Pippa Mann confirmed for Indy 500 return with Susan G. Komen partnership

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A very cool story here – Pippa Mann will be returning to the Indianapolis 500 with Dale Coyne Racing, in a partnership with the Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization.

The “pink presser” to reveal the pink No. 63 Honda took place Thursday afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mann will seek to make her third Indianapolis 500 start, having also made the field in 2011 with Conquest Racing in her Verizon IndyCar Series debut and with Coyne last year.

From Opening Day at IMS through Race Day, Mann’s car, helmet, firesuit and more will be turned pink, in an effort to raise awareness and serve as a reminder to IndyCar fans about the importance of being informed about breast cancer and taking action for their own breast health. In addition, for every lap of the speedway that Mann’s Indycar completes throughout the month of May, fans and supporters will have the opportunity to pledge an amount via the website, from which all donations will go directly to Komen to fund breast cancer research, education and outreach programs.

“Millions of people will see Pippa’s pink car and gear, bringing awareness about this very serious disease,” Komen President and CEO Judy Salerno, M.D., M.S, said in a release. “We’re so appreciative of Pippa’s commitment to her fans, and racing fans everywhere, and, especially, to the fight against breast cancer.”

Speaking about the partnership, Mann said: “This entire project started with the idea of simply taking my red crash helmet, and turning it pink to support the cause, and it has grown into something fairly amazing in a very short space of time. My Indianapolis 500 this year is no longer about me. This pink car will be out on track representing Komen, representing the survivors, and remembering those who sadly did not win their hard fought battles against breast cancer. To have been a part of creating this opportunity for Susan G. Komen at the Indianapolis 500, and to now be a part of actually making this happen, is something I am incredibly proud of.”

The pledge site – which can be accessed at www.racewithpippa.com – will be available from today, through midnight on Race Day, Sunday, May 25.

Mann will have her former engineer from 2011, Brandon Fry, leading the effort in a reunion.

It’s going to be a good story and also ensures there will be at least one female driver in the field once more – the last year there wasn’t one was in 1999. Mann has spent the year as lead analyst on IMS Radio Network’s IndyCar coverage, alongside Paul Page.

The identity of Coyne’s second car for the ‘500, the season-long No. 18 Honda, is still to be determined.

IndyCar star Scott Dixon to test skills on ‘American Ninja Warrior’

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Scott Dixon will be the latest IndyCar driver to enter the realm of reality TV when he auditions in Indianapolis next week for “American Ninja Warrior.”

The four-time IndyCar champion, nicknamed “The Iceman,” thought it sounded fun when he was approached with the idea of trying out. As the competition has drawn near, Dixon is wondering what he got himself into.

“I feel a lot of pressure on this one,” Dixon told The Associated Press before heading to this weekend’s Honda Grand Prix of Alabama IndyCar race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. “When it got to be about a month away, I figured I should start training for it, and it’s pretty hard stuff.”

IndyCar drivers Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden and Tony Kanaan all auditioned for the show, which follows competitors as they tackle a series of obstacle courses in qualifying rounds across the country. None of IndyCar’s contestants advanced out of the first round and neither did NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Dixon’s appearance comes about the same time the Game Show Network has Sebastien Bourdais as a guest host for “Daily Draw” for the entire week leading into the month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Most recently, Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly teamed to finish fourth on “The Amazing Race,” and James Hinchcliffe was a runner-up last year on “Dancing With The Stars.” Castroneves is a former “DWTS” winner.

Dixon, the 2008 winner of the Indianapolis 500 who ranks fourth on IndyCar’s all-time wins list, is accustomed to success. But the New Zealander not so sure he’s going to become the next great ninja. Most of his fitness work focuses on endurance training, and preparing for the obstacle course has taken Dixon out of his element.

“It’s not my wheelhouse,” he said. “This is agility kind of stuff and I’m looking forward to the process. I’m not looking forward so much to the failure, because it’s going to happen at some point, so I guess I just have to make the most of it and enjoy the experience.”

Dixon was famously robbed at gunpoint in the drive-thru of a Taco Bell last year hours after he won the pole for the Indy 500. Asked if his ninja training will have him better prepared should that happen again, he did not think so.

“I suppose if I run away it would help,” Dixon said. “But I don’t exactly have a ninja toolkit to get me through that situation.”