Happy birthday to two of racing’s top personalities, Newgarden and Eversley

Leave a comment

Perhaps the mainstream public-at-large isn’t aware of Josef Newgarden and/or Ryan Eversley yet. But given these two’s outreach and social media presence, plus their popularity within their respective series’ paddocks, they should be.

Both have birthdays today. Newgarden turns 23, Eversley 30, and both seek even bigger 2014s after each made a bigger name for themselves with some of their 2013 efforts.

Newgarden completed his second season in IndyCar with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, and was one of the year’s most improved drivers. Four top-five finishes also included a career-best second place in Baltimore, his first podium finish.

Off the track, Newgarden’s quirky persona carried over when he was featured prominently in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s attempt at the “Harlem Shake” fad in February and March (yes, it’s hard to believe that was a fad, and that it was this calendar year). Additionally, Newgarden raised awareness for animal cruelty for a campaign called “Show Your Soft Side” in Baltimore, and was so struck by the cat he did a photo shoot with that he adopted it.

Newgarden made his intro to IndyCar racing – at least in the social media realm – with a series of “Incognito” videos during 2012.

Eversley, meanwhile co-drove with Kyle Gimple to finish second in the ST class of the 2013 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, in the Compass360 Racing team’s No. 75 Honda Civic Si. The pair failed to win but had several podium finishes, and was only just denied the title at the last race of the season. He also finished on the podium in the GX class at this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, co-driving a BGB Motorsports-entered Porsche Cayman.

Where Eversley’s star rose was on Vine. No driver mastered the series of six-second video loops better (Newgarden did a few of these too, but not to Eversley’s frequency) and it helped to put him on the map. One such example is below, with a Lego version of Eversley’s firesuit walking across a chopsticks-made bridge.

Eversley also had a starring role in two of the Taylor brothers’ music videos, culminating in the “you have to have seen this if you’re in racing” “Jordan Loves Stickers.” He took over the Continental Tire social media channels for the SEMA Show in Las Vegas in November, as well.

But where Eversley has really stood out has been in his raising awareness for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, an organization that seeks to find a cure for individuals (mainly children) living with neurofibromatosis (NF).  NF causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body and can lead to blindness, bone abnormalities, cancer, deafness, disfigurement, learning disabilities, and excruciating and disabling pain. As a way to do so, Eversley has sought votes via Eagle Rare Life to help raise money for that.

Good dudes, good drivers, and guys who are working both to raise awareness for their sport and for good causes – fitting they share a birthday.

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.