IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2007-03-27

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- March 27, 2007 Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Playing the angles 2. In first oval race, Prendeville makes mark with fifth place 3. Pablo Perez medical update 4. Indy Pro Series changes to...

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- March 27, 2007

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Playing the angles
2. In first oval race, Prendeville makes mark with fifth place
3. Pablo Perez medical update
4. Indy Pro Series changes to Sunoco 260 GTX unleaded

1. Playing the angles: Without traction control, more downforce on IndyCar Series cars could be one way to approach the twists and turns of the 1.8-mile temporary street circuit for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Then again, drivers might choose straightline speed in lieu of cornering.

"Personal preference," said A.J. Foyt Racing's Darren Manning, driver of the No. 14 ABC Supply Co. Dallara/Honda/Firestone Either way, the sanctioning Indy Racing League has built in front-wing adjustments on the five road/street courses this season. While the end fences must remain parallel to the surface, slots were cut into them to allow 0-5 degrees positive or negative movement.

"Without increasing the cost, we've been able to give the teams a wider platform to adjust the car," said Les Mactaggart, senior technical director for the sanctioning body. "There will be some drivers who will be able to drive the car faster because they can have a bigger window to change the aerodynamics of the car. It doesn't seem like a lot, but you put 5 degrees in the front wing and it increases the amount of front-wing downforce.

"Sometimes it's more efficient to put the angle in the front mainplane not in the back end because you get more drag. The more you stand something up, the more drag it creates. But if you have a larger item you can put a smaller angle in it and get the same amount of downforce with less angle, you get less drag. Then you get a quicker car. It gives the teams a bigger window to explore many more settings."

The changes won't be able to be made during pit stops.

"You'd set the mainplane angle during a practice session, and adjust the flaps (atop the mainplane) during the race," Mactaggart said. "It's something they'll change during practice. Flaps are completely free to change.

"Everybody has the basic information. It's up to the teams to optimize that information for that particular driver." Manning said drivers would have a tendency to experiment on longer road courses, such as Watkins Glen International, than on the scenic streets of St. Petersburg.

"It only really affects road courses where you have hugely long straights and a tight infield," he said. "There are cars out there that will run no downforce, so they might run negative 5 degrees. There are other cars that will run a bit more downforce, so they are a bit slower on the straights so they might run flat on the front wing. Most of the racetracks we will be going to will be full downforce and no trimming out to get straightline speed. You'll be wanting as much grip as possible."

***

2. In first oval race, Prendeville makes mark with fifth place: Andrew Prendeville's Indy Pro Series debut -- in fact, his first race on an oval -- was a testament to "all's well that ends well." Prendeville, of Morristown, N.J., bolted from the 21st starting spot (of 25 cars) to finish fifth in the Miami 100 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the No. 5 RLR/Andersen Racing car.

"The RLR/Andersen Racing crew gave me a good car," said Prendeville, driving a car that promoted Bestfriends.org. "For the most part, once I got by somebody they couldn't get me back. It was my first oval race ever, and to bring home a top five, it was awesome.

"We had sticker tires for the start and that helped; I think that gave us an edge for the first five or 10 laps. The Firestone Firehawk tires performed great. Our car ran smooth. It was good in traffic. I was sort of glad for that first yellow because I think I hurt the tires a bit moving up from 21st to 12th." Only fourth-place finisher Jaime Camara advanced more positions (20) than Prendeville, who moved up 12 spots by Lap 5.

"For his first-ever oval race, Andrew showed amazing poise," team owner Dan Andersen said. "He was slicing and dicing and he moved right up to finish fifth. I'm proud of him and I'm proud of the team for giving him a fast race car. I think this proves that Andrew is a natural talent."

***

3. Pablo Perez medical update: Indy Pro Series driver Pablo Perez is in stable condition at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis after being transferred from Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami March 27, according to Dr. Michael Olinger, director of medical services for the Indy Racing League. Perez is being examined by Dr. Kevin Scheid, the Indy Racing League's orthopedic consultant, in conjunction with Methodist Hospital's trauma team to determine the next steps of care Perez suffered injuries to his lower legs March 24 during the Miami 100 at Homestead-Miami Speedway Fans wishing to send cards or notes to Perez are asked to send them to: Target Chip Ganassi Racing, 7777 Woodland Dr., Indianapolis, IN 46278 or CGRmedia@ganassi.com. Further updates on Perez' condition will be provided when available.

***

4. Indy Pro Series changes to Sunoco 260 GTX unleaded: Indy Pro Series cars will be fueled by Sunoco 260 GTX unleaded racing gasoline in 2007, marking a transition from the leaded fuel used previously. Teams completed the season-opening Miami 100 March 24 and almost 8,000 miles of testing using the 98 octane fuel during February's Open Test without difficulty.

"We're very pleased with the transition to unleaded fuel," said Indy Pro Series technical director Butch Meyer, who oversaw the change. "We ran all of those miles at the test and numerous miles on the dynamometer, and we haven't seen any change in performance. In fact, in some respects the fuel is much better for certain parts of the engine." The 3.5-liter engines used in Indy Pro Series cars generate approximately 420 horsepower and speeds in excess of 190 mph.

"We just took apart an engine that ran 1,700 miles on the unleaded fuel, and it looked perfect," said Jeff Gordon, Indy Pro Series program manager with Speedway Engine Development Inc. "There was none of the typical buildup we saw in the engines when they used leaded fuel."

***

The 2007 IndyCar Series season continues with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg at 2:30 p.m. (ET) on April 1. The race will be telecast live by ESPN 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 continues with the Indy Pro Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg doubleheaders on March 31 and April 1 on the at Streets of St. Petersburg. The race will be telecast at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) on April 6 by ESPN2.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Darren Manning , Chip Ganassi , Jaime Camara , A.J. Foyt
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing