IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2007-08-23

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Meira takes ride with Blue Angels 2. Lloyd eyes Indy Pro Series title at Infineon Raceway ...

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Meira takes ride with Blue Angels
2. Lloyd eyes Indy Pro Series title at Infineon Raceway #3. Prendeville wins big at charity poker tourney

1. Meira takes ride with Blue Angels: Vitor Meira got a healthy dose of Vitamin G during his flight with Maj. Nathan Miller of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

G as in G forces thrust upon the Delphi Panther Racing driver by the high-performance F/A-18 Hornet during the 45-minute flight over Central Indiana courtesy of the U.S. Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron pilot. The Blue Angels will perform their aerial acrobatic maneuvers this weekend at the Mount Comfort Air Show near Indianapolis, while Meira will be competing at Infineon Raceway.

"You have the same smile on your face that you had when we took off, so that's good," Miller said after delivering Meira to the ground. "I was telling him while we were up there that there are a lot of parallels between his team and our team. It's very dedicated and all the teamwork that goes hand in hand. We're grateful that he was able to do this for us and help in our recruiting effort. It's just a great experience to fly with him.

"Now I want to get into one of the (IndyCar Series) cars."

The demonstration flight began with a high-performance climb, in which the pilot and passenger pulled 5.5 Gs (5½ times their body weight) as they shot toward the sky at 90 degrees powered by the twin General Electric turbofan engines with more than 30,000 pounds of thrust, and continued with a series of maneuvers from the show.

As No. 7 Hornet crew chief Deo Harrypersaud signaled Miller to a stop, the canopy opened to reveal a sweat-soaked passenger who looked as if he had spent an hour in his No. 4 Honda-powered Dallara on the Infineon Raceway course.

"Wow; it's unbelievable," Meira said.

That's usually the initial response from passengers who take a ride in one of the Indy Racing Experience two-seaters at an IndyCar Series event.

"I looked at my hands when we landed and they were white," Meira continued. "When you go upside down, that was cool. Then, taking off, it was like we were going straight to the moon. You appreciate what those guys do, how close they are to each other during their maneuvers, when you see them on TV or in pictures. But you really appreciate it when you're up there.

"I expected, but it kept surprising me."

2. Lloyd eyes Indy Pro Series title at Infineon Raceway: Alex Lloyd already has seven wins in his back pocket and a 98-point lead in the Indy Pro Series point standings with three races remaining, but he's not ready to let up one bit as the series heads to Infineon Raceway for a doubleheader weekend Aug. 25-26.

"We're going in with the aim and ambition of winning both races and certainly coming away with at least one win," said Lloyd, who drives the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon Systems car for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. "That's the way I've been all year is trying to win the race, and if we keep winning races and win more than everybody else out there, then the championship is likely to follow, and that's the same mentality I've got here."

Lloyd opened the season with an unprecedented run of five consecutive victories, including the Freedom 100 on the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After that, he added victories at Iowa and Watkins Glen, although a string of 10 consecutive top-three finishes ended with an 11th at Nashville on July 14.

"We've been fortunate that we've had a big lead from the start of the championship, and we've not had any pressure on us, really," Lloyd said. "We had two bad races where we had some problems, but nobody grabbed the bull by the horns and took the fight to us, so we've still got a pretty big lead, and it's one of those things where we know if we have two 10th-place finishes that may be enough to come away with the championship."

Indeed, at this point, it will be difficult for Lloyd to lose the battle for the Firestone Firehawk Cup. Panther Racing's Hideki Mutoh is the only championship contender remaining among the 22 entries for the two 30-lap races on the 12-turn, 2.26-mile road course located in the Sonoma Valley.

If Lloyd can add seven points to the margin in the Carneros 100 on Aug. 25, he would become the first Indy Pro Series driver to clinch the championship in the third-to-last race of the season. If that doesn't work out, he can claim the title after the Valley of the Moon 100 on Aug. 26 by maintaining a 53-point lead over Mutoh.

"We'll go there, do our job, put ourselves in a position to win races, and hopefully we will pick up a win this weekend," Lloyd said. "If we do that, the championship will be ours. We're still taking it race by race and trying to get as many wins as we can."

Practice and qualifying for the two races is scheduled for Aug. 24.

3. Prendeville wins big at charity poker tourney: Andrew Prendeville walked away from the poker table at Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel with the big check.

Prendeville, who drives for RLR/Andersen Racing in the Indy Pro Series, out-dueled several drivers at the inaugural Speedway Children's Charities Poker Tournament. Prendeville was presented with a $10,000 check from Jackson Rancheria, with it designated for qualified youth organizations in Sonoma County through Speedway Children's Charities, the charitable arm of Infineon Raceway.

Prendeville was joined at the card table by IndyCar Series driver Tony Kanaan, team co-owner Michael Andretti and Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series driver Scott Pruett.

"It was a fun day," Prendeville said. "I was an underdog because no one really knew who I was at the table. It was intimidating sitting next to Michael Andretti, but I got lucky and was able to win. It's great that Jackson Rancheria is giving this money to the charity."

The players competed in a 90-minute Texas Hold 'Em Style tournament. Each competitor was given $10,000 in chips to start.

Kanaan made an early exit, with the final three players being Prendeville, Andretti and Mark Demsky, a sports reporter/anchor at KTXL-TV, a Fox affiliate in Sacramento. After Andretti was eliminated, it came down to Prendeville and Demsky. Prendeville took the victory with a flush in the final hand.

"We all had fun but I really wanted to win," Andretti said. "The most important thing is that I wanted to beat Tony and I was able to do that."

***

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.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Michael Andretti , Tony Kanaan , Scott Pruett , Sam Schmidt , Andrew Prendeville , Alex Lloyd , Hideki Mutoh , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing