IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2007-01-16

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- Jan. 16, 2007 Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. First batch of ethanol shipped to IndyCar Series 2. XM Satellite Radio to sponsor season opener 1. First batch of ethanol shipped to IndyCar...

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- Jan. 16, 2007

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. First batch of ethanol shipped to IndyCar Series
2. XM Satellite Radio to sponsor season opener

1. First batch of ethanol shipped to IndyCar Series: (NOTE: A high-resolution photo of the first batch of ethanol in a branded tanker is available at www.indycar.com/media under the IndyCar Series photos header.)

Tanker trucks come and go at the Renova Energy facility in Torrington, Wyo., with little more than a wave from the gate guard. But one bound for Indianapolis was special -- if for its distinct markings.

The tanker that left Jan. 15 carried the first shipment of 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol that will power IndyCarSeries cars -- the first in motorsports to embrace a renewable fuel source -- for the 2007 season. The ethanol will be employed during an Open Test on Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at Daytona International Speedway.

"I'm proud to be a part of the most significant fuel change in open wheel racing in 40 years," said Dan Schwartzkopf, senior vice-president of Renova Energy. "This is a groundbreaking achievement."

The Torrington, Wyo. facility was contracted by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) to supply approximately 120,000 gallons of the fuel to the IndyCar Series. Renova Energy currently produces 10 million gallons of ethanol a year, with new construction planned for a 20 million gallon plant in Heyburn, Idaho.

The fuel from Torrington will be shipped to Indianapolis and stored at Superior Solvents and Chemicals, which can store up to 30,000 gallons. Superior's highly trained staff of chemists and technicians will be responsible for loading all tanker trailers and distributing the fuel to each IndyCar Series Open Test and race event during the season.

Tom Slunecka, executive director of EPIC, believes the fuel switch has far reaching implications.

"Ethanol is not only an ideal solution for high performance IndyCar Series cars, but consumers can expect improved performance and environmental benefits as well with ethanol-enriched fuel," said Slunecka. "From the speedway to Main Street, the partnership between the ethanol industry and the Indy Racing League will deliver stunning results."

Extensive testing of the fuel in the new 3.5 liter Honda Indy V-8 engine has yielded impressive results, reports Les Mactaggart, senior technical director for the IndyCar Series.

"Backed by an experienced group of engineers and technicians," Mactaggart said, "the transition has been flawless."

The long-term message is clear: If 650-horsepower IndyCar Series cars that cover the length of a football field in 1 second can run safely and effectively on 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol, so can your vehicle (either 90 percent gasoline/10 percent ethanol blend or an E85 vehicle) with reduced emissions as an add-on benefit.

***

2. XM Satellite Radio to sponsor season opener: XM Satellite Radio will be the sponsor of the IndyCar Series season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Drivers in the XM Satellite Radio Indy 300 will take the green flag at 8 p.m. (EST) March 24. The race can be heard on XM Satellite Radio's IndyCar Series Channel 145 and will be televised by ESPN2. It will be the first time that a major North American motorsports sanctioning body has opened its season at night. A post-race concert also is planned.

"The only thing more spectacular than watching these cars race at more than 200 miles per hour is watching them race at night," Homestead-Miami Speedway president Curtis Gray said. "South Florida is famous for its fast-paced nightlife, so it was only fitting for the Speedway to host this event under the lights for the first time."

Last year, 2005 IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon held off Team Penske's Helio Castroneves by 0.0147 of a second -- the closest of the season -- for the victory. Sam Hornish Jr., the eventual series and Indianapolis 500 champion started from the pole and finished third.

The entire IndyCar Series season, including the 91st Indianapolis 500 on May 27, will be broadcast live on XM 145. Motorsports fans will be able to hear pre-race programming, including interviews and commentary, as well as the wheel-to-wheel action.

"As the exclusive home to racing's biggest stars, exceptional motorsports programming is an XM priority," said Howard Jacobs, senior vice president, strategic partnership marketing for XM. "We are not only pleased to broadcast the race live on XM, but honored to be the title sponsor of this important season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway."

Tickets for the XM Satellite Radio Indy 300 are now on sale at www.indycar.com.

***

The 2007 IndyCar Series season begins under the lights with the XM Satellite Radio 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 24. The race will be telecast live by ESPN2 at 8 p.m. (EST) and broadcast by 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 and www.indycar.com. The sixth season of Indy Pro Series competition begins with the Miami 100 on March 24 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be telecast on a delayed basis by ESPN2.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dan Wheldon , Sam Hornish Jr.