IPS: IRL: Nashville: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2007-07-11

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines: 1. Tony Kanaan and Jaime Camara teleconference 2. Enge to help Duno, SAMAX prepare for Nashville 3. Patrick featured in ESPN's "Who's Now" 4. Schmidt hoping for fourth-straight guitar 5. Dreyer...

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines:
1. Tony Kanaan and Jaime Camara teleconference
2. Enge to help Duno, SAMAX prepare for Nashville
3. Patrick featured in ESPN's "Who's Now"
4. Schmidt hoping for fourth-straight guitar
5. Dreyer & Reinbold teams with Bachrach for Nashville fundraiser

1. Tony Kanaan and Jaime Camara teleconference: 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan and Andretti Green Racing's Indy Pro Series driver Jaime Camara were guests today on the Indy Racing League teleconference.

Kanaan was contrite in describing his role in the post-race altercation at Watkins Glen International, but says he plans to apologize to Sam Hornish Jr., for cutting him off on the cool-down lap.

Q. When Dan and Danica had their issue, you said it needed to be handled in private later.

TONY KANAAN: Exactly. That's what I said. That's why I told you, it's not an excuse. When I came into the cool down lap, and I kind of chopped him, it was just to send him a message, not to make what they did happen then. He got out of the car and started saying things to me that I did not really like. I wasn't even out of my car yet, and here we go.

I totally agree with you, and again, I'm not saying I'm not blaming one person more than the other because I don't think I think Sam was hot, I was hot, but they should just let us talk. But more people got involved about it, and here we go with his dad in the middle and that's when everything started.

But I totally agree with you; I think we should handle this totally different next time, and on my end I definitely will.

Kanaan also clarified his statement about driver's families on pit road.

Q. You mentioned in the post race interview as I recall something to the effect that fathers should be in the grandstands.

TONY KANAAN: Let me rephrase that. Fathers, if they cannot handle themselves properly, should be in the grandstands. I'm not trying to send my boss to the grandstand, either. I think sometimes with my poor English I have to rephrase that, but I would say parents that cannot handle themselves properly, they shouldn't be in pit lane.

Camara, Kanaan's protege and Andretti Green Racing's Indy Pro Series driver, spoke about his future in the Indy Racing League.

Q. I want to ask to Jaime how he imagines to go to Indy Racing next year, how he imagines going to work there next year.

JAIME CAMARA: Well, everything is kind of happening right now for next year. We already have something that we are working on for next year. Right now I can't and I'm not going to give any details about it. But I can say that things are looking good for next year, and I think I'm going to be driving an IndyCar next year.

Q. I was just curious; the AGR IndyCar stable is looking pretty full. Are you willing to wait for a ride to open up there, or would you consider driving elsewhere?

JAIME CAMARA: I'm in the position that I have to wait for an opportunity, so if something comes up at Andretti Green, I'll be happy to take it, and if something comes up on a different team, I have to take it. I can't choose right now where to go. I wish I could do that, but I can't. I'm not in a position to do that. Any opportunity that would come up, I would take it for sure.

***

2. Enge to help Duno, SAMAX prepare for Nashville: Tomas Enge knows what Milka Duno is experiencing in her first IndyCar Series season. It takes more than a few laps to get accustomed to the speed of the car, in traffic, on unfamiliar high-banked ovals.

Enge will assist Duno in preparation for the Firestone Indy 200 this weekend. SAMAX Motorsport has engaged the Czech driver to set up the No. 23 CITGO Honda-powered Dallara during testing on the demanding 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway concrete oval before Duno gets in the seat.

"I'll try to show Milka some things from a driver's perspective, help her understand more of the car," said Enge, who started from the pole and finished seventh in the America Le Mans Series GT2 class race at Lime Rock (Conn.) Park on July 7. "Milka will run the entire weekend and then continue with her plan."

Enge was one of the drivers in the second SAMAX Motorsport Daytona Prototype entries for the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January. Duno teamed with A.J. Foyt Racing's Darren Manning, former IndyCar Series driver Patrick Carpentier and Ryan Dalziel in the sister car that recorded a runner-up finish. He also has represented the Czech Republic in A1GP and competed in ALMS this year.

"When I came to the IndyCar (Series) for the first time, I tested for Panther (Racing) in 2003 at (California Speedway in) Fontana," said Enge, who has made 17 IndyCar Series starts. "That was pretty easy for me because it's an easy track, the car was set up really good and I was alone on the track. Once I started to do the whole series, I kind of knew that it wasn't going to be easy. Every track, every oval is a little different and you have to set up the car a little different.

"Then you have to act on it in the race in traffic. You just have to do slightly different things on each oval. It takes the whole season to learn, and the next season you can succeed more. I know it is very difficult for her to come from road course racing to IndyCar. The speed that the IndyCar is doing on ovals is just incredible. With all the cars around, it's something you have to get used to."

