Penske gives IndyCar some buzz with Stewart offer

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_Graham Rahal signed with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, where he will drive a full season for his father Bobby Rahal for the first time in his career. On Monday, the team picked up veteran engineer Eddie Jones as it begins to build the infrastructure for a planned second entry. Jones was Barrichello’s engineer last season with KV Racing.

_Andretti Autosport said Monday it will run 17-year-old Zach Veach in Indy Lights next season with sponsorship from K12. Veach will be teammates with 20-year-old Carlos Muñoz, whom the team had previously announced it will enter in the Indy 500.

_AJ Foyt Racing said last week it will enter Indy Lights in 2014 with Timothy Paul, who spend next year in both F2000 and USF2000 preparing for his partnership with Foyt. It will be Foyt’s return to the Lights series after a 10-year absence.

_The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix signed Detroit-based Quicken Loans as presenting sponsor of its doubleheader races next June.

On the series management side, Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Jeff Belskus is acting as interim CEO of the IndyCar Series. It’s the same role he filled when George was removed as head of the series by his mother and three sister in 2009 until Bernard was hired in 2010.

But Belskus was replaced late last month by Mark Miles as CEO of Hulman & Co., and it’s not clear what changes Miles could make when he officially starts later this month. Miles most recently led the city of Indianapolis’ successful Super Bowl effort.

On Monday, IndyCar closed the three-person office Bernard had established in Los Angeles. The L.A. office was expected to help promote next summer’s release of the IndyCar-themed animated DreamWorks movie “Turbo,” but those efforts will now be handled in Indianapolis.

“As we look ahead to 2013, IndyCar is focusing resources on our core business objectives, growing television ratings and event attendance, and therefore has decided to close our Los Angeles operation and realign those resources to better achieve these objectives,” IndyCar said in a statement.

The series also appears to be close to announcing an entitlement sponsor for the “Triple Crown” challenge, a three-race competition that will award $1 million if a driver wins Indianapolis, Pocono and California.

So the series is slowly chugging along, trying to put the focus back on its drivers and teams and a racing product many believe is the best out there. Perhaps this week will indeed belong to Hunter-Reay, drama-free, and he can celebrate his title with his Andretti team.

Then IndyCar can get back to the many issues facing the series, and Miles should try hard to ensure things run a whole lot smoother than they have been the last three months.

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