challenges.

If there was something to win, he won it.

“I hoped we’d have a shot at it and it’s proved out this year that we’ve really exceeded anybody’s expectations,” Theriault said. “We had some things to work on early. We kind of dusted off a bit, went back to work. We had some time between Daytona and the mile-and-a-halfs that came up later in the season, and we realized where we were strong and where we had to work.

“But in the end it came back to pure dedication, I think,” he explained. “The amount of time it took behind the scenes to make this happen.”

The 23-year-old driver from Fort Kent, Maine, knows something about dedication. He appeared to be on racing’s fast track, scoring a Truck Series ride a few years ago for Brad Keselowski, when a terrifying crash at Las Vegas left him with a broken back and sitting on the sidelines.

The best ride he could find last year was in the K&N Pro Series.

It was at a trade show in Indianapolis last December that Theriault ran into Schrader, who was busy putting together a team for this season. They had dinner a couple nights later and, Schrader said, it was his wife Ann who came away impressed by the yes-sir, no-sir driver.

“My wife doesn’t go to all the races,” Schrader said. “After we talked she said, `I like that guy. How good is he?’ She doesn’t know. I knew he was racing well in Keselowski’s truck, had an unfortunate wreck, had to sit out a bit. I told her, `That’s somebody who could make us very happy next year.”‘

Theriault delivered on that promise.

They weren’t the only ones happy Friday, either. Zane Smith earned his second pole of the season, beating teammate Sheldon Creed to earn the top spot for the Kansas ARCA 150, while 20-year-old Natalie Decker announced a full-time ride with Venturini Motorsports next season.

“This is obviously a big step in my career,” said Decker, who made six starts as a rookie this season. “I’m confident and ready for this next move. After tonight my focus shifts to next season. We’ll be ready to go at Daytona.”