Indy Racing League News and Notes -- Nov. 10, 2004
Today's IRL headlines
1. Kanaan Joins Field For Race of Champions
2. IRL To Conduct Test At Infineon Raceway
3. IndyCar Series Drivers To Appear At Karting Event
4. Racing Community Bowls for Charity
5. Hornish, Luyendyk Receive Awards
6. IndyCar Stars Racing Abroad
7. IRL On The Road
1. Kanaan Joins Field For Race of Champions: IRL IndyCar® Series champion Tony Kanaan will participate in the Race of Champions event at Stade de France in Paris next month.
"It is such a special honor to be invited to race against the best drivers in the world," Kanaan said. "There has never been an IRL driver selected to compete in this event, and I feel very proud to be participating. It is definitely going to be a lot of fun."
Kanaan will join other champions from across the spectrum of motor sport. Drivers confirmed for the Dec. 4 event include F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher, World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb, DTM Champion Matthias Ekstrom, plus more than half dozen former champions including 1998 IndyCar Series champion Kenny Brack, NASCAR drivers Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and rally drivers Colin McRae and Marcus Gronholm.
Kanaan will team with Sauber F1 driver Felipe Massa as part of Team Brazil.
"It will be really nice to represent Brazil," Kanaan said. "When the organizers called me up they didn't have to finish the sentence for me to say yes. I have watched the Race of Champions for a while and a lot of the guys who have done it before like Kenny Brack and Cristiano da Matta have said how much fun it is.
"My personal feeling is that the real drivers are the rally drivers. They have to do well on all sorts of surfaces. I have done a couple of events in rally cars, the Bettega competition in Italy and a rally a long time ago in Brazil. That was in a BMW M3. I came second."
2. IRL To Conduct Test At Infineon Raceway: The Indy Racing League will conduct a private compatibility test at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., on Nov. 11.
The purpose of the test is to determine if any changes are needed for IRL cars to race at the facility. The first IRL event at Infineon Raceway will be held on an IRL-modified course in August 2005, but the league will conduct an Open Test for all teams in April.
The compatibility test will conducted by Andretti Green Racing driver Dario Franchitti.
3. IndyCar Series Drivers To Appear At Karting Event: IRL IndyCar® Series drivers and Rahal Letterman Racing co-owner Bobby Rahal will be among the notables attending the Snap-on Stars of Karting Presented by the Indy Racing League awards banquet Nov. 11 that kicks off the national championship finals weekend in Orlando, Fla.
Twelve drivers who won their respective divisional class championships will be recognized. Also, the Jim Trueman Career Enhancement Award -- in honor of the late Indianapolis 500-winning team owner -- will be presented to a competitor. Trueman was an avid supporter of aspiring race car drivers, including Rahal -- the 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner.
Bobby Wilson, who last month tested an IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series car for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, will present the $25,000 check to help the award winner's career move to the next level. Wilson, the 2003 Trueman award winner, recently won the USF2000 championship.
"I had a blast and the car is pretty quick," said Wilson, 23, of Dousman, Wis., of the test at Kentucky Speedway. "I'm pumped to go to the next level."
A specially designed temporary road racing circuit will greet competitors in six classes on Nov. 12 at Walt Disney World. The 15-turn track in a parking lot at the Magic Kingdom is 0.72 of a mile in length with a 710-foot frontstretch. In addition to the racetrack, competitors and their equipment will be housed in a separate 200,000-square-foot paved area.
"It is always challenging to design a temporary facility and even more difficult to ensure it tests the skill level of your karters," said Paul Zalud, track designer for the Snap-on Stars of Karting Presented by the Indy Racing League. "When you have the best of the best coming together from East and West, it becomes even more crucial to provide a course that demonstrates the superior skill level in each driver."
Practice for all classes begins at 8 a.m. (EST) Nov. 12. Qualifying for all classes begins at 10:30 a.m. (EST) Nov. 13, with pre-finals starting at 1:15 p.m. Championship races begin at noon (EST) Nov. 13.
All sessions are free and open to the public. Log on to www.starsofkarting.com and click on "news updates" for a complete schedule.
4. Racing Community Bowls for Charity: The CARA Charities' "BOWL-A-THON" is scheduled for 2 p.m. (EST) Nov. 13 at Raceway Lanes in Speedway, Ind.
CARA Charities has been a fund-raising organization for services within the open-wheel racing community for the past two decades. Prizes will be awarded throughout the event. Cost is $15 per person and includes shoes, bowling ball and two games of bowling. Each team will consist of six bowlers.
For further information, contact the CARA Charities office at (317) 299-2277.
5. Hornish, Luyendyk Receive Awards: Sam Hornish, Jr. and Arie Luyendyk, Jr. were the recipients of the IRL Crew Most Popular Driver Awards at a banquet Nov. 6 in Indianapolis that included IRL CEO and President Tony George.
The awards, for drivers in both the IRL IndyCar® Series and the Menards Infiniti Pro Series^Ù, are determined by the vote of the fans at all Indy Racing League events throughout the season. The IRL Crew, a fan support organization for the IRL, facilitates the balloting.
It was the first Most Popular Driver Award for Hornish, a two-time IndyCar Series champion. Previous winners for the IndyCar Series include Sarah Fisher (2001-2003), Al Unser Jr. (2000), Scott Goodyear (1999) and Arie Luyendyk (1997-1998). Arie Luyendyk Jr. has won both the MPDAs for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series.
6. IndyCar Stars Racing Abroad: IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan will join IndyCar Series competitors Felipe Giaffone, Dan Wheldon and Vitor Meira in the 500 Milhas da Granka Viana karting race Nov. 13 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The eighth annual event will be held at the Giaffone family-owned Kartodromo da Granja Viana facility. The charity feature will be on the 20-turn circuit.
Also scheduled to compete are Formula 1 drivers Rubens Barrichello and Juan Pablo Montoya.
7. IRL On The Road: The Purex IndyCar Series car will be on display through Nov. 14 at the Richmond International Raceway booth at the "HRADA Auto Show" in Virginia Beach, Va.
An IndyCar Series car also will be on display during the "Snap-On Stars of Karting Presented by the Indy Racing League" National Championship Finals at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The IRL IndyCar Series opens its 10th season of competition with the Toyota Indy 300 on March 6, 2005 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network The 2005 Menards Infiniti Pro Series season also opens on March 6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.