Indy Racing League News and Notes 2008-09-03

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines 1. IndyCar Series Championship At A Glance 2. Dan Wheldon, John Barnes teleconference 3. Perera tabbed for second Foyt seat 4. HVM Racing will make 200th Indy car start 1. IndyCar...

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. IndyCar Series Championship At A Glance
2. Dan Wheldon, John Barnes teleconference
3. Perera tabbed for second Foyt seat
4. HVM Racing will make 200th Indy car start

1. IndyCar Series Championship At A Glance (a high-res pdf graphic is posted at www.indycar.com/media): After 16 races and 2,660 laps of intense competition this season, the race for the IndyCar Series championship has come down to two of the league's top heavyweights: 2003 series champion Scott Dixon and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves.

Dixon leads Castroneves by 30 points, 606-576 entering the Sept. 7 PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) and will be televised live on ABC.

The winner of the title will earn a $1 million bonus.

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2. IndyCar Series driver Dan Wheldon and Panther Racing co-owner John Barnes were guests on today's Indy Racing League teleconference.

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

Dan Wheldon

Q. Tell us about how things have gone for you this season, and how it eventually now has worked into a deal with Panther for next year?

DAN WHELDON: Well, as far as the season has gone so far it's perhaps not been the season that I would have liked. I'm always one that's aiming to win the Indianapolis 500. That is a race that's very kind of near and dear to my heart. I didn't achieve that.

As far as the other races, we've been competitive at all of them, but just perhaps haven't had the result that we've wanted.

In terms of the news that just brought yesterday I'm incredibly excited to be joining Panther Racing for next season, and possibly a little bit sooner. You know, can't wait to get started.

It's an organization I'm very familiar with. I started my IndyCar Series career there back in 2002. The team has always been a contender for victories. Like I said, I'm just very, very excited.

It's great to be working with J.B. again. He's a guy that's near and dear to my heart and one that's very honest. There's no kind of ‑‑ there is nothing that really surrounds him. He just tells you how it is and gives you the best possible equipment to win races, and that's all I want to do. So I'm really excited and raring to go.

John Barnes

Q. Tell us about the opportunity to get a guy like Dan to come back to the team and drive for you?

JOHN BARNES: Well, as Dan said, we're just over the moon about this. Between us now we've got 30 IndyCar wins, three championships and an Indy 500 win.

Dan has equaled everything we've done and surpassed it by being an Indy 500 winner. Growing up here in Indianapolis there is nothing more important to me than winning at Indy, and surrounding ourselves with people like Dan puts us in a position to do that.

So I can tell you everybody here gets up every morning thinking about one place, and that is 16th and Georgetown. To have Dan here with us, and helping us guide that ship, we're stoked.

***

3. Perera tabbed for second Foyt seat: A.J. Foyt Racing will campaign a second car for rookie Franck Perera Sept. 7 at Chicagoland Speedway. Perera will drive the No. 41 ABC Supply Co./AJ Foyt Racing entry as a teammate to Darren Manning.

Perera opened the 2008 season with Conquest Racing and recorded finishes of 14th at Homestead-Miami and 20th at St. Petersburg before being replaced by Jaime Camara.

Perera joined the Firestone Indy Lights series in June at Iowa and recorded a victory and two pole positions in nine starts.

"I would like to thank A.J Foyt and ABC Supply for giving me the chance to get back into an IndyCar Series car this weekend in Chicago," said Perera. "It's a huge pleasure to work with a team like Foyt Racing with so much experience and such a big name in racing."

Team Director Larry Foyt brought the French driver to his father's attention as the team begins its scouting process for a driver for a possible second car in 2009.

"At the beginning of the year, I noticed that Franck was one of the quickest among the transition team drivers to adapt to the Indy cars," Foyt said. "He fared well on the oval in Homestead and qualified well at St. Pete. We thought then that he was a talented driver, and as we're looking to become a two-car team next year, we thought he might be a good asset to our program. We'll see how we get along with him this weekend."

***

4. HVM Racing will make 200th Indy car start: The PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 will be HVM Racing's 200th start in Indy car racing since the team was acquired by Keith Wiggins in late 2000. The team competed in CART and the Champ Car World Series from 2001-07 before joining the IndyCar Series this season.

"Reaching 200 starts is a great milestone, but you don't really think too much about what you've done in the past more than looking ahead to the next 200 starts and being stronger and more competitive," Wiggins said. "We're a team that has been fortunate to have had success in the past and have done so with many different drivers in many varying circumstances. We've been able to help some young guys and give them the opportunities to be successful. That was again the case this season with E.J. (Viso)."

***

The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 Sept. 7 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 3:30 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 concludes Sept. 7 with the SunRichGourmet.com 100 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will air live at 12:30 p.m. Sept. 7 on ESPN2.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Darren Manning , Scott Dixon , Larry Foyt , Dan Wheldon , Jaime Camara , John Barnes , A.J. Foyt , Franck Perera
Teams Panther Racing , HVM Racing , Conquest Racing