Wheels & Deals: HP Leaving IndyCar's Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports Team
IndyCar team Schmidt Hamilton Racing co-Owner Davey Hamilton said that HP's primary sponsorship of the No. 77 car "will come to a conclusion at the end of the season." Hamilton said, "They're a good friend; they've been very good to me and the team, and we have other things in the pipeline for [driver Simon Pagenaud's] car next year. They're changing their sponsorship strategies across the board, not just in IndyCar." RACER.com's Marshall Pruett wrote losing HP is a "significant blow to the No. 77 program, but Hamilton is confident a replacement will be found and expects no changes to their 2014 plans" (RACER.com, 10/18).
CLIFFE DIVER: The AP's Jenna Fryer reported IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe "will return to Andretti Autosport" in '14 with sponsorship from United Fiber & Data (UFD) while the team will "switch from Chevrolet to Honda." UFD, which was "founded by three members of the multi-platinum rock band LIVE and their Think Loud Development company, will also be an associate sponsor" for Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay, and the "primary sponsor for Pro Mazda Champion Matthew Brabham as he moves to Indy Lights next season for Andretti." UFD Dir Bill Hynes said, "We just really love the IndyCar product, we really think it's [a] great platform for us and we really think the face for UFD should be (Hinchcliffe)" (AP, 10/20).
TITLE FIGHT: In Toronto, Norris McDonald writes whether IndyCar "needs a title sponsor is debatable." Unless the company that "buys the rights steps up and promotes the series ... it won't do any good." IndyCar has "not had much good luck in that area." Just about the "last solid title sponsor Indy car racing has had was PPG -- which was back in the days of CART." Izod seemed to "start out with good intentions but lost its enthusiasm for the sport, it seemed, as the result of Dan Wheldon being killed at Las Vegas two years ago." Whether there is a "direct correlation or not, there is no doubt that IZOD was largely missing in action during the 2012 and 2013 seasons" (THESTAR.com, 10/21).
SAY CHEESE: Aspen Dental will serve as an associate sponsor for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Danica Patrick's No. 10 Chevrolet for two races in '14. Aspen will have placement on the B-post and lower-rear quarter panel March 9 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Aug. 31 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The company will have additional placement on the upper chest of Patrick's uniform (Aspen Dental).