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Rossi, Daly confirmed for new season of ‘The Amazing Race’

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Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly, nor their teams, nor the Verizon IndyCar Series, was allowed to officially reveal they’d be a team on the upcoming season of CBS reality travel competition “The Amazing Race” when it started hitting the Internet that they were a team. But Thursday, they got officially confirmed.

See the release from INDYCAR below for more details.

Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly have been friends for years, and sometimes housemates since both joined the Verizon IndyCar Series full time in 2016. Now they’re something more: teammates for Season 30 of “The Amazing Race,” the popular, Emmy Award-winning reality competition show airing on CBS.

Rossi and Daly form “Team INDYCAR” for the competition that covers 10 countries, 21 cities and more than 29,000 miles in the quest to cross the finish line first and win $1 million. Team INDYCAR is among 11 two-person entries competing in the contest, which premieres at 8 p.m. ET Jan. 3 on CBS. The 30th season of “The Amazing Race” will conclude with a two-hour finale on Feb. 21.

“It was a pretty crazy experience, definitely different than what I thought it would be – but totally worth it,” Daly said. “It was fun to meet a lot of different people from different sports, different avenues of life. The cast really was one of the best parts of the show.”

Rossi admitted he hadn’t seen many previous seasons of “The Amazing Race” before undertaking the adventure. He was tested by it but enjoyed the experience.

“It was different in the sense that it’s not as fast-paced as it appears in the show,” Rossi said. “It was better than I expected because, in the gaps between legs of the race, they actually put you in a hotel and fed you and everything. So it wasn’t kind of extreme like a ‘Survivor’ type of process.

“The legs were really long in the sense that you spent a lot of time in airports, you slept on the floor a lot,” Rossi added. “It was an interesting experience. Again, I’m very happy that I had the opportunity to do it. It opened my eyes to what reality television is like. I think the fans will have a really good time watching it.”

Participation by Rossi, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner, and Daly had been speculated since they were seen at start of the competition earlier this fall at Washington Square Park in New York City. From there, the teams went to Iceland, where they were tasked with traversing a massive canyon high above the Geitargljufur River.

Daly’s knowledge of “The Amazing Race” may have helped the team during the competition. The 25-year-old from Indiana has been a fan of the show since high school.

“I thought it was really cool just because I obviously like racing, but it was a very different type of racing,” Daly said. “One episode that really caught me was when they went to the racetrack in Abu Dhabi and they were driving race cars there. I thought, ‘Oh, this is a show I need to do someday,’ but it never really seemed like a possibility. Sure enough, it became a reality.”

Daly said viewers will be impressed – and amused – by how he and Rossi work as teammates in high-pressure situations during the competition.

“I think Alex and I worked better than people might think as teammates,” Daly said. “I’m very excited to have people see what went on and how it all went because I think it was fun. I think people will enjoy seeing us love each other and hate each other.”

The two drivers have known each other since they competed in Europe together before reconnecting in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Rossi, 26, agreed they performed well together on the show, but not without a few friction-filled moments.

“Conor and I have known each other for a long time and we’re very close friends,” said Rossi, the native Californian now residing in Indianapolis. “We are able to push each other’s limits – kind of in a good way and a bad way. His sense of humor is pretty infectious, so we had a good time together.

“In the heat of the moment you have disagreements, but at the end I think we worked really well together and I was very happy that he ended up being my partner.”

Other teams competing in Season 30 include former NBA players Cedric Ceballos and Shawn Marion, competitive eaters Joey Chestnut and Tim Janus and X Games skiers Kristi Leskinen and Jen Hudak. Rossi expressed gratitude for officials at INDYCAR who paved the way for the racing duo to be on the show.

“It’s all because of INDYCAR, really,” Rossi said. “The series does a great job pushing out drivers and everything to get exposure to these casting people and to have these opportunities presented to us.”

Tequila Patron to end ESM and IMSA partnerships after 2018 season

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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Earlier on Monday, Tequila Patron, a long-time sponsor in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, both at the team level – they have a long standing partnership with Tequila Patron ESM – and the series level, announced that they will be ending their sponsorships at the end of the 2018 season.

After sponsoring Highcroft Racing in 2008 and 2009 in the American Le Mans Series, Tequila Patron and ESM formed a partnership in 2010 to launch their own team. Since then, they have scored overall wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, and the Petit Le Mans. They have also competed internationally, in both Prototype and GT categories.

“On behalf of the entire Extreme Speed Motorsports organization, it has been an honor to represent such an amazing brand for the past 13 years,” said team co-owner Scott Sharp via a team release.

“I have the deepest gratitude for all of (Patron CEO and ESM co-founder) Ed Brown’s support. Together we have tackled various challenges, won races at each step, and built ESM into such an incredible team. Simultaneously, it has been thrilling to watch Ed and his team build the Patrón brand in a meteoric fashion and along the way become an icon in the motorsports world! We will miss not carrying the now infamous green and black livery, but the same passion for excellence will remain!”

IMSA President Scott Atherton also expressed gratitude toward Patron for their long-time involvement.

“IMSA and Patron Spirits have enjoyed a fantastic partnership for more than a decade. Tequila Patron rose through the IMSA ranks, from a high-profile team sponsor with Patron Highcroft Racing beginning in 2008, through its entitlement sponsorship of the Patron GT3 Challenge starting in 2009, and its presenting sponsorship of the American Le Mans Series beginning in 2010,” Atherton detailed.

He continued, “Tequila Patron continued in a prominent position as the American Le Mans Series merged with GRAND-AM to create the new IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and has been our entitlement partner for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup since 2014 in addition to its longstanding support of the Tequila Patron ESM race team and its pair of Nissan DPi race cars.

“All associated with IMSA – competitors, promoter partners, series officials and fans – will miss the iconic Tequila Patrón brand next year. On behalf of IMSA, we thank CEO Ed Brown and Tequila Patron for all they have done over the many years to help us grow IMSA and the sport as a whole. We’re more proud than words can express to have counted Tequila Patron among our family of premium brand partners.”

Team co-owner Scott Sharp, in a story posted on SportsCar365, asserted that the ESM team has every intention of continuing in 2019.

“We’re working on a number of options,” Sharp said. “Obviously I think we’ve singly got the best team we’ve ever had, personnel-wise. Having been refining over the years and making selected additions, we’ve gotten ourselves to be super strong. The goal is keeping everyone together. We’re working through a few different options that will hopefully allow us to do that.”

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