IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2008-01-08

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. IndyCar Series sets Spring Training dates 2. Prendeville to return with RLR/Andersen Racing 3. Indy Pro Series-backed team readies for Chili Bowl 1. IndyCar Series sets Spring Training...

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. IndyCar Series sets Spring Training dates
2. Prendeville to return with RLR/Andersen Racing
3. Indy Pro Series-backed team readies for Chili Bowl

1. IndyCar Series sets Spring Training dates: IndyCar Series teams will begin preparations for the 2008 season with Open Tests at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Sebring International Raceway.

The first Spring Training dates are scheduled for Feb. 27-28 on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway. IndyCar Series teams will test under the lights from 4-10 p.m. each day for the second consecutive year in preparation for the primetime season opener at the facility on March 29.

The following week, IndyCar Series teams will conduct their first ever Open Test at Sebring International Raceway. Half the field will test on March 3-4, and the other half of the field will test on March 5-6 on the 1.7-mile, 11-turn circuit. The test groups will be released at a later date.

Although the facility has been approved for team testing since 2005, this will mark the first Open Test at the venue.

"We're very much looking forward to getting back to the racetrack and preparing for the 2008 season," said Brian Barnhart, president of the competition and operations division of the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series and the Indy Pro Series. "Homestead-Miami Speedway and Sebring International Raceway both offer first-class facilities in warm-weather venues to allow our teams and drivers the opportunity to get ready for another season of outstanding racing.

"Our race cars look spectacular under the lights at Homestead-Miami Speedway. I can't think of a better place to feel the energy of IndyCar Series racing in anticipation of a new season.

"We're also thrilled to be going to Sebring for the first time. Indy cars have used that facility as a training ground for years, and it should be a great track for our competitors to get ready for the road and street courses on our schedule."

"Spring Training at Homestead-Miami Speedway is really the ultimate in a live race preview," said HMS president Curtis Gray. "To have all the top IndyCar Series drivers here in advance of the March 29 season-opening 'SpeedJam' is going to provide some stellar on-track action--and all under the South Florida stars."

"We are honored to be hosting an IndyCar Series Open Test," Sebring President and General Manager Tres Stephenson said. "Sebring has been a favorite winter testing location for many Indy Racing League teams in recent years, and we look forward to having the prestigious IndyCar Series prepare for the 2008 season at our facility."

Indy Pro Series teams will also test at both tracks to prepare for the 2008 season. The series will host an Open Test at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Feb. 28 from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Indy Pro Series teams will test at Sebring March 31-April 1.

***

2. Prendeville to return with RLR/Andersen Racing: Andrew Prendeville will return to race in the Indy Pro Series for RLR/Andersen Racing, team officials announced on Jan. 4.

The 26-year-old Prendeville, who moved from New Jersey to Las Vegas during the Christmas holiday, recorded seven top-10 finishes during his rookie season, which was also Andersen Racing's first in the official development series of the IndyCar Series.

"We are thrilled that Andrew has decided to do a second year with us in the Indy Pro Series," said team co-owner Dan Andersen. "Based on his first-year effort, we believe very strongly that he will be a winner in 2008. He has talent, discipline and focus, and he will challenge all year for the title."

Prendeville's car will again support Best Friends Animal Society, America's largest no-kill animal sanctuary located in Kanab, Utah, as he expands his successful Racing Laps for Best Friends program. Chief mechanic Will Paul and engineers Dominic and Nicholas Cape will also return to the team.

"I'm very happy to be working with the Cape brothers and Will Paul again," Prendeville said. "The continuity of working with the Capes and having the same lead mechanic as last year should be very beneficial."

Prendeville is a former F2000 driver for RLR/Andersen Racing, which strives to provide the best possible training for future open-wheel stars and give them one central home during the time they race in support series. It is the official development team of Rahal Letterman Racing.

***

3. Indy Pro Series-backed team readies for Chili Bowl: As the 22nd Annual Dodge Chili Bowl Nationals is set to kick off Jan. 8 at the Tulsa Expo Center in Tulsa, Okla., the Indy Pro Series-sponsored Loyet Motorsports team has its four Spike-Esslinger machines ready for battle against a star-studded field of more than 280 midget cars.

The stable of drivers includes names synonymous with grassroots racing success -- PJ Jones, Danny Lasoski, and Jon Stanbrough. For its other driver, Brad Loyet, the Indy Pro Series sponsorship is something he hopes will help to shape his future in racing.

"I'm really honored to be part of the team that's showcasing the Indy Pro Series brand to the fans and teams at the Chili Bowl," Loyet said. "The IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 have always been my ultimate goals as a driver, so I'm hopeful that I can make my way to the Indy Pro Series very soon."

Qualifying races held Jan. 9-11 will determine the lineup for the heat races and feature event on Jan. 12.

The St. Louis-based team will begin its quest for the Golden Driller trophy on Jan. 9 as Danny Lasoski will be the first member of the Loyet Motorsports team to compete on the indoor bullring.

Drivers Brad Loyet and Jon Stanbrough will debut on Jan. 10 with Indianapolis 500 veteran PJ Jones scheduled to compete on Jan. 11.

***

The 2008 IndyCar Series season begins under the lights with the SpeedJam Indy 300 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. The 2008 Indy Pro Series season also begins on March 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 16-race schedule, which features eight ovals and four road/street course doubleheader weekends, will be televised by ESPN2.

-credit: irl

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