IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2006-05-30

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- May 30, 2006 Today's IRL headlines 1. Hornish's dream realized 2. Hornish breaks $11 million in earnings 3. Giebler joins Hardley at Glen 4. McMillan honored in New Zealand 5. Of note 1. Hornish's dream ...

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- May 30, 2006

Today's IRL headlines
1. Hornish's dream realized
2. Hornish breaks $11 million in earnings
3. Giebler joins Hardley at Glen
4. McMillan honored in New Zealand
5. Of note

1. Hornish's dream realized: When Sam Hornish Jr. was a boy, he dreamed of winning the Indianapolis 500.

His dream was finally realized May 28, when he claimed the 90th Indianapolis 500, with a thrilling, last-lap pass of rookie Marco Andretti.

"I don't think it's fully sunk in yet," Hornish said on May 29, one day after winning the biggest race of his career. "I don't think it will fully sink in until after I see my face on the Borg-Warner Trophy or get my Baby Borg."

The 26-year-old native of Defiance, Ohio had claimed two IRL IndyCar® Series championships and a series record 14 wins over the last six seasons, but he had never completed the full 500 miles or finished in the top-10 in six previous Indianapolis 500 starts.

That changed with his domination of the Month of May, where he led virtually every practice day and claimed the WorldPoints Visa Card Pole Award.

Still, a mid-race penalty for a pit-road mistake left Hornish behind and forced him to charge past JPMorgan Chase Rookie of the Year Andretti. As a reward, Hornish claimed $1.74 million of the record $10,518,565 purse. He also received a Digital Rebel XT Camera and an engraved Special Edition Indy 500® Chronograph from TAG Heuer, the official timekeeper and watch of the Indy Racing League

"It's so much more special than what I thought it was going to be," Hornish said. "I've taken care of (the Indy 500) on my resume. No one will ever ask me the question 'Are you ever going to win the Indy 500?' again."

And with that he also made good on the promise that owner Roger Penske had when he hired Hornish to drive the No. 6 car.

"Everybody on the team told me how exciting the finish was, and that they'd never seen anything like it," Hornish said. "I guess this was my way of making it up to them for beating them at Texas in '02 and winning the championship in the same way. I feel really special about this win. That's why I came to this team was to win the "500." That's why Roger hired me because of what I can do. I'm glad I finally did that for him."

2. Hornish breaks $11 million in earnings: With his win in the Indianapolis 500, Sam Hornish Jr. became the first IndyCar Series driver to make more than $11 million in career earnings. Hornish has made $11,286,905 since debuting in the IndyCar Series in 2000.

"That's a pretty special deal to be the first person to get to 10 (million), and then take it to 11(million) is even better," Hornish said. "Of course we don't get all that. It would be nice if I did. I think I'd have a lot more fancy jewelry and things like that."

3. Giebler joins Hardley at Glen: American Phil Giebler will drive Kenn Hardley Racing's second car in the Corning 100 on June 4 at Watkins Glen International.

Giebler, 26, will drive the No. 42 car with Bobby Wilson as his teammate.

"We're glad to have Phil drive for us at Watkins Glen," team owner Kenn Hardley said. "Phil is certainly a qualified road racer and super young man."

Giebler has made nine Indy Pro Series starts in his career, including the Freedom 100 May 26 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Giebler finished 16th driving for Guthrie Racing. The Oxnard, Calif., native's lone start last season came at Watkins Glen where he finished sixth for Vision Racing.

"I'm excited to be in one of Kenn Hardley's cars as they always run up front," said Giebler of the Kenn Hardley team that won last year's Corning 100 with driver Jeff Simmons.

Giebler made seven Indy Pro Series starts in 2004, winning his debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He had a third-place finish at California Speedway.

Giebler, whose diverse racing background includes go-karts and European formula cars, represented the U.S. earlier this year in the A1GP race in Dubai.

4. McMillan honored in New Zealand: Indy Pro Series team owner Dave McMillan, the New Zealand Gold Star champion of the late 1970s and winner of the 1981 Grand Prix has been inducted to the MotorSport Wall of Fame.

"He was an outstanding driver in his day and was headed for a career in Indycar racing in the United States when a serious accident cut short his driving career," said Steven Kennedy of MotorSport New Zealand.

"He stayed in the US and has been a very successful race team manager. In recent years, he has put a huge amount back into the sport in New Zealand, creating opportunities for many young race technicians and drivers to link up with either his team or others to further their careers.

"He continues to make a significant contribution to the sport. Most recently he has been the vital link for drivers such as Daniel Gaunt and Matthew Hamilton to make the step into the U.S. scene.

"He was famous as a racing driver in his day and he is creating new fame for himself amongst motorsport enthusiasts in this country with his work for young New Zealanders."

McMillan will be the 20th name on the Wall of Fame which includes other such illustrious names as Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme, Chris Amon, Greg Murphy and Possum Bourne.

5. Of note: Sunday's Indianapolis 500 earned a 5.2 overnight rating and 13 share, the second-highest overnight rating since 2001, according to Nielsen Media Research. The Indy 500 was the highest-rated motorsports event of the weekend. -- Dan Wheldon earned the Firestone Performance Award and its $20,000 prize for leading Lap 124 of the Indianapolis 500 and the Marlboro Lap Leader Award and its $50,000 prize. -- Tony Kanaan won the K & N Leader at the Half Award and its $10,000 prize for being the highest-placed eligible driver.

***

The 2006 IRL IndyCar Series continues with the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Tissot at 3:30 p.m. on June 4 at Watkins Glen International. The race will be carried live by ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPN Deportes. 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 Corning 100 at 12:30 p.m. on June 4 at Watkins Glen International. The race will be telecast at 2 p.m. on June 8.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Denny Hulme , Bruce McLaren , Chris Amon , Marco Andretti , Greg Murphy , Jeff Simmons , Phil Giebler , Bobby Wilson , Roger Penske , Matthew Hamilton , Daniel Gaunt , Sam Hornish Jr.