With a focus on getting himself re-acclimated to the lightning-fast machinery of the Verizon IndyCar Series, American race car driver Ryan Phinny has announced that he will be joining Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) for the upcoming Honda Toronto Indy on the July 18-20 weekend in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, running one of the team’s potent Indy Lights entries. The Indy Lights series is the final development step for drivers moving into the world-class IndyCar program, and the 24-year-old Hollywood-based racing driver will knock the dust of his racing boots in Toronto, in preparations for an off-season IndyCar testing program. George Clooney's Casamigos Tequila brand has aligned with Phinny as the title sponsor of the #28 BHA/JMM with Curb-Agajanian entry. The program with BHA will consist of three events to allow Ryan to dial things in before heading into winter testing. Following the race on the streets of Toronto, he will also run at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Ohio (Aug. 1-3) and at Sonoma Raceway in Napa Valley (Aug. 22-24). This entire program is focused on preparing Ryan for a full IndyCar program in 2015.
“I'm excited to get things going," Phinny enthused. “I love the Toronto track, I've always had good runs at Mid-Ohio, and finishing out the season in California is the best yet. I know the BHA team well and I've known Bryan Herta for years. I couldn't be more thankful for this opportunity and Bryan's continued faith in my driving. This is an ideal scenario for me."
Herta is ready for the challenge and is very pleased to have Phinny join the team. “Ryan returns to Indy Lights with one of the most diverse resumes in the series," offered the Indy 500 winning team owner. “We are looking forward to running with him at Toronto and Mid-Ohio, and building on that program for the future."
Phinny’s racing resume is impressive and includes an extremely successful national level karting career that all started when he began racing at the age of eight. Ryan has a great deal of open-wheel experience coming in Formula BMW and Star Mazda, and he also ran a single Indy Lights race in 2011 at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. In 2008 and 2009, he competed in the Rolex Sports Car Series and American Le Mans Series.
Phinny is excited and energized to represent and promote the cast of supporters that will see their logos adorn his car. Casamigos, which stands for ‘House of Friends’, was launched in 2012 by George Clooney, Rande Gerber, and Mike Meldman. Additional associate sponsors include ‘The Thermal Club / Private Pavement’ – a private motorsports facility in California, DripDrop – elite hydration science, Jason of Beverly Hills – a trendsetting designer of diamond pieces, and the Discovery Land Company. Ryan will be taking a break from all of his current film industry endeavors until the end of the racing season in order to give full focus to this program to ensure that he enjoys successful return to open-wheel racing.
“I really want to thank Mike Meldman, George Clooney, and Rande Gerber for bringing me into the ‘House of Friends’ and giving me the opportunity to represent the Casamigos Tequila brand," Phinny continued. “I've always wanted to merge the Hollywood aspect of my life with racing, it's really a great fit. I’d also like to thank former Indy 500 champion Danny Sullivan for all the support and advice he has given me throughout my career thus far."
Same-day television coverage of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires event from the Honda Toronto Indy will be aired on NBC Sports on July 20 at 6:00 pm.
Ryan would like to take this opportunity to thank the following people/entities for making this new program a reality: CAA, Scott Engel, Bryan Herta, Autosport Development LLC, Ajay Relan (#HashtagLunchBag charity), Craig Susser (Craig's On Melrose), Jason Walsh & staff (RiseMovement Studio), Shannon Self (Maguire Media Partners), Kris Benson (Superior Business Management), Brittany Gilman (BG Sports) Pat & Gina Phinny (Baja Foods Inc./ Baja Cantina/ Turn 12 Bar & Grill).