INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Sept. 9, 2005

Today's IRL headlines
1. Patrick among top endorsement prospects
2. Scooter auction to benefit CARA Charities
3. Rice fourth in Richmond IROC race
4. Is Herta due for win at Chicagoland?

1. Patrick among top endorsement prospects: Rahal Letterman Racing driver Danica Patrick is one of the top prospects to become the next big superstar sports endorser, Advertising Age reported in its Sept. 5 issue.

The 23-year-old from Roscoe, Ill. is said to be the biggest potential earner among the 10 athletes that could become the next big sports endorser, like Michael Jordan or Joe Montana, Ad Age said.

Ohers on the list of prospects for eight-figure endorsement deals include LPGA golfer Michelle Wie, 15; NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, 34; LPGA golfer Natalie Gulbis, 22; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, 18; D.C. United's Freddy Adu, 16; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, 23; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, 24; skateboarder Shaun White, 18; and poker player Chris Moneymaker, 28.

***

2. Scooter auction to benefit CARA Charities: CARA Charities has joined with Cobra Scooters to produce one of the most sensational "at-the-track" transportation vehicles in the IndyCar® Series.

CARA Charities, one of motorsport's leading charitable organizations, and Cobra Scooters are auctioning this unique vehicle at the CARA "Raceway Rendezvous, Guns & Garters" charity event set for Oct. 14 at California Speedway.

This "one-of-a-kind" Cobra Motors scooter is attending each of the 17 races of the 2005 IRL IndyCar® Series and displays a special "IndyCar Series" paint scheme. It is signed by the entire field of IndyCar Series drivers, including past series champions Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon, Sam Hornish Jr. and Buddy Lazier and Indianapolis 500 winners Helio Castroneves, Kenny Brack, Buddy Rice and Dan Wheldon.

"We can't begin to thank the people at Cobra Scooters for their incredible donation," said Mary Lou Bogner, executive director of CARA Charities. "It will make the most unique pit vehicle on the IndyCar Series. It has to be the ultimate transportation for an IRL fan. We appreciate Cobra's donation in helping CARA Charities raise money for needy and charitable causes."

Early auction bids on the Cobra scooter can be made by contacting the CARA Charities office at 317-299-2277 or carachar@aol.com

***

3. Rice fourth in Richmond IROC race: 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice recorded his second consecutive top-four finish in the Crown Royal International Race of Champions, placing fourth in the third round at Richmond International Raceway.

Rice was the highest finishing driver among the non-NASCAR drivers in the 90-lap race, which was won by NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Mark Martin.

Martin edged his Roush Racing teammate Kurt Busch for the win to maintain his IROC point lead heading into the final race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in October.

Rice, who started ninth, ran among the leaders throughout the race. But Rice, who hounded Martin and Busch over the final five laps, thanks to several restarts, was edged by another Roush Racing driver, former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Matt Kenseth, for third place on the final restart with two laps to go. Still, Rice remains among the top five in the point standings, 29 points behind Martin.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves finished 11th after he was eliminated in an accident with NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. while battling for third place with five laps to go.

***

4. Is Herta due for win at Chicagoland?: Bryan Herta finished third at Chicagoland Speedway in 2003 and second last year. Naturally, the driver of the No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone is looking to move up again.

"Well, if I went third and second, then I guess I have to win this year," he said. "Expecting just a very close race, side-by-side finish is pretty common there. I had the opportunity with a few of the Honda teams to test there last week. Hopefully at least on a two-day weekend where the track time is limited, maybe that will give us a little bit of an edge."

***

The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 Presented by Mr. Clean at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 11 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will be broadcast by ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network. The race broadcast also will be carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme). The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Chicagoland 100 on Sept. 11 at Chicagoland Speedway. It will be telecast at 3 p.m. (EDT) on Sept.15 by ESPN2.

-irl-