Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A short month filled with action!

Sure, February is the shortest month out of the year, but I've packed in a lot of fun in that short time! Appearances, photo and video shoots, testing, birthdays, a mini-vacation, a major press announcement... phew, it's definitely been a quick yet busy month.

Yesterday I spent some time at the Ganassi shop shooting some video with the Novo Nordisk team. They're always a great group to work with, and they make the process easy and painless for me!

The Sebring test last week went really well. We were very quick in the morning session and had a few mechanical things to work on in the afternoon. Overall I was really pleased with the progress we made. We did a lot of work with Honda and Honda HPD, developing some adjustments and tunability as we get ready for the open test and first race. We ran a lot of miles during the last off-season, and with the decrease of testing time this year we just have to be more efficient and make the most of our on-track time. Big credit to the whole Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team. The engineers and mechanics have worked really hard over the winter, and we had some great directions to try at Sebring. I can’t wait to get back in the car for the open test in a couple of weeks… the first race is less than a month away now!

It’s always great to go out to an event here in Indianapolis. So many people here in town love IndyCar racing, so to go to the fairgrounds for the Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show with Mid-Indiana Marine and meet IndyCar fans was really neat. I’m an avid boater and I love my Axis Wake. It was great to hang out with the dealer and talk to prospective buyers and other Axis owners about my boat, and how I use it to relax and slow down a bit from the racing world. I had the chance to share with them the quality that I enjoy in my boat and how I spend my free time out on the water. Fortunately the days are getting a bit longer here in Indy, so there’s hope for warm weather soon. Most importantly that means the start of the race season, but also that it’ll be time to get back out on the water before I know it!
My new friend Luke at the boat show!
Oh yeah, I did some "racing" recently too... Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

28... Another year older

Yes, today is my 28th birthday. I'm another year older... and hopefully wiser! I always like to take this day to reflect on the opportunities that have come my way and the people that have helped mold me into the person I am today. My mom always says that time is measured in events. So, I put together some photos (28 photos to be exact) of some of my favorite racing memories.

As always, thanks for your support and enjoy!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Race with Insulin Unites!

It's been a busy day in Daytona! Why am I here?! Well, I'm happy to share that today Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and Novo Nordisk announced a new Race with Insulin™ Unites initiative, combining the support of my NASCAR, INDYCAR and GRAND-AM teammates.

During the weekend of April 5-7, my CGRT NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teammate Jamie McMurray and I will run Race with Insulin paint schemes at Martinsville Speedway and Barber Motorsports Park. In addition, my teammates Juan Pablo Montoya in NASCAR, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti in INDYCAR and Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in GRAND-AM will have special blue tire rims to help launch the Race with Insulin Unites campaign. The rims will emulate a blue circle, which is the International Diabetes Federation’s (IDF) global symbol for diabetes.

To learn more about the Race with Insulin Unites initiative, click here.

I am able to live my dream and compete in the IZOD IndyCar Series because I have been fortunate to have the support of Novo Nordisk and my teammates, who are extensions of my on-track pit crew. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @racewithinsulin to learn how you can enter to win a chance this year to become my honorary pit crew member!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Is it spring yet?

I heard Groundhog Phil didn't see his shadow this year... which means spring comes early, right?! I'm not sure about you, but that sounds like good news to me. Not only because spring means the beginning of the IndyCar season but also because warm weather means more time out on the Axis boat! 

I'll be hanging out with the guys from Mid-Indiana Marine at the Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show on Saturday, Feb. 23, drooling over the new models and getting even more anxious about getting out on the lake. They'll have special deals and I'll have a few cool giveaways, so come on out and visit!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A visit to where it all starts!

Yesterday I visited the Novo Nordisk insulin production plant in Clayton, North Carolina, where they make some of the products I use every day. To put it simply… it was really, really cool!

The No. 83 in front of Novo Nordisk in Clayton
Having been to Honda plant in Alabama last April and the Axis factory in Tennessee in December, it was neat to have a third point of reference in the production industry. At Novo Nordisk it was a bit different in that they have so many restrictions, with FDA and other compliances in addition to their own standards, which they set even higher for themselves. Because of the unique environment that insulin needs to be maintained as far as climate control, light and temperature, the process to put it together is very cool, and they are very, very meticulous about it.

The FlexPen assembly line is really neat; very automated. They’ve obviously worked very hard to increase efficiency across the line, finding ways here and there to make improvements. As someone who appreciates performance and technical aspects (hey, I’m the son of an engineer—it’s in my blood!), one of the things I talked about with various employees and factory workers was how impressed I am with their production line and how they’re continually making progress. They even have white board for everybody to make suggestions on how to improve the process.

The results show in the metrics—Clayton is the highest performing manufacturing site. And it’s obvious to me why: it all comes down to the people, who take a lot of pride and ownership in how they do their job, just like at Honda and Axis even if it’s done with a slightly different approach. At Honda, it’s a majority of automation. At Axis, the majority of the work is handmade. At Novo Nordisk’s Clayton production plant, it’s right in the middle, a combination of automation when possible and many, many hand spot-checks. If there’s ever any question about anything, they reject it and take it off the line because of the high level of quality they aspire to maintain.

Along with the site director and vice president from Denmark, we got to cut the ribbon on the new training center in Clayton. It was a lot of fun to be there and it really reminded me of how great it is to have such an awesome partner in Novo Nordisk.

Talking to a group of employees! Photo via @novonordiskus.