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Team news in brief: New Penske sponsors

3 December 2010

Penske sign up Meijer as sponsors
Penske Racing have signed retail chain Meijer as a major associate sponsor on the number 12 Verizon Team Penske car driven by Will Power next season as part of its three-car IndyCar line-up for 2011.

"I'm excited to welcome Meijer to Team Penske and I look forward to representing their brand," said Power. "I've always enjoyed shopping at Meijer stores since I came over to the US from Australia. Now, I'll be doing my best to get Meijer to Victory Lane with Team Penske."

Meijer also will be an associate sponsor for Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe. As a key supplier for Meijer, Coca-Cola will play a key role in the sponsorship.

Shell to sponsor Helio for Indy 500
Helio Castroneves will swap his usual Penske livery of black and red for the red, white and yellow paint scheme of Shell and Pennzoil for the month of May, which includes the 2011 Indianapolis 500.

"I am very excited to be working with Shell and Pennzoil this season and I'm proud to have the opportunity to drive the beautiful Shell V-Power-Pennzoil Ultra car in the 2011 Indianapolis 500, representing the number one premium gasoline and Pennzoil's most advanced motor oil in the US," Castroneves said. "Shell and Pennzoil have such a great history in Indy car racing and they have certainly had some special moments with Penske Racing at the Indy 500. I hope we can create a little bit more history together this May at Indianapolis."

AFS Racing and Andretti Autosport end IndyLights partnership
AFS Racing and Andretti Autosport have announced that they are ending their three-year partnership in the Firestone Indy Lights championship.

The partnership won the 2008 and 2009 titles with drivers Raphael Matos and JR Hildebrand, and has claimed and 11 race wins.

In a joint venture with Andretti Autosport, AFS Racing also fielded an entry in IndyCar, first with driver Franck Montagny and then Adam Carroll.

Andretti Autosport will field multiple entries in Firestone Indy Lights in 2011, while AFS Racing will also continue in Firestone Indy Lights at the same time as exploring independent IndyCar opportunities.

"[AFS owner Gary Peterson] has been a great partner for us over the last three seasons and we've accomplished a lot together,” said Michael Andretti, the CEO of Andretti Autosport. "We were also to do some good things together at the IndyCar level. That was a big help to us within our program and that experience should really help Gary as he looks to take his racing program even further in the future."

"AFS Racing's partnership with Andretti Autosport has certainly been a successful one, but it's time for both organisations to try some new things," added Peterson.

TEAM funding system cut back
IZOD IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard has announced changes to the series' Team Enhancement and Allocation Matrix for the 2011 season that will see the financial guarantee program limited to the top 22 entrants rather than the top 24, as determined by the 2010 championship points.

"When our fans show up at an event, we want to guarantee they're seeing the fastest, most versatile drivers on the track. We never want to have someone uncompetitive who can buy their way into a series," said Bernard, explaining the change. "Even with these changes, we anticipate 25 to 28 cars per race, when factoring in full-time non-Leaders Circle teams and one-off entries."

The change means that Dale Coyne Racing's #18 (driven by Milka Duno) and Conquest Racing's #36 would no longer receive funding. The #36 has been driven by a revolving door of drivers in 2010, including Baguette, Francesco Dracone, Tomas Scheckter, Roger Yasukawa and Sebastian Saavedra.

The TEAM program, introduced in 2008, assures each entrant of $1.2m if they run the whole season. The Indy 500 winner benefits by $2.2m, with a $25,000 bonus for the top non-TEAM funded entrant in the race. Additional funds will be used to enhance the prize fund at each event for IZOD IndyCar Series entrants that do not qualify for the TEAM program.

Edmonton dropped from 2011 calendar
The popular Canadian IndyCar event at Edmonton has been dropped from the 2011 following problems over funding between the event promoter, Octane Management, and the city authorities.

The city is said to have refused to supply funds to reconfigure the airfield track to allow one of the runways to remain operational during the event.

"We are disappointed that the city and the promoter were unable to reach an agreement on the venue changes," said a statement from the IZOD IndyCar Series. "It's unfortunate that in a time when IndyCar is experiencing momentum and growth, the city would want to miss out on the opportunity to be part of it.


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