INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- June 12, 2007 Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines: 1. New inversion rule debuts at Liberty Challenge 2. Mid-Ohio test, then rest, for IndyCar Series teams 3. Motorola to serve as title sponsor at...
INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- June 12, 2007
Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines:
1. New inversion rule debuts at Liberty Challenge
2. Mid-Ohio test, then rest, for IndyCar Series teams
3. Motorola to serve as title sponsor at Infineon event
1. New inversion rule debuts at Liberty Challenge: The Indy Pro Series will introduce a new feature to its already unique procedure for determining the starting lineup on doubleheader race weekends.
Beginning with the Liberty Challenge June 16-17 on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the winner of Race 1 will participate in a blind draw to determine how many cars will be inverted for start of Race 2 -- 0, 4, 6 or 8.
The format marks a change from three previous doubleheader race weekends over the past two seasons when the top six finishers in Race 1 were automatically inverted for Race 2.
"This will be an exciting new twist," Indy Pro Series executive director Roger Bailey said. "The inverted field has led to increased competition on the racetrack. In two of the past three events, we've seen the Race 1 winner move up from sixth to win Race 2 as well. That type of passing is exciting for people to watch.
"With more of a random process to determine how many cars are inverted, everyone will be racing as hard as they can to the checkered flag."
Raphael Matos (2006) and Alex Lloyd (2007) completed doubleheader sweeps on the streets of St. Petersburg while Wade Cunningham improved from sixth to fourth at Infineon Raceway (2006).
2. Mid-Ohio test, then rest, for IndyCar Series teams: For IndyCar Series teams, there's one more stop before a weekend to rest and review the past three busy weekends of racing. An Open Test at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is scheduled for June 13 (10 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m.; open to the public).
"I'm really happy we're going back to Mid-Ohio," Vision Racing team manager Larry Curry said. "It was always a great event and had a good fan following. It will be interesting now to see how you stack up when you bring in everybody."
Sure, it would have been nice to have an entire week back home before heading out on a summer tour that incorporates five races in as many weekends (starting with Iowa Speedway on June 22-24). But what's learned at Mid-Ohio will go a long way in preparing for the Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance on July 22.
"It would have been nice to have had that whole week without something, but we like this new format," Curry said. "I think it keeps the fans interesting in where we're going. After that we'll roll back into five more events."
The hill and dale circuit is one of the more challenging in the country, according to Curry.
"You have to be very technical on that racetrack to be good," he said. "It's a very demanding circuit. Passing zones are tight. It will be nice to do something where they are shifting, turning right and left and working on different things other than being flat out all the time. I think it will be a very popular event for the league."
Rahal Letterman Racing's Jeff Simmons, who competed often at Mid-Ohio in his junior formula days and joined Vision Racing's Tomas Scheckter in a compatability test last year, concurred that drivers have to be precise on entries and exits.
"It's a somewhat technical place that can change a lot on you," he said. "When we tested there, we were still using the Panoz chassis, so we didn't learn as much as we should have going back there. It's a place I've raced many times, so I know what I need from the car and know where I need to put it."
3. Motorola to serve as title sponsor at Infineon event: Infineon Raceway and Motorola, Inc. have established an alliance that will make the wireless and broadband communications company the title sponsor of the raceway's IndyCar Series event.
The IndyCar Series' third race at Infineon will be known as the Motorola Indy 300 and will take place Aug. 24-26 in the scenic Sonoma Valley road course. The alliance furthers Motorola's involvement in the IndyCar Series as the company is also the primary sponsor of the No. 7 car driven by Danica Patrick (Andretti Green Racing).
"The IndyCar Series race at Infineon Raceway has become an important marketing opportunity for Motorola with our key customers over the past several years," said Kathleen Finato, senior director of North America marketing, Mobile Devices, Motorola, Inc. "The opportunity to serve as title sponsor provides greater opportunities for Motorola to impact our key accounts in a positive way."
The Illinois-based company will have exclusivity during race weekend in the voice communication devices and wireless network categories.
"Motorola has been a strong and active supporter of IndyCar Series racing and will be a terrific partner for this event," said Steve Page, president and general manager of Infineon Raceway. "We are proud to align with the Motorola brand and with the innovative and quality products that brand represents."
The 2007 IndyCar Series season continues with the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on June 24 at Iowa Speedway. The race will be telecast at 1 p.m. (ET) 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 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.