IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2007-01-23

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- Jan. 23, 2007 Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. IndyCar Series, Indy Pro Series drivers compete in Rolex 24 2. New team joins Indy Pro Series 3. Patrick supports heart disease awareness ...

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- Jan. 23, 2007

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. IndyCar Series, Indy Pro Series drivers compete in Rolex 24
2. New team joins Indy Pro Series
3. Patrick supports heart disease awareness program

1. IndyCar Series, Indy Pro Series drivers compete in Rolex 24: There will be an IndyCar Series flavor to the annual Rolex 24 At Daytona sports car race on Jan 27-28. More than a dozen drivers with ties to the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series will compete in the twice-around-the-clock race on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course, including defending Rolex 24 winners Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon.

"For a race to start off the year, for myself, it couldn't be any better," said Dixon, who teamed with Wheldon and Casey Mears to win for team owner Chip Ganassi. "You get to catch up with a lot of people that you've raced with over the years. The competition is like nothing else."

Wheldon and Dixon, two of the 22 former overall race winners entered in the event, will team with Memo Rojas in the No. 02 Target/TELMEX Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Daytona Prototype. Wheldon said his goal is to add another race winner's Rolex watch to his trophy case. "We know what we did last year to win the race," he said. "The competition is going to be determined to beat us. We've got to up our game. I think that's obviously what we're going to try to do is maximize everything we have. If we do that, I think we'll have a good chance."

Joining the Target Chip Ganassi Racing duo in the field are the two drivers who they battled for the 2006 IndyCar Series title. Sam Hornish Jr., a three-time IndyCar Series champion and the 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner, and two-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves will co-drive the No. 60 Fresh from Florida Lexus Riley with Rolex Series regulars Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Mark Patterson of Michael Shank Racing. IndyCar Series champions Scott Sharp and Tony Stewart and Indianapolis 500 winners Juan Pablo Montoya, Buddy Rice and Eddie Cheever are also entered in the race.

"If you look at NASCAR championships, Daytona 500s, IndyCar championships, Indy 500s, you look at the depth there, the number of champions, whatever way you look at it, it's pretty unbelievable," Hornish said. "I'm glad to see that there's that many people out there because when you go and win something, you want to beat the best people." But coming out on top of a field of drivers that make up a virtual "Who's Who" of motorsports is more than just maintaining a quick pace over 24 hours. Making the car last and dealing with traffic are some of the obstacles the drivers will face.

"This race is so hard to win," Dixon said. "There's so many different obstacles that you have to overcome throughout, even practice, then the race. So much of it is outside your hands."

Drivers with ties to the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series competing in the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 27-28: Ed Carpenter, Tomas Scheckter and A.J. Foyt IV Car: No. 00. Class: Daytona Prototype. Other drivers listed: Tony George, Stephan Gregoire

Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon Car: No. 02. Class: DP. Other drivers listed: Memo Rojas

Chris Fest ar: No. 7. Class: DP. Other drivers listed: Tomas Enge, Roger Yasukaw

Darren Manning Car: No. 11. Class: DP. Other drivers listed: Milka Duno, Ryan Dalziel, Patrick Carpentier

Scott Sharp and Buddy Ric Car: No. 58. Class: DP. Other drivers listed: Darren Law, David Donohu

Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves Car: No. 60. Class: DP. Other drivers listed: Oswaldo Negri, Mark Patterson

Brad Jaeger Car: No. 68. Class: GT. Other drivers listed: Ted Ballou, Chris Gleason, Rocco DeSimone

In the Fresh from Florida 200 at Daytona race Jan. 26 Patrick Dempsey (Vision Racing co-owner) Car. No. 54 Mustang GT. Other drivers listed: Rick Skelton, Romeo Kapudija

2. New team joins Indy Pro Series: SpeedWorks LLC, an Indianapolis-based race team, today announced the formation of a new Indy Pro Series team with the intent to compete in the 2007 season that starts March 24 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In launching the team, SpeedWorks acquired the assets of Duesenberg Racing and Dave McMillan Racing, including chassis, equipment and transport vehicles. SpeedWorks LLC is co-owned by two-time Indianapolis 500 championship crew chief Peter Parrott and retired Michigan venture capitalist Hayden Harris.

SpeedWorks' entry in the Indy Pro Series program will bring Parrott and four-time Indy 500 champion Rick Mears together again. Mears serves as the Indy Pro Series' driver coach and Parrott was his crew chief for nine years, which included two "500" victories, two national championships and 23 victories.

The Indy Pro Series was founded in 2002 by the Indy Racing League in order to provide young, open-wheel drivers with an established career path to the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. "This reaches one of our strategic business goals, which is fielding a competitive race team that has the potential to win an Indy Pro Series championship," said Parrott in announcing the team. "We have been meeting with drivers as well as talking to potential sponsors, and we are gearing up to run at Homestead." "It's great to be back in the IndyCar Series family again and I'm looking forward to building a championship-contending IPS team with Peter," Harris said. "Besides having a goal of contending for the IPS title this year, SpeedWorks is looking hard at a potential Indianapolis 500 entry as well. I think we have a great shot at both."

Parrott and Harris are not newcomers to the motorsports business. Parrott started his racing career in England on the Formula One circuit with teams that won three World Championships. He moved to the U.S. and joined Team Penske in 1978 where he had numerous victories as crew chief for Rick Mears and Al Unser, Sr. During these years, Parrott ensconced himself in the Indianapolis 500 Hall of Fame Museum as the only two-time winner of the Premier Mechanical Excellence Award. After Team Penske, he served as team manager for the Factory Porsche PPG Indy team, Vince Granatelli Racing and Mo Nunn Racing teams. Harris has a passion for anything with speed. He has competed in inboard hydroplanes, Midgets and Sprint cars in USAC and the CRA, aerobatic biplanes and open wheel race cars. He has been a co-owner of IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series cars piloted by Alex Barron, Ronnie Johncox and Thiago Medeiros.

Harris' inaugural Indianapolis 500 was in 2002 as co-owner of the Blair Racing Team where the team garnered a fourth-place finish with Barron. Harris, General Partner Emeritus for the EDF Venture capital funds based in Ann Arbor, MI, currently is a boardmember or advisor for four portfolio companies. He serves on the Board and Executive Committee of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and was former chairman of McLaren Performance Technologies, the U.S. division of Bruce McLaren's racing operations.

3. Patrick supports heart disease awareness program: Danica Patrick will walk the runway in a designer red dress Feb. 2 for a fashion show as part of The Heart Truth, a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease. The fashion show, also featuring celebrities such as Kelly Ripa, Paula Zahn, Rachel Ray, Rihanna and Angela Bassett wearing creations by top American designers such as Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and others, will be held in Bryant Park in New York. Feb. 2 is National Wear Red Day. The Heart Truth is a program of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.

***

The 2007 IndyCar Series season begins under the lights with the XM Satellite Radio Indy 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 Homestead-Miami 100 on March 24 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be telecast on at 5 p.m. (EST) on March 28 by ESPN2.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing