Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

It's that time of year again... the race season has finished, the championship parties have (mostly) ended, and winter testing has yet to begin. In between our other obligations and appearances, this leaves us IndyCar drivers with a bit of free time on the weekends.

I spent some time this past Sunday doing some Halloween pumpkin carving. As you know, I'm a California kid and grew up watching Stanford football. Now that I'm living in Indy, I've adopted the Colts as my favorite NFL team. Luckily I managed to get both Stanford and the Colts onto my pumpkin this year!

West Coast and the Midwest, together!
What is carved into your pumpkin this year? Are there any IndyCar-themed pumpkins out there? Tweet me your pics @racewithinsulin or post them on my Facebook page wall! I can't wait to see them!

Have a safe and fun Halloween!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Celebrate with us via!

I can't thank the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Team enough for everything they've done this year to make it a successful season--from our ten top-10s, to strong qualifying sessions, to our first IndyCar race win. Let's keep celebrating the 2013 IndyCar season, and of course the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Team's championship! The 2013 INDYCAR Championship Celebration will be streamed live on and the INDYCAR 13 mobile app on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. Click here for more information.

Live from Trackside - MAVTV 500 INDYCAR World Championships

Saturday, Oct. 19
10:00 p.m.
First of all, major congratulations to Scott and the No. 9 team for winning the championship, and to the Chip Ganassi Racing organization as a whole. The goal tonight was for Scott to clinch the title in the No. 9 car and we were able to do that. We were able to run up front and prove that the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car was quick. It was unfortunate to have a mechanical failure that close to the end. We had a good restart, the car was just getting better and better and we were in good shape for the end of the race. Overall, we’re looking forward to the 2014 season and what the future holds.

Thanks to all of you for the support this season--much appreciated.

First stop by the No. 83 crew.
Another quick stop under the lights.
3:30 p.m.
It's race day! But of course it's a little bittersweet, with it being our last race of the season. We feel pretty good about the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car today... I really have to thank the guys for giving me such a great car for these 500 miles. We'll start P4 today, after a couple of cars took the 10-grid spot penalty for an engine change.

It's been a busy day already, starting with a TV interview before a photo opp, drivers meeting, an autograph session and sponsor appearances. And that's all before we even get on track! I'm headed to a team engineering meeting then hopefully a few moments of quiet time before the green flag. Tune in to NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET for the finale and cheer for the No. 83!

Morning interview for COX-TV (photo via @CGRTeams).
Met with Stella, a fellow cool-kid with type 1 diabetes! (photo via @CGRTeams).
Friday, Oct. 18
6:50 p.m.
Not a bad day at the office... our highest qualifying on an oval, and finished evening practice in the top 10. The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing guys have been working really hard and it's definitely showing! I'm spending some time with my engineers tonight before getting rest before the big day tomorrow. Thanks for watching and for the support!

A few changes during evening practice.
3:45 p.m.
I’m pretty happy with finishing top-five in qualifying. Being the top Honda on the charts feels pretty good. Overall it was a little surprising to be that good because we had focused on the race car so much during practice. But it’s nice to have a good car. The No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car has been good since we unloaded here and I think we’ll be in good shape come 500-miles tomorrow night. We’ll work on the car a little bit more tonight as it cools off and the sun goes down, but overall I think the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi guys are happy with that.

Post-qualifying interview with Jake Query.
1:30 p.m.
We had a pretty good practice session with the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car. We did a lot of work on the car as far as getting it race-ready. Our qualifying spot is 23rd today, so be sure to tune in at 2:15 pm Pacific via Race Control or catch the delayed broadcast on NBCSN at 4 p.m.

Post-install lap.
Leaving pit lane [video here].
Pit stop practice.
"Get Well Dario" decal on the No. 83!
Making changes during practice.
9:15 a.m.
It's a beautiful morning here in Fontana, and it looks like the good weather will stick around all day.

Yesterday afternoon I spent a lot of time with my engineers, watching (and dissected) last year's race and going over data. I also refitted my belts in the No. 83 car and made sure everything is set for today's first on-track session. We'll spend a little bit of practice on qualifying setups, but mainly we're focused on the car for the race. With it being a 500-mile race, it's most important to have the race car at its best for the green flag.

In case you missed it, the IndyCar Series released its 2014 season schedule last night. Click here to see the full schedule. Hope to see you all at the track next year!

Thursday, Oct. 17
12:30 p.m.
Hello from Auto Club Speedway! Always great to be back on the Best Coast. I can't wait to get back into the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car for the season finale this weekend. We had a strong car at Fontana last year, and I think we can only improve from there. During testing last month, we were able to do a lot of long runs and really get the car prepped for the 500-mile race. Going into the finale, our focus is to finish strong and leave the track still sitting inside the top-10 of the championship points standings. I know Scott and the No. 9 team will be fighting hard for a well-deserved Championship. It's a long race and you have to be prepared for it all, but the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team will give it everything.

