Indy Racing League News and Notes 2008-04-23

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines 1. Tomas Scheckter, Arie Luyendyk Jr., Kansas Speedway teleconference 2. Danica in demand 3. Pacific Coasts Motorsports announces IndyCar Series plans 4. IndyCar Series community thinks ...

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. Tomas Scheckter, Arie Luyendyk Jr., Kansas Speedway teleconference
2. Danica in demand
3. Pacific Coasts Motorsports announces IndyCar Series plans
4. IndyCar Series community thinks green
5. Fisher takes NYC by storm

1. IndyCar Series driver Tomas Scheckter, Firestone Indy Lights driver Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Kansas Speedway president Jeff Boerger were guests on today's Indy Racing League teleconference.

Background on Kansas Speedway: The IndyCar Series will compete at Kansas Speedway for the eighth consecutive season. Seven different drivers have won the previous seven races. Kansas Speedway is the site of the second-closest finish in IndyCar Series history - 0.0051 of a second when Buddy Rice beat Vitor Meira in 2004. Firestone Indy Lights returns to the track for the first time since 2004.

They said what...? Listed below are select quotes from today's teleconference.

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Q: You're coming back with a team that had only one start last year - the Indy 500. Talk about how things are coming together with the team.

TOMAS SCHECKTER: To be honest you could cancel that start out before in my eyes, because I think it was a start they did under a Penske banner, and this is really their first start as a team on their own with their own equipment in their own garages. This is a team put together by John Cummiskey, who is the team manager, and Steve Luczo and Jay Penske.

So this is really their own deal and their first start on their two feet.

What Ryan Briscoe and what I had is two different worlds. That's why I give a lot of credit for the amount of work that these guys have put in to come from a car from scratch from having no help from anybody.

I think our expectations of Indy, I don't really know yet, because I've got to see how we perform in Kansas. But certainly at Kansas we want to have a strong finish and make sure we don't have any mechanical problems; making sure that everybody works well together and making sure that we get our stops right and you know just get a good basis for a good working relationship within the team and move that on to Indy.

Q: It's been a few years since the series was at Kansas. What should your fellow competitors expect over there?

ARIE LUYENDYK: I just think it's going to be really close racing. We saw in Homestead the cars were pretty difficult to drive from last year for some reason, but I think Kansas is a place that will bring all of the guys together.

I think it's a track similar to Chicago, and I think it's just going to really make it interesting for the fans to watch. I think a lot of cars are going to be running really close together. I think it's going to be really important to qualify well and to have a car that will run anywhere on the racetrack, low, high; so it's going to be a lot of fun.

Q. I was wondering how much of a bump in ticket sales you guys have seen since the reunification was announced; and also in the past couple of days with Danica winning in Japan, if there's been a noticeable jump

JEFF BOERGER: Well, we've been very fortunate at Kansas. We've had a strong demand in our ticket sales from the beginning since we've opened the track in 2001, and it continues to see solid results in regards to demand.

Obviously it's a promoter's dream to have Danica (Patrick) winning the week prior to our race, and we have had more car counts and there's been a lot of buzz around especially in the Kansas City metro area and the region. We've seen a little bump but again, we have probably one of the highest renewal rates within this industry, and being the second‑most‑attended (IndyCar Series) race on the circuit, we continue to see strong demands in that area.

There's more: The complete transcript and complete audio recording in MP3 format are available at www.indycar.com/media. Please contact IRL Public Relations for log-in information if necessary.

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2. Danica in demand: Danica Patrick's victory lap started in Japan, cruised through Los Angeles and is heading full steam to New York. Patrick, who claimed a spot in history with her victory April 20 at Twin Ring Motegi, is tabbed for numerous interviews while in the Big Apple April 23-24, and she will walk the red carpet for the premiere of the movie "Baby Mama."

Among the stop on Patrick's schedule are MTV, New York Times, "The Late Show with David Letterman," "The CBS Early Show," "On The Record with Greta Van Susteren," Bloomberg TV and "Late Night with Conan O' Brien."

Patrick's merchandise is selling fast. Indianapolis-based MainGate Inc., which has an exclusive deal to handle licensed products for the 26-year-old driver, already is seeing major sales increases in items bearing her image. MainGate, which also operates Patrick's Web site, had a T-shirt designed for Patrick's first victory.

"DanicaRacingStore.com traffic has increased 550 percent since her victory, and sales are up 900 percent," said David Moroknek, MainGate CEO.

MainGate plans to have a complete line of new products commemorating the victory for May in Indianapolis, where the company will operate three mobile trailers dedicated to Patrick.

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3. Pacific Coasts Motorsports announces IndyCar Series plans: Pacific Coast Motorsports will begin competing in the IndyCar Series beginning with the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500. Open-wheel veteran Mario Dominguez will drive the team's No. 96 Visit Mexico City/PCM entry.

Dominguez scored two victories, 11 podium finishes and a pole competing in the Champ Car World Series.

"I am very excited about this new project," Dominguez said. "Racing in the Indy 500 is a childhood dream of mine. I understand I have a big responsibility since I will be driving the Mexico City car. I will be representing the colors of my city and my country in the most important racing series in North America. I am very excited to continue my efforts with PCM. We just finished on the podium this weekend (at Long Beach), and that shows that we are competitive and can be champions together."

Said team owner Tyler Tadevic: "With our recent success at the Long Beach Grand Prix and with Mario giving me my first podium as a team owner, we couldn't be more excited, and we can't wait to get started. This program is an extension of our belief in the Hispanic market and of our belief the Hispanic fans have for open-wheel racing and Mario in particular. This Hispanic demographic is the fastest growing market in the United States and a very important fan base for the IndyCar Series."

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4. IndyCar Series community thinks green: Around the world, people are recognizing Earth Week. The IndyCar Series is the motorsports leader in green initiatives. The series was the first in motorsports to utilize 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol beginning in 2007. Other members of the IndyCar Series' racing community have their own environmentally conscious programs.

Among the racetracks the IndyCar Series visits, Infineon Raceway has been a leader in enviromental causes. The facility has recycled more than 56 tons of material since 2004. Last year, they recycled more than 258,000 beverage containers.

The circuit, which will play host to the IndyCar Series, Aug. 22-24, created a natural habitat for the red-legged frog on its property.

Kansas Speedway, Richmond International Raceway and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course also have can/bottle recycling programs.

At Watkins Glen International, the track collects the oil used by competitors to use as fuel in their oil furnace while Nashville Superspeedway and Mid-Ohio have paper recycling programs in place.

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5. Fisher takes NYC by storm: IndyCar Series driver Sarah Fisher was in New York April 23 for a series of interviews promoting the debut of Sarah Fisher Racing at the upcoming 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500. Fisher made stops on "The Today Show," Fox News, ESPN The Magazine, Inc. Magazine and Forbes.

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The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 on April 27 at Kansas Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 5 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN2. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues April 27 at Kansas. The race will be telecast at 2 p.m. (EDT) on May 1 by ESPN2.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Sarah Fisher , Buddy Rice , Ryan Briscoe , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira , Arie Luyendyk Jr.