CPK leads partner portfolio for Townsend Bell’s Indy 500 effort

Andretti, Bell, Hart and Sweedler. Photo: Tony DiZinno
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LONG BEACH, Calif. – California Pizza Kitchen leads the partner portfolio announced Saturday at Long Beach for Townsend Bell’s Indianapolis 500 effort with Andretti Autosport, along with Robert Graham, Sombra Mezcal (tequila) and Justice Bros.

The full release from Andretti Autosport is below. A livery will be revealed at a later date. Bell, Michael Andretti, CPK CEO G.J. Hart and Bell’s IMSA co-driver Bill Sweedler were all at a press conference today, with pizza handed out:

California native Townsend Bell will be partnering with a hometown brand for his 2016 Indianapolis 500 effort, as California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), the authority in creative dining with a California vibe, joins to lead the No. 29 car’s sponsorship for May’s historic race. The 100th Running will mark a first outing in Indy car racing for the global restaurant company born in Beverly Hills in 1985.

Joining California Pizza Kitchen as a co-primary sponsor on the No. 29 will be Bell’s long-time sponsor and fashion industry leader, Robert Graham. The American Eclectic lifestyle brand will pull from its creative style to combine the influential design and complex patterns of Robert Graham with the globally-recognized branding of California Pizza Kitchen.

“Being a California native, I cannot think of a better fit than California Pizza Kitchen to join our team for the 100th Running of the Indy 500,” said Bell. “It’s awesome to represent a brand that I grew up with here. I love the fact that you can enjoy artisanal California cuisine all across the U.S. thanks to CPK. I’m also proud to have Robert Graham on board again for 2016 and cannot wait to unveil the No. 29 car in May.”

“California Pizza Kitchen couldn’t be more proud and excited to partner with Andretti Autosport and our friends at Robert Graham, another great California-born brand, to support Townsend Bell’s Indianapolis 500 effort,” said G.J. Hart, Executive Chairman and CEO at California Pizza Kitchen. “Much like the legendary Andretti family pushes the envelope in the sport of racing and Robert Graham takes wardrobe design to a whole new level, CPK is all about driving innovation forward when it comes to culinary experiences, from the iconic Original BBQ Chicken Pizza we invented in 1985 to our transformative new look and menu now available in our restaurants. We look forward to unveiling Townsend’s incredible car in the coming weeks and to cheering him on at the historic race this May.”

Added Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti, “It’s great to have California Pizza Kitchen come on board for Townsend’s Indy 500 program, especially as a new brand coming into the sport for such a historic event. To have California Pizza Kitchen’s partnership combined with Robert Graham’s continued support, the No. 29 car and Townsend are positioned for eye-catching success on all fronts.”

The newly branded No. 29 will take to the track for Opening Day at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 16. Indianapolis-based Andretti Autosport holds three Indianapolis 500 victories with the late Dan Wheldon (2005), Dario Franchitti (2007) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014).

Bell completes Andretti Autosport’s five-car line up for the 2016 Indianapolis 500 joining teammates Marco Andretti (No. 27 Snapple Honda), Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda), Carlos Muñoz (No. 26 Honda) and Alexander Rossi (No. 98 Castrol Edge / Curb Honda).

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.