IRL: Indianapolis 500 notebook 2005-03-16

INDIANAPOLIS 500 NOTEBOOK US Airways ramps up for Indy 500 race weekend; U.S. troops to 'race' in Mini-Marathon INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, March 16, 2005 -- The Indianapolis 500 is one of the most popular travel destinations in the United States...

INDIANAPOLIS 500 NOTEBOOK

US Airways ramps up for Indy 500 race weekend; U.S. troops to 'race' in Mini-Marathon

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, March 16, 2005 -- The Indianapolis 500 is one of the most popular travel destinations in the United States on Memorial Day weekend, and US Airways is doing its part to meet the demand of thousands of race fans traveling by air by expanding its Indianapolis flight schedule during Race Week.

The airline announced last week that it will offer more inbound and outbound flights at Indianapolis International Airport on May 26-28 and May 30-31, all because of the increased traffic to the city for the 89th Indianapolis 500.

US Airways will complement its five daily Charlotte, N.C.-to-Indianapolis flights with two additional inbound flights and three additional outbound flights May 27, 28, 30 and 31, as well as one additional flight May 26 and larger aircraft on select flights throughout the event.

In addition, US Airways will operate extra nonstop service May 26, 27, 30 and 31, using additional 50-seat regional jet aircraft between Indianapolis and Boston, New York's LaGuardia, Philadelphia and Ronald Reagan Washington National airports.

For travel information on US Airways flights and fares, visit www.usairways.com.

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U.S. troops to 'race' in Mini-Marathon: The field for the 29th OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon reached its 30,000-entry limit in December, but race organizers are expanding the field for the 13.1-mile race May 7 for a special group of athletes.

A special remote version of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, designed for troops who wanted to participate but cannot due to their tour of duty in Afghanistan, will take place Saturday, May 7. Soldiers in the Indiana National Guard 76th Infantry Brigade either have been deployed or scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan, along with additional troops from other forces that make up Coalition Joint Taskforce Phoenix III, leaving many soldiers unable to participate in the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon.

More than 300 troops have registered to compete in a 13.1-mile race in Afghanistan, and their times will be included in the official Mini-Marathon results.

Nearly 400 soldiers are expected to register. Registration was free due to support from Mini-Marathon sponsors, including OneAmerica, St. Francis Hospitals, Finish Line, Marsh Supermarkets, Corporate Express, WISH-TV, WFMS 95.5 FM, Main Gate and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"It's important to them and for us that we provide them with the whole experience," said Kirk Hendrix, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. "We've once again developed a complete Mini-kit, including an official start line banner and new timing-and-scoring chips, compliments of the 500 Festival corporate sponsors. We want the troops to feel as much a part of it as possible, short of being in Indianapolis for the Mini."

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Food and Beverage Department has donated Brickyard Box Lunches and souvenir coolers for the troops' Mini-Marathon kits, and the IMS Safety Department has donated hats for the kits.

In 2004, the 500 Festival created a similar remote Mini-Marathon in Bosnia. The race was successful, with more than 500 participants who received everything from medals to new socks for the race, courtesy of Mini-Marathon sponsors.

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Kanaans to chair 500 Fashion Show: Reigning IndyCar® Series champion Tony Kanaan and his wife, Daniele, have been named honorary chairpersons for this year's CARA Charities Indianapolis 500 Fashion Show on May 26, at the Indianapolis Westin Hotel.

One of the most popular social events surrounding the world's largest auto racing event, the Indy 500 Fashion Show is named "Accelerate Your Fashion Senses" and will celebrate its 24th edition with many of the Indianapolis 500 starting drivers and their families assisting in raising funds for local and national children's charities.

Kanaan and his wife have been regulars at the annual fashion extravaganza for several years and also major supporters of CARA Charities' fund-raising activities throughout the past decade.

"Daniele and I are honored to be honorary chairpersons for this year's Fashion Show," said Kanaan, who has recorded two top-three finishes in the Indianapolis 500 in the last two years. "CARA is a great racing organization and has helped many needy people over the years. Dani and I have enjoyed the Fashion Show each year, and we are looking forward to this year's event. It should be a lot of fun, and it is for a good cause, too."

The 24th annual fashion affair, featuring fashions provided by The Secret Ingredient, Day Furs and Chocolate Soup, will open with a social hour at 11 a.m., followed by a noon luncheon. The unique fashion show is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

Kanaan and other Indy 500 drivers, including past champions like three-time winner Johnny Rutherford, two-time winner Helio Castroneves and 2004 winner Buddy Rice, will walk the runway.

Tickets are now available, with individual tickets priced at $75 per person. For more information on tickets, corporate tables or event sponsorships, contact the CARA Charities headquarters at (317) 299-2277 or e-mail carachar@aol.com.

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Festival seeks volunteers: Volunteers are needed to help with the 500 Festival and Indianapolis 500 Education Program leading up to the 89th Indianapolis 500 on May 29.

The Education Program, in its second year, is designed for fourth-grade students. It provides students the opportunity to learn about the 500 Festival and the Indianapolis 500's place in Indiana's culture through a unique curriculum. The curriculum incorporates social studies, language arts, science, math and physical education and includes the chance to take a study trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in April and May.

The 2005 500 Festival and Indianapolis 500 Education Program boasts 232 schools, equaling 15,263 students in 646 classrooms. These classrooms span across 137 Indiana communities and 76 counties, equaling 83 percent county participation in Indiana. Twenty-One IPS schools are participating along with 21 Indianapolis-area township schools.

Volunteers are needed for study trip dates at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on these dates: April 13, 14, 19, 20, 26 and 27 and May 9, 10, 20, 25 and 26. Wednesday, May 25 is also American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Volunteers are needed each day from 8 a.m.-2 p.m., and 50 to 80 volunteers are needed each day to guide and inform students of 500 Festival and Indianapolis 500 history at various interactive education stations positioned around the speedway's grounds.

All volunteers receive a variety of perks, including an exclusive invitation to the Volunteer Recognition Party at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 500 Festival volunteer event T-shirt, an official 500 Festival event credential, an official 500 Festival Volunteer Program pin, complimentary access and parking to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and complimentary meals and refreshments.

Registration forms are available online at www.500festival.com and must be completed by April 15, 2005 in order to be eligible to attend the Volunteer Recognition Party scheduled for Saturday, May 14 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the first day of Indianapolis 500 qualifications.

Contact 500 Festival Volunteer Coordinator Mark Adler at (317) 614-6130 with questions or for additional information.

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Sneva, Ruttman honored by Hall: Indianapolis 500 winners Tom Sneva and Troy Ruttman are among nine drivers who will be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America on Aug. 18 at the State Theatre in Detroit.

1983 Indy winner Sneva and 1952 winner Ruttman will join Indianapolis 500 veteran and sports car great Hurley Haywood, NASCAR champion Benny Parsons, drag racer Tommy Ivo, motorcyclist Jay Springsteen, powerboat racer Danny Foster, and car owners/builders John Holman and Ralph Moody in the Hall's class of 2005.

The Motorsports Museum & Hall of Fame is located in Novi, Mich.

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Indy 500 tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 89th Indianapolis 500, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY or log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Tony Kanaan , Tom Sneva , Hurley Haywood , Buddy Rice , Johnny Rutherford