IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2006-01-18

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Jan. 18, 2006 Today's IRL headlines 1. IndyCar Series stars race in Brazilian endurance event 2. Castroneves gets new race engineer 3. Hornish joins Indianapolis 500 legends in Seattle 4. Cunningham races in...

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Jan. 18, 2006

Today's IRL headlines
1. IndyCar Series stars race in Brazilian endurance event
2. Castroneves gets new race engineer
3. Hornish joins Indianapolis 500 legends in Seattle
4. Cunningham races in homeland

1. IndyCar Series stars race in Brazilian endurance event: Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan highlight a strong field of drivers who will compete in the 50th Anniversary Mil Milhas race at Interlagos on Jan. 21.

"This will be my first race in a touring car, so I'm really looking forward to it," Castroneves said. "The Mil Milhas is a very famous race in Brazil, and I consider myself fortunate to have the chance to compete in an event with such a great history. For me this is such a wonderful opportunity -- it will be an entirely new experience and I can't wait to get behind the wheel."

Castroneves will join Formula 1 champion Nelson Piquet, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Frenchman Christophe Bouchut in an Aston Martin DBR9 sports car in the 1,000-mile endurance race.

"I'm also honored to be able to share the car with a legend like Nelson Piquet, as well as Nelson Piquet Jr. and Christophe Bouchut. I think we'll be very competitive."

Kanaan, who won the pole for last year's Mil Milhas, also will drive an Aston Martin DBR9, with Raul Boesel, Aston Martin factory driver Pedro Lamy and Alcides Diniz, uncle of former F1 driver Pedro Diniz.

Vitor Meira and Felipe Giaffone will team to drive a ZF prototype built by Giaffone's family.

2. Castroneves gets new race engineer: Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will have a new race engineer for the first time since the 2003 season. Ron Ruzewski, who joined Marlboro Team Penske at the start of the 2005 season as part of the team's vehicle dynamics engineering development program, will serve as engineer for the No. 3 Honda-powered Dallara this season.

Ruzewski began traveling to the races in July 2005 as a member of the engineering team for Castroneves. Prior to joining the team, Ruzewski worked at the Yamaha Motor Corporation as Department Manager of Advance Development for the Snowmobile Group from 1996-2005. Ruzewski's racing background includes a position as Data Acquisition Engineer for Walker Racing where he worked primarily with Scott Goodyear and Robby Gordon.

3. Hornish joins Indianapolis 500 legends in Seattle: Two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. will participate in a "Back the Track" fan event at the Tacoma Dome on Jan. 19 to provide support for ISC's plans to build a track in the Seattle area.

Hornish Jr. will be joined by Johnny Rutherford and Al Unser, as well as NASCAR drivers Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne and Darrell Waltrip.

4. Cunningham races in homeland: Reigning Indy Pro Series champion Wade Cunningham will compete in the Formula 100 class of the CIK Trophy of New Zealand karting event in Hamilton, New Zealand on Jan. 21 and 22.

Cunningham won the CIK Trophy of New Zealand in 2001 and 2003 before winning the World Karting Championship later in 2003.

He started racing cars in the United States in 2004, and last year captured the Indy Pro Series title with one victory and 13 top-five finishes in 14 races. Cunningham's younger brother, Mitchell, also will compete in the event.

***

The IRL IndyCar Series opens the 2006 season with the Toyota Indy 300 on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network. The IMS Radio Network broadcast is also carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152, "XM Extreme" and www.indycar.com. The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition also opens on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

-irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Greg Biffle , Robby Gordon , Felipe Giaffone , Scott Goodyear , Helio Castroneves , Raul Boesel , Tony Kanaan , Pedro Lamy , Nelson Piquet , Nelson Piquet Jr. , Kasey Kahne , Christophe Bouchut , Wade Cunningham , Sam Hornish Jr. , Johnny Rutherford , Al Unser , Vitor Meira , Pedro Diniz
Teams Team Penske