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Rossi, Daly confirmed for new season of ‘The Amazing Race’

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Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly, nor their teams, nor the Verizon IndyCar Series, was allowed to officially reveal they’d be a team on the upcoming season of CBS reality travel competition “The Amazing Race” when it started hitting the Internet that they were a team. But Thursday, they got officially confirmed.

See the release from INDYCAR below for more details.

Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly have been friends for years, and sometimes housemates since both joined the Verizon IndyCar Series full time in 2016. Now they’re something more: teammates for Season 30 of “The Amazing Race,” the popular, Emmy Award-winning reality competition show airing on CBS.

Rossi and Daly form “Team INDYCAR” for the competition that covers 10 countries, 21 cities and more than 29,000 miles in the quest to cross the finish line first and win $1 million. Team INDYCAR is among 11 two-person entries competing in the contest, which premieres at 8 p.m. ET Jan. 3 on CBS. The 30th season of “The Amazing Race” will conclude with a two-hour finale on Feb. 21.

“It was a pretty crazy experience, definitely different than what I thought it would be – but totally worth it,” Daly said. “It was fun to meet a lot of different people from different sports, different avenues of life. The cast really was one of the best parts of the show.”

Rossi admitted he hadn’t seen many previous seasons of “The Amazing Race” before undertaking the adventure. He was tested by it but enjoyed the experience.

“It was different in the sense that it’s not as fast-paced as it appears in the show,” Rossi said. “It was better than I expected because, in the gaps between legs of the race, they actually put you in a hotel and fed you and everything. So it wasn’t kind of extreme like a ‘Survivor’ type of process.

“The legs were really long in the sense that you spent a lot of time in airports, you slept on the floor a lot,” Rossi added. “It was an interesting experience. Again, I’m very happy that I had the opportunity to do it. It opened my eyes to what reality television is like. I think the fans will have a really good time watching it.”

Participation by Rossi, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner, and Daly had been speculated since they were seen at start of the competition earlier this fall at Washington Square Park in New York City. From there, the teams went to Iceland, where they were tasked with traversing a massive canyon high above the Geitargljufur River.

Daly’s knowledge of “The Amazing Race” may have helped the team during the competition. The 25-year-old from Indiana has been a fan of the show since high school.

“I thought it was really cool just because I obviously like racing, but it was a very different type of racing,” Daly said. “One episode that really caught me was when they went to the racetrack in Abu Dhabi and they were driving race cars there. I thought, ‘Oh, this is a show I need to do someday,’ but it never really seemed like a possibility. Sure enough, it became a reality.”

Daly said viewers will be impressed – and amused – by how he and Rossi work as teammates in high-pressure situations during the competition.

“I think Alex and I worked better than people might think as teammates,” Daly said. “I’m very excited to have people see what went on and how it all went because I think it was fun. I think people will enjoy seeing us love each other and hate each other.”

The two drivers have known each other since they competed in Europe together before reconnecting in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Rossi, 26, agreed they performed well together on the show, but not without a few friction-filled moments.

“Conor and I have known each other for a long time and we’re very close friends,” said Rossi, the native Californian now residing in Indianapolis. “We are able to push each other’s limits – kind of in a good way and a bad way. His sense of humor is pretty infectious, so we had a good time together.

“In the heat of the moment you have disagreements, but at the end I think we worked really well together and I was very happy that he ended up being my partner.”

Other teams competing in Season 30 include former NBA players Cedric Ceballos and Shawn Marion, competitive eaters Joey Chestnut and Tim Janus and X Games skiers Kristi Leskinen and Jen Hudak. Rossi expressed gratitude for officials at INDYCAR who paved the way for the racing duo to be on the show.

“It’s all because of INDYCAR, really,” Rossi said. “The series does a great job pushing out drivers and everything to get exposure to these casting people and to have these opportunities presented to us.”

IMSA: Sebring Day 2 of two-day test notebook

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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Testing across several IMSA sanctioned series continued at Sebring International Raceway on Tuesday as preparations continue for next month’s events during the weekend of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring.

Below are highlights from Day 2 of testing around the 3.74-mile road course.

