Team Solitaire and Heartbeat Hot Sauce race Oakland with a NASCAR connection Tony Kanaan says Indy 500 will be his final race before retiring from IndyCar

Monster Energy Supercross and Xfinity Series have something in common this weekend: Heartbeat Hot Sauce graces the liveries of Team Solitaire riders Dominic Tury and Cole Thompson in the motorcycle series, and Ryan Ellis makes his 100th joint start in the top three of the NASCAR Series on Saturday. . Ellis currently has 67 Xfinity starts, 26 in the Truck Series and six in the Cup.

For both teams and the owner of Heartbeat Hot Sauce, this is a way to expand the community of athletes who need support the most.

Heartbeat Motorsports and Team Solitaire were looking for a special way to connect the two series to do something special in 2023, but it turned out that the stars would not align until the incessant rain forced Supercross to postpone the second round in Oakland. Originally scheduled for January 14, this race has been postponed until February 18 to coincide with the Xfinity season opener.

“When I first saw the schedule for 2023, I was a little disappointed that none of our dates matched up with anything else that happened on Heartbeat because they are involved in so many unique things, be it racing or even the UFC. ‘ said Chris Elliot. , head of Team Solitaire. “But with the Oakland round date change, there was an opportunity to partner with their NASCAR efforts.

“It has been a busy month, putting together all the limited gear, helmets, bikes and marketing efforts in less than 30 days has not been easy, but our partners at Leatt, Throttle Syndicate and Shades of Gray went above and beyond because they knew how much it means to us. … The days of showing up to ride in the top 10 and then packing up your boring old bikes and gear to head home are over, and unless you join brands that want you to get creative and not be afraid to work together with you, you will be left behind.”

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The synergy between the two sponsors is deepening. Ellis’ father originally conceived a path that would have involved motorcycle racing instead of stock cars.

“I’ve always been a Supercross fan,” Ellis said in a press release. “My dad has been racing bikes for most of his life and switched to cars after serious injuries. I was actually put on a bike in front of a race car because my dad wanted me to ride that route, but literally hit my head on a fire hydrant in the first few seconds of my first ride (laughs, that’s true). After that brief end to my motocross career, we got karting and the rest is history.”

Much of Ellis’ attraction to Heartbeat Motorsports lies in their commitment to helping athletes grow. This is also reflected in their sponsorship of Team Solitaire, one of the private Supercross teams that does not receive the same degree of support as full factory teams.

Team Solitaire has successfully started the season. Thompson made it through all three of the West’s 250 major events, placing 10th at Snapdragon Park in San Diego. Both riders qualified for the main event in San Diego. as Thury advanced straight into the San Diego main, finishing eighth in his heat.

“When we decided to create Heartbeat Motorsports, the idea was to create an umbrella under which all the athletes we sponsor could come together and feel like part of a larger project. Something more than just their racing discipline,” said Al Burbouhakis, owner of Heartbeat Hotsauce. “Team feeling is what we hoped for. This weekend we will see two representatives of the highest level of professional motorsports competing in their respective competitions, but at the same time bearing our brand name and common coloration, it is difficult to articulate the feeling that makes me.

Tony Kanaan’s final lap in the NTT IndyCar Series finally comes on May 28, when the veteran announced he was stepping down from 107th in the Indy 500 after a quarter-century career.

2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Announced Wednesday morning via social media that his last start will be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In the video he posted, Kanaan walks around the Brick Factory grounds and says, “It’s been a wonderful journey, but it’s not over yet. I will still have the pleasure of driving through the bricks again. Thank you all, see you on race day.”

Last year, he was announced as a fourth team Dallara-Chevrolet driver for the Arrow McLaren IndyCar team in the 2023 Indy 500. Kanaan finished third last year with Chip Ganassi Racing in his only IndyCar start for the 2022 season.

In May, Kanaan will drive the No. 66 Dallara-Chevy for Arrow McLaren under the main sponsorship of Smart Stop Self Storage. This number is a tribute to the history of McLaren Racing, commemorating Bruce McLaren’s victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966, the same year that the McLaren team entered its first Formula One race.

Fernando Alonso finished 66th when he failed to qualify for the 2019 Indy 500. Mark Donohue won the 1972 Indy 500 with No. 66.

During an afternoon press conference Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kanaan said he has no regrets, but “you’re never ready for this. As much as you’d like to go, it’s there. You have to make smart, right decisions at the right time. I wouldn’t want to come (to Indy) just to participate. There was a really good opportunity last year. I finished the race and was ready.”

Kanaan still said he expected to be “crying like a baby” during the pre-Indy 500 ceremonies, which would be his 22nd start on the 2.5-mile oval.

“I will miss him every day of my life,” Kanaan said. “I miss it now. But I think I’m fine. We start 100 days (before) Indy Friday and also start 100 days of crying on Friday. I’m fine, I agree with my decision and I have a good chance of winning this case.”

The popular Brazilian competed in four oval races with Ganassi (sharing 48th in the Dallar-Honda with Jimmie Johnson) in a partial schedule for 2021 that extended his career. Initially, Kanaan announced that the 2020 season would be his “last lap” in IndyCar.

But the 2004 series champion’s plans to hold a celebratory lap in honor of fans were thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which limited crowd attendance.

Since then, Kanaan has often joked about his delayed retirement plans, noting at an IndyCar pre-season media event two weeks ago in Palm Springs, California that six-time series champion Scott Dixon “makes fun of me to this day.”

“This is the last, last, last, last lap, very last lap,” Kanaan told reporters on Feb. 1, when asked if he hoped to race Indy again in 2024. will definitely make a decision that depends not only on me.

At the time, Kanaan said he planned to make a decision about his future “when we cross the start-finish line that Sunday. When I win – if I win – I will put everyone in their place and say I’m coming back. That is exactly what happened last year.

“Now I think the focus is on this 500. It wasn’t a mistake, but we announced something two years ago and then there was a great opportunity with Jimmy (the ride). I’m not going to say, “That’s what I do.” Just let it be.”

In nearly 400 starts in the CART Champ Car and IndyCar Series from 1998 to 2022, Kanaan has 17 wins and 79 podium finishes.

His first win came on July 25, 1999 at the Michigan International Speedway with Jerry Forsythe #11 Reynard-Honda. His most recent win was in the season finale on August 30, 2014 at Auto Club Speedway in 10th place Dallara-Honda behind Ganassi.

Kanaan went on to compete in other series such as the Superstar Racing Experience and stock car racing in Brazil.


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