IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League notebook 2004-05-17

Indy Racing League News And Notes -- May 17, 2004 Today's IRL headlines 1. Schmidt Gala Raises Money For Spinal Research 2. Futaba Freedom 100 Drivers To Appear At Infiniti Dealership 3. Indy Racing League visits Speed Channel's Wind...

Indy Racing League News And Notes -- May 17, 2004

Today's IRL headlines
1. Schmidt Gala Raises Money For Spinal Research
2. Futaba Freedom 100 Drivers To Appear At Infiniti Dealership
3. Indy Racing League visits Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel
4. IndyCar Series teams re-launch web sites

1. Schmidt Gala Raises Money For Spinal Research: Arie Luyendyk Jr. thought he was worth only a "couple hundred bucks." He was proved grossly mistaken on May 16 when two supporters each bid $4,500 to spend a day with him as part of an auction to raise money for the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation.

Luyendyk, a driver in the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series, agreed to be auctioned off during the fifth annual Racing to Recovery Gala to raise funds for his team owner Sam Schmidt's foundation.

The live auction featured spirited bidding between Dianna Hubbard and Kate Oxley, both long-time friends of Schmidt, who suffered paralyzing injuries in a testing accident in 2000.

When the bidding stalled at just over $4,000, neither bidder seemed willing to go any higher. Luyendyk, a 22-year-old who also has a modeling contract, agreed to spend a day with each winner if they would both bump their bids to $4,500.

Moments later, Luyendyk was giving Oxley a kiss on the cheek, while Hubbard was on the phone to her sister-in-law, Joan, to tell her about a special present she was going to receive.

"We were the Hubbard part of Treadway-Hubbard Racing," Dianna Hubbard said. "We underwrote Sam for several years, and Joan has been a silent sponsor of Arie. She loves racing. This is just a great way to help Sam."

The $9,000 raised in the auction for time with Luyendyk was part of the more than $100,000 raised throughout the evening.

Other big-sellers during the live auction included an original painting created on site and tickets to a center-court suite with the Indiana Pacers which each generated $7,500.

More than 60 items were donated as part of a silent auction. A football autographed by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning sold for $2,050.

Keith Duesenberg, a fellow owner in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, alternated bids for a TAG Heuer timepiece with another supporter. In the final 10 minutes, bids rose from $650 to close at $1,300.

"I really wanted it," Duesenberg said after he fell short in the bidding. "But, so did the other guy. Either way, it's for a great cause."

"This has turned out to be an extremely popular event," Schmidt said. "We're thankful for the support of so many."

The foundation's donation total surpassed the $1 million mark last year. The foundation's mission is to help individuals overcome spinal-cord injuries and other related debilitating illnesses by facilitating scientific research, medical treatment, rehabilitation and technological advances.

***

2. Futaba Freedom 100 Drivers To Appear At Infiniti Dealership: Menards Infiniti Pro Series drivers Thiago Medeiros, Paul Dana, Jay Drake and Arie Luyendyk Jr. will appear at Dreyer & Reinbold Infiniti on the north side of Indianapolis for an autograph session on May 20.

The Menards Infiniti Pro Series show car will also be on hand at the appearance, which is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The dealership provided Infiniti vehicles for the four drivers to drive throughout the month of May. ***

3. Indy Racing League visits Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel: The Indy Racing League will be featured prominently this week on Speed Channel's popular program Wind Tunnel With Dave Despain.

1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever, who now fields the cars of Alex Barron and Ed Carpenter in the IndyCar Series, will be the featured guest on May 17, while Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon, the reigning IndyCar Series champion, and Darren Manning will be featured on May 18.

Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears, the driver coach for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, will be the guest on May 20.

***

4. IndyCar Series teams re-launch web sites: A pair of IndyCar Series teams recently re-launched their homes on the Internet in conjunction with the Indianapolis 500.

Fernandez Racing and Super Aguri Fernandez Racing officially unveiled their new website designs on May 17. The new sites were designed by Euritmia Solutions, winners of a contest held between several American and Mexican-based website design specialists.

"Our websites help to bring us closer to our fans," said owner/driver Adrian Fernandez. "We wanted an updated look that was professional and fun, easy to navigate and a good source of news and information. Euritmia gave us exactly what we wanted, and we look forward to building on our initial designs with more new, innovative ideas."

In addition to team information, news, daily race weekend driver audio clips and photos, the websites offer special features such as "Ask Adrian" where fans' questions are personally answered by Fernandez as well as contests for 2004 race-worn memorabilia.

The Fernandez Racing website -- http://www.fernandezracing.net -- features identical English and Spanish versions, and the Super Aguri Fernandez Racing site -- http://www.superagurifernandezracing.net - is available in English, Japanese and Spanish.

Panther Racing has also re-launched its website at www.pantherracing.com to provide the latest news on its IndyCar Series drivers Tomas Scheckter and Mark Taylor.

***

The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season continues with the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Noon (EDT) on May 30 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series Futaba Freedom 100 will take place at 2 p.m. (EDT) on May 22 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast live by ESPN2.

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Mark Taylor , Darren Manning , Eddie Cheever , Adrian Fernandez , Alex Barron , Sam Schmidt , Rick Mears , Paul Dana , Jay Drake , Chip Ganassi , Ed Carpenter , Thiago Medeiros , Arie Luyendyk Jr.
Teams Panther Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing