Military veterans to service PIRTEK car at Indy pit stop challenge

Photo: PIRTEK Team Murray
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Cool story here that was released yesterday but that would have likely been buried in the day’s activities at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The PIRTEK Team Murray effort has another partner announcement in a cool way.

The full release is below:

PIRTEK Team Murray and the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation have created a unique program that will see six military service veterans and first responders from across North America molded into a pit crew for this year’s 100th Indianapolis 500 celebrations in May.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) worked with Team Murray and the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation to create the concept and WBHE will be using the pit crew program to launch American Sniper: The Chris Kyle Commemorative Edition Blu-ray on May 3.

The pit crew will be housed in Indianapolis for the 10 days leading up to the event and will be trained and coached by some of the sport’s leading fitness and movement professionals, including Pit Fit’s Jim Leo.

Training complete, they will then be the entry crewing the PIRTEK Team Murray #61 Chevrolet entry into the TAG Heuer Pit Crew Challenge on Coors Lite Carb Day, Friday May 27, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The program was officially launched today by Kyle’s wife and PIRTEK Team Murray ambassador – Taya Kyle – at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg in Florida, the opening round of the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Taya, the wife of Chris Kyle and best selling author of American Wife, was joined by PIRTEK Team Murray founder, Brett “Crusher” Murray, driver of the #61 PIRTEK Team Murray Chevrolet, Matt Brabham and former Navy SEAL, David Rutherford, who was announced as the first member of the CK Crew.

Rutherford, who is based in Florida, served eight years in the Naval Special Warfare Community, leaving the services in 2003.

He works as a motivational speaker with many of the world’s biggest companies under the banner of Team Froglogic, using his SEAL training to develop the competitive edge for those organizations.

An advocate for the recognition and treatment of PTSD among the military community, he is also a regular podcaster and radio host, Performance Coach, musician, poet and author who has published three books, including the best selling Self Confidence.

The remaining five members of the crew have been personally selected by Taya Kyle and will be announced during the coming weeks.

The remaining five members of the crew, a mixture of first responders, active military service personnel and veterans, have been personally selected by Taya Kyle and will be announced during the coming weeks.

The CK Crew concept was born from Chris Kyle’s appreciation for the teamwork that pit crews display in going about their job.

It was the one thing about motorsport that stood out to him some years ago when first attending a NASCAR race – Chris taking the time to speak with the crew, commenting at the time that the precision, toughness and the ability to work as one for the common goal reminded him of his military unit.

Funds raised through the program will be used by the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation to build programs that allow military service, veteran and first responder families to reconnect post-deployment.

The six CK Crew Members and Supporters will be included in a host of experiences including a ride in a two-seater IndyCar, being the guests of honor at a team dinner, team-bonding go-kart challenge with Matt Brabham, team hospitality and being included in the pre-race activities on the grid as guests of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Foundation will be using the Indianapolis 500 and other major Verizon IndyCar Series events throughout the year as a basis to allow military and first responders to re-engage and enhance their family units.

PIRTEK Team Murray will field a car in this year’s 100th Indianapolis 500 for Matt Brabham, achieving the milestone of seeing the Brabham family becoming just the third family to have three generations compete in the race.

The US arm of Australian founded PIRTEK Fluid Systems has taken the naming rights of the team which has a technical partnership with KV Racing Technology, who won the Indy 2013 with Tony Kanaan.

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed their new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with US-based Ford Motors in a press event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Team Principle Christian Horner. They are the only Formula 1 team to launch in the United States, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen had already wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts will inevitably turn to establishing a dynasty – and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his principle rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.