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Thursday, May 27, 2010

More Sponsors Sign On For Indy

The Indianapolis 500 frequently brings new sponsors into the IZOD IndyCar Series. While some of them may not stick around for long, the occasional relationship may extend through the rest of the season and/or beyond.

Many cars had settled their sponsorship deals before qualifying, but upon making the race (or upon some cars missing the event), a handful of new deals have been signed, if only for this race. Running down the field, in order:

13th-place Mario Moraes of KV Racing Technology will carry Geico logos on the side of his No. 32 Dallara-Honda. Moraes has run the unsponsored KVRT car in every race since St. Petersburg. Moraes carried Banco Panamerica sponsorship in Sao Paulo. Geico, looking to remain in the race, made the natural switch from one KV car to the other when Paul Tracy failed to qualify for the event.

17th-place Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport will receive associate support from Virgin on his No. 37 Dallara-Honda. Richard Branson's mega-conglomerate jumped into Formula 1 racing last year with Brawn GP, the eventual constructors' champion, and 1-2 points finishers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. This year, Virgin took over the fledgling Manor GP outfit with drivers Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi, renaming it Virgin GP, and creating the first F1 car constructed completely without wind-tunnel testing.

22nd-place Simona de Silvestro will carry the majority of last year's major Atlantic Championship supporters on her No. 78 HVM Racing Dallara-Honda for the race. TDS Telecommunications has signed on to back the car, alongside full-season backer Stargate Worlds and Nuclear Clean Air Energy/Entergy. Nuclear Clean Air Energy and Entergy were sponsors of Newman Wachs Racing in Atlantic last year, as their drivers John Edwards and Jonathan Summerton finished 1-2 in the championship. De Silvestro, their closest competitor, finished third. Each driver took four of the 12 wins on the series schedule.

23rd-place Danica Patrick of Andretti Autosport will welcome Boost Mobile back to her No. 7 Dallara-Honda. Boost sponsored Patrick from last year's 500 to the end of last season, when she signed a lucrative deal with GoDaddy.com. This year, however, Boost will return as a secondary sponsor for the remainder of the schedule. Patrick filmed a commercial for Boost last year that should be familiar to most IndyCar fans, in which her pit crew serviced her car in drag. According to a Sprint news release, Boost will sponsor Adam Carroll in his IndyCar debut for Andretti later this year.

24th-place Bertrand Baguette of Conquest Racing will be funded by Angie's List. His No. 36 Dallara-Honda was the final car to qualify on Pole Day. Angie's List, a site where users can post reviews of doctors and contractors, has dipped into open-wheel sponsorship before, sponsoring Oriol Servia and KVRT in the 2008 IndyCar season finale at Chicagoland.

25th-place Bruno Junqueira will, like his FAZZT Race Team compatriot Alex Tagliani, carry the logos of Bowers & Wilkins on the side of his No. 33 Dallara-Honda. B&W originally planned to sponsor Tagliani only in the season opener at Sao Paulo, but has since expanded their program on the base of very strong results for the team all year.

29th-place Sarah Fisher will add the logos of Service Central to her self-owned No. 67 Dallara-Honda after teammate Jay Howard failed to qualify for the race in a dramatic last-second run.

Other new sponsors to the sport that signed on before qualifying for the race was completed include Quick Trim (Graham Rahal) and Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka (Ed Carpenter). Sponsors returning to the sport for this year's 500 that had their deals in place long ago include Herbalife (Townsend Bell), Mona Vie (Tomas Scheckter), Ipiranga (Ana Beatriz), Window World (John Andretti), and William Rast (Sebastien Saavedra).

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