IndyCar Champion Will Energy Honored For 2022 Championship

September 20, 2022

Simply six days after Workforce Penske driver Will Energy capped off his second profession NTT IndyCar Sequence Championship, he was again on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It was one final cease on his “Victory Lap” for profitable the 2023 IndyCar Sequence Championship, the 17th IndyCar Nationwide Championship for Workforce Penske. It was additionally the 42nd championship for Workforce Penske in all types of racing.

The Victory Lap Celebration was held on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corridor of Fame Museum, which had been reworked right into a banquet setting to honor the motive force and his crew at Workforce Penske.

But it surely was additionally an opportunity for Penske Leisure CEO Mark Miles and IndyCar President Jay Frye to speak about se a number of enterprise strikes that IndyCar is ready to announce.

The primary is the 2023 NTT IndyCar Sequence schedule.

It was August 7 in Nashville when each Miles and Penske Leisure Vice President Michael Montri each confirmed to Forbes that the schedule wouldn’t embody any subtractions or additions from the 2022 schedule.

Which means such venues that had problem with attendance as Texas Motor Speedway on March 20, will get one other probability in 2023. The 1.5-mile oval is the second-longest steady venue on the present IndyCar schedule, internet hosting its first race in 1997.

I spoke with Miles lower than two hours earlier than Saturday evening’s Victory Lap Ceremony on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“I believe by the tip of the month,” Miles informed me within the foyer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Administration Constructing earlier than final Saturday’s IndyCar Victory Lap Ceremony on the IMS Museum. “We actually need to be considerate of the TV home windows, what is feasible with NBC and what works with NBC so far as most viewers and fewer conflicts on tv and make sense for the occasions perspective to allow them to promote tickets.”

Miles additionally spoke to the invitation-only crowd that attended the Victory Lap Ceremony and banquet and hinted at another massive enterprise information that might be introduced quickly.

“Possibly we’ll have some attention-grabbing information when it comes to extensions with NTT earlier than lengthy,” Miles informed the gang, referring to series-sponsor NTT. “I additionally need to congratulate Linus Lundquist for his championship in Indy Lights. Earlier than lengthy, we would have a brand new title for that, however I’m not entering into that tonight.”

NTT agreed to an extension of its contract on Could 20, 2021 and seems to already be engaged on one other contract extension with IndyCar.

Cooper Tire is in its closing yr as sponsor of the Indy Lights Sequence. Subsequent yr, Firestone returns as the only real tire provider to the developmental sequence.

Title sponsors for each sequence are vitally vital and NTT appears very pleased with its relationship with IndyCar.

Whereas Workforce Penske was having fun with success on the race monitor with its three drivers profitable 9 of the 17 races on the schedule and completed 1, 2 and 4 within the closing championship, Penske Leisure loved enterprise success with its sponsors for the sequence.

“Folks Prepared ‘Drive for Good Problem’ was going to be an enormous advertising thought to mix outcomes with charity and discuss concerning the number of the challenges in IndyCar,” Miles mentioned. “Sadly, Josef Newgarden received the $1 million earlier than anyone knew the problem had began.

“Search for a bit extra drama subsequent yr.

“Sufficient can’t be mentioned about Hy-Vee and the way they created an enormous spark and an enormous new jewel within the IndyCar crown.

“Shell is a brand new accomplice for us and a giant participant in our aspirations for sustainability and so they have already made a huge impact.

“Gallagher can also be new to us, and you’ll hear extra about them serving to us with our hospitality choices. PIRTEK, The American Legion, Autograph and Ruoff had been crucial to us, additionally.

“Then, there are the extensions which might be doubling down led by Gainbridge. I can’t exaggerate how nice they’re as a accomplice as nicely at TAG-Heuer, Dallara and perhaps we’ll have some attention-grabbing information when it comes to extensions with NTT earlier than lengthy.

“For us, it was an important season. We spent all day at this time engaged on what’s subsequent. We couldn’t be extra enthusiastic about subsequent yr. I assure will probably be greater and higher.”

