Castroneves, Briscoe to drive in Rolex 24; Indy stars earn All-America nominations
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2007 -- Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and his new Penske Racing IndyCar Series teammate, Ryan Briscoe, will join Penske NASCAR standout Kurt Busch in a car at the Rolex 24 At Daytona sports-car endurance classic.
The trio will share driving duties in the No. 9 Toshiba Pontiac Riley fielded by Penske-Taylor Racing. Penske Racing has joined forces with Wayne Taylor Racing for this entry in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race Jan. 26-27 on the road course at Daytona International Speedway.
Castroneves made his Rolex 24 debut in 2007 in a Michael Shank Racing entry alongside fellow Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. Castroneves recently earned worldwide headlines for winning ABC's hit reality series, "Dancing with the Stars."
Briscoe drove a Penske Porsche to two overall victories and three class victories in American Le Mans Series competition in 2007. He earned the pole for the 2005 Rolex 24 in his only other previous start in the event.
Open-wheel and sports-car veteran Briscoe also finished fifth in the 2007 Indianapolis 500, a performance that helped him land a full-time drive with Penske in the IndyCar Series in 2008.
Castroneves, Briscoe and Busch are scheduled to participate in the annual Rolex 24 test session Jan. 4-6 at Daytona.
Indy stars nominated for awards: 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, 2007 Freedom 100 winner Alex Lloyd, and Indianapolis 500 standouts Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan were nominated for spots on the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association All-America Team.
2007 IndyCar Series champion Franchitti, Dixon and Kanaan are among six nominees in the Open Wheel category, while 2007 Indy Pro Series champion Lloyd is one of six drivers in the At Large category.
The top two vote-earners in AARWBA member voting in each of the seven categories earn a spot on the 2007 All-America Team. The driver earning the most votes is presented the Jerry Titus Memorial Award as AARWBA Driver of the Year.
All-America Team members and the Titus Award winner will be revealed at the 38th All-America Team dinner Saturday, Jan. 12 at the Hyatt in Indianapolis. Information on individual tickets, tables of 10 and souvenir program book advertising is available at www.aarwba.org or from AARWBA President Dusty Brandel, (818) 842-7005 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Autosport honors Franchitti: 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti was presented a Gregor Grant Award during the annual Autosport Awards on Dec. 2 in London.
The Gregor Grant Award -- named after Autosport's founding editor -- is presented in recognition of outstanding achievement in motorsport. Previous recipients include world rally champion Carlos Sainz, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One World Champion Jack Brabham.
1966 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Jackie Stewart presented the award to fellow Scot Franchitti. Stewart helped Franchitti during the early years of his career.
Franchitti also is one of 12 finalists for the Speed Performer of the Year, which will be awarded during the SPEED Performance Awards in February.
The second annual SPEED Performer of the Year will be selected by a panel that includes "Wind Tunnel" host Dave Despain, veteran broadcasters Bob Varsha and Ralph Sheheen, SPEEDtv.com writers Robin Miller and Tom Jensen, and drivers Tommy Kendall and Dorsey Schroeder.
The winner will receive the Mario Andretti Trophy, created by bronze artist Elie Hazak.
2008 IMS tickets: Tickets for all three world-class events in 2008 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- the 92nd Indianapolis 500, 15th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP -- are on sale.
Fans have three easy methods to buy tickets: Online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com at any time; on the phone by calling (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or (317) 492-6700 locally between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday; or visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ticket Office on the first floor of the IMS Administration Building at 4790 W. 16th St. in Indianapolis from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.