IRL: Indy 500: Media Tour notebook 2006-04-04

2006 INDIANAPOLIS 500 MEDIA TOUR NOTEBOOK Rahal remembers magic moment in '86; Franchitti sporting new colors INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, April 4, 2006 -- In the area of milestones for this year's Indianapolis 500, car owner Bobby Rahal is reaching...

2006 INDIANAPOLIS 500 MEDIA TOUR NOTEBOOK
Rahal remembers magic moment in '86; Franchitti sporting new colors

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, April 4, 2006 -- In the area of milestones for this year's Indianapolis 500, car owner Bobby Rahal is reaching one.

It's the 20th anniversary of his victory as a driver in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." It was a powerful moment in 1986 when Rahal jumped past Kevin Cogan on a late-race restart after a caution to win the "500" in a car fielded by ailing owner Jim Trueman, who had brought Rahal into racing's highest levels and passed away shortly after the triumph.

"It's getting foggier and foggier," Rahal said of the win. "Our car had been fairly good all day, and it came down to Rick Mears, me and Kevin. Kevin did everything he could to keep me behind him but hit the wall, but our car was really good at the end of the race. We got a new lease on life with that yellow and our car was good enough."

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New colors for Franchitti: Dario Franchitti's No. 27 Dallara/Honda/Firestone will sport a new black, white and gold look starting at 90th Indianapolis 500, as the colors of Canadian Club whisky will appear on the car.

Klein Tools will remain on the car as a major sponsor. The new paint scheme will be on Franchitti's car for the rest of the 2006 IndyCar Series season.

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Four is enough: Michael Andretti was asked a hypothetical question about his father-son appearance in the 90th running of the "500": If his Andretti-Green team gets its five cars smoothly in the field, and his father, 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario, came up and said, "I want to drive one," what would Michael, as a car owner, say?

"Aw, he blew it," Michael said, laughing, referring to his father's testing accident two years ago. "He broke my car. He's too expensive to have in the car. I gave him his shot and he blew it."

Then he turned serious.

"No, we can't do it," he said. "We're up to 'here' right now running five cars. We don't have the infrastructure for six cars."

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Ethanol in May: Tom Slunecka, executive director of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council, said as many as 18 ethanol plants are scheduled to open in Indiana. Fuel for the Indianapolis 500 will contain 10 percent ethanol in May and convert from methanol base to ethanol completely in 2007.

"This is no longer a Midwestern-based fuel," Slunecka said. "It's a national fuel."

When Indy cars were converted from gasoline to methanol in the '60s, it was a safety factor because methanol has a higher flashpoint than gasoline.

"We consider them virtually the same in that area," said Jeff Horton, the IRL's director of engineering, of methanol and ethanol. "Ethanol burns at 55.4 degrees Fahrenheit, and methanol at 52 degrees."

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Lance's need for speed: In a taped interview after he was announced as the Pace Car driver for the 90th Indianapolis 500, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong was asked to compare driving the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 to racing a bike.

"I spent 20 years racing the bike professionally," he said, "so I've gotten used to that. Driving a high-powered vehicle like that is totally different. I'll have to pick the bike as easier to handle. It was a little tricky. I got three speeding tickets on the way over, so I'm looking at who to give those to so I get reimbursed."

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Marco getting ready: Marco Andretti said he's still preparing for his first month of May as a driver.

"I wish I knew what it's really like," said Andretti, 19. "But it's the beauty of being a rookie, you don't know what to expect. I'm still (preparing) every race, every time I sit down in the cockpit. I know this is a place that you have to sneak up on it."

In a news conference, his Andretti-Green Racing teammate Bryan Herta spotted longtime "500" public-address announcer Tom Carnegie in the front row.

"I just figured it out," Herta said. "Tom announced 42 Indianapolis 500s before Marco was born."

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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 Michael Andretti , Bobby Rahal , Dario Franchitti , Bryan Herta , Rick Mears , Marco Andretti , Kevin Cogan