Compass360, Park Place receive awards from CTF

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Two of IMSA’s leading teams were on hand at the annual Children’s Tumor Foundation Benefit Gala in New York City, held on Thursday, October 30th. Drivers from Park Place Motorsports and Compass360 Racing (C360R) were honored by being the recipients of the CTF Children’s Humanitarian Award, for their support of the Foundation’s Racing4Research program.

Team cars were displayed in front of the Plaza Hotel, just off Central Park, and proved to be a hit with both Gala attendees and passers-by alike. Park Place’s No. 73 TUDOR United SportCar Championship GTD-class Vess Energy Porsche 911 GT America was joined by C360R’s No. 75 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Honda Civic Si.

Both cars feature livery inspired by a signature piece of artwork donated to the CTF by highly-acclaimed artist and NF Hero Jeffrey Owen Hanson. The 20-year-old philanthropic artist is visually impaired from an optic nerve tumor related to neurofibromatosis – known simply as NF – that is a common yet under-recognized genetic disorder that can cause tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. NF affects one in every 3,000 people, more than cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Huntington’s disease combined. Hanson has developed an unmistakable signature style. Inspired by travel, his heavily textured artwork hangs in the homes of art collectors the world over, including Sir Elton John, Warren Buffett, and Susan Sarandon. The original artwork was auctioned off during the Gala with the proceeds going to fund NF research.

FOX Sports broadcaster Brian Till emceed the evening, and gave Park Place drivers Patrick Lindsey and Mike Vess, and Compass360’s Karl Thomson the opportunity to express their thanks for their teams’ award.

“Like the fight against NF, car racing is truly a team effort, and although I have the privilege of standing up here this evening, it’s due to the efforts of our incredible, tireless crew and our exceptionally talented drivers,” said Thomson. “We began our journey with CTF back in 2010 and since that time, our race team has grown and so has our involvement with the Foundation. We’ve celebrated wins and championships together along the way, and we’ve been inspired by the kids and their families that Jill Beck brings out to our race events. I can’t overstate how much this connection with the kids means to us as drivers.”

The Children’s Tumor Foundation actively supports research into treatments and a cure for NF by bringing academics, scientists, clinicians, and companies together to work in collaboration towards an end to neurofibromatosis. In addition to benefiting those who live with NF, CTF-funded research is shedding new light on several forms of cancer, brain tumors, bone abnormalities, and learning disabilities, ultimately benefiting the broader community. Donations to the Children’s Tumor Foundation’s Racing4Research program can be made at http://Racing4Research.org.

Kyle Busch interests McLaren for Indy 500, but team is leaning toward experience

McLaren Indy Kyle Busch
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With Arrow McLaren SP heavily weighing a fourth car for the Indy 500 next year, Kyle Busch is a candidate but not at the top of the IndyCar team’s list.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown addressed the possibility Wednesday morning during a video news conference with Gavin Ward, the team’s newly named racing director.

“I have not personally spoken with Kyle Busch, but you can read into that that someone else in our organization has,” Brown said. “We want to make sure if we run a fourth car, we’re in the mindset that we want someone that is experienced around the 500. It’s such an important race, and from a going for the championship point of view, we’ve got three drivers that we want to have finish as strong as possible, so if we ran a fourth car, we’d want to be additive, not only for the fourth car itself, but to the three cars and so bringing in someone who’s not done it before potentially doesn’t add that value from an experience point of view.”

Busch will race the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing next season in NASCAR under a new deal that will allow the two-time Cup Series champion to make his Indy 500 debut. Busch, who had a previous deal to run the Indy 500 nixed by Joe Gibbs Racing, openly courted Chevy IndyCar teams to contact him during his introductory news conference with RCR last month.

After Team Penske (which has given no indications of a fourth car at Indy alongside champion Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin), McLaren is the second-best Chevy organization, and it’s fielded an extra Indy 500 car the past two years for Juan Pablo Montoya. The Associated Press reported last month that McLaren was in “serious conversation” about running Busch at Indy with Menards sponsorship.

But with its restructured management, the team is in the midst of significant expansion for 2023. AMSP is adding a third full-time car for 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi to team with Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, and a massive new shop also is being built in the Indianapolis area.

“(It’s) not because of him but purely because of experience,” Brown said of Busch. “He’s an awesome talent and would be huge, huge news for the speedway. But yeah, I think everyone is under consideration if we decide to do it, but experience is right at the top of the list as far as what’s going to be the most important to us.”

And it seems likely there will be a veteran joining Rossi, O’Ward and Rosenqvist at the Brickyard.

“A fourth car at the 500 is very much under consideration,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t even want to get ahead of ourselves, but we wouldn’t be ruling out a fourth car in the future on a full-time basis. That definitely wouldn’t be for ’23. But as we expand the team and get into larger facilities and things of that nature, it’s something that Gavin and I have spoken about.

“I think we would be in a position to run a fourth car at the 500 this upcoming year. If we do decide to do that, we’ll make that decision soon for maximum preparation, and I would say we’re open minded to a fourth car in ’24 and beyond and probably will make that decision middle of next year in time to be prepared if we did decide to do that.”

Brown also addressed the future of Alex Palou, who will be racing for Chip Ganassi Racing next season after also signing a deal with McLaren. Though Brown declined to get into specifics about whether Palou had signed a new deal, he confirmed Palou will continue to test “our Formula One car from time to time.

“Everyone has reached an amicable solution,” Brown said. “We’ve now had Alex in our Formula One car as we have Pato. That will continue in the future, which we’re quite excited about. At this point we’re laser-focused on 2023 and glad to have the noise behind us and now just want to put our head down and get on with the job with the three drivers we have.”