Indy Racing League News and Notes 2008-12-08

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines 1. Drivers, owner honored at Autosport Awards 2. Patrick films Super Bowl commercial 3. Donoso receives national honors 4. Phil Casey Golf Tournament raises $22,000 for...

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. Drivers, owner honored at Autosport Awards
2. Patrick films Super Bowl commercial
3. Donoso receives national honors
4. Phil Casey Golf Tournament raises $22,000 for charities

1. Drivers, owner honored at Autosport Awards: IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, drivers Justin Wilson and E.J. Viso and team co-owner Carl Haas were recognized Dec. 6 at the annual Autosport Awards in London.

Dixon, who won a series record-tying six races including the 92nd Indianapolis 500, was a nominee in the International Driver of the Year category. Wilson was a nominee for the British Competition Driver award and Viso was nominated in the Rookie of the Year category.

"It's definitely an honor and a big deal to be nominated," said Dixon, who also was announced recently as a finalist for the Economaki Champion of Champions Award, presented by Speedway Motorsports, Inc., and National Speed Sport News, a finalist for the SPEED Performer of the Year Award, presented by SPEED-TV, and as the Sportsperson of the Year by the New Zealand Herald.

Haas was honored with the Autosport John Bolster Award on behalf of his partnership with the late Paul Newman for their services to motorsport. Haas and Newman joined forces to enter the 1983 CART season and hired Mario Andretti, the former Formula One champion and Indianapolis 500 winner, to drive. Andretti placed third in the championship standings in the team's first season, and the first of eight titles followed in 1984.

"As I look back with fondness on the 12 years I drove for you, I know this honor is truly deserved," Andretti said. "Your victories and championships were a testament to your passion and love for the sport, and the outstanding team you assembled during the years.

"Congratulations on this lifetime achievement award. Well done my friend."

The Autosport John Bolster Award is given in honor of the magazine's long-time technical editor and reflects a lifetime of technical excellence in motorsport by an individual or group. Past winners include McLaren, Renault Sport, Ken Tyrrell, Roger Penske, Ross Brawn, Honda and Patrick Head.

"It is a great honor to receive the Autosport John Bolster Award," Haas said. "The dedication of talented drivers and team members has enabled us to achieve many goals over the years. On behalf of the team, I would like to thank Autosport magazine for their recognition of our accomplishments."

In its first year in the IndyCar Series, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing won two races (one each by Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal). It was dealt a blow in September with the death of Newman.

"It was a great program we had together and we really miss him," Haas said. "In 24 years, we won a lot of races and worked with some great people."

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2. Patrick films Super Bowl commercial: Danica Patrick was the most-searched athlete on AOL in 2008. She'll likely get a boost early in 2009 by appearing in a Go Daddy commercial during the first half of Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1.

Patrick, a spokeswoman for the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based domain name registrar, is featured in two TV spots filmed last week in Los Angeles.

"They are both fun and edgy," Patrick said. "They are just what you would expect from GoDaddy.com. You're going to have to watch the Super Bowl to see them. I can't ruin the surprise."

The commercials still have to be approved by NBC-TV censors, who gave Go Daddy more publicity in 2005 when they pulled its commercial after one airing.

"We have two options and they're both absolutely … Go Daddy-esque," Go Daddy CEO and founder Bob Parsons said. "They are fun, edgy and slightly inappropriate; surely network censors will have a sense of humor, people could use a good laugh these days."

The Andretti Green Racing driver also has donated a 2008 worn race suit - plus four pit passes and four race tickets to a 2009 race of the winning bidder's choice except the Indianapolis 500 - to the Gabrielle's Angel Foundation for Cancer Research auction. The auction runs through Dec. 16. (auction01.charitybuzz.com/secure/viewItemDetail.do?auction_item_id=2230)

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3. Donoso receives national honors: Firestone Indy Lights Series driver Pablo Donoso was chosen as Auto Racing Sportsman of the Year 2008 by Deportes 13 magazine, a leading sports publication in Chile.

The award, voted on by approximately 1,800 athletes across Chile, is given to the best Chilean athletes in various sports. Donoso, who finished seventh in the Firestone Indy Lights point standings, was honored alongside some of Chile's most-famous sportsmen including ATP tennis player Fernando Gonzalez and international soccer coach Manuel Pellegrini.

This is the fifth time Donoso has been honored as Auto Racing Sportsman of the Year in Chile. He was previously honored four times by the Chilean journalists in 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2007.

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4. Phil Casey Golf Tournament raises $22,000 for charities: The charities selected by the co-hosts of this year's Phil Casey Charity Golf Tournament will receive more than $22,000 raised by the annual racing community golf tournament and silent auction.

Tournament founder Phil Casey donated his $12,000 share to the Pediatric Diabetes Center at Valley Children's Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House both located in his hometown of Fresno, Calif., while co-hosts Graham and Bobby Rahal donated their $10,000 share to the Hole in the Wall Camps.

Casey, who retired as Indy Racing League senior technical director earlier this year, donates to his chosen charity each year for a very personal reason. His granddaughter, Jennifer Burkhart, was diagnosed with pediatric diabetes at age 3. She was treated by doctors at Valley Children's Hospital.

The Rahals selected Hole in the Wall Camps to receive their half of the funds from the tournament, which was played in September at the Brickyard Crossing Resort at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The tournament annually draws players from throughout the IndyCar Series community such as IndyCar Series owner/driver Sarah Fisher, Indy Racing League president of competition and operations Brian Barnhart and Target Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull.

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The 2009 IndyCar Series season opens April 5 with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. The race will be telecast live at 2 p.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. The 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season begins with a doubleheader race weekend April 4-5 at St. Petersburg.

-credit: irl

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Series INDYCAR , INDYLIGHTS