IndyCar: Bryan Herta Autosport/Green1 announce Indy 500 entry for Jay Howard

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There are generally some Indianapolis 500 announcements that come in the offseason, but early November as a projected second car for a usual one-car team would have to come as a surprise for most Verizon IndyCar Series observers.

Nonetheless, such is the situation where Bryan Herta Autosport/BBM has today announced it has partnered with Green1 – listed on its website as a powerful 100% Bio Based, (non petro chemical), non toxic, non hazardous, authentic 100% green degreaser / cleaner – to run Jay Howard in the No. 97 Dallara-Honda entry.

It would be the projected second car to the team’s full-time No. 98 entry, which seeks a driver to replace Jack Hawksworth for the 2015 season. Hawksworth has moved to a second full-time car at A.J. Foyt Enterprises.

“Although this is early to announce an Indy 500 entry, we wanted to put this exciting news out right away,” Herta said in a team release. “We have been using Green1 in our shop for years now and believe in the quality of the product as well as the performance and safety it gives us.  We will be working closely in the upcoming months with the team at Green1 to seek additional partners who share Green1’s vision and core values to expand this program to additional races and venues with Jay at the wheel.”

Howard has had something of a checkered history in IndyCar and in the Indianapolis 500 in particular. He was pulled from the cockpit of his Roth Racing entry in 2008 for John Andretti, then his time was withdrawn when it would have been fast enough to qualify for the 2010 race with Sarah Fisher Racing.

He finally made his first and thus far only start in the 2011 Indianapolis 500 in a jointly entered Sam Schmidt Motorsports/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing entry – coincidentally, in the year where Herta’s team won the 500 with the late Dan Wheldon. Howard has not driven an IndyCar since the weekend of the canceled 2011 season finale at Las Vegas.

“There are no words that can describe how happy I am for this opportunity,” Howard said in the release. “The entire BHA team from Bryan, BBM, the guys in the shop, they all have the same determination and passion to win as I do, so it is a perfect fit. I have personal knowledge in what a unique industry changing technology Green1 is, and piloting the car for the Green1 alliance will be an honor. I am also on board in doing my part, by sharing my knowledge and helping make the world a better, safer, cleaner, place.”

This is the second confirmed one-off Indianapolis 500 entry for 2015, joining the KV Racing/Byrd Racing entry for Bryan Clauson. Foyt confirmed during its Hawksworth/Takuma Sato announcement last week it will only run two cars for next year’s Indianapolis 500, rather than add a car as it traditionally has done.

Herta was in Austin this weekend for some meetings, and is working towards finalizing the program on the team’s full-season entry.

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

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ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”