Eurosport Racing Continues Work with Mazda Prototype Challenge Chassis

Teams in the Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda championship completed their second day of testing on Tuesday. Among them, Eurosport Racing continued their work with the only Mazda Prototype Challenge (MPC) entries in the field, in the hands of drivers Dr. Tim George (in the No. 24 entry) and Jon Brownson (in the No. 34).

“Right now, I’m driving by myself so we’re trying to make the car comfortable enough to last an hour and 45 minutes with just me in the car,” George said of their preparation efforts. “We’re trying to set up the car where it’s quick, yet it and can last, both the car and for me to make sure we don’t tire out, get fatigued and make mistakes.”

The 1 hour 45 minute window that George referenced represents the race times for the 2018 season, up considerably from last year’s sprint format that featured a pair of 45-minute races across a race weekend.

Though that change represents a drastic shift in driving philosophy, it is one that George welcomes.

“The new rules for the endurance races are great, I enjoy it a lot,” said George. “It gives you a chance to think through things differently with strategy. It also gives you a chance if you blow it…in a sprint race if you make a mistake you don’t get a chance to come back.”

Florida Drivers in Continental Tire Challenge Eager for Hometown Race at Sebring

A strong contingent of drivers from Florida are represented in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, and next month’s 12 Hours of Sebring weekend will see them compete on home soil.

“I grew up in Tallahassee and I live in Orlando now, so Sebring has been my home track since day one,” said Paul Holton, driver of the No. 76 Compass Racing McLaren GT4, which finished 14th at the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway. “I’ve spent a lot of time down here and really enjoy the place. It’s a nice, quaint little town not far from Orlando so it’s a quick, easy drive down for me.”

Fellow Floridian Ramin Abdolvahabi, a native of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and driver of the No. 09 Automatic Racing Aston Martin Vantage, revealed that, even though Sebring is only two hours from his hometown, this week’s test was his first time at the track in two years.

“I haven’t been here for two years, so coming back is like coming home,” he said. “It’s a fantastic track and it’s one of the iconic tracks in the world so being at Sebring – a small town, my hometown, welcoming – it’s fantastic. I went on the track a couple of times yesterday and it’s just like wearing an old shoe, it just fits and it’s fantastic. Hopefully, the race will go well and the weather will hold, so anyone who’s out there, come and see us!”

Frank Raso Trades in Airplanes for Porsches at Sebring

Several IMSA drivers boast “day jobs” outside of their racing gigs. Among them, Frank Raso’s work falls outside of ordinary jobs like doctor or lawyer. Rather, Raso flies airplanes for a living.

“I’m an airline pilot for a major airline,” said Raso, who tested the No. 10 Topp Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car at Sebring. “I’ve been flying for almost 30 years, and it’s allowed me, with all my time off and things like that to do this and fall back into racing again. I messed with it a little bit when I was younger, but it was, of course, expensive, so I got away from it for a while. I decided I wanted to get back into it in kind of my last couple of years before I get too old.”

Raso explained that the skills he practices while flying planes are more than transferable to his driving duties in a Porsche GT3 Cup car.

“Flying an airliner or flying any airplane, we have checklists, but everything is kind of done in order. It’s almost in a robot fashion type of a thing where you do this, you do this, you do this and you have to make sure you hit all your marks and fly the airplane with precision.

“So, when you get in these Cup cars, with no anti-lock brakes, no traction control, and no driver assist items, you have to make sure you hit your marks, when you’re accelerating, when you’re turning in. You have to be alert. It keeps your wits about you. The car can step out at any time. They’re a very difficult car to drive, but they’re a lot of fun.”
The 54-year-old Raso posted a best finish of fourth, on four separate occasions, in a part-time schedule during the 2017 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season as a competitor in the Gold Cup class.
Newcomers Get Taste of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge
A number of new drivers got to sample Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge cars during the two days of testing at Sebring. Among them was amateur racer Scott Welham, who got his first taste of professional racing during the two-day outing at Sebring.
And he had a strong support system backing him up in the Kelly-Moss Road and Race team, the defending Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge champions with driver Jake Eidson.
“Here, you’ve got somebody that actually does coaching, data acquisition, track management – these are all separate people – plant manager, owner, a car-setup guy, you’ve got someone that bills you – which isn’t always a good thing, but you know, you just have that huge, huge support group that enables you to focus on driving,” Welham said of the team’s influence on his development over the two days.
IMSA’s next visit to Sebring will be for the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring on March 17.