Today's IRL headlines
1. IndyCar Series Teams Begin Use Of Ethanol-Blended Fuel
2. Patrick nominated for USSA Athlete of the Year
3. Buy unique IRL items in AutoWeek Auction
4. Giebler takes turn with Team USA
1. IndyCar Series Teams Begin Use Of Ethanol-Blended Fuel: A pair of IRL IndyCar® Series teams will conduct the first on-track test of the league's new ethanol-blended fuel on Dec. 7 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Bryan Herta of Andretti Green Racing and Buddy Rice of Rahal Letterman Racing will use the fuel as part of a one-day test with manufacturers Honda and Firestone.
In March, the Indy Racing League announced it had partnered with the ethanol industry to become the fuel supplier beginning with the 2006 season.
Teams will use a 90 percent methanol and 10 percent ethanol for the test and during the 2006 season. In 2007, the fuel will be 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol in IndyCar Series cars.
"The transition between methanol and ethanol in our cars should be very smooth," said Phil Casey, the Indy Racing League's senior technical director. "Our cars won't sound differently, smell differently or run differently than they have in the past. There will be a seamless transition from methanol to ethanol in our cars."
Ethanol is an alcohol derived primarily from grain. As a clean-burning and renewable fuel that is non-toxic and 100 percent biodegradable, it reduces harmful air pollution and improves racing's environmental footprint.
Its high octane rating delivers strong engine performance by helping engines resist detonation so they can run higher compression ratios.
Race car engines operating on ethanol have demonstrated excellent performance due to the fuel's high octane content. IndyCar Series cars have run on methanol fuel since the late 1960s. Internal dynamometer testing has shown that there are no technical barriers to replacing methanol with ethanol.
Ethanol is the only proven commercial scale renewable transportation fuel currently available in the marketplace. The 2006 season will not be the first time ethanol fuel has powered a car in the famed Indianapolis 500. At the 1927 race, a car driven by Leon Duray was fueled by ethyl (grain) alcohols.
The IndyCar Series has set the standard in technological leadership in automobile racing.
Over the past 10 years, the IRL has been on the forefront of many advances in auto racing, including the introduction of the SAFER Barrier in 2002 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; the use of three Delphi IRL Chevrolet Safety Trucks, which travel to all races, and are equipped with video cameras in the front and rear; and the use of a device on IndyCar Series cars that measures and communicates the impact of a crash to rescue and safety workers on the scene. Controlled by Delphi's accident data recorder (which also is required on all cars) a light illuminates when a crash reaches or exceeds a pre-set threshold, informing safety workers that an injury is more likely.
2. Patrick nominated for USSA Athlete of the Year: 2005 Bombardier Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick is one of 27 athletes nominated for the United States Sports Academy's 2005 Athlete of the Year award.
Balloting for the award, which is held in conjunction with USAToday.com, began Dec. 1 and runs through Dec. 24.
The 2005 male ballot includes Lance Armstrong, Ole Einar Bjoerdalen, Tom Brady, Reggie Bush, Tim Duncan, Jermaine Dye, Roger Federer, Matt Leinart, Peyton Manning, Bode Miller, Asafa Powell, Aaron Peirsol, Tony Stewart and Tiger Woods.
This years female ballot includes Patrick, Kim Clijsters, Natalie Coughlin, Tirunesh Dibaba, Yolanda Griffith, Gao Jun, Deena Kastor, Nastia Liukin, Paula Radcliffe, Irina Slutskaya, Annika Sorenstam, Venus Williams and Yelena Isinbayeva.
As in years past, the male or female athlete receiving the most votes will be named the Academy's Athlete of the Year. Past winners include Lance Armstrong, Barry Bonds, Mia Hamm, Michael Jordan, Annika Sorenstam and Tiger Woods. In addition to the overall winner, a Female Athlete of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year also will be selected.
To submit your vote, please visit www.usatoday.com/sports/front.htm or www.ussa.edu/aoy/index.asp.
3. Buy unique IRL items in AutoWeek Auction: Several Indy Racing League items are part of the annual Autoweek Magazine racing auction for CARA Charities.
Proceeds from the auction will go to CARA Charities, one of auto racing's leading charitable organizations.
In helping needy causes from children's hospital charities to racing ministries to school scholarships, CARA Charities has donated more than $4 million in its 25 years. Founder Betty Rutherford began the charitable group in 1981.
Among the Indy Racing League items listed are:
An Autographed Helmet of the entire field of the 2005 Freedom 100 Menards Infiniti Pro Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It marked the first competition at the famed racing facility for drivers Marco Andretti and Al Unser III.
A camera shroud from the Marlboro Team Penske car driven by Sam Hornish Jr. It is signed by Hornish and teammate Helio Castroneves.
A framed Randy Owens Lithograph of the Top 10 Drivers in the 2004 IndyCar Series and signed by the artist and the Top 3 drivers (Tony Kanaan, Dan Wheldon and Buddy Rice).
Bidding on items began Nov. 26 and it ends at noon (EST) on Dec. 6,. To place a bid in the CARA Charities' Autoweek Auction, send a bid to Darleen White at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Giebler takes turn with Team USA: Menards Infiniti Pro Series veteran Phil Giebler will be the driver for Team USA in the A1GP Race of Nations in Dubai on Dec. 11. Giebler steps in for IndyCar Series veteran Bryan Herta, who drove the last two events for Team USA.
"Bryan is still an important member of our A1 Team USA family and he will continue to provide valuable feedback to us, and will race again for the team in the spring," team principal Rick Weidinger said.
Giebler, who won his Menards Infiniti Pro Series debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2004, has competed in eight Menards Infiniti Pro Series events. He finished sixth at Watkins Glen for Vision Racing in his only 2005 start.
"It's a real honor and privilege to be able to drive for A1 Team USA, and I am excited to represent my country in this exciting new racing series," Giebler said. "I've been following this series since its inception, and I was ecstatic when I got the call to come drive for A1 Team USA."
IndyCar Series drivers Tomas Enge and Tomas Scheckter also have competed in A1GP events this season. Enge also is expected to compete in Dubai.
The IRL IndyCar Series opens the 2006 season with the Toyota Indy 300 on March 26, 2006 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network. The fifth season of Menards Infiniti Pro Series competition also opens on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.