IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2007-06-06

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- June 6, 2007 Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines: 1. June 6 teleconference 2. Roth hopes to help another Indy Pro Series driver achieve dream 3. Streaking Franchitti brings points lead to Texas 4.

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- June 6, 2007

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines:
1. June 6 teleconference
2. Roth hopes to help another Indy Pro Series driver achieve dream
3. Streaking Franchitti brings points lead to Texas
4. ABC Reality Show to feature IndyCar Series families

1. June 6 teleconference: Vision Racing teammates Ed Carpenter and A.J. Foyt IV were the featured guests on the Indy Racing League teleconference today.

Foyt talked about running with Vision Racing, which he joined earlier this year after running for his grandfather's team and a brief stint in the NASCAR Busch Series.

Q. A.J., with your run at Milwaukee, you racked up I think your fifth race in a row you've been running at the end. It looks from the stands as though you've developed a consistency with your driving that might not have been there before. Do you think it's the equipment, a change of the team? What would you attribute your run of success here to?

A.J. FOYT IV: "Not to take anything away from my grandfather's team, it's just so much easier to have teammates around you to help you get through a weekend. Like a single-car team, you get off track, you come back to the hauler, you think to yourself, 'What's going on?' Now I can go back to Ed (Carpenter) or Tomas (Scheckter) and ask them what they're doing differently, any kind of changes they made on their car to make it better. Just makes it a whole lot easier to make me understand what's going on with my car out on the racetrack to prepare myself for a better race, have a more consistent car throughout the race."

Carpenter discussed the recent pit lane incident between Danica Patrick and Dan Wheldon.

Q. Have you ever thought about getting into a fight on pit road to generate some pub?

ED CARPENTER: I'm putting my money on Danica in this fight between her and Wheldon. Dan has been pretty good down here in Texas, but I'm going to put my money on Danica.

Q. How about putting on a fight between yourselves to get some pub?

ED CARPENTER: This whole thing is funny. I think it's good. It's getting our sport more media. Even better yet, it's real emotions. It's not made up. I'm glad there's no fines handed down. It's real emotion. This is what needs to happen. Dan pissed her off and she went and told him about it, and that's the way it should be.

I don't know that we need to start any fights just to start a fight. But if someone makes you that mad, then you need to go talk to them about it. Obviously, like we were talking about before, something happens like that with those two, it's going to get on TV. There's conversations like that between drivers all the time, just most of the time it doesn't get put on TV."

Indy Pro Series driver Ryan Justice was also a guest on the call and talked about racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Liberty Challenge on June 16-17.

Q. The Indy Pro Series is the only series that runs on both the oval and the road course at Indianapolis. What does it mean to you to be able to run not only once at Indy but twice at Indy?

RYAN JUSTICE: I think it's just fantastic because in road course racing, quite a lot more than just oval racing in general, you can have a bad race, there's definitely a lot more opportunities to have a bad race. To be able to run a doubleheader I think is just fantastic because if we have a bad day Saturday, definitely going to come back and show what we can do on Sunday.

The flipside of that coin is if we're having a really good weekend, it's a really good opportunity to catch up on points and show really well twice in one event

2. Roth hopes to help another Indy Pro Series driver achieve dream: Canadian entrepreneur Marty Roth continually looks to the future.

Roth entered the Indy Pro Series when it was formed in 2002 to drive a car prepared by longtime friend and racing team owner Brian Stewart. A year later, he acquired the assets of Panther Racing's Indy Pro Series operation and became the first owner/driver in the series.

In 2004, Roth realized a lifelong dream of competing in the Indianapolis 500 and has driven in eight IndyCar Series events over four seasons. Now the owner/driver of the No. 25 Roth Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone wants to give a similar opportunity to an Indy Pro Series driver.

Roth Racing has acquired assets of Sam Schmidt Motorsports' IndyCar Series program to augment its own with plans to field two full-time cars for the 2008 season. To that end, Roth will invite the Indy Pro Series points leader to drive the car in the IndyCar Series race Sept. 9 at Chicagoland Speedway.

"We believe that the best pool of talent comes from the Indy Pro Series," said Roth, who made 33 Indy Pro Series starts with a best finish of second at Chicagoland Speedway in 2005. "Their skills have been honed on the same tracks and events, and to ensure that the best from the Indy Pro Series will be able to take that next step to the Indy Car Series we will be offering the points leader a test prior to the Chicago race with the goal of fielding both cars for this event."

The race at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway oval closes the 17-race IndyCar Series season.

"It will be tough waiting until Chicago to get back out there, but it will be worth it," Roth said. "We're very excited and feel that these changes will strengthen and enhance our team and sponsorship program."

Roth Racing will soon move into a new 10,000-square-foot facility in Indianapolis to house the operation.

3. Streaking Franchitti brings points lead to Texas: A string of five consecutive top-five finishes, including a victory in the 91st Indianapolis 500, has enabled Dario Franchitti to grab the points lead for the first time in his IndyCar Series career.

Will it be difficult to maintain? Of course, as only six of 17 events are in the rear view mirror and the next events are challenging mix of short ovals, a speedway and a road course. First up is the Bombardier Learjet 550k on June 9. Target Chip Ganassi teammates Dan Wheldon (three points) and Scott Dixon (five) could swing to the top again with a good showing on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval this week. Franchitti's Andretti Green Racing teammate, Tony Kanaan, is only 20 points back.

Franchitti understands the tenuous position and just hopes he doesn't have to follow in the path of another Indy 500 winner. After Franchitti finished with the 500-Mile Race day media blitz, he bundled the firesuit, shoes and gloves in a bag with the intent of adding it to his growing collection.

"I might get it dry cleaned, but I didn't spill milk on it so it doesn't smell too bad," said Franchitti, driver of the No. 27 Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/Firestone. "Hopefully, it doesn't get used again.

"(Team manager) Kyle Moyer told me when (Jacques) Villeneuve won the '500' (1995) he did the same thing. But then they were running for the championship at Laguna Seca and they brought it all back out for that one race and they won the championship. So you never know."

Franchitti, a historian of the sport and collector of sorts, has the perfect place for the mementos.

"It will go in the garage in my new house," he said of the dwelling in Scotland that is nearly refurbished. "Everything from race wins; I like to keep all that stuff. I went to Mario Andretti's house a long time ago and saw all the stuff he collected through his career and I just thought that would be cool.

"I've kept almost everything -- boots, gloves, you name it. I have a nice helmet collection now from guys I've raced against and swapped helmets with."

But if needed in the finale at Chicagoland Speedway in three months, the suit will be called upon for luck.

The ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 presented by Time Warner Cable on June 3, in which Franchitti was runner-up to Kanaan, was evidence of an energized driver and team.

"I've been rejuvenated all year," he said. "That's why I came back this year. Towards the end of last season I was getting so much motivation by being frustrated and the season that we had. I came back this year, from the first race, the first test, ready to do the job.

"The cars this year I think have helped because the cars have been faster. Do I think I did a different job last year? No. But I think we've had better luck and I think we have had a lot faster cars so I think that's the difference you're seeing."

4. ABC Reality Show to feature IndyCar Series families: The IndyCar Series is helping the "SUPERNANNY" casting team search for families associated with the IndyCar Series and IndyCar Series fans in need of good parenting advice.

Producers launched their search for IndyCar Series fan families with out of control children at the Indianapolis 500 last month. Their goal is to find two families -- one associated with the IndyCar Series and one IndyCar Series fan family -- to offer Jo Frost a challenge on the new season of ABC's reality series in which Frost, one of the country's leading nannies, wrestles unruly kids into shape and imparts effective parenting tools.

Interested families are encouraged to apply all through the end of July at www.supernanny.com.

***

The 2007 IndyCar Series season continues with the Bombardier Learjet 550 on June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast at 10 p.m. (ET) by ESPN2 and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network beginning at 9 p.m. (ET). 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 Liberty Challenge doubleheader on June 16-17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. The races will be telecast by ESPN2 at 5 p.m. on June 21. ESPN2's coverage of the Road Runner 100 will be telecast at 6 p.m. on June 7 by ESPN2.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers A.J. Foyt IV , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Sam Schmidt , Mario Andretti , Marty Roth , Chip Ganassi , Ryan Justice , A.J. Foyt , Danica Patrick , Ed Carpenter
Teams Panther Racing