IPS: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2008-03-04

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Kanaan makes it two-for-two at Sebring 2. Carpenter turns most laps after celebrating birthday 3. Season Preview: Roth Racing 4. Chicagoland finish recognized by Guinness Book of World ...

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Kanaan makes it two-for-two at Sebring
2. Carpenter turns most laps after celebrating birthday
3. Season Preview: Roth Racing
4. Chicagoland finish recognized by Guinness Book of World Records
5. Andretti to drive in 12 Hours of Sebring

1. Kanaan makes it two-for-two at Sebring: Tony Kanaan made it two-for-two, topping the speed chart for the second consecutive day during an IndyCar Series Open Test at Sebring International Raceway. Nine drivers tested March 3-4. A second group of nine will test on the circuit's 11-turn, 1.7-mile circuit March 5-6.

Kanaan took over the top position on the speed chart from teammate Hideki Mutoh with less than 15 minutes remaining in the day and then topped things off with his fastest lap as the checkered flag waved. Kanaan's 124th lap came in at 52.8609 seconds, 113.732 mph.

"The car got a lot better," Kanaan said. "We made huge improvements during the day. I gave some of my stuff to Hideki and to Marco (Andretti) and to Danica (Patrick), and I got some stuff from Hideki. Actually, the last change that we made on my car was something that he tried and he liked it, so I've got to thank him for that.

"It was a great couple of days for me. After Homestead, where I had a rough test, it's good to come out of here knowing that we got the job done. I have a lot of responsibility on my back right now with this team. I don't mind, but it's definitely a relief. Everything that was on the list, we got it done."

Mutoh and Andretti swapped positions from the previous day when Andretti was second fastest and Mutoh was third.

Testing resumes at 1 p.m. ET March 5 with drivers from A.J. Foyt Racing, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Panther Racing, Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske taking to the track.

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2. Carpenter turns most laps after celebrating birthday: Ed Carpenter was glued to the seat of the Nos. 20 and 2 Vision Racing cars during the second day of testing on the Sebring International Raceway course.

Carpenter recorded a field-high 171 laps on the 1.7-mile, 11-turn circuit in preparation for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on April 6. Carpenter and teammate A.J. Foyt IV combined for 314 laps, and exchanged cars midway through the afternoon session.

"We had a lot of things to test today, so that was a reason for a lot of the laps," said Carpenter, who posted a quick lap of 54.1869 seconds (110.949 mph). "A.J. and I swapped cars, which was part of the plan, and I wasn't that tired so I just kept doing laps. I was happy to be in the car and can't wait for the season to start."

Carpenter spent the previous evening celebrating his 27th birthday.

"At the hotel, (wife) Heather got some ice cream cake and I had the joy of my entire crew -- not only mine but A.J.'s too -- sing 'Happy Birthday,''' Carpenter said. "It's funny to hear a group of guys sitting around a hotel lobby singing, but it shows the kind of team we have and that we all get along."

***

3. Season Preview: Roth Racing: Roth Racing's full-time entry into the IndyCar Series in 2008 is a story of perseverance, both for owner/driver Marty Roth and for rookie driver Jay Howard.

Roth, a long-time competitor in Indy Lights and the Indy Pro Series, took his first step toward team ownership in 2004, purchasing Panther Racing's Indy Pro Series equipment. A few months later, he purchased IndyCar Series equipment and fielded an entry in the Indianapolis 500.

In 2006, he competed in three IndyCar Series races, and last year he made four starts, recording a career-best finish of 14th at Chicagoland.

This year, the team expands to a two-car effort for the entire season.

"It's a huge step up from where we started from," Roth said. "This is what you need to do to build a product that would attract sponsors. That's what we at Roth Racing have done. This is a product that we offer to a sponsor to represent them in a first-class manner.

"We hope to have a very competitive team out there. We're going out there to be a strong, competitive team and win some races."

Howard also has persevered. After winning Formula Ford Zetec championships in Great Britain and the United States in 2003 and 2005, respectively, Howard captured the Indy Pro Series title in 2006. After an IndyCar Series ride didn't materialize for 2007, Howard waited patiently for the chance to prove his mettle in 2008.

"It was definitely worth (sitting out a year)," said Howard, who passed his oval rookie test Feb. 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "Things are happening a little faster than in the (Indy) Pro (Series) car, but it was really good how much I could relay what I learned in the Indy Pro Series car I could put into practice in the big car. That was beneficial to me. We're really happy with the times we race, and now it's forward, forward, forward for us. Expectations are high."

***

4. Chicagoland finish recognized by Guinness Book of World Records: It's official. The Indy Pro Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in 2007 has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the closest margin of victory in a car race.

The 67-lap, 100-mile race was decided by 0.0005 of a second. Logan Gomez edged his Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate Alex Lloyd to the finish line by mere inches as they crossed the finish line at approximately 190 mph. The previous closest margin of victory in the Indy Pro Series was 0.0170 of a second at the Chicagoland event in 2003.

"It's a great honor to be recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records," said Gomez, a Crown Point, Ind., native who will return for his second season in the Indy Pro Series with Guthrie Racing in 2008. "I was happy just to get my first win at Chicagoland, but if you're going set a world record, I can't think of any better way than to win a race, even if it's by a very slim margin."

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5. Andretti to drive in 12 Hours of Sebring: Andretti Green Racing's Marco Andretti will be the team's third driver of the XM Satellite Radio Acura at the season-opening American Le Mans Series event, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, on March 15. Andretti will join Bryan Herta and Christian Fittipaldi.

"I'm really looking forward to getting into the XM Satellite Radio Acura," Andretti said. I've had a chance to drive the car in a couple of tests and I've been very happy with it. The car has been really quick, fun to drive and has been incredibly durable. I'm just excited to be driving with Bryan (Herta) and Christian (Fittipaldi). I think I'll be able to contribute and, hopefully, run up front. My grandfather has won three times at Sebring and I hope to add my name to that list."

***

The 2008 IndyCar Series season begins under the lights with the GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300 on March 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 2008 schedule, one of the most diverse in all of motorsports, features races on ovals, permanent road courses and temporary street circuits, all broadcast worldwide through a comprehensive, long-term agreement with ESPN. All races in 2008 will be telecast in High Definition. The 2008 Indy Pro Series season also begins on March 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 16-race schedule, which features eight ovals and four road/street course doubleheader weekends, will be televised by ESPN2.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers A.J. Foyt IV , Christian Fittipaldi , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Sam Schmidt , Marty Roth , Marco Andretti , Chip Ganassi , Alex Lloyd , Jay Howard , Logan Gomez , Hideki Mutoh , A.J. Foyt , Ed Carpenter
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing