Indy Racing League News and Notes -- 12/17/04
Today's IRL headlines
1. Indy Racing League Drivers Earn All-America Honors
2. Wheldon Teaches Art Of Making Donuts
3. Castroneves Visits The Vatican
1. Indy Racing League Drivers Earn All-America Honors: IRL IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan and IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series champion Thiago Medeiros have been named to the Auto Racing All-America Team by the members of the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association.
Kanaan, who became the first driver in a major North American series to complete every possible lap during the 2004 season, was the leading vote getter in the open wheel category, which also included Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice and IndyCar Series runner-up Dan Wheldon.
Rice also earned All-America honors by placing on the second team after finishing third in the open wheel vote. Rice, who was a first-team selection in 2000, narrowly missed earning first team honors for the second time in his career, falling three votes shy of second place.
Medeiros, who rewrote the Menards Infiniti Pro Series record books with six wins and eight pole positions in 2004, was also involved in a close vote. The 22-year-old Brazilian edged promising road-racer Scott Speed by one vote to earn first-team honors in the at-large division.
Kanaan and Medeiros are the first Brazilian drivers to earn All-America honors and are among 13 first-time honorees. Other racers earning first team honors include Sebastien Bourdais (open wheel), Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson (stock car), Ron Fellows, Max Papis/Scott Pruett (road racing), John Force, Tony Schumacher (drag racing), Steve Kinser, Bobby East (short track), Martin Truex Jr., Bobby Hamilton (touring series) and Bill Auberlen (at large).
All three drivers will be honored at the AARWBA banquet Jan. 15 in Pomona, Calif. The driver receiving the most votes, regardless of category, will be announced as the 35th winner of the Jerry Titus Award.
2. Wheldon Teaches Art Of Making Donuts: IRL IndyCar® Series driver Dan Wheldon, who was runner-up to teammate Tony Kanaan in the championship race this year, gives the lowdown on smoking his tires -- with flair -- in the January issue of Maxim.
The article is part of the men's magazine's "How To" feature and arrives on newsstands Dec. 20.
"If you plan to win, you must know how to do a proper spin," Wheldon said.
A few pointers from the feature:
* Find a place with plenty of space and gravel.
* The increased benefit of added gas? Lots of smoke.
* Hand gestures are grand. Eye contact is primo.
Where did he pick up the stylish spin game plan?
"I've had practice through the years," said Wheldon, who has plans to move into his new St. Petersburg, Fla., home in mid-January.
Another IndyCar Series driver also is featured in a magazine set to hit newsstands on Dec. 20.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon is featured in the January issue of Esquire. Dixon, the 2003 IndyCar Series champion, is one of 10 men featured in an article entitle "I want that guy's job." Also featured is actor Michael Imperioli, who plays Christopher on HBO's "The Sopranos."
3. Castroneves Visits The Vatican: Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves had an audience with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican on Dec. 16.
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.