IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League news and notes 2005-09-06

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Sept. 6, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. McCune to make Menards Infiniti Pro Series debut at Chicagoland McCune to make Menards Infiniti Pro Series debut at Chicagoland: Sarah McCune lists winning the ...

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Sept. 6, 2005

Today's IRL headlines
1. McCune to make Menards Infiniti Pro Series debut at Chicagoland

McCune to make Menards Infiniti Pro Series debut at Chicagoland: Sarah McCune lists winning the Indianapolis 500 as a childhood dream. It hasn't faded two decades later.

McCune, the 1991 national quarter midget champion who went on to compete in a number of series and earn two bachelor's degrees from Indiana University, will take a step toward realizing her goal by driving the No. 8 Trick My Truck Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Chicagoland 100 on Sept. 11.

She will have four Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammates in the 67-lap race at Chicagoland Speedway, with Travis Gregg attempting to gain ground on series points leader Wade Cunningham with three events remaining. The Brian Stewart Racing driver has built his 33-point cushion on the strength of seven runner-up finishes, including the most recent event at Infineon Raceway in California.

"I know that the team is so qualified, and I have a lot of confidence in them and they have confidence in me," McCune said. "That's important for any team-driver combination to be successful."

The Perrysburg, Ohio, native has known her share of success, but it's also been a long and winding road since attending her first motorsports event "when I probably was 5."

"After the races I immediately climbed into a car," said McCune, who turned 26 on Aug. 12. "We have a picture of me in the car with a big grin on my face like, 'I want to do this; this is fun.' When I saw that kids were racing quarter midgets, I begged my dad to let me start racing and he eventually gave in.

"We started racing in quarter midgets regionally, and then started traveling all around the country. The rest is sort of history."

She recorded more than 50 victories in three seasons of quarter midgets, was the first female to win an ARCA feature (1996 midget race), finished second in the 1997 North American Midget Auto Racing Series championship, finished 12th in the 1998 USAC National Midget series, and posted a victory and runner-up finish in two ARCA midget starts in 1999.

Limited schedules in USAC (six top 10s in 10 events in 1999; six top 10s in 15 events in 2000) and NAMARS (victories in both starts) followed. The impressive resume has developed a savvy competitor and well-grounded woman.

"Growing up racing is such an advantage to people who turn 16 and decide they want to race," McCune said. "There are skills and instincts that you develop. Racing as a kid definitely developed me as a person and driver."

McCune's drive was recognized in 2003 by being the first recipient of the Kara Hendrick Spirit Award ("In recognition of extraordinary dedication and perseverance in the sport of auto racing.")

Her drive hasn't abated. Her skill set, honed on the dirt and pavement tracks across the country, is prepared for the next level.

"I decided I would focus on getting an opportunity in higher level open-wheel racing," said McCune, who earned her Menards Infiniti Pro Series competitor license in 2003 during a Sam Schmidt Motorsports test. "I wasn't going to take some of the other NASCAR opportunities, because that's not what I wanted to do."

Of course not; it would be incongruous with her dream of winning the Indianapolis 500.

"I hope there's a good result (at Chicagoland) because I'm really excited about it," said McCune, who also will compete in the season finale at the 2-mile California Speedway. "I have some sponsors who are interested in next year depending on how well I do in these two races. It's all I can ask for."

***

The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300, Presented by Mr. Clean at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 11 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will be broadcast by ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network. The race broadcast will also be carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme). The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Chicagoland 100 on Sept. 11 at Chicagoland Speedway. It will be telecast at 3 p.m. (EDT) on Sept 15 by ESPN2.

-irl-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Travis Gregg , Sarah McCune , Wade Cunningham