IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2005-12-13

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Dec. 13, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. Casey Tournament presents funds to Rupert's Kids 2. IRL Alters Preseason Testing Schedule 3. Cunningham honored by New Zealand Kart Club 4. Rahal helps open Chicago...

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Dec. 13, 2005

Today's IRL headlines
1. Casey Tournament presents funds to Rupert's Kids
2. IRL Alters Preseason Testing Schedule
3. Cunningham honored by New Zealand Kart Club
4. Rahal helps open Chicago toll road

1. Casey Tournament presents funds to Rupert's Kids: Indy Racing League founder Tony George and IRL Senior Technical Director Phil Casey presented a check for $15,500 to Rupert's Kids on behalf of the Phil Casey Indy Racing Golf Tournament.

"I'm happy to give this to a great guy for a great cause," George said as he presented the check to Boneham.

Casey's annual tournament raises funds for charities throughout the country, and this year's event, played at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Prestwick Country Club in Avon, Ind., raised $31,000. Casey donates his half of the funds to Valley Children's Hospital in Fresno, Calif., while this year's co-hosts, Tony and Laura George, selected Rupert' Kids, an organization founded by former Survivor contestant Rupert Boneham.

"The things that Rupert is doing for children is a wonderful thing," Casey said. "Of course, Valley Children's Hospital does the same thing. Teens with diabetes get a chance to get treatment and have a chance to live a better life."

Boneham, an Indianapolis resident who was voted one of "Survivor's" most-popular contestants, was honored to receive the donation from George and Casey.

"I have worked around the IRL for years, and Tony George has recognized me and seen me around the track for years" Boneham said. "After I got the celebrity status and I started getting invited to participate in events like the parade, it was like a little Hoosier boy's dream come true. I didn't think it could get any better.

"Then they told me that Tony George and the IRL wanted to name Rupert's Kids as the golf tournament's charity. I always knew that helping these kids was a good cause, but for the IRL to say that is way better than any picture or parade."

2. IRL Alters Preseason Testing Schedule: The Indy Racing League has revised the testing schedule for its preseason Open Test at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The IRL IndyCar® Series and IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series will each have Open Testing days on the 1.5-mile oval and 2.21-mile road course at Homestead-Miami Speedway from March 2-6.

The IndyCar Series will test on the road course on March 2-3 and on the oval on March 5.

The Menards Infinti Pro Series will test on the road course on March 4 and on the oval on March 6.

The test will be the only Open Test held prior to the season-opening races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

3. Cunningham honored by New Zealand Kart Club: Reigning Menards Infiniti Pro Series champion Wade Cunningham was honored with a life membership to the Mt. Wellington Kart Club in his native New Zealand.

Cunningham, who won the world karting championship in 2003, got his start at the club and recently won the Pop Volkner Trophy Race at the track. He is the second club member to earn a title in the Indy Racing League. 2003 IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon also raced at Mt. Wellington before graduating to cars.

4. Rahal helps open Chicago toll road: IndyCar Series team owner Bobby Rahal helped Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich open three new Open Road Tolling lanes on Dec. 11. The lanes allow drivers with I-PASS to get to their destinations faster on I-294 because they no longer have to slow down or stop at toll booths.

Rahal drove a red 2005 Indianapolis 500 Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car through the new Touhy Avenue Plaza.

"Thanks to Bobby Rahal for coming out today to dramatize how Open Road Tolling lanes will allow motorists to get to their destinations faster," Blagojevich said. "I've been coming out for each Open Road Tolling opening because I want drivers to know we are doing everything we can to reduce congestion."

***

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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Series INDYCAR , INDYLIGHTS