IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2007-10-11

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Seven drivers to test at Barber Motorsports Park 2. IndyCar Series, Indy Pro Series drivers slated to compete in karting event 3. Another bundle of joy 1. Seven drivers to test at Barber ...

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Seven drivers to test at Barber Motorsports Park
2. IndyCar Series, Indy Pro Series drivers slated to compete in karting event
3. Another bundle of joy

1. Seven drivers to test at Barber Motorsports Park: Dan Wheldon has been anxiously awaiting the IndyCar Series Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park.

Not only is it the IndyCar Series' first test on the 2.38-mile, 16-turn road course at in Birmingham, Ala., it's also one of the few opportunities he will have to drive the car before the winter. It's all part of the off-season planning for the 16-race IndyCar Series season.

"It's great to get back in the Target car and test so soon after the end of the season," the 2005 IndyCar Series champion said. "It might not seem like it's been that long since the last race, but to a driver, it's an eternity because that's where we love to be. Any time that we can get on track to test is a chance for us to improve, and it's really important to drivers and teams to push forward with development in order to raise the level of competition for the next season of racing."

Wheldon will join six other drivers from four IndyCar Series teams at the test, which will allow IndyCar Series officials to further evaluate technical changes for the upcoming season.

"The test will help us further access the variable ratio steering racks that a few teams will have and it will be phase two of the paddle shifting installation program," said Les Mactaggart, senior technical director for the IndyCar Series. "One of the Ganassi cars will have that system, and this test is a chance to have more miles put on the system."

Wheldon or his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon will use the paddle-shifting system during the one-day test.

"It's always exciting to take part in the evaluation of a new venues and possible additions to the IndyCar Series schedule," Wheldon said. "I've heard a lot about the track and can't wait to drive it first hand."

Other drivers scheduled to test are: Andretti Green Racing drivers Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan and Danica Patrick, Team Penske's Helio Castroneves and Panther Racing's Vitor Meira.


$FAST FACTS:

WHAT: IndyCar Series Open Test

WHERE: Barber Motorsports Park, 16-turn, 2.38-mile circuit

WHEN: 9 a.m. -- 5 p.m. Oct. 12

CARS: Dallara chassis; Honda Indy V-8; Firestone tires; 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol

SCHEDULE (All times local; subject to change):
9a.m. -- Noon IndyCar Series testing
Noon -- 1 p.m. Lunch Break
1 -- 5 p.m. IndyCar Series testing

***

2. IndyCar Series, Indy Pro Series drivers slated to compete in karting event: With upwards of 225 drivers representing more than 90 international entries, Mark Dismore has coined the Mazda Robo-Pong 200 presented by Bridgestone the Indy 500 of karting.

The endurance karting event Oct. 14 at New Castle Motorsports Park in Indiana (12:30 p.m., free admission) features 500-Mile Race winner Dan Wheldon, 2007 IndyCar Series championship runner-up Scott Dixon, 2006 Indy Pro Series champion Jay Howard and ABC/ESPN IndyCar Series driver analyst Scott Goodyear among the competitors.

Many professional drivers are paired with some of karting's top drivers. Wheldon and Mark Dismore Jr., who won the event in 2005, have teamed up again. Also entered to compete from the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series are Vitor Meira, A.J. Foyt IV, Robbie Pecorari, Matt Jaskol, CR Crews and Logan Gomez.

"I think most racing drivers who are fortunate to make a living in motorsports are real respectful of karting," said Dismore, a former IndyCar Series driver who owns and operates the 1.1-mile karting facility off I-70. "That's where 99 percent of them have come from, and it's a tribute to the sport and a tribute to them as individuals to come back to their roots and participate in this race with a bunch of guys who would love to change places with them."

Teams representing the continental United States, Canada and even the Dominican Republic will be aiming for a $5,000 payday among the purse of $25,000.

"I want to make it the Indy 500 of karting," Dismore said, "and I think it's quickly becoming that. Typically when you go to a national (karting) event there will be maybe 500 entries but there also are 15 classes. At the end of the weekend you have 15 winners. This event you have one class of racing and one (team) winner. Just like the Indy 500, there is one winner."

Each team is comprised of two to four drivers in 125cc water-cooled racing karts. The approximately four-hour race will feature a minimum of three pit stops per team for fuel and driver changes.

Morning practice Oct. 13 is followed by qualifying (2 p.m.), which will set the top 50 teams on time. The pole-winning team will receive a $500 bonus. The last 20 karts will have to gain entry into the 70-kart field through a 75-lap race at 4 p.m. The event will be taped for a one-hour broadcast on Speed this fall.

"Every year this gains momentum and continues to grow," said Dismore, who also will compete in the race. "I'm real excited about it."

***

3. Another bundle of joy: IndyCar Series driver Ed Carpenter and his wife Heather are celebrating the birth of their first child. Carpenter's daughter, Makenna Alayne was born on Oct. 9. She weighed 7 lbs. 1 oz. and was 20.5 inches long at birth.

***

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.

-credit: irl

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Series INDYCAR , INDYLIGHTS