Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. IndyCar TEAM announcement
2. What They're Saying About IndyCar TEAM
3. Guthrie to appear on "The Daily Buzz"
4. Castroneves earns another week on Dancing With The Stars
5. Meira to race with AGR at Petit Le Mans
1. IndyCar TEAM announcement: On Oct. 2, Indy Racing League officials announced the details of IndyCar TEAM, the new earnings distribution program for the IndyCar Series.
Here are selected quotes from the Q & A portion of the press conference, which featured Brian Barnhart, president of the competition and operation division of the Indy Racing League, Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division of the Indy Racing League and Joie Chitwood, president and chief operating officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Q: What is your expectation in terms of bringing in new teams and entries thanks to the introduction of the TEAM Program?
BRIAN BARNHART: I don't know that we have expectations set as much as we're just trying to provide a stable platform for existing teams as well as an opportunity for potential ones. It would be difficult to speculate or look into a crystal ball and see what kind of an effect it has. Clearly, as you can see and hear from the numbers, it's something that moves us in the right direction in terms of a business model and a stable platform for teams to take a look at.
Q: Joie, what is going to be the minimum payoff for an Indy-only team?
JOIE CHITWOOD: For a team that's not participating in the IndyCar TEAM program, their prize money will be $270,000. That's a normal prize situation. Again, that does not count any contingency that the team might be eligible for by participating during the month of May.
Q: What if an existing IndyCar team such as Panther Racing would enter a third car for the '500?' They qualify for the 300(,000) or the 270,(000)?
CHITWOOD: Each car participating in season-long program will be eligible for the $300,000 minimum. A one-off situation, regardless of being a team that's participating in the season, will only be eligible for the $270,000.
Q: Terry, you said, if I understood you, that every full-time member of the League that comes to Indianapolis, whether they make the field or not, will be guaranteed a minimum of $300,000.
TERRY ANGSTADT: That's correct.
Q: Brian, with the possibility of winning close to $3 million in the '500' and 17 races, you add another million-dollar bonus plus whatever, is this going to make you competitive for the drivers that have been slipping away to NASCAR? Seventeen compared to 35.
BARNHART: It certainly improves it. We're going to run 16 races in 2008 on the schedule. It helps everybody. And that's the most important aspect of this program, is that it helps the one-offs at Indianapolis, whether it's the PDM or Greg Beck or people that have run just a handful of races.
The $270,000 that's available if they make the race in the Indy 500 is a significant increase, as well. These numbers are there for a reason. I mean, that number includes and should be enough money to pay for your full-season engine lease or full-month engine lease, as well as your tires for the entire month of May for one-off cars.
The full-season program at a million two is the same deal. That pays for your full-season engine lease and your tires for the year. It's our way of providing stability for the teams and improving the business model, hoping to attract new ones. It should benefit everyone, whether it's teams that are well-funded and have all the sponsors, all the way down through each and every team involved in the Series.
And it's the responsibility of those owners, as it always has been, to make sure they have relationships with their drivers and their crew members. And it certainly gives them more flexibility. With the increase of the monies you see, the increase in percentages, it gives them an opportunity to continue to hire the best people and hopefully retain the best people, including drivers.
2. What They're Saying About IndyCar TEAM: Here's what several IndyCar Series team owners and team officials are saying about IndyCar TEAM, the new earnings distribution program for the IndyCar Series.
JOHN BARNES (Co-owner, Panther Racing): "I think this is something that needed to happen for a long time. This moves the IndyCar Series from the way it was in the early 20th century to something we needed to move us into this century. Teams need to know what they have coming in and how they can spend that with their different programs. Look at Major League Baseball and how the profit-sharing program has worked and benefited everybody involved. The Yankees spend a lot of money towards revenue-sharing every year and, if they didn't do that, they'd be playing against themselves. This is, without a doubt, going to take IndyCar racing to the next level."
GREG BECK (Owner, Beck Motorsports): "The program gives us an opportunity to get back in the series full time, which is what we've been trying to do. This gives us a great base to work from. We've already talked to some of our sponsors and they are willing to participate because there's already some funding in place. We're actually very happy with it and hopefully it can help me get back into the series as a full-time competitor."
LARRY CURRY (Team Manager, Vision Racing): "I think IndyCar TEAM once again shows the commitment that Tony George has made to the Indy Racing League. Hopefully, car owners will look at this as positive step as to why they would look seriously at fielding a team in the IndyCar Series. I think what they are going to do at Indianapolis is fantastic. It once again sets the 500 way out there compared to any other racing event that's put on in the world."
MIKE HULL (Managing Team Director, Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "As has always been the case, Target Chip Ganassi Racing is fully supportive of the IndyCar Series and in its continuing efforts to grow and strengthen the series. Anything that we can do to help support the growth of the series is in all our best interests."
DENNIS REINBOLD (Co-owner, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): "This is clearly an investment into the future of the IndyCar Series by Tony George and his family. I look at this as a very generous way for them to reinvest the proceeds of their growth back into the IndyCar Series by helping each of their teams. They are very committed to the continued growth and development of the IndyCar Series, and this is just another step in that process. Any time you wake up and are better off than you were the day before, it's a good day."
KEVIN SAVOREE (Co-owner, Andretti Green Racing): What the (Indy Racing League has) done by basically rewarding every entrant with what amounts to a second-place finish based on the old prize money is great for everybody, small teams, big teams, everybody. When you look at what they've done for the Indy 500 and to still have championship money available, that's got to be exciting for the bigger teams. I think it's awesome. They've done a great job of thinking through how it affects everyone."
3. Guthrie to appear on "The Daily Buzz": Indy Pro Series driver Sean Guthrie will appear as an in-studio guest on the nationally syndicated morning talk show "The Daily Buzz" on Oct. 4 to promote the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Passionately Pink campaign.
"It will be the first time that I have ever been on a national news show,"said Guthrie, whose mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor. "I am more nervous about doing that then I am driving 200-plus mph and just inches from the wall."
"The Daily Buzz" airs in 147 cities across the country, mostly on affiliates of The CW or MyNetwork. Check local listings for the time and channel in your area. Information on the Passionately Pink campaign can be found at www.passionatelypink.org.
4. Castroneves earns another week on Dancing With The Stars: Helio Castroneves and his professional dancing partner Julianne Hough continued to light up the dance floor, sailing into the third round of "Dancing With The Stars" after their sizzling rendition of the mambo Monday, Oct. 1.
Castroneves, who received the highest judge total in Monday night's second round, was one of 10 celebrities advancing to next week's program. The duo will continue on the hit ABC show at 8 p.m. (ET) Monday, Oct. 8.
5. Meira to race with AGR at Petit Le Mans: IndyCar Series driver Vitor Meira will join Andretti Green Racing drivers Tony Kanaan and Bryan Herta for the Petit Le Mans sports car race at Road Atlanta on Oct. 6.
Meira will make his second start at the 10-hour, 1,000-mile event. He placed third- overall in last year's Petit Le Mans.
"This is a great opportunity for me and I'm looking forward to driving for Andretti Green Racing with Bryan and Tony," said Meira, who has made 76 IndyCar Series starts. "I know XM and Acura have put a lot of effort into the car and hopefully I can help them win their first Petit Le Mans."
Andretti Green Racing is seeking its second victory in its first ALMS season. The XM Acura team scored an LMP2 class win at the season-opening Twelve Hours of Sebring.
"Vitor has shown a lot of speed throughout his career and will help give us a good shot to compete for a win this weekend at Road Atlanta," team co-owner Michael Andretti said. "He's done a great job for Honda over the years and we're excited about seeing him in the XM Acura this weekend with Bryan and Tony."
The 2008 IndyCar Series season begins under the lights on March 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 16-race schedule, one of the most diverse in all of motorsports, features races on 11 ovals, three permanent road courses and two temporary street circuits, all broadcast worldwide through a comprehensive, long-term agreement with ABC Sports/ ESPN.