Rising Star Racing Drivers Ready For Season Opener at St. Pete
 March 26, 2014| 
  • Team News
- Rising Star Racing partners with Peak Antifreeze and Advance Auto Parts for Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg
- Recent Barber Test generated new data for Rising Star Racing ConnectedDriver program, with program partners Zephyr Technology and Yellowcog continuing development
- Season-opening race for Rising Star Racing trio of drivers, with all three entering the weekend with confidence after strong off-season testing and race outings

St. Petersburg, Fla. — Dress rehearsals are over, and now it is show time for Rising Star Racing (RSR) drivers Josef Newgarden, Neil Alberico, and Spencer Pigot. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg marks the first race of the year for Newgarden’s Verizon IndyCar season as well as a double-header season opener for Alberico and Pigot in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires. 
The Rising Star Racing organization was formed to ensure that deserving drivers get the opportunities they have earned, providing funding, support and guidance for select young drivers to help to bridge the gap between talent and opportunity. 
As part of a range of initiatives to generate interest in the sport, the innovative driver development and promotional program will debut the ConnectedDriver initiative during the Indianapolis 500 this May. 
Partnering with Zephyr Technology and Yellowcog, Rising Star Racing recently completed a successful test of the ConnectedDriver system at Barber Motorsports Park in cooperation with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing engineers. ConnectedDriver is a state-of-the-art personal biometric monitoring technology to capture and convey real-time updates on RSR driver Josef Newgarden. The test was very productive, with the data expected to be revealed soon as part of the development program. 
It isn’t just new technology that has been being tested since the final checkered flag of 2013. In fact the “off-season” hasn’t presented Rising Star Racing drivers with much time off, but that is just the way they like it. Heading to St. Petersburg for the opener, all three drivers will arrive in peak form thanks to a full off-season of physical training. 
With success in recent tests, racing in far-away lands, and championship-earning runs in the CooperTires Winterfest, the trio will also head for the temporary street circuit with the added sharpness that time behind the wheel contributes as the young guns are fully ready to go for the green flag in the official season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg.
For the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg, all three Rising Star Racing drivers will be backed by Peak Antifreeze and Advance Auto Parts. Rising Star Racing welcomes these new partners and hopes to deliver a winning performance for them.
“The Cooper Tires Winterfest was great,” said Pigot, who will drive for Juncos Racing.  “I worked really well with the team and they did an awesome job all week. We won two races, were fastest every session on track and took every pole position so we can’t be disappointed with that. Hopefully, we can keep this momentum going and keep the car up at the front in the main season.” 
Similarly, Alberico kept himself busy on track over the winter, competing in New Zealand in the Toyota Racing Series as well as joining Pigot in the Winterfest to score two fifth-place finishes after rebounding from mechanical issues in the very first race. Alberico will be making the step up to the Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tires Championship with the same Cape Motorsports with WTR squad that he has enjoyed so much success with previously. 
“I learned a lot since last year, getting the chance to race in New Zealand and getting to experience a whole different approach to racing,” said Alberico. “It was great to start working on St. Pete with my team (Cape Motorsports with WTR) at the Winterfest. We had some setbacks that kept us from getting the results we were capable of but the main thing was how well the team worked and how we solved the problems as they came up. Now I am incredibly stoked about getting to St. Pete, have been counting down the days!” 
The 1.8-mile, 14-turn Grand Prix of St. Pete street circuit also marks the season opener for the newly-sponsored Verizon IndyCar series and Rising Star Racing driver and mentor Josef Newgarden. Newgarden’s Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing squad has made some changes on the engineering side of the effort, and off-season testing has provided some encouraging results.  2014 marks Newgarden’s third season in the series and he enters the year with a positive attitude after a productive test at Barber Motorsports Park in March.
"Our testing at Barber over the last couple of weeks, including the IndyCar Open Test last week, allowed us to run through a lot of ideas and setup packages that we wanted to try,” said Newgarden. “As always, some worked and some didn't but we feel we've got a great baseline to work with heading into St. Pete. I couldn't be more ready and excited for the season to start!"
With miles and momentum, the three young drivers are excited for the start of what promises to be an excellent racing season. The focus for Rising Star Racing won’t entirely be on the track for the big season-opener. 
With the dual ambition of supporting young racers and cultivating the funding to support those efforts, Rising Star Racing will be playing host to several key contacts this weekend as the organization introduces motorsport as a marketing function to new audiences. With nearly 50 guests expected as part of the Rising Star Racing effort for the weekend, it will be an active event for all involved. 
Spencer Pigot races with the support of Rising Star Racing as well as Doug Mockett & Company (www.mockett.com), Vitamin-DPro App (vitamin-d-pro.com), and OMP (www.ompracing-usa.com).

Neil Alberico races with the support of Rising Star Racing as well as Arai (www.araiamericas.com), Eformulacarnews (www.eformulacarnews.com), OMP Racing (www.ompracing-usa.com), J&M Trophies (www.jmtrophies.com), Oakley (www.oakley.com), the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving (www.bondurant.com), and SafeisFast (www.safeisfast.com).

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