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Franchitti, Cheever, McLaren nominated for Hall of Fame at IMS Museum

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Two past Indianapolis 500-winning drivers and a legendary constructor have been nominated for consideration at the Auto Racing Hall of Fame at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Dario Franchitti won the race three times (2007, 2010, 2012), with Eddie Cheever Jr. winning in 1998. Meanwhile Bruce McLaren’s cars were linked with success at the Brickyard.

The full release with further details is below:

Two Indianapolis 500 winners and one of the most legendary names in motorsport are the newest nominees for consideration for the Auto Racing Hall of Fame at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Bruce McLaren drives the #11 McLaren BRM M4B during the Daily Mail Race of Champions on 12 March 1967 at the Brands Hatch circuit in Fawkham, Great Britain. (Photo by Getty Images)
McLaren in 1967. (Photo by Getty Images)

New to the ballot in 2017 are 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Junior; three-time winner of the May classic Dario Franchitti; and legendary driver and constructor Bruce McLaren.

The three newest contenders join 13 holdover nominees to form an incredibly talented ballot from which an esteemed panel of auto racing journalists, participants and historians will select.

Cheever won five IndyCar Series races, including his signature victory at the Brickyard in 1998, while his eponymous racing team won six races in the series, including a 2002 win by Tomas Scheckter at Michigan. Cheever made 132 career starts in Formula 1 with nine podium finishes, including two second-place results.

24 May 1998: Eddie Cheever Jr. #51 gives the thumbs up after winning the 82nd Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Laforet /Allsport
Cheever in 1998. (Photo by Vincent Laforet /Allsport)

Franchitti won 31 races in his illustrious IndyCar series career, taking the Indianapolis 500 in 2007, 2010 and 2012. The Scottish-born driver won four series championships (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011) and lost a fifth on a tie-breaker in 1999. Franchitti also was part of a winning effort at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2008.

McLaren was a highly successful driver, designer, constructor and engineer, whose name lives on in the eponymous Formula 1 team that has captured eight constructor’s championships and 12 driver’s titles. As a driver McLaren won four Formula 1 races, two Can-Am Series championships, and co-drove to a win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 with fellow Kiwi Chris Amon.

The 2017 inductees will be announced on “Founders Day,” March 20, 2017, the 108th anniversary of the day the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Company was officially formed.

The Auto Racing Hall of Fame at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum honors and celebrates individual contribution to the sport of automobile racing. It was founded in 1952 under the auspices of the Contest Board of the American Automobile Association (AAA). The Hall of Fame was moved to the original Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum in 1962 under the direction of then-Speedway president Anton “Tony” Hulman, Jr.

Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

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If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.