IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League notebook 2003-01-16

Indy Racing League Notebook: Positive start for MCT; George recognized by The Sporting News INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2003 -- When Red Bull Cheever Racing completed its first test of 2003 on Jan. 9-10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it also...

Indy Racing League Notebook:
Positive start for MCT; George recognized by The Sporting News

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2003 -- When Red Bull Cheever Racing completed its first test of 2003 on Jan. 9-10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it also was the first on-track test for MCT, the new technical research-and-development company formed by owner-driver Eddie Cheever Jr. and Team Menard owner John Menard.

Red Bull Cheever Racing and drivers Cheever and Buddy Rice will use Chevrolet engines prepared by Menard Engine Group in Indianapolis this season in the IRL IndyCar Series. Menard and Cheever formed MCT in December 2002 to develop the new generation of IndyCar engines and chassis.

"We are already seeing the advantage of MCT," said Max Jones, managing director of Red Bull Cheever Racing. "We will go back to Indy with what we learned from this test, evaluate everything and put a plan together for Test in the West. Overall, for our first test it went well. Everyone is very upbeat and excited for this season."

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George recognized by The Sporting News: Indy Racing League President and CEO Tony George was named on a list of "Ten To Watch" as part of a feature entitled "100 Most Powerful People in Sports" published recently by The Sporting News.

Others on the "Ten To Watch" list included Robert Johnson, owner of Charlotte's NBA expansion franchise; Bruton Smith, Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO; Deion Sanders, CBS NFL analyst; and LeBron James, high school basketball phenom.

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Sharp pulling for Raiders, Bucs: Scott Sharp, the 1996 IRL IndyCar Series co-champion, was spotted wearing an Oakland Raiders visor during testing Jan. 9 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"My in-laws and my wife are huge Raiders' fans, so I sort of have to be to keep peace at home," Sharp said. "I'm pulling for them and Tampa Bay. If you like the Raiders, you like (former head coach) Jon Gruden. He slips over to Tampa, so you've got to like them both."

The Raiders will play the Tennessee Titans for the AFC championship on Jan. 19, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take on the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC championship the same day.

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Penske names technical director: Nigel Beresford has been named technical director of Penske Cars, Ltd., said Nick Goozee, managing director.

In his new role, Beresford will be responsible for overseeing diverse engineering projects involving Penske Racing and Penske Cars and working with the team's technical partners.

Beresford, 44, first joined Penske Racing in 1992 when he worked as race engineer for Rick Mears. During the 1993 and 1994 seasons, he worked as race engineer for Paul Tracy, scoring eight wins and six poles. When Tracy left the team at the end of the 1994 season, Beresford moved back to England and resumed his Formula One career with Team Tyrrell.

Beresford returned to Marlboro Team Penske in 1996 and was named head of engineering at Penske Cars, Ltd. at the start of the 1997 season Prior to joining Penske, Beresford had worked for the Tyrrell Formula One team since 1986.

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New team sets up shop: New IRL Infiniti Pro Series team Kenn Hardley Racing has moved into its race shop in Pittsboro, Ind., said John Paul Jr., team manager and former IRL IndyCar Series standout.

Mark Olson has been named as the team's chief mechanic, Paul said. Olson, who has an extensive background in open-wheel racing, was Paul's chief mechanic when Paul won the Michigan 500 in 1983.

The team, which will participate in the Test in the West next month, is close to signing a driver for the 2003 Infiniti Pro Series, Paul said.

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IRL on Ice: The Indy Racing League is playing host to "IRL Night with the Indianapolis Ice" on Jan. 17 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, with a variety of Indy Racing League-related activities planned for the Central Hockey League game.

IRL IndyCar Series drivers Tomas Scheckter and Dan Wheldon will participate in a pre-game autograph session, drop the ceremonial first puck for the game and take part in on-ice intermission activities.

The first 5,000 fans through the gates will receive IRL trading cards, while the first 1,000 fans in line at the autograph session will receive a free, 30-minute prepaid calling card, courtesy of the IRL.

Other promotions include the placement of IRL logos in the game program and the Purex IRL IndyCar Series car on display at Conseco Fieldhouse during the game.

The game starts at 7 p.m. (EST).

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Hot laps: Defending IRL IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. is participating in a photo shoot Feb. 5 in Los Angeles that will appear in a future issue of Maxim magazine -- 2002 IRL IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. and 2002 IRL Infiniti Pro Series champion A.J. Foyt IV each will receive the Champion's Award during the 51st annual Hoosier Auto Racing Fans Awards Presentation Dinner on Jan. 18 in Indianapolis.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Eddie Cheever , Scott Sharp , A.J. Foyt IV , Paul Tracy , Dan Wheldon , Rick Mears , Buddy Rice , Tony George , John Paul , Max Jones , Mark Olson , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske