INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- Aug. 15, 2007 Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines: 1. A.J. Foyt IV and Jonathan Klein teleconference 2. Mehl inducted into Motorsports Hall of Fame 3. Prendeville honored for charitable work 4....
INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- Aug. 15, 2007
Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines:
1. A.J. Foyt IV and Jonathan Klein teleconference
2. Mehl inducted into Motorsports Hall of Fame
3. Prendeville honored for charitable work
4. Of note
1. A.J. Foyt IV and Jonathan Klein teleconference: IndyCar Series driver A.J. Foyt IV and Indy Pro Series driver Jonathan Klein were the featured guests on today's Indy Racing League teleconference.
Foyt, who finished a career-best third at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 11, discussed the pre-race driver's meeting.
Q. You were there. What was the tenor of that meeting? Can you talk about that a little bit? Do you feel like if he said that, was it something that was said in a formal way that, yeah, this is "I'm going to crack down on you guys," or was it just him trying to get a point across to you guys?
A.J. FOYT IV: It's true, (Brian Barnhart) was pretty upset after the Michigan race and pretty much did say all drivers were on probation until the end of the year. I don't think there was dirty racing in Kentucky to sit anybody out. There were a few mistakes people made that caused some big crashes, but I don't think they were intentional like some of the racing that was going on in Michigan.
Klein, who is in his second season in the Indy Pro Series talked about drivers moving up from the developmental series to the IndyCar Series and who he thought was the best candidate.
Q. It seems to be tough for you guys in the Pro Series to move up in the (IndyCar Series) this year. Think there may be a chance next year, or is that a tight situation?
JONATHAN KLEIN: It's a tough call. Alex Lloyd would be the first guy to move up. He's an outstanding driver. He's good with the media and a nice personality. He's not the kind of guy that you love to beat. Obviously, you want to beat him, but when you get beat by him, you don't get so frustrated about it, because he's a good guy, and he's fun, and he's very respectful. I have a lot of respect for Alex, and he's a good guy to contend with. As far as moving up, it's going to be tough for anyone, just because of the lack of availability of a seat. The drivers in the IndyCar Series have established careers and contracts that keep make it hard for us up and coming drivers to move up. But the IndyCar Series and the Indy Pro Series are working hard at making opportunities, and I have faith in them that they'll make something happen.
2. Mehl inducted into Motorsports Hall of Fame: To a generation in motorsports, Leo Mehl was a Ph.D. of tire compounds, organization and tireless company promotion who accumulated an anthology of racing victories in the Indianapolis 500, Formula 1 and stock car racing.
Mehl, who as the Indy Racing League's first executive director shepherded the sanctioning body during its formative years of operation, joined 1960 Indianapolis 500 winner Jim Rathmann, Indy car racing mechanic/team manager Jim McGee, 1988 NASCAR champion Bill Elliott, sports car champion John Fitch, motorcycle champion Bubba Shobert, and the drag racing team of Ronnie Sox and Buddy Martin as inductees into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
Before joining the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series, in December 1996, Mehl was general manager of worldwide racing for Goodyear for 22 years.
"Drivers always give credit to their teams," he said. "Over a period of 30 years, my 'teams' had several thousand dedicated and skilled production, development, sales, public relations and service personnel. My Indy 500 experience was the same. I want to thank my excellent team at the Indy Racing League. I accept this honor on behalf of each one of them.
"In my next life, I want to try car owner."
After his retirement in 1996 from the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Indy Racing League founder Tony George persuaded Mehl to take the reins of the new open-wheel racing series that had the Indianapolis 500 as its cornerstone. Mehl held the position until 2000, and remains a consultant with the sanctioning body.
"I am so thrilled for Leo," said Brian Barnhart, Indy Racing League president of the competition and operations division. "His influence around motorsports dates back over five decades and through so many disciplines of the sport. His influence at the Indy Racing League is prevalent. I learned so much from Leo during the early years of the league and today I count him as one of my key counselors and advisors.
"His knowledge of the inner workings of motorsports on and off the racetrack is second to none."
3. Prendeville honored for charitable work: Indy Pro Series driver Andrew Prendeville will be honored for his charitable works by GoodSearch.com on Aug. 18.
GoodSearch.com is an Internet search engine that donates 50 percent of its revenue to the charities designated by its users.
Prendeville, 25, of Morristown, N.J., driving in his first Indy Pro Series season for RLR/Andersen Racing, developed a program called "Racing Laps for Best Friends" that allows fans to make donations to the not-for-profit organization based on how many laps he competes in his races. Fans make the donations through www.racinglapsforbestfriends.com or at the racetrack.
Prendeville also donated signage on his RLR/Andersen Racing car, the Best Friends Animal Society No. 5, to increase awareness of Best Friends Animal Society. Best Friends operates the largest no-kill animal shelter in the United States and works on behalf of animal welfare concerns around the world.
4. Of note: Over the past seven races (Iowa to Kentucky), Marco Andretti has scored more points than all but three drivers (Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon) -- all of whom have won at least two races in that span. Andretti had five top-five finishes in those races, including runner-up at Iowa and Michigan... Alex Lloyd can clinch the Indy Pro Series championship during the next round of races at Infineon Raceway on Aug. 25-26. Lloyd, driver of the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon Systems/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Car, has 98-point lead over Hideki Mutoh with three races left. The Indy Pro Series season finale is Sept. 9 at Chicagoland Speedway.
The next IndyCar Series event is the Motorola Indy 300 presented by Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel at 3:30 p.m. (ET) on Aug. 26 at Infineon Raceway. The race will be televised live by ESPN and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The next Indy Pro Series event is the Carneros 100/Valley of the Moon 100 doubleheader on Aug.25-26 at Infineon Raceway. The race will be telecast at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 31 by ESPN2. ESPN2's coverage of the Kentucky 100 will be telecast at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 16.