IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2006-02-09

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Feb. 9, 2006 Today's IRL headlines 1. Vision Racing to add second car, Dempsey as co-owner 2. Patrick relaunches website 3. Mansell hopes to raise funds through website 1. Vision Racing to add second car,...

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Feb. 9, 2006

Today's IRL headlines
1. Vision Racing to add second car, Dempsey as co-owner
2. Patrick relaunches website
3. Mansell hopes to raise funds through website

1. Vision Racing to add second car, Dempsey as co-owner: Vision Racing announced Feb. 9 that it will field a second full-time IndyCar Series entry during the 2006 season.

The No. 2 Honda-powered Dallara will be driven by IndyCar Series veteran Tomas Scheckter. Ed Carpenter returns to the team as driver of the No. 20 Honda-powered Dallara. Both cars will carry a new paint scheme.

"During the winter off-season we really concentrated on a building program that had as its foundation. A strong nucleus of people from 2005," team owner Tony George said. "And while we are all happy to have Honda power for the coming year, we have focused on becoming a two-car ICS team. We believe that both of these developments will begin paying dividends for us immediately. We are excited to have Tomas Scheckter join our team and expect him to contribute immediately by bringing his experience and work ethic to Vision."

Scheckter joined Carpenter for the second day of the IndyCar Series' initial 2006 test at Phoenix International Raceway two weeks ago and turned the seventh quickest lap of the test. Carpenter was eighth.

"I'm extremely excited to be with Vision, to be back in the Indy Racing League and to be back in the car," said Scheckter, son of 1979 Formula One champion, Jody Scheckter. "During the off-season, I had been speaking with Tony about joining the team. Tony was thinking about increasing the size of the team; I had connections with a lot of the personnel on the team, and I get along well with Ed so it was a good fit. I'm excited to be here, and I'm ready to help the team get some race wins."

Scheckter, 25, a native of Cape Town, South Africa, has 14 top-5 finishes in 61 starts. Last year, his victory on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway came from the pole position (one of three pole starts in '05). He led 365 laps over the 17 races and recorded eight top 10s.

"I'm looking forward to getting further acquainted with the team, but I'm excited to get to continue working with my engineer from Panther Racing (David Cripps)," Scheckter said. "Since we've worked together in the past, we have a good understanding of each other, and we've both been a part of a very successful team. So, hopefully we can bring those experiences to Vision. Tony is serious about winning and that's what we want to do. That's what Ed and I will be shooting for this season."

Vision Racing has also expanded its ownership team with long-time leading man Patrick Dempsey, who's enjoying huge today for his role as Dr. Derek Shepherd on ABC's Golden Globe Award-winning drama "Grey's Anatomy." Dempsey's latest role, however, won't be seen on the silver screen, but rather at the racetrack.

After attending the 2004 Indianapolis 500 as a "celebrity guest" and meeting Tony and Laura George, Dempsey's future racing strategy began to develop. A year later, following another meeting with the couple, Dempsey expressed an interest in Vision Racing and followed it throughout the 2005 season. During the off-season, Dempsey, who was recently named Cosmopolitan's 2006 "Fun Fearless Male of the Year," officially partnered with the George family as a co-owner of Vision Racing.

"Laura and I are proud to have Patrick as a partner in Vision and value his contribution and council as we have built this team," Tony George said.

Dempsey is no stranger to racing when he's not on camera. A true racer at heart, Dempsey is currently driving professionally in "Grand American Cup" sports car racing with Hypersport. He also attended the Skip Barber and Panoz Racing Schools and began racing in the Panoz GT Series in 2004. Dempsey finished an impressive third at the Panoz GT race in Road Atlanta in early May 2005. He also competed in the April 2005 Toyota Celebrity Race at Long Beach and the 2005 Baja 1000 with drivers Boris Said and Oriol Servia.

"I am thrilled to be a part of the Vision team and I feel like a kid in a candy store," Dempsey said. "I think Ed Carpenter and Tomas Scheckter is a formidable combination, and I believe they demonstrated this by their performance at the first test. I also cannot think of anyone other than Tony and Laura George that I would want to partner with in IndyCar Racing. All my experiences at Indy have been magical."

2. Patrick relaunches website: 2005 Bombardier Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick has re-launched her personal website at www.danicaracing.com.

Patrick's new site features new content that allows her fans to catch up on the latest news, including Patrick's online journal.

The site also features music by emerging artist Katy Perry with plans to add more interactive features, including Patrick's official fan club "Club Danica."

3. Mansell hopes to raise funds through website: A university student in England raised $1 million by selling spots on a Web site to fund his education. Scott Mansell hopes a similar strategy will fund his racing career.

Mansell, a 20-year-old from Tamworth, England, has started www.MillionDollarMansell.com in an effort to raise sponsorship money to compete in the Indy Racing League Indy Pro Series in 2006.

For as little as $50, companies or individuals can buy logo space not only on the Web site, but also on Mansell's race car. Drivers typically need about $350,000 to compete for a full season in the Indy Pro Series, the premier ladder series for drivers, teams and sponsors striving to compete in the IndyCar® Series and the Indianapolis 500.

"I really think this offers companies great value for their money," said Mansell, who competed in two Indy Pro Series events in 2005, recording a 10th-place finish in his debut at Infineon Raceway. "Companies can purchase as many blocks as they want starting at only $50. The more blocks they purchase the bigger their logo and the bigger the space on the car."

In 2004, Mansell earned the BBC Midlands Young Sportsperson of the Year award. He also was nominated for the BRDC Autosport McLaren Driver of the Year Award and the Autosport Club Driver of the Year Award.

***

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.

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Boris Said , Oriol Servia , Skip Barber , Tony George , Jody Scheckter , Patrick Dempsey , Scott Mansell , Danica Patrick , Ed Carpenter
Teams Panther Racing