Indy Racing League news and notes 2009-01-20

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines 1. IndyCar Series announces testing policy 2. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing tabs Conway to drive in 2009 1. IndyCar Series announces testing policy: IndyCar Series teams will...

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. IndyCar Series announces testing policy
2. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing tabs Conway to drive in 2009

1. IndyCar Series announces testing policy: IndyCar Series teams will be permitted six private test days in 2009, with limitations on the numbers of miles and sets of tires allowed based on the number of full-time cars the team fields. Teams can earn additional test days by providing opportunities to Firestone Indy Lights drivers.

Each IndyCar Series entrant that participates in the season-long IndyCar TEAM program (Team Enhancement and Allocation Matrix) will be allowed 800 miles or six days of testing, whichever comes first, and 18 sets of Firestone Firehawk tires. Entrants with a second car may conduct 1,200 miles of testing with 26 sets of tires, while entrants with additional cars will gain 200 miles and four sets of tires per car. Teams are not permitted to test at any track within seven days of a race.

"Our 2009 testing policy strikes a fair balance between controlling costs and maintaining a level playing field," said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and operations for the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights. "With our diverse schedule of short ovals and superspeedways, road and street courses, it's important to give our drivers and teams the chance to keep improving and maximize their performance. We also think there is a tremendous incentive for teams to give opportunities to the next generation of IndyCar Series drivers."

For every 200 miles a Firestone Indy Lights driver tests with a team - up to a maximum of 600, the IndyCar Series team earns 100 bonus miles.

The testing policy also affords teams with rookie drivers an additional 400 miles and eight sets of tires for three days of testing.

"When you look back at the 13-year history of the IndyCar Series, our hallmark is the absolute best on-track competition," Barnhart said. "This plan provides rookies, newcomers and our future drivers the chance to improve their skill set and throw themselves right into the thick of the competition."

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2. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing tabs Conway to drive in 2009: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced today that it has come to an agreement with British racer Mike Conway to become the team's first confirmed driver for the 2009 IndyCar Series campaign.

The 25-year old rookie comes to the U.S.-based open-wheel series after spending the majority of his career in the European formula car ladder. Most recently, he completed his second season driving in the GP2 Series with Trident Racing in 2008. He was also a Honda F1 Racing test driver for the past two seasons.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to race in the U.S. with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in the IndyCar Series," said Conway, who tested an IndyCar Series machine with Panther Racing last summer at Infineon Raceway. "I'll be visiting a lot of new tracks for the first time, especially oval tracks, but I'm very much looking forward to the challenge."

Conway has been one of the top up-and-coming British drivers for the last several years, having won the prestigious British Formula 3 championship with Raikkonen Robertson Racing in 2006. That year was also highlighted by a win in the famed Macau Grand Prix. His most recent success was winning a round at the famous streets of Monte Carlo, Monaca in the GP2 Series in 2008.

In 2004, he won the Formula Renault UK Championship, and in 2005, he was recognized twice by the British Racing Drivers' Club for his achievements in Formula 3.

"We're excited to get the things rolling in getting ready for the 2009 season," team co-owner Dennis Reinbold said. "We've made a lot of improvements in the off-season, and combined with Mike's talent, we're excited to see lots of positive results in this year's IndyCar Series events."

Conway's first test with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will be a private rookie test before the IndyCar Series Open Test at the Homestead-Miami Speedway Feb. 25-26. These tests will be his first laps on an oval.

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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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