IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2007-04-16

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Indy Japan 300 will stream live on indycar.com 2. Dallara prepares for 100th IndyCar Series victory 3. Apex Racing drivers find time for charitable trip to Africa 4. Drivers make...

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Indy Japan 300 will stream live on indycar.com
2. Dallara prepares for 100th IndyCar Series victory
3. Apex Racing drivers find time for charitable trip to Africa
4. Drivers make promotional visits in Japan

1. Indy Japan 300 will stream live on indycar.com: The Indy Japan 300, which starts at midnight April 21 and is the only IndyCar Series race not telecast live by ABC/ESPN, will stream live on indycar.com free of charge.

In addition to the racing action, the video streaming window includes live Timing & Scoring, audio from the IMS Radio Network, a chat feature and links to other videos.

Streaming video also will be available live for all practice and qualifying sessions from Twin Ring Motegi. ESPN2 will air the race at noon on April 21.

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2. Dallara prepares for 100th IndyCar Series victory: To some degree, Andrea Toso says, Italian race car constructor Dallara Automobili's entry into the fledgling IndyCar Series was a "leap of faith, a journey into the unknown."

Ten years removed, the shared vision for the future has been fruitful for both entities. When the winning car rolls into Victory Lane at Twin Ring Motegi on April 21, it will mark the 100th IndyCar Series victory for Dallara.

Jim Guthrie provided Dallara its first victory on March 23, 1997, at Phoenix International Raceway. Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998) was its first Indianapolis 500 champion, and Kenny Brack (1998) its first IndyCar Series driver title holder.

"It has been a rewarding experience and our company has grown tremendously as a result of both the intense competition and loyal support that we have received from our teams, drivers, technical partners and, of course, Mr. Tony George, without whose strong leadership, vision and encouragement none of this would have been possible," said Toso, head of research and development for Dallara Automobili.

"To achieve 100 victories has taken an enormous effort over the years and has included many hours of dedicated design study, aerodynamic research, track testing and close liaison with our customers. It is a testament to our engineers and staff that in 2007 we are here together, with one notable exception, stronger and more competitive than ever to celebrate this achievement.

"We are especially proud to have been given the opportunity to demonstrate to the USA the passion, capabilities and dedication to race car engineering that we have in Italy."

To some degree, Jim Guthrie also took a leap of faith when he purchased a Dallara chassis for his Blueprint Racing car for the 1996-97 season. He started ninth and finished sixth at Walt Disney World Speedway in the first race.

Two months later in the Phoenix 200 on the 1-mile oval, Guthrie led three times for 74 laps and held off Tony Stewart by .854 of a second at the checkers.

"When the IRL started, it seemed like the G Force was going to be the chassis to have," said Guthrie, who fields a team in the Indy Pro Series that uses Dallara chassis. "Everybody bought one. We had our option of which one we were going to buy and I chose a Dallara. We put it to work and obviously it paid off for us as we won and led four races that year. It was just a great car all around.

"In my career, I had the opportunity to drive both cars on both sets of tires. I even drove the Riley and Scott in its last race. Out of the three, the Dallara-Firestone was the best package. Obviously, that's what they have today and here they are coming up on their 100th win. They must have done something right."

Reigning IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 champion Sam Hornish Jr. is the series leader with 18 victories (96 starts) in a Dallara. Scott Sharp, co-champion of the inaugural IndyCar Series season, has started the most races (105) in a Dallara.

"Our philosophy to IndyCar has always been simple, and that is to be totally committed to the enterprise," Toso said. "We have been focused year after year on producing the fastest, safest race cars with full technical and spare part support and endeavouring to always be there ready to support our customers.

"The past 10 years and the 100 victories have been a truly fulfilling experience and provided us with many fantastic memories to cherish. We look forward to the future with optimism and the belief that we will, one day, be celebrating 200 victories."

Some milestones to note:

1st victory: At Phoenix International Raceway (1997) with Jim Guthrie in Blueprint Racing car.

25th victory: At Homestead-Miami Speedway (2001) with Sam Hornish Jr. in Panther Racing car.

50th victory: Scott Sharp at Twin Ring Motegi (2003) in Kelley Racing car.

75th victory: Tomas Scheckter at Texas Motor Speedway (2005) in Panther Racing car.

First Indianapolis 500 victory: Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998).

First IndyCar Series driver championship: Kenny Brack (1998).

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3. Apex Racing drivers find time for charitable trip to Africa: While most teams were busy preparing for the opening two race weekends of the Indy Pro Series season, Apex Racing drivers Ken Losch and Mike Potekhen took a week to travel to a village in Zambia with the team's charity, TRACares.

"It was life-changing," said Potekhen, a 27-year-old Colorado native who resides in Tempe, Ariz. "It was an amazing experience to see first hand how people in very impoverished areas live. It really puts into perspective how lucky we are to do all the things we do."

Apex Racing, a first-year entry into the Indy Pro Series is co-owned by Losch, who also helped found TRACares. The charity's mission is to empower communities. It aids several organizations in the greater-Phoenix area where the team is based as well as turning its attention to a village on the outskirts of Ndola, Zambia.

"Most of the funds we raise will be used to build schools, buy land for more banana trees and fish farms, and for plastic for irrigation," Potekhen said. "It's about giving them the means to someday be self-sufficient, so the problem is solved."

TRACares is working with Rev. John Enright, a former missionary who has dedicated his life to improving the conditions in Zambia. In addition to the village's banana and fish farms, there is also a woodworking mill producing high-end carpentry.

"It was good to go and see what it is all about," Potekhen said. "Hopefully, we can bring some 21st century business philosophies and tactics to their village that can help.

"I can't wait to go back. My wife and I have already talked about going after the racing season."

Despite the time away from their race operation at a critical point before the start of the season, Potekhen and Losch turned in admirable results at Homestead-Miami and St. Petersburg. Potekhen, who made five starts in the Indy Pro Series last year, recorded a seventh-place at Homestead while Losch, who is making his series debut this season, recorded a 10th at St. Petersburg.

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4. Drivers make promotional visits in Japan: IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves, Sarah Fisher, Sam Hornish Jr. and Kosuke Matsuura headed to Japan few days earlier than their colleagues. The four drivers teamed with Honda on several promotional stops to promote the Indy Japan 300.

Fisher and Matsuura visited Yokohama on April 15 and Utsunomiya on April 16. Castroneves, Hornish and Matsuura will visit Honda headquarters in Tokyo on April 17.

Also on April 17, Ed Carpenter, Scott Dixon, A.J. Foyt IV, Darren Manning and Jeff Simmons will visit several elementary schools near Twin Ring Motegi.

On track activity begins April 18.

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The 2007 IndyCar Series season continues with the Indy Japan 300 at 11:30 p.m. (ET) on April 20. It will by broadcast live by the IMS Radio Network with live video streaming on www.indycar.com. The race will be telecast at noon (ET) on April 21 by ESPN. 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 Freedom 100 on May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast as part of ESPN2's coverage of Carb Day at 4 p.m. on May 25.

-credit: irl

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