Photo courtesy of IMSA

The Michelin Alley turns 100 – 100 issues – at Road America

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ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – There’s always so many more elements to a race weekend than just the on-track activity itself and one of those is celebrating a key milestone this weekend.

Some 10 years ago, then Michelin motorsports marketing manager Silvia Mammone hatched the idea of Michelin producing an all-inclusive trackside publication to complement Michelin’s trackside activity.

And thus, “The Alley” was born, starting with the 2007 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the first race of that year’s American Le Mans Series season.

While sports car racing, through various teams, series and regulations have all changed over the last 10 years, Michelin, and its trackside publication, have been an enduring constant – one that has served as a perfect trackside compendium since at every ALMS, and then IMSA race since that Michelin has participated in. Michelin currently participates in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s lone class with open tire competition, GT Le Mans.

This weekend, “The Alley” turns 100 with its 100th print edition. The core team of producers include longtime Michelin PR ace John Love (lead writer and editor), along with photographer Rick Dole, creative director Paul Ryan, and Love’s EMC Strategic Communications’ managing editor Barry Cameron. And there’s been a number of longtime writers and reporters within the industry who at one point or another have contributed along the way (myself included, which I’ll expand upon here in a second).

On a personal note, this is a special milestone for me because I’d been brought on by the team when Michelin’s trackside publication took its next step to launch a standalone website as a compendium to the trackside publication. MichelinAlley.com launched in 2010 with both a blog and a separate Twitter account, and serves as the most up-to-date website for Michelin’s trackside activity after the print itself. It was a major step in my career and something that, without it happening, I’m not sure I’d be sitting here writing this today.

But as my mom once famously told me and it’s something I’ve listened to ever since, “Always have a hard copy” – and at every ALMS or IMSA race I’ve been to since it launched, I always make sure to grab at least one hard copy of The Alley.

Here’s two links about The Alley from MichelinAlley.com:

100 editions of Michelin Alley
Michelin Alley 2007 – 2016 (and counting!)

Here’s a link to the 100th edition itself.

And here’s a video linked below:

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”