Here's our race weekend schedule for those coming to the race and those following along at home (all times Pacific).
Friday, Oct. 18:
10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Practice
2:15 p.m.-3:45 p.m. Qualifying (on NBCSN at 4 p.m.)
6:05 p.m.-6:35 p.m. Practice
Saturday, Oct. 19:
1-2 p.m. IndyCar Autograph Session (at INDYCAR Fan Village)
2 p.m. Appearance at Novo Nordisk FlexPen Tunnel (at INDYCAR Fan Village)
5 p.m. MAVTV 500 INDYCAR World Championships (live on NBCSN)
Sunday, Oct. 20:
5:30 p.m. INDYCAR Championship Celebration (streamed live at & via INDYCAR 13 mobile app)
Live timing and scoring for all on-track sessions available here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

IndyCar announces 2014 schedule

Oct 17, 2013

Eighteen races over 15 event weekends highlight the 2014 IndyCar Series schedule.

The schedule includes a new event, the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, on a 2.343-mile, 14-turn road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in addition to the return of doubleheaders at Detroit, Houston and Toronto.

Times and network television schedules will be announced at a later date, though ABC has confirmed it will broadcast both races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The network will televise the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race for the 50th year.

“The World’s Fastest Spring Break Party” on the 1.8-mile St. Petersburg (Fla.) street circuit kicks off the season for the fourth year in a row on Sunday, March 30. Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., will host the season finale under the lights on Saturday, Aug. 30, for the third consecutive year.

“There are some changes, primarily in the format,” said Mark Miles, CEO, Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR. “We wanted to have more consistency so that fans can know once our season starts we’re going to be out on front of them throughout and until the end. We decided to condense the season in order to accomplish that and we’ll stop on Labor Day weekend, so it’s a more condensed North American circuit but it’s not less racing. It’s kind of a transition toward 2015 when we grow back again."

Click here to read more.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tune-in reminder: INDYCAR Championship & 2014 schedule preview

The NBC Sports Network will air a special tomorrow night focusing on the season finale (and championship-deciding) IndyCar race... and they will unveil the 2014 IndyCar schedule! Be sure to tune in (or set your DVR) at 8 p.m. Eastern on Thursday for a preview of the championship race, a look back at the 2013 season, and a peek at what's in store for next year. Click here to learn more.

Any predictions for the series championship? Or do you have a wish list for the 2014 schedule? My money's on Scott and the No. 9 Target team, but I may be a bit biased!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A week away

It's no secret racing at speeds of 200-plus miles per hour requires a great deal of focus and concentration. After a long race weekend, sometimes I'm as mentally exhausted as physically tired! One way I 'reset' throughout the race season is by taking the opportunity to get away for a week or so. During the break following Baltimore, I was able to check one item off my bucket list: a father-son trip to the Grand Canyon. To say I had a lot of fun would be an understatement for sure!

For a total of 188.5 miles downriver, Dad and I paddled the Colorado River from Marble Canyon, Ariz. to Whittmore, Wash. We had great guides that acted as river runners, geologists, historians, storytellers, chefs, and (even though no one on our trip came close to needing it) EMTs. We did everything from running big rapids to seeing local wildfire, and from to hiking to finding some beautiful waterfalls up the side canyons. Our guides Wiley and Lindsey made the trip even more enjoyable. It was really eye-opening to hear the history of the Grand Canyon, from just after the Civil War through today, with the dams, the engineering and the geology... there’s just so many aspects of the trip that were once in a lifetime.

It was incredible to see something of that size and magnitude and be reminded of just how small we are. The sense of scale was so far off that we would see rock formations and think they were 10 feet tall. When we got to them, they were more like 200 feet tall!

It was even more special that I got to experience the whole trip with my dad. We had a blast and were able to enjoy what I think is really one of the most beautiful parts of the country together (without phone calls or email!). I hope that one day I’ll be able to do that trip again, maybe even to take my son down the Grand Canyon.

Enough of my words about the trip; take a look at some photos I took... enjoy!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Live from Trackside - Grand Prix of Houston

Sunday, Oct. 6
3:20 p.m.
Obviously, we’re thinking about all the guys involved in that last corner accident. Not just the drivers, but the fans and the safety team too. Hopefully everyone is okay. Overall, it was a pretty good race for the No. 83 car. We had clean stops, a good race pace and we just tried to be smart with it. To come out with an 8th place finish is pretty good. Now we’re going to focus as much as we can heading into Fontana and another 500-mile race to end the season strong.

10:00 a.m.
Well, it definitely didn't dry up for qualifying! We went out and waited on pit lane but due to the wet track, IndyCar race control decided to grid race 2 by entrant points. We'll start in P10. I think we have a good shot from there, especially with the changes made overnight and with the experience gained on this course during yesterday's race. Tune in to NBCSN at noon Central for race 2!

Headed out for qualifying... umbrellas necessary (photo via @CGRteams).
8:15 a.m.
Deja vu... it's race day! But unlike yesterday, it looks like we've got a bit of rain coming soon. It should be clear by noon, so we'll hopefully have a dry track for the race.

