By: Tanner Watkins
November 16, 2018 | 8:00 AM
Good morning all! It is Friday, and that means it is time to recap the week that was in the IndyCar offseason!
This past week was headlined by the confirmed return of two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso to the Indianapolis 500 field. The Spaniard will compete in a McLaren-staffed team which could potentially feature Alonso and a teammate… time will tell on that subject.
There were other things to cover through the last week. Ryan Norman was confirmed for a third season in Indy Lights next year, hoping to improve on career bests in championship finish, starting position and his first win in the series.
Another Ryan – this time Ryan Hunter-Reay – was on the ground delivering approximately 750 turkeys to families in need this Thanksgiving. What a wonderful tradition kept up by Hunter-Reay, the Andretti Autosport volunteers, Butterball and DHL.
All of that news, and more, is listed inside! Check out our latest IndyCar Round-Up for November 16, 2018.
Alonso to return with McLaren at 2019 Indy 500
Well, it is not for the entire IndyCar Series season, but in 2019 we will once again see “Alonso Mania.” Confirmed this morning by the storied racing team, McLaren will return to the Indianapolis 500 in 2019 with two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso as their driver.
Alonso, 37, could capture the motorsports Triple Crown with a victory at Indianapolis with wins at Le Mans and Monaco already under his belt.
“I’ve made clear for some time my desire to achieve the Triple Crown. I had an incredible experience at Indianapolis in 2017 and I knew in my heart of hearts I had to go back if the opportunity was there,” Alonso said in a McLaren statement.
Taking a November peek at the Indianapolis 500 field
Following the announcement that Fernando Alonso and McLaren will return to the Indianapolis 500, another entry has been confirmed for the 103rd running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
Make no doubt about it, Alonso’s return to the Speedway will be headline news next May. With that being said, it will be just one of the many storylines to follow as Helio Castroneves returns for another shot at win No. 4, Marco Andretti continues his quest to kill the family curse and young guns Pato O’Ward, Colton Herta, Felix Rosenqvist and Marcus Ericsson all serve to be legitimate threats in their first ‘500 start.
At present, there are 29 confirmed entries for the 2019 Indianapolis 500. These are teams that have announced their intentions to be at Indianapolis in May and their cars are accounted for. Read More.
Hunter-Reay and Butterball distribute 750 turkeys in the Thanksgiving spirit
The holidays are a time for giving, and for the past five years, Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay has certainly done his fair share. Since 2014, Hunter-Reay has teamed up with team partner Butterball to give away over 2,500 turkeys to families in need before Thanksgiving.
Hunter-Reay’s turkey tradition began in November of 2014, the same year in which he won the Indianapolis 500.
“This initiative started in 2014 with 500 turkeys in honor of our Indianapolis 500 win, and we’re really proud to work with Butterball each year to continue the giving – and to now be giving nearly 750 Butterball whole turkeys to central Indiana,” said Hunter-Reay.
“It’s great to see our Andretti Autosport partners coming together to give back to this community that gives so much to us. I’m happy to be here giving back and to be a part of everything that both Butterball and DHL stand for.” Read More.
Jordan King joins Rahal Letterman Lanigan for 2019 Indianapolis 500 attempt
British driver Jordan King will get his first shot at the Indianapolis 500 next May driving for the Honda-powered Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing organization.
King, who turns 25 in February, drove in 11 IndyCar Series races this past season for Ed Carpenter Racing. After ECR signed Ed Jones to pilot the road and street course program for team owner Ed Carpenter’s No. 20 machine, King has inked a deal to compete in the “Greatest Spectacle.”
“I’m really happy and excited to announce that I’ll be driving in the 2019 Indy 500 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” said the Warwick, England native.
“This race is one that I have been working towards and a race I have always dreamt of racing in as it’s the jewel in the crown of IndyCar.” Read More.
Ryan Norman confirmed for Andretti Autosport Indy Lights ride in pivotal 2019 season
While it seemed a formality, Ohio native Ryan Norman surely breathed a sigh of relief today as the two-year Indy Lights veteran was announced for another season in IndyCar’s Triple-A series for 2019.
After finishing 4th in the 2018 Indy Lights championship and winning in the series for the first time last August, Norman continues to build great momentum towards a pivotal campaign next summer.
“I’m really excited to finally make it official that I’ll be returning to Andretti Autosport for my third season competing in Indy Lights,” said Norman.
“We’ve built a solid foundation over the past two years and I’m ready to fight for wins, podiums and ultimately the championship, with such a great group of people who have become like a family to me.”
Header image courtesy of Chris Owens/INDYCAR.