Indy Racing League News and Notes 2008-06-11

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines 1. Ed Carpenter and Will Power teleconference 2. Texas race garners record rating 3. Team E builds a winner 1. IndyCar Series drivers Ed Carpenter and Will Power were guests...

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. Ed Carpenter and Will Power teleconference
2. Texas race garners record rating
3. Team E builds a winner

1. IndyCar Series drivers Ed Carpenter and Will Power were guests on today's Indy Racing League teleconference.

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

Q. You've had some pretty good results so far this season. Are you happy with how things have gone?

ED CARPENTER: I'm happy with our performance of the race cars we've had on track. To be honest, we should have a couple more top-five finishes than what we do. We've had some bad things happen to us so far this season. I've had good races going at Milwaukee and got caught up in an accident and could have had a better result than what we ended up with, in Kansas having someone stop in our pit.

We're having a great year. We're really competitive on track. We just need to catch a break on some of these things and see if we can't find ourselves into victory lane or at least on the podium.

Q. What do you expect at the places like Iowa and Richmond with 27 cars instead of 20 like we've seen in the past?

ED CARPENTER: Well, Iowa doesn't really act like a short track, it's only an eighth of a mile, but at the same time, the only thing that's short track about it is we are running our short-track aero specifications. Other than that, it races more like the race we just had at Texas. It's going to be fast and a lot of two-wide racing.

So there's probably going to be more opportunity for accidents at Iowa than what we just had at Milwaukee.

Then we go on to Richmond. Richmond has always been an exciting race. It's a racetrack where if you have a good car, you're going to work your way to the front and if you have a bad car, you're going to fall to the back.

The thing with short-track racing in our series right now is there's 27 really good cars. You know, with all of the new teams and new drivers we have in the series, they are all great teams and great drivers and then you go to these short tracks, compared to a place like Texas, it puts everyone on a little bit more of a level playing ground, even with them not having as much time in the car. So I think you're going to see super-competitive races at Iowa and especially Richmond.

Q: Knowing where you are now and knowing what the second half has to bring, is there a goal on where you think you should be by the end?

WILL POWER: Well, I think coming into the season, I thought if I finished in the top 10 that's really good. But also, the Rookie of the Year would be a really big deal for me. I think that there's a couple of guys that are going to be really tough to beat, and obviously (Hideki) Mutoh is one of them, because he's on a very good team with a lot of experience on ovals and on the road courses.

So I think he's going to be the main competition there. And you've got some guys like Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson who are also right there.

So, you know, if I can win the Rookie of the Year I'll be really happy. If I finish in the top 10, that's really good, too. I'm just focusing on every single event, every individual event to get the best result possible and learn as much as I can.

Q. June is the month of short-track racing for the Indy Car Series, first Milwaukee and then Iowa and Richmond. You had a strong qualifying run at Milwaukee, so what do you feel about the short ovals suits your driving style best?

WILL POWER: Well it's not only the driving style, it's also the fact that you're running maximum downforce. I think where these other guys have got us is all of the work they've done on wind tunnel and wheel bearings, coatings for the gear box and all of those little things that add up to the mile-and-a-half or two mile-an-hour they have over us on the faster ovals.

But when you're running maximum downforce, that doesn't count. It's more about the car balance, and that's the reason that we can run up front. And obviously shorter ovals helps me a little bit, too, because I raced in Milwaukee once in 2006, and I really enjoy running around short ovals, because when you have got full downforce, it's a lot like a road course and you go take a proper racing line, and it's all about just holding it flat and just running the car as free as possible.

***

2. Texas race garners record rating: The Bombardier Learjet 550k, won by Scott Dixon on June 7, ranks as the highest-rated and most-viewed IndyCar Series race broadcast in ESPN2 history.

The broadcast earned a 1.0 rating and reached 939,160 households to make it the most successful ever on ESPN2, surpassing the .85 rating for this year's season-opening race at Homestead-Miami that previously occupied the top spot.

The Bombardier Learjet 550k also was the second most-viewed IndyCar Series race in ESPN and ESPN2 history, trailing only the 2005 event at Kansas Speedway. That race drew a 1.05 rating and attracted 970,450 households on ESPN.

The 1.0 rating for the Bombardier Learjet 550k represents a 44 percent increase over last year's race that drew a 0.7 rating and reached 639,952 households.

***

3. Team E builds a winner: On Dec. 10, 2007, Neil Enerson's Team E took delivery of its transporter. The next day, the team took delivery of its first Firestone Indy Lights Dallara chassis. Just seven month later, Enerson's team is already a race winner.

Enerson and driver Bobby Wilson celebrated their first victory together on June 1 when Wilson dominated the Milwaukee 100 at the Milwaukee Mile. They also took the lead in the chase for the $5,000 Mesco Building Products Building for the Future New Team Award.

"We had a rough start to the season," Enerson said. "For a new team to win a race means something, especially the way the series is today. There is unbelievable competition in this series and to beat the Andretti Greens and Sam Schmidt Motorsports is no small task."

Enerson met Wilson through his 10-year-old son, RC, a budding go-kart racer whose career has been guided by Wilson, a former national karting champion. The two formed a plan to build a race team around the Wisconsin native, who now lives in New Port Richey, Fla.

The result is more like a second family for Wilson. In fact when it came time to pick a number for the new team, they combined their numbers from 2007 (Wilson ran No. 1, the younger Enerson ran No. 7) and came up with 17.

"I'm glad to be part of Team E," Wilson said. "I'm not just a driver. I'm not just an arrive-and-drive guy. I'm not like everybody else. I'm part of that program for years to come whether I move up or not. It's a comfortable feeling sitting there and I'm always going to be part of it."

Wilson has been an integral part of the team. Team manager Doug Hoy worked with Wilson to assemble the team's crew, many of whom came from other teams because they believed in Wilson and wanted to continue to work with the driver.

"Bobby showed a lot of maturity," Enerson said. "The team has come together and we hope to keep it together for a long time."

***

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 on ESPN2.

-credit: irl

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Series INDYCAR , INDYLIGHTS