Series news and notes 2011-10-11

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IndyCar Series press release

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. If you missed it - IZOD IndyCar Series Championship Contenders
2. Hawk to be grand marshal at Vegas
3. Indy car history in Vegas dates to 1954
4. Of note

2011 championship contenders Will Power, Team Penske and Dario Franchitti, Target Chip Ganassi Racing
2011 championship contenders Will Power, Team Penske and Dario Franchitti, Target Chip Ganassi Racing

Photo by: IndyCar Series

1. If you missed it - IZOD IndyCar Series Championship Contenders: The twoIZOD IndyCar Series drivers who will compete for the IZOD IndyCar Series championship this weekend -- Dario Franchitti and Will Power -- participated in an INDYCAR teleconference earlier today to preview the Las Vegas Indy 300, the headline event of the IZOD INDYCAR World Championship Presented by Honda.

Selected quotes are below.

Q. It's the second straight year it's come down to the two of you for the championship. Does the vibe feel any different this year? Is there anything that is there any sort of feel, or is it similar to last year? Dario, I'll start with you.

DARIO FRANCHITTI: I'd say it's very similar to last season, really. You know, I think in the middle of the season there was certainly more I think there was a little more tension there with some of the stuff that went on, but at this point it feels very, very similar to me.

I see Will and the Penske boys as very, very difficult opponents, and that was the same last year. It's no different now. But our job is to go out and to beat them this Sunday.

Q. Will, second straight year for you going against Dario to win the title. Same vibe as last year? Does it feel different for you this year?

WILL POWER: I mean, I think the biggest difference for me this year is just I'm a lot further along on ovals. I feel as though every time I go into a weekend I have a chance of winning them. Obviously, we're coming from behind this time, but at the end of the day, we just I feel as though we've done everything as a team to prepare for this race. I think that we're in very good shape.

Obviously, no one knows what the outcome is, but we know that we've put everything into it this year, and hopefully we can come away with a win.

Q. Dario and Will, same question. Right out of the gate this year, starting at St. Petersburg, you two have been the story, ratcheted way up in Toronto, of course. Dario, when you're on the track in Las Vegas, is the No. 12 is that going to be the singular thing on your mind is where the No. 12 car is? Will, same question to you. The No. 10 car, where it is on the track, is that going to be pretty much your sole focus on Sunday?

DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think it was proved at Kentucky again I'm not just racing Will and Will's not just racing me here. There's 34 cars this weekend on the grid at Vegas, and any one of them can create a problem or go out there and just flat out beat us. At this point, I'm racing the whole field, as I always have. That's the way we'll be looking at things this weekend.

WILL POWER: Yeah, the situation wherein our job is simple. We need to win the race. Whatever else happens is totally out of our control. So we're just focused on doing that and also getting the other two up there as well because, at the end of the day, if we finish one, two, three as a team, we win the championship.

Q. Hi, this is for both of you, and good luck this weekend. There's a lot of 1.5 mile tracks that IndyCars competed on. This is the first time this particular configuration has gone to Vegas. Is there I know 1.5 mile tracks are all different, but is there a way to maybe compare this? Is there anything this track reminds you to, to say a Texas or to some of the other 1.5 milers you've been on? This is for each one to answer.

DARIO FRANCHITTI: I would say this one is probably more Chicago like than Texas. I haven't actually run there in IndyCar. I've run there in the Sprint Cup and also the Nationwide Car. But I would say more Chicago than Texas.

WILL POWER: Yeah, it is. I think that's what it's going to be. I have a feeling this track is going to be easy, easy flat, which makes it very much a pack race. Also, with where it is, because the atmospheric pressure, we lose a bit of horsepower as well, something like 40 or so horsepower. So that makes it even more so like a pack race. So to me it's going to be Chicagoland.

2. Hawk to be grand marshal at Vegas: Action sports icon Tony Hawk will add another adrenaline-filled experience to his fabled resume when he visits the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships Presented by Honda on Oct. 16.

The legendary pro skateboarder and entrepreneur will serve as Grand Marshal for the Las Vegas Indy 300, the main event of the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships Presented by Honda.

Hawk will deliver the most famous words in motor sports "Drivers, start your engines," before the IZOD IndyCar Series season finale on Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. For the sixth year in a row, the IZOD IndyCar Series champion will be determined in the final race of the season.

"I am honored to be invited as Grand Marshal for the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships," Hawk said. "IndyCar racing is one of the most exciting sports to watch live, so I am excited to be right there at the starting line."

Hawk, who is credited with putting skateboarding on the map and gained mainstream fame through the "Tony Hawk Pro Skater" video games, is no stranger to motorsports events. He raced in the Toyota Pro Celebrity race, held in conjunction with the Long Beach Grand Prix, in 2010

The IZOD IndyCar Series and the Firestone Indy Lights champions, plus the Sunoco Rookie of the Year, will be crowned following the races on the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway oval. Additionally, reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon seeks to claim the $5 million Go Daddy INDYCAR Challenge. Should Wheldon, who will start from the rear of the more than 30 car field, take the checkered flag, he will split the $5 million prize with the winning sweepstakes entrant.

For more information about the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships presented by Honda race weekend activities and to enter the Go Daddy INDYCAR Challenge sweepstakes, visit www.indycarworldchampionships.com.

The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Las Vegas Indy 300, the headline event of the IZOD INDYCAR World Championship Presented by Honda, on Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race will be televised live by ABC at 3 p.m. The race will be broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on XM 94. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Las Vegas 100 on Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

3. Indy car history in Vegas dates to 1954: The Las Vegas Indy 300 will be the sixth IZOD IndyCar Series event conducted at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but the first since 2000. Champ Car held Indy car races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2004 and '05.

The first Indy car race in Las Vegas was held on Nov. 14, 1954 at Las Vegas Park - a horse racing track. The 100-lap, 100-mile Silver State Century was won by Jimmy Bryan of Phoenix from the pole. He had clinched the 1954 AAA championship with five races remaining and had won the past three.

His Dean Van Lines Special averaged 84.82 mph over the 100 miles.

4. Of note: Winning the PEAK Performance Pole Award will extend Helio Castroneves' streak to 10 consecutive seasons with at least one pole start. He also needs a victory to extend his consecutive seasons with a win to 12. ... A special tribute to Michael Wanser, the young son of Target Chip Ganassi Racing team manager Barry Wanser who is battling leukemia, will be included at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during the event weekend.

***

The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Las Vegas Indy 300, the headline event of the IZOD INDYCAR World Championship Presented by Honda, on Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race will be televised live by ABC at 3 p.m. The race will be broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on XM 94. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Las Vegas 100 on Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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Series INDYCAR
Tags franchitti, las vegas, power