O'Connell (left) and Frye (right). Photos: IMS

Hulman Motorsports confirms two new executives

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Cross the “find a commercial chief” box off IndyCar’s parent company offseason checklist.

Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, the head of IndyCar’s parent company, has confirmed two new hires to his leadership team and organization. C.J. O’Donnell joins up as Hulman Motorsports’ chief marketing officer, with Jay Frye the new chief revenue officer for the company.

Hulman Motorsports is the overarching name for all of Hulman’s motorsports properties, which includes IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“We’ve set a new strategic direction for our motorsports entities, and Jay and C.J. are both top performers who will help us take big leaps forward,” Miles said in a release. “Among their immediate goals are to add sponsors for INDYCAR and IMS, improve our level of fan engagement and develop strategies to build alignment among our teams, drivers, venues and sponsors. Our team is in place, and there’s no offseason as we prepare for 2014.”

O’Donnell has marketed various brands within the Ford Motor Company and Frye has worked as a high-level executive for several NASCAR teams, most recently Team Red Bull and MB2 Motorsports. Frye’s biggest achievement, perhaps, was that as chief executive officer and general manager, he negotiated what was an industry-first – a sponsorship/ownership package with The Valvoline Company.

O’Donnell will lead a combined team of INDYCAR and IMS marketing and communications staff, while Frye will lead a combined team of INDYCAR and IMS sponsorship sales, licensing and account services staff. IMS suite and hospitality sales will remain an IMS function under the direction of track president Doug Boles.

We’ve written previously that under Miles’ overall leadership, with several other leaders that report directly to him, that he’s “getting his guys in place.” The offseason reorganization is now officially underway with these hires formalized.

Valiant efforts from Hunter-Reay, Dixon come up just short at Road America

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Ryan Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon drove about as hard as they possibly could during Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix, and they both drove nearly perfect races.

Hunter-Reay took advantage of Will Power’s engine issues on the start to immediately jump into second, and stalked pole sitter and leader Josef Newgarden from there, often staying within only a couple car lengths of his gearbox.

Dixon, meanwhile, had a tougher chore after qualifying a disappointing 12th. Further, he was starting in the same lane as Will Power, and when Power had engine issues when the green flag waved, Dixon was one of several drivers who was swamped in the aftermath.

Scott Dixon had to come from deep in the field on Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix. Photo: IndyCar

However, as is his style, he quietly worked his way forward, running sixth after the opening round of pit stops, and then working his way up to third after the second round of stops.

It all meant that, after Lap 30, Newgarden, Hunter-Reay, and Dixon were nose-to-tail at the front, with the latter two in position to challenge for the win.

Yet, neither was able to do so. Hunter-Reay never got close enough to try to pass Newgarden, while Dixon couldn’t do so on either Hunter-Reay or Newgarden. And, neither driver went longer in their final stint – Dixon was actually the first of that group to pit, doing so on Lap 43, with Hunter-Reay and Newgarden pitting together one lap later.

And Newgarden pulled away in the final stint, winning by over three seconds, leaving Hunter-Reay and Dixon to finish second and third.

It was a somewhat bitter pill to swallow, with Hunter-Reay noting that he felt like he had enough to challenge for a win.

“I felt like we had the pace for (Newgarden), especially in the first two stints,” he asserted. “I really felt like it was going to be a really good race between us. Whether it be first, second, third, fourth stint – I didn’t know when it was going to come.”

He added that, if he could do it over again, he would have been more aggressive and tried to pass Newgarden in the opening stint.

“In hindsight, I should have pressured him a bit more in the first stint,” Hunter-Reay lamented. “We were focused on a fuel number at the time. Unfortunately that Penske fuel number comes into play, can’t really go hard.”

Dixon, meanwhile, expressed more disappointment in the result, asserting that qualifying better would have put him in a possibly race-winning position.

“I think had we started a little further up, we could have had a good shot at trying to fight for the win today,” he expressed.

The disappointment for Dixon also stems from the knowledge that his No. 9 PNC Bank Honda had the pace to win, especially longer into a run.

“The car was pretty good on the long stint,” he asserted. “I think for us the saving grace was probably the black tire stint two. We closed a hefty gap there. We were able to save fuel early in the first stint, which enabled us to go a lap longer than everybody, had the overcut for the rest of the race.

“I think speed-wise we were right there. Had a bit of a crack at Hunter-Reay on his out lap on the last stint there, but cooked it too much going into (Turn 14), got a bit loose, lost momentum. That would have been really the only chance of passing him.”

Dixon remains in the championship lead, however, by 45 points, while Hunter-Reay moved up to second, tied with Andretti Autosport teammate Alexander Rossi.

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