Indy Racing League News and Notes 2008-10-07

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines 1. Luczo Dragon Racing tabs Matos for 2009 2. Rahal auctions off Newman tribute helmet for charity 3. Patrick among BusinessWeek's most influential 1. Luczo Dragon Racing tabs...

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. Luczo Dragon Racing tabs Matos for 2009
2. Rahal auctions off Newman tribute helmet for charity
3. Patrick among BusinessWeek's most influential

1. Luczo Dragon Racing tabs Matos for 2009: Luczo Dragon Racing has signed Firestone Indy Lights champion Raphael Matos to a multi-year deal to drive for the team as it expands to a full-time entrant in the IndyCar Series in 2009.

Matos won five poles and three races and led 190 laps in 2008 en route to winning the Firestone Firehawk Cup, his fourth championship in a development series in the last six years. He will take the wheel of the No. 12 Symantec car that contested six IndyCar Series races in 2008.

"This is an exciting day for our race team because not only are we taking that step to full-time status, we are adding a young driver who has proven to be a champion at every level he has raced," Luczo Dragon Racing co-owner Jay Penske said. "Any time you can win four championships in six years like Rafa has done you have some special qualities. He is ready for the IndyCar Series, and we are so thrilled to have him."

Matos earned race victories on the road/street courses at St. Petersburg, Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio and won poles on the ovals at Homestead-Miami, Kentucky and Chicagoland. His previous championships came in Champ Car Atlantic in 2007, Star Mazda in 2005 and Formula Dodge in 2003.

"I couldn't be more excited about everything, it's an unbelievable opportunity," said Matos, 27. "We have a very good team. All the pieces are in place. We just need to build a solid base through preseason testing, put everything together and go for it. I can't wait to get started."

Luczo Dragon Racing, which is co-owned by Penske and Steve Luczo, debuted in the IndyCar Series with a fifth-place finish in the 2007 Indianapolis 500. In 2008, the team qualified in the top 10 in three of six races and earned an 11th-place starting position at Indianapolis. Its best finish was 21st at Belle Isle. In both seasons, the team has divided its profits among 12 charities.

"I am pleased we are in a position to have Rafa join our team," Luczo said. "We are most excited about building a winning program with Rafa and helping others through our charity program. Together Rafa, Jay and I will be selecting a charitable organization in Brazil that furthers our goals to help others through our racing efforts and success."

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2. Rahal auctions off Newman tribute helmet for charity: The helmet that Graham Rahal wore during the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio is up for auction on the online auction site eBay.

This one-of-a-kind helmet was designed as a tribute to Paul Newman and commissioned by the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing driver. It was signed by Newman and Rahal along with Troy Lee, who designed the helmet.

The helmet features a collage of some of Newman's most famous movie posters including The Hustler, The Sting, The Long Hot Summer, Cool Hand Luke, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Slap Shot and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Proceeds from the auction, which runs through Oct. 13, will benefit Flying Horse Farms, a camp for children with serious illnesses and a provisional member of the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps, which was founded by Newman in 1988.

Flying Horse Farms will open in 2010 in Mt. Gilead, Ohio, 15 miles from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

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3. Patrick among BusinessWeek's most influential: BusinessWeek magazine has cited Danica Patrick as one of the 100 most influential people in sports.

Patrick ranks 50th in the list topped by golfer Tiger Woods. She is the highest-ranked woman on the list.

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The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with a non-points paying race Oct. 26 at Surfers Paradise, Australia. The Nikon Indy 300 will be telecast live at 10:30 p.m. (EDT) Oct. 25 by ESPN Classic and will re-air at 11 p.m. Oct. 26 on 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 has concluded.

-credit; irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Graham Rahal , Paul Newman , Danica Patrick
Teams Dragon Racing