NASCAR: Ryan Blaney visits White House to help launch tire safety initiative

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NASCAR will take part in a new initiative from the U.S. Department of Transportation to increase awareness of tire safety and promote energy efficiency.

Talented young driver Ryan Blaney, along with his No. 22 Team Penske Ford that won the 2014 XFINITY Series’ owner’s championship and Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, were all in attendance for today’s announcement at The White House.

The U.S. DOT will seek to establish a tire fuel efficiency education program by 2017 to help consumers choose the most energy-efficient tires. It is also teaming up with multiple tire manufacturers to kick off Tire Safety Awareness Month (today through Jan. 9, 2015), and NASCAR will help the cause with a “Drive For Safety” program that will roll out next racing season.

More than 11,000 tire-related vehicle crashes occur in the U.S. each year, a figure that the DOT, NASCAR, and the tire manufacturers wish to reduce. Proper tire maintenance can also help consumers save money: Figures from the White House state that if 10 million drivers kept their tires properly inflated, they could save almost $500 million and 1.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year.

Besides his duties at the White House, Blaney also got to tour the U.S. Capitol today with Rep. Richard Hudson, a Republican congressman from North Carolina.

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”