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Rahal confirms Battery Tender return for IndyCar, TUSC

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Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing released some sponsorship news Thursday, although not perhaps the dominant sponsorship-related question on IndyCar observers’ collective minds.

The team confirmed Deltran Battery Tender®, a leading manufacturer of high-efficiency battery chargers, will increased their role with the team. Battery Tender was an associate sponsor of RLL’s 2013 IndyCar Series program, and will be an associate for both the IndyCar program and two-car BMW Team RLL effort in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

“DelTran Battery Tender® is thrilled to expand upon the Rahal Letterman Lanigan partnership! After last year’s success on and off the track with Graham Rahal we could not be happier with our marketing efforts and exposure,” Evin Prelec, Director of Marketing and Advertising for Deltran Battery Tender, said in a team release. “Expanding the partnership to include BMW Team RLL makes perfect sense. We have had a long, successful branding/supplier relationship with BMW and are looking forward to supporting the team and drivers on track.”

While this is good news for the team’s prospects, it’s not the sponsor confirmation the IndyCar community is anticipating. Following the IndyCar Series 2013 season finale in Fontana, NBCSN IndyCar pit reporter Robin Miller reported for that Rahal’s team had won the National Guard sponsorship contract from Panther Racing. No news has come on that front since from either team.

The other bit of RLL news still to emerge is who will race as Graham Rahal’s teammate. James Jakes was in the second RLL Honda this past season.

Meanwhile, Panther, which has made a number of staff changes since the offseason and is yet to announce its 2014 driver, has recently made several National Guard-related tweets. Panther has revealed partnerships with Lincoln Technical Institute and Charter Media, but neither is expected to take a full-time primary sponsorship role.

Panther’s first test of 2014 is scheduled at a Chevrolet manufacturer test January 17 at Sebring International Raceway, but a driver has not been named.

Pippa Mann, breast cancer survivors paint IMS’ start/finish line pink

Photo: IndyCar
Photo: IndyCar
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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

Mercedes set to clinch F1 constructors’ championship in Russia

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 08:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks with members of the media in the paddock during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 8, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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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.