Foyt IV sets Infiniti Pro Series standard; Cheever presents gifts
INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2002 -- The announcement made Oct. 31 that A.J. Foyt IV, the 2002 Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series champion and grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, would drive for his grandfather in 2003, proved the Infiniti Pro Series is developing the future drivers of the IRL.
"It is a shining example of the league doing what it was originally intended to do," said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Infiniti Pro Series. "I think probably I'm a little surprised at the speed of which he did it. But clearly from day one the guy had speed and ability. With a name like that and a heritage like that, I shouldn't be surprised at the speed in which he progressed up through the ranks.
"I'm delighted that the first person that became a champion had the opportunity to move up. There is no guarantee from our perspective that because someone wins a championship they will move up. We still have to find a ride for them. I'm delighted that the ride with his grandfather was available. I think it sets the standard, sets the precedent. It gives up goals for everybody to work for."
Cheever gives helmet, crystal car: Vice President Dick Cheney was presented with an Eddie Cheever Jr. helmet while he was in Indianapolis on Nov. 1, campaigning for the Republican Party. He also received a crystal Indy Racing car during his visit.
Cheever also presented one of the Red Bull Cheever Racing cars for a charity auction in Hollywood last weekend. The winning bid of $210,000 will benefit the Mentor Foundation's international programs as well as the Inner City Games Foundation. The event was attended by several well-known personalities including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn and the Queen of Sweden.
Luyendyk Jr. back home: Infiniti Pro Series driver Arie Luyendyk Jr. signed autographs and participated in a question-and-answer session with fans Nov. 2-3 at "PowerPlay - Tuscon's Ultimate Sportsfest" in Tucson, Ariz. Luyendyk, an Arizona native who finished second in the inaugural Infiniti Pro Series point standings, joined other sports stars and musical artists at the event, which took place at Tucson Electric Park.
"The event was great," Luyendyk said. "I really enjoyed meeting all the fans. It was nice getting exposure for the Indy Racing League in Tucson, and I look forward to having all those new fans from Tucson at the event in Phoenix in March."
Indy Racing and Clabber Girl: A gas-powered two-seater Indy Racing car was used during the 80th Blue and White Homecoming Parade Nov. 2 at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind. The two-seater car was carrying "Claire Baker," the model for Clabber Girl Baking Powder, which is produced by Hulman & Company, the parent company of the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Blue and White Homecoming Parade is the largest student organized college parade in the United States. The parade route goes past the Hulman & Company corporate offices at the corner of 9th Street and Wabash Avenue in Terre Haute. Tony George, president and CEO of the IRL, IMS and Hulman and Company, is a 1985 graduate of ISU.
Hot laps: SPEED Channel and the United States Auto Club (USAC) have reached a programming agreement that will bring USAC dirt and asphalt racing to SPEED beginning in 2003. SPEED Channel's coverage will include 45 hours of programming beginning on March 20. Coverage will be on a live and tape-delayed basis-- Mike Boat, brother of 1998 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter and Indy Racing standout Billy Boat, captured the inaugural USAC New Mexico/Arizona Regional Sprint Car Series title, scoring three event wins--Steve Shunck, who has experience with ABC Sports, NASCAR and CART was named Director of Public Relations for Michigan International Speedway on Nov. 6. The Indy Racing League returns to MIS on July 27, 2003--Michael Crawford, who has experience with Kelley Racing, PDM Racing and Goodyear tires, has been named Team Manager for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.