As it stands now, we'll qualify at 8:45 a.m. I feel pretty good about our car today; I think we've sorted out the issues from yesterday's race and with a good start, we'll have the chance for a top-10 to finish out the weekend. Keep following via Twitter @racewithinsulin and we'll keep you updated!

Saturday, Oct. 5
5:30 p.m.
It was another fighting run for the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car. I don’t think anyone can say that the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew doesn’t dig deep and fight hard, so a lot of credit to them. They gave me the information I needed to overcome the problems we had on the starts. To come back and end up nearly in the top-10 like we did, I’m pretty happy with that. We have a pretty fast race car so I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race. Congrats to Scott and the 9 team for their win today!

Pit stop for the No. 83 crew.
8:15 a.m.
Good morning... it's race day! We have an adjusted schedule this morning, as the track was modified last night in order to fix some of the issues from yesterday.

9:45-9:55 a.m. Warm up
10:50-11:20 a.m. Qualifying #1

You can catch live timing and scoring here for both sessions. We'll qualify for race 2 on Sunday at 8:45 a.m. Follow me on Twitter @racewithinsulin for more at-track updates from my Pit Lane Reporter!

In case you missed the news yesterday, I'll have a new teammate in 2014... Tony Kanaan! I'm looking forward to working with him and hopefully learning a bit from his experience, too. Chevrolet will join Chip Ganassi Racing as our engine manufacturer so we have lots to look forward to next season. Click here to learn more. I have to thank Honda for their support throughout my career; they've been a great partner. For now, I'm off to a drivers meeting.

Friday, Oct. 4
7:00 p.m.
Overall, it was a pretty good day for the NovoLog FlexPen car. When you come to a track you haven’t been to in six years as a series, it’s always a challenge but the guys did a great job on getting us some laps on most of the track. I know they’ll make the repairs, as needed, to Turn 1 so we can have a full straight, which will change the entry into Turn 2. Overall, we’re pretty happy with the car. We’ve made some good progress and now we just have to get ready for heading into qualifying tomorrow morning.

Practice pit stop during practice 1.
Making changes during practice 2.
11:05 a.m.
Yes, I should be on track right now. However, we're on a slight delay due to a course issue in turn 1. The No. 83 team is ready to go, so hopefully we're on track soon! In the meantime, check out this piece from Culture Map Houston.

Don't forget--as long as things get going on track soon, I'll be at the Novo Nordisk FlexPen Tunnel in the Fan Village at 1 p.m. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, Oct. 3
9:00 a.m.
Hello from H-Town! I'm excited to get back into the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car for the Grand Prix of Houston. I think it will be technical, rough, probably hot, maybe wet... all in all, the perfect storm for a great IndyCar race weekend. As a team we've looked over past footage and tried to duplicate Houston's corners from others I've raced before, so we'll be as prepared as possible before we hit the track for practice Friday. Double-headers are always tough physically for us drivers, but a good time for the fans.

Check out the race weekend schedule below for those at the track or following along at home (all times local/Central).
Friday, Oct. 4:
10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. IndyCar practice
1 p.m. Appearance at Novo Nordisk FlexPen Tunnel (in INDYCAR Fan Village)
3:05-4:15 p.m. IndyCar qualifying #1
5:45-6:45 p.m. IndyCar driver autograph session (in INDYCAR Fan Village)
Saturday, Oct. 5:
10:45-11:15 a.m. IndyCar qualifying #2
12:15 p.m. #RoboRivalry competition (in INDYCAR Fan Village)
2 p.m. IndyCar race #1 (live on NBCSN)
Sunday, Oct. 6:
8:45-9:15 a.m. IndyCar warm up
12 p.m. IndyCar race #2 (live on NBCSN)
Timing and scoring for all on-track sessions available here.

Here's a cool virtual lap of the Grand Prix of Houston track... I'll keep it on repeat until our first practice tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

#RacingRobots rivalry... it's on in Houston!

As an IndyCar driver I tend to be pretty competitive, and that applies not only on track but also off track. In Houston, I'm going for the win (just like every other race weekend). And yes, that means I'm going for the win in the #RacingRobots competition against fellow IndyCar driver and my PitFit Training partner Josef Newgarden!

On Saturday, Oct. 5, I'm partnering with the FIRST Robotics Competition team 148 “Robowranglers" for a challenge against Josef and team 118 “Robonauts." The Robowranglers' robot, Viper, will square off against the Robonauts' robot, Apex. And because everyone loves a good friendly competition, we're letting the fans pick the wager for us. What should the driver on the losing team have to do before the race on Sunday? Tell us on Twitter with the hashtag #RacingRobots!

I met the Robowranglers at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this year with Honda Racing, and let me tell you... they are an impressive group of young adults with a lot of passion for what they do! And of course, I was totally geeked to see their robot in person. Click here to learn more, and if you'll be at the race this weekend, stop by the INDYCAR Fan Village at 12:15 p.m. Saturday to watch the Robowranglers win!

Meeting the Robowranglers at TMS.
It is SO on, Josef!