IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2007-06-25

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines: 1. Bad day goes good for several drivers in Iowa 2. Lloyd climbs to top of Indy Pro Series all-time wins list 3. Franchitti, Hornish nominated for ESPY Awards 4. Canadian Club commemorates ...

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines:
1. Bad day goes good for several drivers in Iowa
2. Lloyd climbs to top of Indy Pro Series all-time wins list
3. Franchitti, Hornish nominated for ESPY Awards
4. Canadian Club commemorates Franchitti's 500 win
5. Drivers reap post-race rewards

1. Bad day goes good for several drivers in Iowa: Lost amid the chaos surrounding Dario Franchitti's win in a crash-filled Iowa Corn Indy 250 was the season- best day for the five drivers who finished behind the IndyCar Series point leader.

Runner-up Marco Andretti, third-place finisher Scott Sharp, fourth-place finisher Buddy Rice and fifth-place Darren Manning all recorded their best performance of the year on the tricky 7/8th-mile oval.

"I said to Dario, this is just what he needed for points," said Andretti, who advanced 10 positions and was running at the finish for the first time this season on an oval. "He said, this is just what I needed, too. He's completely right. I just needed to finish. I'm happy to be second, of course. But no confidence lost here, for sure. It was a long day, though, very physical."

Sharp, who avoided several of the incidents which eliminated many of the race's contenders, continued to build upon the momentum that Rahal Letterman Racing gained at Indianapolis in May, recording his fourth top-10 finish.

"God was watching over us," Sharp said. "So many cars were literally a foot or two sideways in front of me and somehow I avoided them. It was a great day for points. Obviously we're picking picking up the pace. We qualified fourth, finished third, were able to run with the leaders all day and had great pit stops. I'm really excited."

Rice and Manning also followed the same formula, staying out of trouble to finish in the top-five.

"We stayed out of trouble, and the guys made a good call on the pit sequence there," Rice said. "We started in the back and then came in and topped off and that's what really kept us toward the front all day. We came out of here in a good position by just staying out of trouble. Our car wasn't superfast by itself. It ran OK in the draft and we missed a bit on the setup but the big thing was staying out of trouble."

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2. Lloyd climbs to top of Indy Pro Series all-time wins list: In just 17 races, Alex Lloyd has become the all-time winningest driver in Indy Pro Series history. Victory No. 8 came June 23 at Iowa Speedway, separating Lloyd from Thiago Medeiros, Jeff Simmons and Mark Taylor, who each won seven times during their Indy Pro Series careers.

"It means a lot to me," said Lloyd, who won two races in nine starts last year with AFS Racing and who has won six of eight races this season with Sam Schmidt Motorsports. "I think before the year, I never really thought that I would be one of those guys that would get hung up on small details, details like that of statistics. I was never really a statistics guy. I set my goal as winning Indy, winning the championship."

Lloyd realized the first of those goals in May, leading all 40 laps of the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and he is well on his way to accomplishing the second, leading the standings by 119 points at the halfway point of the season.

Lloyd continues to reset his goals as he checks them off his list.

"As soon as you start realizing that these things are possible, it really, really made me want it," said Lloyd, who opened the season with a record-setting five-race winning streak. "To have my name at the top of those statistics is a very special thing and it's something that I've been working very hard for and worked very hard for since I joined the Indy Pro Series."

Despite the dominance, Lloyd knows that the season is only half over and that he needs to continue to race well in the final eight races to win the championship.

"It's just been a phenomenal first half of the year, it really has, and I hope we can continue this for the second half," he said.

Dominant Streaks

* Alex Lloyd -- Won 8 of 17 starts, including 6 of 8 to start the 2007 season.
* Thiago Medeiros -- Won 4 consecutive races in 2004 and 5 of 6 from the final race of 2003 through the first five races of 2004.
* Jeff Simmons -- Won 5 of 8 races from Milwaukee 2005 through Homestead-Miami 2006.
* Mark Taylor -- Won 7 of 11 careers starts in 2003.

***

3. Franchitti, Hornish nominated for ESPY Awards: Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti and three-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., are among the five drivers nominated for "Best Driver" at the 2007 ESPY Awards.

Franchitti earned his first ESPY nomination while Hornish earned his fourth "Best Driver" nomination in the last six years.

It's the second consecutive year that he has been nominated for "Best Driver." Hornish also was nominated for "Best Championship Performance" for his Indianapolis 500 win in 2006.

Other drivers nominated for the award include NASCAR drivers Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick and NHRA Top Fuel star Tony Schumacher.

***

4. Canadian Club commemorates Franchitti's 500 win: Dario Franchitti's victory at the 91st Indianapolis 500 has inspired Canadian Club Whisky to develop a commemorative Canadian Club Indy 500 Collector's Edition bottle.

The distinctive bottle, which will be available to consumers beginning in July, will have a specially designed label featuring the winning No. 27 Canadian Club IndyCar Series car along with an image of Franchitti celebrating in victory lane. The official 2007 Indianapolis 500 seal will also be incorporated on the bottle.

"We are thrilled to have such a highly acclaimed driver representing our award-winning Canadian whisky," said Dennis Prado, senior brand director, Canadian Club. "We felt we should create something special to commemorate Dario's first Indy 500 win and the first win for Canadian Club. This limited edition bottle is something both IndyCar and Canadian Club fans can enjoy."

***

5. Drivers reap post-race rewards: Dario Franchitti reaped the benefits from winning an IndyCar Series event.

As the Iowa Corn Indy 250 race winner, Franchitti was presented an Automatic Gran Data timepiece from Ritmo Mundo, the official timepiece of the IndyCar Series. Ritmo Mundo presents a timepiece to the winner of each IndyCar Series event in 2007 and will present a $100,000 timepiece to the IndyCar Series champion.

Scott Dixon collected the AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award and its $10,000 prize, while Vitor Meira won the Firestone Performance Award and its $10,000 prize for leading Lap 142 of the race. Buddy Rice claimed the Lincoln Electric Hard Charger Award and its $2,000 prize for being the race leader who started furthest back.

As part of his victory in the Iowa 100, Alex Lloyd was presented with a Forum timepiece from Ritmo Mundo, the official timepiece of the Indy Pro Series. Ritmo Mundo presents a timepiece to the winner of each Indy Pro Series event in 2007 and a $25,000 timepiece to the Indy Pro Series champion.

Wade Cunningham collected the SWE Pole Award and its $1,000 prize.

***

The 2007 IndyCar Series season continues with the SunTrust Indy Challenge on June 30 at Richmond International Raceway. The race will be telecast at 7:30 p.m. (ET) by ESPN 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 Corning Twin 100s on July 7-8 at Watkins Glen International. The race will be telecast by ESPN2 at 5 p.m. (ET) on July 12. ESPN2's coverage of the Iowa 100 will be telecast at 5:30 p.m. (ET) on July 3

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Schumacher , Mark Taylor , Darren Manning , Kevin Harvick , Scott Sharp , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Jimmie Johnson , Sam Schmidt , Buddy Rice , Marco Andretti , Jeff Simmons , Alex Lloyd , Wade Cunningham , Sam Hornish Jr. , Thiago Medeiros , Vitor Meira