INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- June 7, 2006 Today's IRL headlines 1. Vision still "Rock"-ing with Rock & Republic 2. Weather makes 50th Indy Pro Series event difficult 3. Of note 1. Vision still "Rock"-ing with Rock & Republic: The ...
INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- June 7, 2006
Today's IRL headlines
1. Vision still "Rock"-ing with Rock & Republic
2. Weather makes 50th Indy Pro Series event difficult
3. Of note
1. Vision still "Rock"-ing with Rock & Republic: The partnership between Vision Racing and Rock & Republic formed for the 90th Indianapolis 500 will ride again for the Bombardier Learjet 500k and additional races.
Tomas Scheckter, who won last June's race at the 1.5-mile oval from the pole while with Panther Racing, will drive a No. 2 Rock & Republic Racing Honda-powered Dallara painted similarly to what Townsend Bell drove while Ed Carpenter's No. 20 car will carry Rock & Republic on the sidepods.
"We have a very dedicated group at Vision and I was very proud of our team for putting a competitive, three-car effort on track for the entire month of May," Vision Racing co-owner Tony George said. "It would not have been possible to do in three weeks, as we did, without a dedicated, focused and committed partner like Rock & Republic."
Bell will drive the third Rock & Republic Vision Racing entry at select events.
2. Weather makes 50th Indy Pro Event difficult: The Corning 100 on June 4 was the 50th race in Indy Pro Series history, and from a competitor's standpoint, probably the most difficult to drive.
Rain fell at the beginning and the end of the race, while the race course started to dry in the middle of the 3.37-mile, 11-turn circuit. Eleven of 17 drivers completed the 27-lap race to the checkered flag.
"It was a disaster at the start," said defending series champion Wade Cunningham, who started on the outside of Row 1. "That was the worst I've ever been in. We couldn't really see where we were going. There was poor visibility at the start. I just tried to keep my nose clean through the first corner. Really couldn't do much at the start. It was pretty tough just with visibility."
Pole sitter Bobby Wilson led the first three laps, but was passed by Cunningham on a Lap 3 restart after Raphael Matos spun in Turn 9.
"I just took advantage of the next two restarts with my position," Cunningham said. "Once I got the lead, the car was very good. We caught another full course yellow. Then it started to rain a little bit. Really, the car wasn't perfect in those conditions, and I really struggled just to stay in front of Bobby."
Wilson made the race's only other pass for the lead on Lap 19. He went on to record his first Indy Pro Series victory.
"Visibility was like zero at times," said Wilson, who gave Kenn Hardley Racing its sixth win. "Getting out in front was key and keeping the air moving through your helmet and everything was also very important."
3. Of note: Vision Racing co-owner Patrick Dempsey, star of the hit ABC-TV drama "Grey's Anatomy," will be the grand marshal for the Bombardier Learjet 500k -- IndyCar Series rookie Marco Andretti will visit with a group of teen students from Happy Hill Farm Academy/Home, a residential school for at-risk youngsters on June 8. ... IndyCar Series points leader Helio Castroneves has one victory and four top-five finishes in seven starts at Texas Motor Speedway. Marlboro Team Penske teammate Sam Hornish Jr., third in the standings, has two victories and five top-five finishes in 11 starts. "We're excited about going to Texas, because it means getting out of the cold and rain from last week," Hornish said. "I'm really looking to improve upon my second-place finish from last year, so hopefully we'll be in a position at the end to go for the win. Texas is a special place for me, because I've been crowned the IndyCar Series champion there in 2001 and 2002. I've never won the night race there, so I'd definitely like to add that to my resume."
The 2006 IRL IndyCar Series continues with the Bombardier 500k at 9 p.m. (EDT) on June 10 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race will be televised live by ESPN 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 Liberty Challenge on July 1 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. ESPN2's coverage of the Corning will be televised at 2 p.m. (EDT) on June 8.