Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka unveiled the beautiful “Fuzzy’s Triple Crown” Trophy today in a press conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And then the attendees heard about the importance of the “Fuzzy’s Triple Crown” to the IZOD IndyCar Series from former 500-mile race winners.
Last December, Fuzzy’s was named the major sponsor for the 2013 “Triple Crown“ in the IZOD IndyCar Series featuring the Indianapolis 500, Pocono IndyCar 400 and the MAVTV 500. Known as the “Fuzzy’s Triple Crown,” the three-race oval track set will award a $1 million payout to the driver who wins all three prestigious events in 2013.
In addition to the trophy unveiling Thursday, 500-mile race winners Rick Mears, Scott Dixon and Ed Carpenter discussed the quest of the $1 million bonus and the challenges associated with claiming the unique prize.
The conference attendances, including Dixon and Carpenter, intently listened to Mears’ comments about the difficulty of winning three long IndyCar events in a season. It was like the professor giving a lecture to his students.
Of course, Mears is an eight-time 500-mile race winner with victories at Indy (four times), Pocono (three times) and Michigan (once). Dixon won the 2008 Indy 500 and Carpenter the most recently MAVTV 500 last September in Fontana, Calif.
This year’s “Fuzzy’s Triple Crown” takes place at Indianapolis May 26, Pocono July 7 and Fontana October 19. The IndyCar Series returns to Pocono Raceway for the first time since 1989. The three famed oval races renew the tradition of the popular “Triple Crown” from the 1970s and 1980s IndyCar competition.
In addition to the $1 million bonus, a driver who wins two of the three races will receive $250,000 from Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka.
“Thanks to Fuzzy’s for bringing back the triple-crown and having Pocono is the mix is very special,” said Mears, the three-time CART series champion. “Pocono is close to me because it is a great and unique track and it is where I won my first race coming back in 1985 from my feet injuries. All three tracks are completely different and you have getting some many things right. If you can do it, it shows the depth of your team too. It is a great thing to have back in IndyCar racing.”
All three drivers talked about the difficulty of performing the unique triple-crown feat in a season.
“Just the preparation of a car and a team to win here at Indianapolis is so difficult,” said Carpenter, the only team owner/driver in the IZOD IndyCar Series. “To win two 500-miler and a 400-miler, you have to have things just right and you have to have things go just right for you. But that is what makes the challenge so special in the ‘Fuzzy’s Triple Crown.’ Going back to Pocono is special too. It’s great to see more of the history and tradition of our sport coming back.”
“I think the new bonus is very special for our sport,” said Dixon, who is tied with Mears with 29 IndyCar career wins. “I want to give a big thank to Fuzzy’s for bringing back the tradition. To be honest, I am surprised that even one driver, Al Unser, won the triple-crown in a single year. It is so tough to win just one of these 500-mile races, let alone all three in a single season. I’d be happy to win two of the three races this year, but winning three of the three would be fantastic.”
Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka, created by Indiana golf legend Fuzzy Zoeller, has been a popular entry into the IZOD IndyCar Series as the Official Vodka of the IZOD IndyCar and the primary sponsor for Ed Carpenter Racing. Carpenter drives the No 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet-powered car.
“Fuzzy’s is a big supporter of the IZOD IndyCar Series and especially the oval races,” said Eric Timmerman, CEO of Fuzzy’s Vodka. “This new award gives us the opportunity to renew an old open-wheel tradition with the ‘Fuzzy’s Triple Crown.’ It would be great to hand out the $1 million bonus after the Fontana race.”
The previous “Triple Crown” included 500-mile races at Indianapolis, Pocono and Ontario, Calif., from 1971- 1980 and from 1981-1989 at Indy, Pocono and Michigan.
Only one driver, Al Unser, has captured all three races in a single season, when the four-time Indy 500 winner drove to victory in the Jim Hall-owned First National City Travelers Checks-sponsored car at Indy, Pocono and Ontario in 1978.