It was seven months ago when five-time INDYCAR series champion Scott Dixon, 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi and rookie-of-the-year candidate Rinus VeeKay were in St. Petersburg, FL, preparing for the March 15 season opener.
And then COVID-19 postponed the event—and everything turned upside down.
A swift introduction to virtual racing. The cancellation, postponing and rescheduling of races. Celebrating success with few or no fans. Competing in the Indianapolis 500 in August.
After all that, they return to where it all unfolded for the running of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg at the season finale on Sunday, Oct. 25. Dixon is the current points leader and closing in on another series title. Rossi is eyeing his first win of the season and fifth consecutive podium. VeeKay is looking to secure the rookie-of-the-year award.
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations’ Cara Adams and American Honda Motor Co.’s Chuck Schifsky head into the finale having overcome a variety of obstacles as these INDYCAR partners and suppliers stayed at the top of their games while navigating the unknowns.
This group provides their insights into the trials and tribulations of the season during this special 30-minute webinar presented by NTT.
| How drivers remained focused with an ever-changing schedule and overcame obstacles to find success during this pandemic-altered season|
| How the paddock identified new ways to engage with fans|
| How tire strategy and wear could play out in this pivotal race|
| How Honda has dominated the podium, including another Indianapolis 500 victory, and now sets its sights on a series championship|
Driver of the No. 9 Honda
Chip Ganassi Racing
Scott Dixon is a five-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion (2003, 2008, 2013, 2015 and 2018) and the 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner. This year marks Dixon’s 20th season in the series, where he holds the distinction of being the winningest active driver with 50 victories. He is currently ranked third on the all-time win list – behind only Mario Andretti and AJ Foyt.
Driver of the No. 27 Honda
Alexander Rossi returned to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for his fifth season in 2020. He has seven wins, six poles and 51 top-10 finishes to his name. Alex’s most notable victory was the 2016 Indianapolis 500, where he became first American rookie driver to win the race since 1928. A fierce competitor at every race, Alex finished second and third in the series championships in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet
Ed Carpenter Racing
Born in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, Rinus van Kalmthout began karting in 2009 at the age of 8. With sights set firmly on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, he transitioned to the Road to Indy in 2017 and launched his U.S. career driving as Rinus VeeKay. After finding success in the Road to Indy, Rinus joined Ed Carpenter Racing as a full-time driver for the 2020 season. He has one pole position and five top-10 finishes to his name.
Director of Race Tire Engineering and Production, Chief Engineer
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations
Cara Adams oversees the entire race tire production process – from product design and development through manufacturing and management – in support of the Firestone brand’s role as sole tire supplier of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Additionally, Cara is responsible for leading the teams that oversee all race tire design and track-side support for the world’s fastest and most versatile racing series.
Department Head, Motorsports PR & Auto Shows
American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Chuck Schifsky grew up in a racing family that spent much of their time traveling to drag races. He’s been with American Honda Motor Co., Inc. since 2003, where he managed the regional public relations operation, Acura public relations and technical public relations. Prior to his time at Honda, he held multiple editor roles at Motor Trend and was a chief mechanic and crew chief for NHRA Drag Racing.
Vice President, Brand, Creative, Events & Sponsorships
NTT DATA Services
Margo Cooke is vice president of brand services, event marketing and sponsorships for NTT DATA Services. She has more than 20 years of experience in Business and IT Services marketing and communications with a focus on designing and executing memorable programs to engage clients and develop brand loyalty.
Marketing Senior Specialist
NTT DATA Services
Kara Giacobazzi is a marketing senior specialist at NTT DATA Services. She joined the sports sponsorship team in 2017 and currently leads client engagement for the INDYCAR hospitality program. Additionally, she manages the company’s social media channels as it relates to the racing sponsorships.