IRL: Indy 500: IMS News and Notes 2006-05-04

90th INDIANAPOLIS 500 NEWS & NOTES Castroneves eager to chase history; GEICO to back Unser at Indy INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 4, 2006 -- It's safe to say that two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves enters the 90th running of "The ...

90th INDIANAPOLIS 500 NEWS & NOTES
Castroneves eager to chase history; GEICO to back Unser at Indy

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 4, 2006 -- It's safe to say that two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves enters the 90th running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" as a favorite to add a third victory to his resume.

Castroneves leads the IndyCar Series point standings with two victories, at St. Petersburg, Fla., and Motegi, Japan, in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone. If Castroneves wins May 28, he will become the youngest three-time winner in the history of the race. Castroneves turns 31 on May 10; Louis Meyer was seven weeks shy of his 32nd birthday when he earned his third Indianapolis victory in 1936.

"I can't wait to get to Indy and get the month started," Castroneves said. "The team has been working really well together this year, and it shows in our results. To come to Indy leading the points is a great feeling for us, and I just hope we're still leading the points when we leave at the end of the month."

Castroneves was recognized for his strong start this season by finishing second in first-quarter voting in the Speed Channel Driver of the Year contest. He received one first-place vote and 68 points.

NHRA Top Fuel dragster driver Melanie Troxel topped the voting with 82 points and became the first woman to lead quarterly voting. A total of 14 drivers scored points in the first-quarter voting by the panel of 17 journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S.

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GEICO, Unser team up for Indy: Al Unser Jr. will have the GEICO gecko on his side as he begins preparations for the 90th Indianapolis 500.

Two-time 500-Mile Race champion Unser will roll onto the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the red, white and blue No. 31 A1 Team USA/GEICO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

"What better way to highlight the United States' participation in the A1 Grand Prix of Nations and Team USA than with two of the most recognized names in American open-wheel racing -- Unser and the Indianapolis 500," said Rick Weidinger, owner of the Team USA franchise in the A1 GP series and a former IndyCar Series team owner. "The opportunity to showcase A1 Team USA at an American event like the Indianapolis 500 with an American driver like Al is unmatched in motorsports.

"We are also honored by having GEICO, a company born in our nation's capital with a long history of serving government employees and the military, as a sponsor and team partner."

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Unser, who won "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" in 1992 and '94, returns to the Speedway for his 18th start after a one-year absence. Unser family members have nine Indianapolis 500 victories to the family name. Buddy Lazier, the 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner, will be the teammate of Al Unser Jr.

"The Indy 500 is my true love," Unser said. "I have had some time off, as you know, and it has been great to enjoy my family but I'm feeling really refreshed and anxious to get back out there and race. Being able to do that with an outfit like Dreyer & Reinbold and carrying the banner for A1 Team USA with the enthusiastic support of GEICO makes this a month I'm really looking forward to."

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is the fourth largest private passenger auto insurer in the United States, with more than 7 million policyholders.

"We are so proud to be part of the Indianapolis 500," said Ted Ward, GEICO vice president of marketing. "The race is part of the fabric of America, and we are honored to be partnering with A1 Team USA in this enormously popular and prestigious race."

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Indy 500 tickets on sale: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 Indianapolis 500, the 90th running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday, while online orders can be made at any time.

Ticket prices start at just $20.

-ims-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Buddy Lazier , Helio Castroneves , Melanie Troxel , Rick Weidinger
Teams Team Penske , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing