IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2005-10-20

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Oct. 20, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. Ratings for IRL IndyCar® Series season finale increase 293 percent 2. Cunningham penalized for unsportsmanlike driving during Menards Infiniti Pro Series finale 3.

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Oct. 20, 2005

Today's IRL headlines
1. Ratings for IRL IndyCar® Series season finale increase 293 percent
2. Cunningham penalized for unsportsmanlike driving during Menards Infiniti Pro Series finale
3. IndyCar Series stars design guitars for charity
4. Winning bid benefits charities

1. Ratings for IRL IndyCar® Series season finale increase 293 percent: The Toyota Indy 400 from the California Speedway recorded a 293 percent ratings increase compared to the 2004 race according to Nielsen Media Research, and season-long ratings on ESPN finished 33 percent ahead of races in 2004.

The Oct. 16 race, which was won by Dario Franchitti, recorded a 0.6 rating and peaked at 0.8 at 6 p.m. EDT.

Across all three networks covering the IndyCar Series, ratings improved from the 2004 season:

* ABC Sports showed a 53 percent rating and 54 percent viewership increase compared to the 2004 season. Ratings on ABC Sports averaged a 2.0 in 2005 compared to a 1.3 in 2004.

* ESPN's IndyCar Series ratings averaged a 0.6, up from a 0.4 in 2004 for a 33 percent ratings increase as well as a 35 percent increase in viewership.

* ESPN2 IndyCar Series ratings climbed 50 percent to 0.3 in 2005 up from 0.2 in 2004. Viewership was up 86 percent.

"We are thrilled with the final ratings report for the 2005 IndyCar Series season," said Brian Barnhart, president and chief operating officer for the Indy Racing League. "With the introduction of the more compact schedule in 2006, we look forward to working with ABC Sports and ESPN to help grow the IndyCar Series ratings again next season."

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2. Cunningham penalized for unsportsmanlike driving during Menards Infiniti Pro Series finale: The Indy Racing League penalized IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series^Ù champion Wade Cunningham 15 driver points and fined him an undisclosed amount for reckless and overly aggressive driving during the California 100 at California Speedway on Oct. 16.

On the last lap of the race, Cunningham touched wheels with second-place finisher Jeff Simmons to defend his position.

Cunningham clinched the series championship with his first victory in the race. Despite the penalty he retains a 30-point advantage over Simmons in the final point standings.

Cunningham was penalized for violating Rule 1.2 (B) of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Rule Book.

Cunningham may contest the imposition of the penalty pursuant to the protest and appeal procedures in the Rule Book. This may result in an increase, decrease or no change to the penalty.

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3. IndyCar Series stars design guitars for charity: IndyCar Series drivers Dan Wheldon, Danica Patrick, Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta are in the guitar design business.

Actually, the stars have decorated and autographed acoustic guitars to be auctioned Nov. 29 during the Art of Rock & Roll to benefit The Angelus, a non-profit group based in Hudson, Fla., that offers day programs and group home housing for severely handicapped individuals.

The guitars will be on display in November at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa.

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4. Winning bid benefits charities: Jeff Reed, Chief Technology Officer of Logicalis (software solution provider and sponsor of Rahal Letterman Racing) was the winning bidder at $2,550 for the Firestone 10th Anniversary poster created to recognize the tire manufacturer's decade of involvement in the Indy Racing League.

Proceeds from the winning bid will be split between CARA Charities and the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation. Reed will receive a limited edition Firestone 10th Anniversary poster signed and numbered by the artist, Paul Laguette. Featuring the autographs of 31 race winning drivers, the poster will be delivered professionally framed and with a letter of authenticity.

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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. Highlights of the 2005 Indy Racing League Championship Celebration will be televised by ESPN2 at noon (EDT) on Oct. 23. The fifth season of Menards Infiniti Pro Series competition also opens on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Sam Schmidt , Jeff Simmons , Wade Cunningham , Brian Barnhart , Danica Patrick