INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- April 26, 2006 Today's IRL headlines 1. Indy Pro Series drivers get first look at Indy 2. Rice gains momentum with strong finish 3. Hornish watches the road 4. Andretti to test at the Glen 1. Indy Pro...
INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- April 26, 2006
Today's IRL headlines
1. Indy Pro Series drivers get first look at Indy
2. Rice gains momentum with strong finish
3. Hornish watches the road
4. Andretti to test at the Glen
1. Indy Pro Series drivers get first look at Indy: Eighteen Indy Pro Series drivers plan to participate in an Open Test on April 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, preparing for the Freedom 100 next month. The fourth annual Freedom 100 is scheduled for May 26 on the 2.5-mile oval.
Among the drivers scheduled are 2005 Freedom 100 winner Jaime Camara, defending Indy Pro Series champion Wade Cunningham, championship contenders Jay Howard, Nick Bussell and Bobby Wilson, Mishael Abbott, the only woman in the series, and rookie Sean Guthrie, son of IndyCar Series race winner Jim Guthrie.
Other drivers planning to test: Matthew Hamilton, Brett Van Blankers, Imran Husain, Jon Herb, Tom Wieringa, Scott Mansell, Alex Lloyd, Jonathan Klein, Geoff Dodge, Tom Wood and Chris Festa.
2. Rice gains momentum with strong finish: Buddy Rice's drive through the field at Twin Ring Motegi will reverberate to the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
The 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner started 18th and finished fifth in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Argent Panoz/Honda/Firestone in the fourth annual Indy Japan 300 on April 22. It was his highest finish since he was the runner-up at Infineon Raceway last August, but it was his second solid effort in a row.
On St. Petersburg's temporary street course April 2, Rice started seventh and was in the mix for a top-five finish when a late-race collision with Tomas Scheckter's car dropped him to 13th. Now, heading into the 90th Indianapolis 500, Rice returns with confidence for another run at the pole and victory. Last year, a crash in practice prevented him from attempting to successfully defend both.
"This is a good start for us going into the month of May," said Rice, who had two top-10 finishes post-Indianapolis in 2005. "We ran strong at St. Pete and we came here and we were good. Obliviously we have room for improvement, but when you start 18th a top-five finish is great.
"The biggest thing that helped this race was my Argent Mortgage pit crew. Every pit stop my crew picked up several spots. My guys deserve a huge pat on the back for this result. The feeling I am getting from this year reminds me of the last time I finished fifth at Motegi (2004), and we will see if we can duplicate that result in May."
3. Hornish watches the road: Two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. was recently named spokesperson for the Ohio Workzone Safety Coalition's 2006 safety campaign.
Hornish will be featured in public service announcements across his home state of Ohio, which will promote safe driving in construction zones. The program encourages Ohio drivers to drive slower through road construction sites.
"Too many lives are lost each year because people are not slowing down when they enter a work zone," Hornish said. "Traveling through construction work zones is like driving under the yellow flag, everyone needs to exercise caution. The safety of drivers and workers in highway work zones is critically important to all Ohio motorists."
4. Andretti to test at the Glen: Bombardier Rookie of the Year candidate Marco Andretti will test at Watkins Glen International on April 28 in preparation for the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix in June.
Andretti, the third generation driver from one of racing's most-storied families, was granted the private test to familiarize himself with the 3.34-mile road circuit. He currently leads the Bombardier Rookie of the Year point standings and finished second in the Indy Pro Series race at the historic road course last September.
The 2006 IRL IndyCar Series continues with the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 at 1 p.m. (EDT) on May 28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. ABC will broadcast the race live beginning at noon (EDT). A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPN Deportes. Live coverage on the IMS Radio Network begins at noon (EDT). The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 145 "IndyCar Racing" and www.indycar.com. The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Freedom 100 May 26 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast as part of ESPN2's Carb Day coverage on May 26.