INDYCAR News and Notes – March 2, 2017

1. Al-Fe Heat Treating returns as Foyt team sponsor
2. Infield camping available for INDYCAR Grand Prix at IMS
3. Fifth Third Bank extends partnership with Rahal Letterman Lanigan
4. Ed Carpenter Racing adds Bankers Financial for St. Pete
5. Texas Motor Speedway media day lunch open to public

1. Al-Fe Heat Treating returns as Foyt team sponsor: Al-Fe Heat Treating marks its seventh year in motorsports with the announcement today of its return as a major associate sponsor of AJ Foyt Racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The Al-Fe Heat Treating logo will be on the ABC Supply Chevrolets driven by Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz.

“The 2017 season looks to be an exciting and challenging one for Foyt Racing and we at Al-Fe Heat Treating wouldn’t miss it for anything,” said Kurt Westman, founder and president of Al-Fe Heat Treating, the largest commercial aluminum heat treating operation in the United States, based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. “New drivers, new cars, the best crews in INDYCAR and the best team owners – we continue to be privileged to be part of the most historical race team in auto sports. A.J. (Foyt, team owner), Larry (Foyt, team president) and the entire team have made the Al-Fe team friends, made us feel welcome and a part of the INDYCAR experience. They have my many thanks.”

Al-Fe Heat Treating’s foray into motorsports began in 2011 at the Indianapolis 500 and quickly grew to a full-season association with the team. Starting in 2014, Al-Fe Heat Treating sponsored a Foyt entry in the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. In 2015, the company’s entry competed in the Indianapolis 500. Last year, Al-Fe sponsored the car driven by Alex Tagliani in both the INDYCAR Grand Prix and 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

While there are no plans at AJ Foyt Racing to field a third entry in this year’s Indy 500 owing to the team’s reorganization over the winter, Al-Fe Heat Treating will continue to support the team’s program throughout the season.

“It’s wonderful to have the support of Al-Fe Heat Treating for another year,” said A.J. Foyt. “I think the world of Kurt Westman and his family. They are great people, they run a great company and they’ve been very loyal to my team through the years. I hope we can reward that loyalty with strong performances this year.”

The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season begins with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the 1.8-mile temporary street course March 10-12.

2. Infield camping available for INDYCAR Grand Prix at IMS: Infield camping for tents and recreational vehicles will be available for the first time to fans at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on INDYCAR Grand Prix weekend. The event on the 2.439-mile IMS road course is the fifth race on the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.

Three-night camping packages – for the nights of May 11, 12 and 13 – are available at a variety of spots adjacent to the infield portion of the road course, priced at $125 per tent spot and $150-$300 per RV spot. The INDYCAR Grand Prix is set for Saturday, May 13and airs live on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network (3:30 p.m. ET).

“Camping is an essential part of the race weekend for so many of our loyal fans and we’re excited to introduce outstanding infield camping opportunities spots for tents and RVs during the INDYCAR Grand Prix,” said Doug Boles, the IMS president who made the announcement today along with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Graham Rahal.

“Camping inside IMS is the perfect way to get as close to the action as possible while enjoying a great time with family and friends,” Boles added. “I can’t wait to camp out and talk about racing and IMS with fans. It will be such a fun weekend.”

General admission tickets to the grand prix will be required for campers 16 and older on May 12 and 13. To order tickets or camping, visit, call (800) 822-INDY from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET weekdays or visit the IMS ticket office, 4790 W. 16th St., Indianapolis, Indiana 46222.

3. Fifth Third Bank extends partnership with Rahal Letterman Lanigan: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced Wednesday that Fifth Third Bank has renewed its partnership with the team as an associate sponsor in a multiyear agreement. The bank logo will appear on the Honda-powered No. 15 Verizon IndyCar Series entry of Graham Rahal.

“Our relationship with Fifth Third started in 2016 and we got to know their culture through various events with their customers as well as through their philanthropic outreach, and we are proud to extend our partnership with such a group,” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with former CBS “Late Show” host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan.

Fifth Third has identified the Verizon IndyCar Series events on the streets St. Petersburg, Florida, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Gateway Motorsports Park outside St. Louis, among others, as key markets in the partnership. Fifth Third and the racing team will again join forces to make an impact on the local community, especially during the bank’s annual hunger initiative in the month of May.

“We are very excited about extending our partnership with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” said Steven Alonso, president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank, Greater Indiana Gateway Region. “Racing is a fabric of our community and a passion for many of our clients, and Graham is a first-class individual on and off the track. We are thrilled to be associated once again with Graham, Bobby and the whole RLL team.”

4. Ed Carpenter Racing adds Bankers Financial for St. Pete: Bankers Financial Corporation, the St. Petersburg-based insurance, surety and business solutions company, has announced a continuation of its associate sponsorship of Ed Carpenter Racing for the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

For the third straight year, Bankers will have a presence on both ECR cars, the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet of Spencer Pigot and the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet driven by JR Hildebrand.

“This is a great opportunity for Bankers to continue to support a local event and build awareness for Bankers in our hometown,” said Bill Lafontaine, Bankers chief marketing officer. “Partnering with ECR owner Ed Carpenter and his drivers Spencer Pigot and JR Hildebrand is an ideal way for Bankers to continue to build our brand in the St. Petersburg area.”

Team owner Carpenter said the pairing with Bankers is a natural.

“I have always run our race team with family in mind, so it is a great fit to have family-owned Bankers returning as a valuable team member for the St. Petersburg race,” Carpenter said.

5. Texas Motor Speedway media day lunch open to public: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Graham Rahal will participate in Texas Motor Speedway’s annual media day to promote all the track’s major motorsports events for the year. The 2017 media day occurs on March 30 and the public is invited to attend the lunch at Gilley’s in Dallas.

Tickets to the lunch that begins at noon ET are $35 and may be ordered at this link . Others attending the lunch include NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and track president Eddie Gossage. The Rainguard Water Sealers 600 at Texas Motor Speedway is the ninth race of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season, scheduled for the weekend of June 9-10.