IPS: IRL: Indycar Series news and notes 2006-08-17

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Howard penalized for Kentucky actions 2. Drivers plan for another off week 3. Klein climbs into Indy Pro Series title contention 4. Hornish reminded of 2002 title fight 1. Howard penalized...

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Howard penalized for Kentucky actions
2. Drivers plan for another off week
3. Klein climbs into Indy Pro Series title contention
4. Hornish reminded of 2002 title fight

1. Howard penalized for Kentucky actions: The Indy Racing League penalized Indy Pro Series driver Jay Howard 15 driver points and fined him an undisclosed amount for reckless and overly aggressive driving during the Kentucky 100 at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 13.

During the last several laps of the race, Howard touched wheels with third-place finisher Wade Cunningham to defend his position.

Despite the penalty Howard retains a 25-point advantage in the point standings.

Howard was penalized for violating Rules 1.2 (B), 8.1, 8.2 and 8.3 (A) of the Indy Pro Series Rule Book.

Howard may contest the imposition of the penalty pursuant to the protest and appeal procedures in the Rule Book. This may result in an increase, decrease or no change to the penalty.

2. Drivers plan for another off week: With a second off weekend in the last three weeks, it's not surprising that most IndyCar Series drivers plan to spend a long weekend relaxing.

Some plan to spend time on the lake, such as Scott Dixon: "This should be a weekend that I'll stay at home and relax a bit. I may get out on the boat. I've used the boat once this year so far because I've been going pretty flat out. It's just going to be a relaxing weekend for me though."

Some plan to spend the time preparing for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway, such as Vitor Meira: "All I do is race. I may take the go-kart somewhere, or workout somewhere. I'll figure something out. I'm not going to just sit at home. I'll definitely be out doing something to help me come to the Sonoma race better prepared."

Tony Kanaan is spending time with his friend, injured driver Cristiano da Matta: "I'll probably be going to the hospital to visit Cristiano again. I was there last week, and I'll be going back to see how my friend is doing. Hopefully I'll be of some help and can give him the power to recover quicker."

The best answer for a weekend off? Bryan Herta:"I'm going to sit down and try to figure out why my car is so slow."

3. Klein climbs into Indy Pro Series title contention: Race by race, Jonathan Klein continues to pick off the competition.

On Aug. 13, the Long Grove, Ill., native moved into second place in the Indy Pro Series point standings with a thrilling second-place finish in the Kentucky 100 at Kentucky Speedway.

Klein was in the middle of a pack of five cars battling for the lead throughout the 67-lap, 100-mile event. On the final turn, Klein dove to the inside of teammate Jay Howard in a last attempt at taking the checkered flag. He fell short by 0.0190 of a second in the second-closest finish in Indy Pro Series history.

"It was a wild day really," said Klein, who earned his first career pole position the previous day with a qualifying lap of 189.392 mph. "Coming for the white flag lap, going into Turn 1, I got inside of Jay, came out of two in the lead. I thought that we were going to have it done. He was able to just eke by me at the start/finish line on the outside. But that's the way it goes. Rather be beat by my teammate than someone else."

The result catapulted Klein into second place in the standings, 14 points ahead of Bobby Wilson. Klein trails Howard by 25 points with three races remaining.

"Sonoma is going to be a big weekend," said Klein of the doubleheader race weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. on Aug. 26 and 27. "That's going to be a very tough weekend. Wilson is right behind me in points, as is Jaime (Camara). It's going to be a struggle. Everybody is going to be fast. All the top runners are going to be quick. It's going to be a dogfight till the end of the season."

Providing he stays in contention at Infineon, Klein, who has seven top-five finishes in the last eight races and scored more points on road and street courses than any driver, will make his final stab at the championship at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. on Sept. 9.

4. Hornish reminded of 2002 title fight: With six drivers still eligible for the 2006 IndyCar Series title, it's easy to forget that Marlboro Team Penske teammates Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves also dueled for the 2002 title.

In fact, their exchange of the point lead following the last two IndyCar Series events is similar to 2002, when Hornish lost the point lead to Castroneves with two races to go, but got it back with a win in the season finale.

"I think I actually took the points lead (at Kentucky) from Helio or Gil that year, and then I lost it back at the next race and then I somehow got it back later on. Hopefully, we have it for good right now."

***

The next IndyCar Series event is the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 13 at Infineon Raceway. The race will be telecast live by ABC Sports and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPN Deportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 145 "IndyCar Racing" and www.indycar.com. The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Sonoma 100 doubleheader on Aug. 26-27 at Infineon Raceway. ESPN2's coverage of the doubleheader races will be televised at 2 p.m. on Aug. 31.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Wade Cunningham , Bobby Wilson , Jay Howard , Jonathan Klein , Sam Hornish Jr. , Vitor Meira
Teams Team Penske