Indy Racing League News and Notes 2008-06-09

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines 1. Dixon, Castroneves fight for every point 2. Perera joins Guthrie Racing 3. Public to vote for Firestone "Tire"-rific move of the race 4. Drivers reap post-race awards 1. Dixon,...

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. Dixon, Castroneves fight for every point
2. Perera joins Guthrie Racing
3. Public to vote for Firestone "Tire"-rific move of the race
4. Drivers reap post-race awards

1. Dixon, Castroneves fight for every point: The Bombardier Learjet 550k provided a perfect snapshot of the 2008 IndyCar Series season. Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves started and finished 1-2 and battled throughout the race for not only the victory, but the three bonus points associated with leading the most laps.

Dixon earned the race victory, his third of the season, while Castroneves picked up the bonus points for the first time this season en route to his seventh consecutive top-five finish.

The fast start has allowed Dixon to increase his championship points lead from 28 to 35 over Castroneves heading into the June 22 event at Iowa Speedway to kick off a stint of six races in as many weekends. He's been the beneficiary of 12 bonus points for leading the most laps, which would have gone a long way in the 2007 championship race with Dario Franchitti.

"I was trying for it; those points are valuable," said Dixon, who engaged in an side-by-side duel with Castroneves for 13 laps in the first half of the 228-lap race. "If you can pick those up over the season, that can be 45 points at least. So it's something that we are definitely trying to go for, and I think probably what made both of us quite stubborn at that point of the race."

Castroneves said he had the car to win. He overcame a drive-thru penalty for speeding on pit lane during a Lap 104 green flag stop to put him in position.

"I'm kind of upset because we had a great chance," he said. "Second place is great, a lot of points for the championship and that's what we've got to focus on."

***

2. Perera joins Guthrie Racing: Frenchman Franck Perera, who began the season in the IndyCar Series, will return to the track in Firestone Indy Lights for the remainder of the 2008 season with Guthrie Racing, completing the team's four-car lineup.

The 23-year-old native of Montpellier, France will drive the No. 55 Guthrie Racing machine beginning at the June 10 Iowa Open Test as a teammate to current Guthrie Racing drivers Sean Guthrie, Logan Gomez and Micky Gilbert.

"I'm just excited to be back in the driver's seat," Perera said. "I'm very thankful to Guthrie Racing and my management company CJ Motorsport, and I am going to do the best I can for the team.

"I'm not really focusing on the title at this stage. I'm just looking at it race by race so I will not be holding back at any of the races. I hope to get some wins on the road courses since that's where my experience lies, but I plan on being right up there in the front on ovals as well after I get some more practice."

Perera began the season driving for Conquest Racing in the IndyCar Series. He finished 14th at Homestead-Miami and 20th at St. Petersburg. He also competed in the Champ Car finale at Long Beach, finishing sixth.

In 2007, Perera finished second in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship. He earned the Rookie of the Year title and narrowly missed out on the overall title to series returnee Raphael Matos.

"I have a lot to learn," Perera said. "Sean and Logan are great on ovals so I know they can teach me some techniques and hopefully I can help them on road courses in return. I think together we can make it beneficial for all of us so we can improve all season long."

Perera will join Guthrie Racing at Iowa on June 24 for his first race in the series.

"It's great to have the opportunity to work with a driver of Franck's caliber," said team owner Jim Guthrie. "I have high hopes for Franck and the Guthrie Racing team. One of our engineers, John Martin, has worked with Franck and is really excited about having him on our team. I expect once Franck gets comfortable on the ovals he will contend for many wins." *** 3. Public to vote for Firestone "Tire"-rific move of the race: Fans will have the ultimate say in who receives a $10,000 race bonus from Firestone. After each IndyCar Series race, Firestone executives pick three "Tire"-rific Moves of the Race, on-track moves where the drivers had to rely on their Firestone Firehawk tires. Fans can vote for the winner at www.indycar.com.

Oriol Servia won the fans' vote from the race at Milwaukee by one vote and was awarded $10,000 during pre-race ceremonies at Texas.

From the Bombardier Learjet 550k, fans can choose from:
* Marco Andretti for running the daring high line all race.
* Ryan Hunter-Reay for going an extra stint on a set of Firehawks to move to the front.
* Ryan Briscoe for charging from the back to finish third.

In past seasons, Firestone has awarded the bonus to the driver who led the lap that corresponded to the total number of races in IndyCar Series history.

***

4. Drivers reap post-race awards: Scott Dixon reaped the benefits from winning the Bombardier Learjet 550k. Dixon was presented an IndyCar Series timepiece from Ritmo Mundo, the official timepiece of the IndyCar Series. Ritmo Mundo presents a timepiece to the winner of each IndyCar Series event in 2008. He also collected $10,000 for winning the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts and $1,000 from Bosch.

Bruno Junqueira won the $2,000 Lincoln Welders Hard Charger Award for being the race leader who started furthest back and Vitor Meira collected the $2,000 XTrac Award.

***

The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer on June 22 at Iowa Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 1 p.m. (EDT) by ABC. 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 with the Jeld-Wen 100 June 21 at Iowa Speedway. The race will be telecast at 5:30 p.m. EDT June 26.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Jim Guthrie , Helio Castroneves , Bruno Junqueira , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Oriol Servia , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Ryan Briscoe , Marco Andretti , Logan Gomez , Sean Guthrie , John Martin , Franck Perera , Vitor Meira
Teams Conquest Racing