From the competitors aspect of IndyCar, President Jay Frye spoke of the success all of its groups loved in 2022.

“The schedule might be out within the subsequent couple of weeks,” Frye mentioned. “This yr, wonderful paddock with an incredible group of individuals. With 35 drivers, we accomplished 87,000 laps. That was simply within the race. It was 98,000 laps counting apply and qualifying, so enormous credit score goes to Chevrolet and Honda for the outstanding effort they did.

“The championship began at St. Pete and for the 17th season in a row, it got here all the way down to the ultimate race of the season.

“Iowa was an incredible occasion. These are our grassroots followers who get on the market and early and spend all day.

“We’ve had two drivers end each lap of the season and two of these occurred this yr – Will Energy and Scott Dixon.

“It’s wonderful what our drivers do. The collaboration inside the groups is vital.”

A type of drivers was seven-time NASCAR Cup Sequence champion Jimmie Johnson, who competed in IndyCar for the second-straight yr however accomplished his first full season competing in each race.

Johnson has but to announce what number of races he competes subsequent season, or if he takes his “Reinventing the Wheel” tour to a different type of racing, akin to Endurance competitors. Johnson needs to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona and likewise compete as a part of NASCAR’s Storage 54 entry in subsequent yr’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“I can’t say sufficient constructive issues about him as an individual, as an expert athlete, as a competitor, driver and champion,” Miles mentioned of Johnson. “We’ll take what we will get. He has to make up his thoughts.

“He has been in motorsports for a really very long time. Extra is healthier if it really works for him.”

Energy’s championship effort was sponsored as soon as once more by Verizon. The corporate accomplished its 13th straight yr as a Workforce Penske IndyCar sponsor.

“I’d additionally prefer to thank Verizon for supporting this workforce for the final 217 straight races,” Workforce Penske President Tim Cindric mentioned. “There hasn’t been a greater IndyCar workforce sponsor over the past 13 years, and we’re proud to signify them on our workforce.”

At 41, Energy received his second championship by reinventing himself right into a a lot calmer, extra calculated driver. That paid off with one win and 9 podium finishes in 2022.

By comparability, teammate Josef Newgarden led the sequence with 5 victories, however solely six podium finishes.

That’s the reason he completed 16 factors behind Energy within the closing championship standings.

“What a yr,” Energy mentioned as he accepted his accolades. “What an exceptional yr coming off one among my worst seasons personally. We got here again with a vengeance.

“I need to thank Roger and Kathy Penske for every little thing they’ve executed for me through the years. I wouldn’t be standing right here and have the numbers I’ve with out what Roger has executed for me. I’m given a automotive each week that’s able to profitable the pole, races, championships, and Indianapolis 500s. I’m so grateful for that.”

Energy has confirmed himself to be an important driver throughout a extremely aggressive time of IndyCar racing. He has 41 wins to put him fifth on the all-time IndyCar victory checklist, a victory within the 2018 Indianapolis 500, two championships and a report 68 profession poles.

He has executed it in an period the place he needed to defeat Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Dan Wheldon and Josef Newgarden – all highly-successful drivers of their careers.

“No query he’s within the prime tier,” Miles mentioned. “I like the man. He’s so enjoyable to be round, and I believe for followers, they get it. Which Will are they going to get at this time once they tune in?

“It was outstanding to see him alter his persona within the cockpit this yr to be extra affected person. However he’s had a really lengthy, distinguished profession and he’s quick. In the end, that’s what it’s all about.

“We’re pleased with him, he’s an important champion and it’s nice to know that he’s going to be round for a very long time.

“It’s been very robust competitors all through his profession and that’s the reason by each measure he’s on the highest tier of this sport in each respect.”

Energy believes with the rejuvenation of all types of open-wheel racing, extra must be executed on the enterprise aspect to assist push IndyCar even additional upward.

“This sequence is rising,” Energy mentioned. “With open wheel racing now so in style due to System One, it’s actually our time to push and put cash behind it and go now and take IndyCar to a different stage as a result of we’ve the very best racing product on the earth.”

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