Photo courtesy of IMSA

IMSA details plans for 50th anniversary in 2019

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ELKHART LAKE, Wis.  – What began as the sanctioning body for a Formula Ford and Formula Vee race at Pocono Raceway in October 1969 has grown over five decades to become an international auto racing powerhouse specializing in world-class sports car competition, and next year, the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) turns 50.

To commemorate the golden anniversary, IMSA and stakeholders including series partners, manufacturers, teams, drivers, event promoters and fans will join together in a season-long 50th Anniversary celebration that will begin with the 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona on the weekend of Jan. 24-27 and will carry all the way through to the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Oct. 11-13.

Photo courtesy of IMSA

“Almost 50 years ago, Bill France Sr. and John and Peggy Bishop laid a foundation that today supports one of the most prominent auto racing organizations in the world,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton. “The story of IMSA over the past five decades is truly fascinating and will be told throughout our 2019 50th Anniversary celebration in several ways by a variety of stakeholders.

“From historic race car liveries and commemorative logos to many other surprises throughout the season for fans at-track and watching through our new-for-2019 partnership with NBC Sports, it will be a year-long celebration for all to enjoy.”

A key component of the celebration is the official 50th Anniversary IMSA logo that was publicly unveiled for the first time this evening as part of the State of the Series presentation at Road America. The logo – which will be featured on items such as uniforms, race car liveries and commemorative merchandise in 2019 — incorporates many elements of the traditional IMSA logo, including the 27-degree angle from vertical center and the familiar “apex arrow” that has long been a part of IMSA’s brand identity.

Enhancing the logo is the use of gold to signify IMSA’s “golden” anniversary, as well as laurels that symbolize excellence, honor and victory. A secondary commemorative logo, which replaces the standard red in the current IMSA logo with gold and features the addition of “Est. 1969” also was unveiled and will be used throughout 2019 in selected applications as well.

IMSA will be centering its celebration around four cornerstones – “Drivers and Teams,” “Tracks,” “Manufacturers” and “Fans”. These pillars will be highlighted at 2019 events and will have a presence the entire season as the foundation of what has made IMSA what it is today.

Additional elements of the IMSA 50th Anniversary celebration will be unveiled soon.

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View from the pits: Reporters’ picks for the 103rd Indianapolis 500

INDYCAR / Jason Porter
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It’s Race Day in Indianapolis, and for the first time, the Indianapolis 500 will be on NBC.

Time will tell what impact Mother Nature has on today’s 103rd Running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. But no matter what, prerace coverage begins today on NBCSN at 9 a.m. ET, then transitions over to NBC at 11 a.m. ET.

All month long, the INDYCAR on NBC pit reporters have been bringing you the latest breaking news and stories for the Brickyard. Now, Kevin Lee, Kelli Stavast and Marty Snider share their insights from pit road. Read on …

KEVIN LEE

Throughout the last two weeks, one common theme has been, “Don’t crash.” There were five crashes, and four of those teams/drivers ended up in the Last Row Shootout. Two of the three bumped (Patricio O’Ward and Fernando Alonso) were in backup cars following heavy impacts.

Several drivers have consistently been among the strongest. Simon Pagenaud (pictured, left) not only starts on pole but has been strong in race trim as well. All three Ed Carpenter Racing cars are fast and appear good in traffic. Alexander Rossi looks like he can put his car wherever he wants, and Scott Dixon has five championships and 44 IndyCar wins, so he must be watched.

In order, my picks for most likely to drink the milk are Pagenaud, Rossi, Ed Carpenter, Will Power and Dixon.

KELLI STAVAST

A week ago, no one could have predicted that two-time world champion Fernando Alonso and McLaren Racing would be bumped from the Indy 500 by a single-car, part-time effort of Juncos Racing and its driver, Kyle Kaiser (pictured, right).  But it happened, and Kaiser now occupies the 33rd and final spot in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

So what next?  I spoke with Kyle five days after the dramatic qualifying effort, and he told me he has never been happier to finish last and that he is still “buzzing” from that experience—an energy he hopes to carry straight through to the race.  He also told me that the response from fans has been positive with people stopping him in public (including at Chipotle) to hug him and congratulate him on making the Big Show.

But reality might have set in for the Californian who now lives in Indy.  During Carb Day’s final practice, the team struggled to get a good handling car for Kyle, who described the day as “challenging.”  But Kaiser also acknowledged that the team made some progress throughout the practice and at the very least collected some data that might help for the 500-miler on Sunday.

Whether he finishes 1st or 31st on Sunday, Kyle Kaiser and Juncos Racing will have plenty of fond memories to carry with them from the 103rd Indy 500.

MARTY SNIDER

First, we cannot wait to bring you guys the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500. It’s an honor for our entire group to broadcast such an amazing event.

So what do we expect? I have no idea, to be honest. The weather will be a huge factor today. It might be a race to halfway if rain is forecast.  If it’s cooler (mid 70’s ambient, which it looks like it’s going to be), Alexander Rossi (pictured, left) was unstoppable in those conditions last Monday.

But Rossi was very unhappy with his car on Carb Day. For that matter, most teams were. But Rob Edwards of Andretti Autosport explained a few things to Rossi about all of the experimenting they were doing in final practice, and I think that team is in a much better frame of mind heading into the race.

I find it interesting that Simon Pagenaud’s team scuffed in literally every set of tires they will use for today’s race. The No. 22 camp is convinced (and they’re not wrong) that one of the keys to Will Power’s 2018 win was his ability to gain time on out laps after pit stops. Scuffing in tires helps that out lap time. It also allows teams to do a balance check on tires. Good thing they did: Kyle Moyer of Team Penske found two sets that had vibrations, which would have been bad in the race.

Bottom line, I haven’t seen anyone really stand out and show me they can beat Alexander Rossi yet. So I’m going with Rossi to win his second Indy 500.

Enjoy the show friends. It’s going to be a fantastic race!