INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Oct. 28, 2005

Today's IRL headlines
1. Four IndyCar Series drivers nominated for All-America Team
2. Rice, Gregg forgo rest for Baja 1000

1. Four IndyCar Series drivers nominated for All-America Team: IndyCar Series standouts Dario Franchitti, Sam Hornish Jr., Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon are among eight open-wheel drivers nominated for the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters All-America Team.

Nearly 300 members of the motorsports media will vote to select the team. The top two vote-getters will be selected to the first team, the next two to the second team and any other driver receiving at least 5 percent of the vote will receive honorable mention honors. The top vote-getter among all categories -- Open-Wheel, Stock Car, Road Racing, Drag Racing, Short Track, Touring Series, At Large -- will earn the Jerry Titus Award.

Wheldon, the IndyCar Series champion, earned six race victories in 2005, including the Indianapolis 500. He earned Second Team honors in 2003.

Kanaan, the 2004 Jerry Titus winner, finished second in the IndyCar Series championship and had two race victories.

Hornish and Franchitti, third and fourth, respectively, in the IndyCar Series in 2005 each won two races.

The All-America Team will be announced Dec. 3 during the annual AARWBA banquet in Indianapolis.

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2. Rice, Gregg forgo rest for Baja 1000: While most Indy Racing League drivers started some much needed "R and R" after the Oct. 16 season finale at California Speedway, Menards Infiniti Pro Series driver Travis Gregg headed for the desert for some intense off-road driving.

Gregg, who finished third in the point standings, was off to Mexico with ESPN2's Cameron Steele to help Steele prepare for the 38th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, which will take place Nov. 18-19.

"It was a really cool experience," said Gregg, a 27-year-old from Camden, Ohio. "I didn't know what to expect. I got to drive a little bit. It's really off-road, going up rock cliffs, through sand washes. I got some motion sickness the first day, lost my lunch. There was so much up and down, up and down."

The opportunity came about due to a relationship with Lucas Oil, the primary sponsor on Gregg's No. 7 Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone and an associate sponsor on Steele's Ford F-150 Trophy-Truck.

Steele, a pit reporter for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series for the past two seasons, won the Baja 1000 in a buggy in 2003. This year, he'll drive a high-tech, 800-horsepower SCORE Trophy-Truck for Desert Assassins in the 709-mile event, which begins and ends in Ensenada, Mexico. One of his teammates will be 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice.

"Buddy is scheduled to drive the No. 16 truck from mile 530 to the finish," Steele said. "That stretch is in the dark, known as 'the beach route.'"

"I have been looking forward to racing in the Baja 1000 for many years," said Rice, a Phoenix native who drives the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone in the IndyCar Series. "We almost had it put together last year but there were so many things that came up after winning Indy. This year, Cameron asked me again if I would be interested in racing with him, and I was able to jump at the opportunity. I have been testing with his truck recently and we are pre-running in another week or two, so I am anxious to get the chance to race in one of the greatest races in the world. It should be an excellent experience."

Nearly 330 entries, competing in 32 classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs, will race in this year's event.

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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. The fifth season of Menards Infiniti Pro Series competition also opens on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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