IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2008-01-24

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Drivers will use Rolex 24 Hours race to prepare for new season 2. Kanaan, Andretti to appear at Detroit Auto Show 1. Drivers will use Rolex 24 Hours race to prepare for new season:...

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Drivers will use Rolex 24 Hours race to prepare for new season
2. Kanaan, Andretti to appear at Detroit Auto Show

1. Drivers will use Rolex 24 Hours race to prepare for new season: A handful of IndyCar Series drivers will return to the racetrack Jan. 26-27 for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, including Target Chip Ganassi drivers Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon and Alex Lloyd who will combine with Salvador Duran, who was part of the winning team last year.

"It's a great way to start the season," said Dixon, who along with Wheldon was part of the winning team in 2006. "You don't have as much stress or weight on your shoulders because you can spread the load over three or four drivers and you've got quite a big team behind you. To be quite honest, the team is more important than the drivers here. To fix the big issues that you have to address during the night is the big key to winning this race.

"You only get one opportunity a year to do it, and it's 24 hours flat out. To me, it means more as a group with the team. When we won this race in 2006, we had a number of problems and spent some time in the pits, but the team did the work on the car that pulled us through. For me, it's a real accomplishment and definitely something you want to win again once you've won it the first time."

Competing in the sports car race for the second time is two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, who will share driving duties with IndyCar Series teammate Ryan Briscoe and Penske Racing driver Kurt Busch.

"I'm looking forward to competing with Ryan and Kurt," said Castroneves. "We were very happy with testing (earlier in the month) with the team only coming together in the last five weeks. We were running in the top five consistently. I wasn't surprised that the team is capable of doing it, but there are so many people who have been (racing) the Daytona Prototypes for so many years.

"Last year in my first 24 Hours, I learned you have to be a consistent survivor. The key to the race is getting through traffic, making good choices and not taking too many chances. You need to be around at the end."

Also returning is the Vision Racing team comprised of IndyCar Series drivers Ed Carpenter, A.J. Foyt IV and Vitor Meira and team owner Tony George. Vision Racing's contingent finished 17th in Daytona Prototypes (29th overall) in last year's twice-around-the-clock event, which likely would have been higher if not for the engine expiring with 30 minutes left.

"Last year's race was a success for the team in many ways, but coming up just short in the end left us hungry to give it another try this year," team owner/driver Tony George said of the first-year effort.

The team didn't participate in testing on the 3.56-mile, 12-turn circuit earlier in the month, but each driver got behind the wheel at Moroso Motorsports Park in Jupiter, Fla., Jan. 20-21.

"I wish we had gotten it together a little sooner so we could go test a bit more, but we have 24 hours to race," Carpenter said. "I know the guys will put together a good car like they did last year and, hopefully, we can run the last 30 minutes that we weren't able to do last year."

IndyCar Series drivers Buddy Rice and Ryan Hunter-Reay also are entered in the event, as are Indy Pro Series drivers CR Crews, Brad Jaeger and Scott Mayer.

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2. Kanaan, Andretti to appear at Detroit Auto Show: Andretti Green Racing drivers Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti will be joined by former IndyCar Series teammate Bryan Herta at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 25.

The drivers will be part of the annual NAIAS Racing Day activities at Cobo Center. Racing Day features driver appearances as well as special interactive exhibits and displays celebrating motorsports at the nation's premiere automotive showcase, the NAIAS.

Kanaan, Andretti and Herta experienced the return of world-class racing to Motown in 2007 at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix and all three will be in action when the Grand Prix comes back to the Belle Isle street circuit Aug. 29-31.

Kanaan, Andretti and Herta will participate in a question and answer session with fans at the show from 2:30-3 p.m. in the Michigan Hall and then will sign autographs for fans from 3-4 p.m. in the Michigan Hall.

"I am very excited to go back to Detroit this week for the first time since I won at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix," said Kanaan, who won the IndyCar Series inaugural Detroit Indy Grand Prix last September. "I am definitely looking forward to promoting the 2008 Grand Prix and also to attending the Auto Show. People know I have a passion for cars and I can't wait to see what's new. This is a perfect combination for me - I get to talk about what I love in an environment where I get to look at the most innovative designs in cars."

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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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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Helio Castroneves , A.J. Foyt IV , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Buddy Rice , Ryan Briscoe , Marco Andretti , Scott Mayer , Chip Ganassi , Tony George , Alex Lloyd , Brad Jaeger , Ed Carpenter , Vitor Meira
Teams Team Penske