INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- May 29, 2007
Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines:
1. Indianapolis 500 Victory Tour stops in New York
2. Franchitti follows his hero into Indy immortality
3. Williams lands ride with Michael Crawford Motorsports
4. Of note
1. Indianapolis 500 Victory Tour stops in New York: Dario Franchitti's first day as Indianapolis 500 champion began early with numerous photo shoots -- including one for his likeness to be crafted for the Borg-Warner Trophy. Day 2 began even earlier as he departed Indianapolis for a four-city Victory Tour.
First stop: New York.
Franchitti was a guest on the popular morning TV show "Live with Regis and Kelly," where he recounted the soggy day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Among other TV, print and radio interviews on the first day of the Victory Tour, Franchitti was able to squeeze in a visit to The Parlour on West 86th Street -- a renowned hangout for Glasgow Celtic supporters, including the 500-Mile Race champion.
"When (wife) Ashley (Judd) was doing a play on Broadway, we lived in upper Manhattan and I would go there and watch the Celtic games," he said. "It's a place I'm familiar with and a good place to hang out with other Scots who are passionate about their football."
ESPN, Fox Sports, CNN, SportsNet, Fox and Friends and "New York Live" appearances followed.
May 30's stop on the Victory Tour includes an appearance that might be more stressful than the 2-hour, 57-minute rain delay on May 27. Franchitti will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Minute Maid Park in Houston before the Astros' game against the Cincinnati Reds.
"That was a problem; I have never thrown a baseball," he said. "That should be interesting. Hopefully, I will put a decent throw over. I played cricket in school, but I was really bad at it. I preferred rugby."
2. Franchitti follows his hero into Indy immortality: Dario Franchitti wasn't born when Jim Clark won the Indianapolis 500 in 1965. But that didn't stop him from idolizing the Scottish racing legend.
"I think he's a hero for any Scottish driver, and really one of the best drivers in the world ever," said Franchitti, who claimed an Indianapolis 500 title of his own on May 27.
Franchitti had hoped to mark the 40th anniversary of Clark's win with a victory of his own, and explained that his failure to do so had seen him contemplate retirement.
"[The fact that] was the 40th anniversary of Jim Clark winning it was one of the reasons I was so (upset) I didn't win in 2005," he said. "I was so upset.
"Jackie Stewart came over and watched the race. My old boss, obviously one of my heroes, came to watch me race. It was looking good for a while, but it didn't turn out."
Still, Franchitti has long cherished the legacy of Clark, and said he felt truly humbled when he saw the winner's Borg-Warner Trophy and saw the name of Clark on it.
"I saw some of the names, including my hero Jim Clark, then I was in awe. To see the great names that are on there, it's such a humbling experience," he said. "It's amazing to think I'm going to be on it. It's such an honor."
Next up for Franchitti is The Milwaukee Mile, another track where he shares a victory with Clark
"I'm ready for Milwaukee," he said. "I'm eager to get back in the car. It will be a busy week. It's Milwaukee and I love that track. When the cars are as good as they are now. You just want to get in a drive them. I'm ready to go."
3. Williams lands ride with Michael Crawford Motorsports: Marc Williams, who finished 17th in the Freedom 100 in his Indy Pro Series and oval track debut, will complete the season with Michael Crawford Motorsports.
The 18-year-old from New Zealand will drive the No. 6 www.purenz.com TARANAKI car in the remaining 12 races this season, beginning with the Road Runner 100 at The Milwaukee Mile on June 2.
"This is great," Williams said. "Michael Crawford Motorsports is a really good team, a good situation to be involved with. I'm going to make this a learning year and then make a really good run at things next year."
The addition of Williams also marks a big step for Michael Crawford Motorsports. The second-year team has typically hired drivers on a race-by-race basis for its two-car effort.
"This is outstanding news," team owner Michael Crawford said. "This really adds some stability to our program. We're very pleased to have Marc driving for us. He's a very talented young man who tested well with us a few weeks ago and drove a very solid race in his debut at a very daunting racetrack."
4. Of note: Injured A.J. Foyt Racing crew member Dan Brown was released from Methodist Hospital on May 28. Brown, the right-rear tire changer for Al Unser Jr.'s No. 50 entry, sustained multiple left foot fractures after he was accidentally struck on pit lane. He will return to Methodist Hospital from his home in Chicago to undergo surgery.
ESPN Classic will re-air Sunday's dramatic Indianapolis 500 as an Instant Classic with a two-hour telecast at 4 p.m. (ET) on May 31. The 91st running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," won by Dario Franchitti, featured dramatic moments, including several lead changes throughout the rain-delayed race, which ended under caution 34 laps shy of the scheduled distance.
Three-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. has re-launched his website at www.samhornish.com. Hornish will use the site to give a behind the scenes look at his life through a personal journal as well as answer fan questions through an "Ask Sam" feature.
Bombardier Learjet awarded Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti with the use of a private jet to transport him roundtrip from his home in Nashville, Tenn., to Fort Worth, Texas for the Bombardier Learjet 550k on June 9.
The 2007 IndyCar Series season continues with the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 presented by Time Warner Cable at 4 p.m. (ET) on June 3 at The Milwaukee Mile. The race will be telecast live by ABC and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. 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 Road Runner 100 on June 2 at The Milwaukee Mile. The race will be telecast at 6 p.m. on June 7 by ESPN2.