IndyCar – Mutoh to Stay, NHL to Field Three Cars

In one brief sentence, Curt Cavin just made my off-season! IZOD-IndyCar-Series-logoOk, to be honest, the confirmation of the title sponsorship deal between IZOD and the IndyCar Series really made my off-season. This recent tidbit is just yummy gravy for me. It had been rumored, and still is, that Ryan Hunter-Reay, who has a personal services agreement with the new title sponsor IZOD, is close to a deal to drive for Andretti Green Racing. Its obvious that TK, Danica, and Marco aren’t going anywhere, which leaves my man Hideki Mutoh on the outside. Curt’s Pit Pass article at the Indianapolis Star mentions, amongst many other things, that Hideki will likely drive for Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing along side Graham and Alex “Pink” Lloyd.

Ryan Hunter-Reay didn’t try to stop speculation he is on the verge of signing with Andretti;
Hideki Mutoh and his Formula Dream sponsorship appear to be headed to Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing as a partner to Graham Rahal and Alex Lloyd;

As the singular Hideki fan outside of Japan, I see this as fantastic news!

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Even if you’re not a Mutoh Maniac, NHLR stepping up to being a three-car team has to be good news. In CART and CCWS, NHLR was a powerhouse team fielding such champion drivers as Mario and Michael Andretti, Sebastian Bourdais, Christian Fittapaldi, and Nigel Mansell. The transition to the IndyCar Series.… sorry, the IZOD IndyCar Series, started out ok claiming two race wins, but 2009 didn’t seem as strong. In spite of not scoring any race wins, the team did show improvement, especially on the ovals, and with having a three-car team for 2010, they may be poised to rival Team Andretti for the #3 spot behind Penske and Ganassi in the series.

Its also a good thing that the series is keeping its solitary Japanese driver. Lots of people have been crying for years about how the series needs more young American talent, and I don’t totally disagree with them, but the series also needs diversity. The diversity of the driver line-up is one of the things that got IZOD excited about the IndyCar Series.

“The combination of young, dynamic drivers representing over 14 countries, events in key domestic and global markets and its strong American racing heritage make the IndyCar Series a perfect fit for the sport-spirited IZOD brand lifestyle.”

Mutoh-Cap-smHideki is an integral part of what IZOD likes about our sport. Oh, that and he’s fast, especially at Iowa. Guess I’ll have to get a new hat, though. I doubt that Andretti lets him keep the #27.

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