Indy Racing Notebook
Kelley Racing names vice presidents; Fike named top midget driver of year
INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Dec. 6, 2002 -- Jim Freudenberg and Steve Newey have been named as vice president of commercial operations and vice president of racing operations, respectively, at Kelley Racing, team president and CEO Tom Kelley announced.
Freudenberg, general manager of Indy Racing League standout Kelley Racing for the past four years, will oversee sponsorship acquisitions, sponsor/partner relationships, hospitality, marketing and public relations. Newey will be responsible for the day-to-day management and the technical advancement of all race operations.
"Jim's leadership has grown Kelley Racing to a level of prominence in the Indy Racing League on and off the track," Kelley said. "In addition to developing pole- and race-winning teams, his expertise has expanded Kelley Racing's list of sponsor/partners to one of the largest in the industry."
Newey comes to Kelley Racing with more than 15 years of racing experience. Following graduation from Southern Technical Institute in Marietta, Ga., with a degree in mechanical engineering, Newey started a career designing race cars. In 1987, he traveled to England to accept a position as race engineer in Formula One.
In 1989, Newey returned to the United States and has spent the last 14 years in CART, managing and engineering winning efforts for top teams and drivers. His resume includes numerous poles, victories and series championships with such drivers as Bobby Rahal and current Kelley Racing standout Al Unser Jr. Newey also has recorded successful results with Danny Sullivan, Scott Pruett, Adrian Fernandez and IRL newcomer Tony Kanaan.
"Steve is among the best in his field, and I am proud to have him as one of our team leaders," Kelley said. "His level of expertise and experience will be a valuable asset to Kelley Racing.
"With the level of competition in the IRL continually increasing, it is imperative I give Kelley Racing everything necessary to remain on the leading edge of technology on the track while continuing to grow our business relationships off the track. I am proud to have these two gentleman as leaders of Kelley Racing."
Kelley Racing will field IRL teams in 2003 with Scott Sharp and Unser again behind the wheel. Sharp will carry the familiar colors of Delphi with support from Futaba. Corteco and Bryant will start their second season with Unser. Negotiations are in progress for additional racing efforts.
Fike earns national short-track honor: Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series standout Aaron Fike has been named the 2002 National Midget Driver of the Year.
Fike, who earned his first Infiniti Pro Series win at the Chicagoland 100 in September, also earned seven midget feature wins and the 2002 Badger Midget Series title. Fike, 20, from Galesburg, Ill., topped 537 drivers who scored points at 220 midget events nationwide.
Midget racing publicist and announcer Bryan Gapinski founded the National Midget Driver of the Year Award in 1999. The award determines the top midget driver using a point system based on car count, purse, and event prestige. Fike edged runner-up Mike Hess, 1,433-1,429 in the standings to become the youngest driver to win the award.
Hot laps: Tickets for the season-opening Indy Racing League event Feb. 28-March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway are on sale. The event will feature races from the Indy Racing League, Infiniti Pro Series and Rolex Sports Car Series. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Homestead-Miami Speedway ticket office at (305) 230-RACE or online at www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com -- Indy Racing League driver George Mack appeared Nov. 27 in a broadcast of the reality television show "Shipmates," created by Sony Pictures Television. The show follows a single couple for 72 hours in each episode, from their initial meeting upon arrival at the Carnival Cruise Lines "Fun Ship," all the way to their farewells, fond or otherwise -- Bill Janitz, part of the Michigan International Speedway public relations team since 2001, has been named public relations and news manager at the track. IRL racing returns for a second consecutive year to Michigan on July 27, 2003.