Enge said he would jump at the opportunity to return to the series full time.

"I've always said I'd like to come back," he said. "I'm a big fan of high-adrenaline sports and IndyCar has the most adrenaline in car racing in the world."

***

3. Patrick featured in ESPN's "Who's Now": IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick will take on New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush in the July 12 matchup of ESPN SportsCenter's "Who's Now, " series in which viewers will help ESPN determine the ultimate sports star by considering both on-field success and off-field buzz.

Patrick, driver of Andretti Green Racing's No. 7 Motorola Honda-powered Dallara, joins Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon as the only racers in the field. Patrick is one of four women selected among 32 finalists to square off in a single-elimination bracket along with tennis stars Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova and swimmer Amanda Beard.

The winner of each matchup will advance based upon fan voting (70 percent) and ESPN's three-person panel (30 percent). In the first round, the panel consists of Michael Wilbon, Kirk Herbstreit and Keyshawn Johnson.

***

4. Schmidt hoping for fourth-straight guitar: Sam Schmidt Motorsports has won 20 races and two drivers championships in the past four seasons of Indy Pro Series competition. The team's dominance is perhaps no where more evident than at Nashville Superspeedway, site of the Sunbelt Rentals 100 on July 14.

Sam Schmidt Motorsports drivers have won the last three races at the 1.33-mile concrete oval, leading 183 of 231 laps.

"As a team, we obviously love Nashville," team owner Sam Schmidt said. "We've won there the last three years, and by far, they have the coolest trophy of any track on the schedule. The competition has definitely improved in the last couple of years, but I'm still hopeful that we'll have a shot at the four-peat. I don't think that's ever been done by a team at any venue so that would be a pretty cool feat to accomplish."

Sam Schmidt Motorsports has three cars entered in the 22-car field, led by series points leader Alex Lloyd, who has yet to lose on an oval in 2007. The 22-year-old has victories at Homestead-Miami, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Iowa among his seven wins this season.

"I expect to be pretty strong," said Lloyd, who missed last year's race at Nashville due to illness but recently tested there. "Our test went pretty well. We didn't get that much running, but everything we did get, we felt pretty good. The team has won, I don't know how many years now, but it's been very successful in the past. That place seems to suit the car very well. Our expectations are hopefully running up front and challenging for another win, but we'll see how it all pans out."

Lloyd's teammates, rookies Logan Gomez and Ryan Justice, each had top-10 finishes in the most recent oval race at Iowa on June 23.

Wade Cunningham, Jaime Camara and Hideki Mutoh are among the drivers who will challenge the Sam Schmidt Motorsports squad.

Cunningham won the pole at Nashville last year and led the first 29 laps before finishing fifth. The 2005 Indy Pro Series champion also had a fourth-place finish there in 2005.

Camara won from the pole as a Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver in 2005. Last year, he finished second and returns this season with Andretti Green/AFS Racing.

Mutoh, a rookie with Panther Racing who is second in points, has eight top-five finishes in the first 10 races, including two thirds on ovals.

Practice and qualifying for the Sunbelt Rentals 100 is July 13. The 77-lap, 100-mile race is July 14.

***

5. Dreyer & Reinbold teams with Bachrach for Nashville fundraiser: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and its sponsor Bachrach Menswear Collection will hold a four-day fundraising effort for Racing For Kids in conjunction with the IndyCar Series event at Nashville Superspeedway.

Bachrach's Nashville store in the Green Hills Mall will donate 10 percent of the store's total sales from July 12-15 and 100 percent of the proceeds from the Racing For Kids® line of clothing sold at the Green Hills Mall store and the Bachrach kiosk at the speedway to the children's charity.

Dreyer & Reinbold drivers Buddy Rice and Sarah Fisher will make guest appearances at the Bachrach store on July 12 from 5-6 p.m. to help kick off the fundraising efforts. A Dreyer & Reinbold IndyCar Series showcar will be on display at the store during the event.

***

The 2007 IndyCar Series season continues with the Firestone Indy 200 at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on July 14 at Nashville Superspeedway. The race will be televised live by ESPN and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The next Indy Pro Series event is the Sunbelt Rentals 100 on July 14 at Nashville Superspeedwat. The race will be televised by ESPN2 at 5 p.m. on July 18. ESPN2's coverage of the Corning Twin 100s will be broadcast at 5:30 p.m. on July 12.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Milka Duno , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Ryan Dalziel , Tomas Enge , Darren Manning , Sarah Fisher , Patrick Carpentier , Tony Kanaan , Sam Schmidt , Buddy Rice , Alex Lloyd , Ryan Justice , Wade Cunningham , Jaime Camara , Logan Gomez , Hideki Mutoh , A.J. Foyt
Teams Williams , Panther Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing