Indy Racing League News and Notes -- Dec. 3, 2004
Today's IRL headlines
1. IRL Alters Preseason Testing Schedule
2. J.L. West Motorsports To Field Team In Menards Infiniti Pro Series
3. Castroneves Enters Fast Food Market
4. Hornish Heads To Mexico For Honeymoon
1. IRL Alters Preseason Testing Schedule: The Indy Racing has revised its preseason testing schedule regarding tests at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway.
As previously announced, the IRL IndyCar® Series and IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series will each test on the oval and road course at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Jan. 18-22, but teams will test on the 2.21-mile road circuit on Jan. 18-20 before moving to the 1.5-mile oval on Jan. 21-22.
The Menards Infinti Pro Series will test on the road course on Jan 18 and on the oval Jan. 21. The IndyCar Series will test on the road course on Jan. 19-20 and on the oval on Jan. 22.
Both series will test at Phoenix International Raceway on Feb. 8-10. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series will test on the 1-mile oval on Feb. 8 before turning the track over to the IndyCar Series for a two-day test beginning Feb. 9.
2. J.L. West Motorsports To Field Team In Menards Infiniti Pro Series: J.L. West Motorsports will field a two-car team in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series^Ù in 2005, team and league officials announced.
The team, which is co-owned by Jeff and Laura West, expects to announce its drivers in the near future.
"We're very pleased to welcome the Wests into the Menards Infiniti Pro Series as team owners," said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. "They've been around racing for a long time and have a solid plan in place to compete in this series."
Jeff West grew up in upstate New York and spent 15 years driving a variety of race cars, including supermodifieds, midgets and Busch Grand National series cars. West started a fabricating business in New York in 1986.
"Basically, I've been in the racing business my whole life -- driving, fabricating, building cars," West said.
West's association with the IRL began in 2001 when he relocated to Indianapolis. West worked for Heritage Motorsports and Cheever Racing. He also founded Indy Performance Composites with partner Greg Strydesky, a company which builds all of the camera pods for the IRL and performs carbon work for various IRL teams and manufacturers.
"Our business grew from 2,500 square feet to 10,000 square feet last year," West said. "We went from two employees to 10 employees. Things are moving in the right direction.
"I've missed racing after being away from it the past few years. Working for a team is not the same as owning a team. I've always wanted to own a big-league team, so this is a big deal to me. For 15 years, I spent every penny, and pennies I probably didn't have to spend. Now I want to do it as a professional. I think we've got it set up right. We're going to have some fun."
Formed in July 2002, the Menards Infiniti Pro Series is an essential stepping stone for drivers and teams striving to reach the pinnacle of open-wheel racing in America, the IRL IndyCar® Series. Two previous champions, A.J. Foyt IV (2002) and Mark Taylor (2003), along with 2002 Futaba Freedom 100 winner Ed Carpenter, are full-time drivers in the IndyCar Series.
Infiniti Q45 engines power Dallara Automobili chassis built for the series, with Firestone Firehawk tires used exclusively on all cars. The V8 engines produce approximately 450 horsepower for the single-seat winged chassis, providing an ideal training ground for the 650-horsepower, single-seat winged cars of the IndyCar Series.
3. Castroneves Enters Fast Food Market: Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves recently kicked off his latest business venture in Brazil. The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner has teamed with nine others to bring the Burger King hamburger franchise to Brazil.
The group opened the nation's first Burger King outlet in Sao Paulo in November at the Ibirapuera Mall. Castroneves joined two of the nine other partners Galvao Bueno, a Brazilian Formula 1 announcer, and Luiz Eduardo Batalha, for the grand opening of the franchise. Nish Kankiwala, the international president of Burger King, and Julio Ramirez, the president of Burger King in Latin America, also were present at the opening ceremonies.
Castroneves and his partners plan to open two more Burger King franchises in Sao Paulo this year and a total of 50 stores over the next five years.
4. Hornish Heads To Mexico For Honeymoon: Two-time IndyCar Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. finally has time to give his wife, Crystal, the honeymoon she's been waiting for since the couple married on June 5.
With the time constraints of the 16-race schedule and off-season testing completed, the couple will depart for Cabo San Lucas, Mexico this weekend.
The IRL IndyCar Series opens its 10th season of competition with the Toyota Indy 300 at 2 p.m. (EST) 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. The race will be broadcast by ESPN2 at 4 p.m. (EST) on March 17.