IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2005-11-18

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Nov. 18, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. Kanaan leads IRL drivers in Granja Viana qualifying 2. Herta, Enge post top speeds in Malaysia: 1. Kanaan leads IRL drivers in Granja Viana qualifying: Tony Kanaan...

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Nov. 18, 2005

Today's IRL headlines
1. Kanaan leads IRL drivers in Granja Viana qualifying
2. Herta, Enge post top speeds in Malaysia:

1. Kanaan leads IRL drivers in Granja Viana qualifying: Tony Kanaan will start fifth Nov. 20 in the ninth annual Granja Viana 500, a charity go-kart race held at Kartodromogranjaviana on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Kanaan, a five-time winner of the event, lapped the 7/8-mile circuit in 57.419 seconds in the open qualifying session on Nov. 18. In a one-lap shootout featuring the quickest 10, Kanaan finished fifth.

"I don't think we had the best car to qualify," said Kanaan, the 2004 IndyCar Series champion. "But, I think we'll be very strong in the race, it's a long race. It's not about the fastest go-kart, it's about who's going to last the longest. The key tomorrow will to be consistent and not break anything."

During the race, Kanaan will share driving duties of the No. 71 entry with 2005 IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon, three-time Menards Infiniti Pro Series race winner Marco Andretti and Formula One competitor Rubens Barrichello.

Felipe Giaffone qualified the No. 73 kart 18th. His racing teammates will be Andretti, Menards Infiniti Pro Series Futaba Freedom 100 winner Jaime Camara, and Brazilians Roberval Andrade and Luis-Felipe Gama.

Barrichello put the team's third entry 19th on the grid of 73 cars. The No. 72 car will feature Kanaan, Wheldon and Giaffone. The same combination won the race last year.

The IRL/Firestone team entered by the Menards Infiniti Pro Series' Brian Stewart Racing will start 52nd. The team battled problems throughout the lone 50-minute practice session. They were able to better their time during qualifying, turning in a 58.488-second lap. The team was quicker than two other karts being run by the same team (TR3 Motorsports).

Wade Cunningham, the CIK-FIA World Karting champion in 2003, piloted the kart during qualifying. During the race, he'll be joined by Menards Infiniti Pro Series drivers Nick Bussell, Chris Festa, Travis Gregg and 17-year-old CR Crews.

"The guys are a bit disappointed with the results, but this whole trip is more about the experience than the results," Brian Stewart said.

2. Herta, Enge post top speeds in Malaysia: IndyCar Series drivers Bryan Herta and Tomas Enge posted the third and fourth-fastest speeds during the second practice for A1GP event at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

Herta, driving for Team USA, posted a lap of 1 minute, 57.188 seconds, just off the pace of Team Ireland's Ralph Firman, one of three entered drivers who have previous experience on the circuit. Enge, driving the Czech Republic entry, posted a lap of 1:57.273.

"I am satisfied with today's work," Enge said. "We did many laps today and my pace even on old tires was good, but you are never sure what the others are doing."

***

The IRL IndyCar Series opens the 2006 season with the Toyota Indy 300 on March 26, 2006 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network. The fifth season of Menards Infiniti Pro Series competition also opens on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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