Joe Skibinski / IndyCar

Swedish driver Ericsson lands hot chocolate company sponsor

Leave a comment

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A hot chocolate company led by Hollywood stuntman and occasional racer Stanton Barrett has signed as primary sponsor for Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson at Chip Ganassi Racing.

This is the first entry into IndyCar for Huski Chocolate, a company headquartered in Stockholm that already does business in Formula One with McLaren and with the English soccer club Millwall.

Marcus Ericsson’s 2020 Huski Chocolate livery. Photo: Chip Ganassi Racing

Huski Chocolate is primarily located in ski resorts and touts its brand as using all-natural ingredients combined with real cocoa, cocoa butter and secret spices. The company expanded into North America two years ago and launched a chocolate milk in Europe last year.

The pairing of a Swedish company with a Swedish driver seems like a natural fit, but the connection is actually between Barrett and team owner Chip Ganassi. Barrett is the son of former stuntman Stan Barrett and the godson of the late Paul Newman.

He became interested in racing through his father and Newman, which led to a friendship with Ganassi. Although Barrett still dabbles in racing – the Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen last year is among the 249 career NASCAR starts Barrett has made since 1992 – his focus is on his other entrepreneurial ventures and his stunt work. Barrett also ran four IndyCar races in 2009.

“Motorsports is a really great platform to get a brand out there and develop a loyal customer base so IndyCar is a great fit because it is picking up aggressively and they are in good markets and has a positive global platform,” Barrett said.

Barrett said he’s known Ganassi at least 30 years, and flew with him late last season to discuss potential partnerships. Ganassi was in the process of shutting down his two-car sports car team, but he reallocated the personnel to create a third IndyCar entry to avoid heavy layoffs.

The talks were preliminary and Ganassi was not sure who the driver would be, but Barrett was adamant he wanted to be tied to a top-tier team. Ganassi teams have won 19 championships and more than 220 races, including four Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400, eight Rolex 24 At Daytonas, the 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“Chip had the choice in driver, he is pretty savvy in who he picks and I think it is a really great fit that Marcus was available,” Barrett said. “For us, it just fell in line that he is a Swedish driver for a Swedish brand, and we will be able to market him quite well. But this was more about the program and being in IndyCar and the partners we could find.”

Ericsson spent five years in F1 before moving to IndyCar last season to drive for Sam Schmidt. When McLaren came on as a partner with Schmidt for this season, the team replaced the two-driver lineup and Ericsson’s contract was not renewed. He had one podium finish in 16 races.

He joins a Ganassi team that includes five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist, a fellow Swede.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.