Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Green Savoree announces new three-year MRTI deal through 2020

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Three more Verizon IndyCar Series venues have been locked in through 2020, in the form of Green Savoree Racing Promotions having announced a new three-year deal with the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires.

As the MRTI races have been confirmed, it also ensures they’ll be on the weekend card with IndyCar in St. Petersburg, Toronto and Mid-Ohio. Toronto announced a title sponsorship extension through 2020 with Honda Canada at its weekend, earlier this year. This release also confirmed the IndyCar race weekends will continue to be known as the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Honda Indy Toronto and Honda Indy 200 respectively.

All three MRTI series – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda – will be at all three tracks.

As these tracks have been a staple since the formal inception of the MRTI in 2010, it was a natural for them to continue, said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions.

“Eight years ago the Mazda Road to Indy’s relationship with Green Savoree began with USF2000 at St. Petersburg, and over the years it has been a tremendous partnership,” Andersen said.

“This renewal to have the entire Mazda Road to Indy at all three Green Savoree events through 2020 is the perfect foundation for what we believe to be the best calendar of road courses, street circuits and oval venues designed to train young drivers for careers in professional racing.  Kim [Green] and Kevin [Savoree] have three of the premier events on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule – a testament to their skills in organizing and promoting – and we are very pleased to be a part of their success.”

Savoree, president and chief operating officer of Green Savoree Racing Promotions, added: “The racing competition and the depth of driver talent showcased in the Mazda Road to Indy have been fantastic.  Dan (Andersen) and his Andersen Promotions team have done a phenomenal job of building each step of the development ladder for open-wheel racing’s future stars. We’re proud to have all three series return and be key features at all three of our INDYCAR venues for an additional three years.”

Pirelli World Challenge has also been part of these three weekends in years past, to create an overflow of content between open-wheel and sports car racing in the same weekend. PWC is yet to release its 2018 calendar.

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

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Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.