INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- April 7, 2006

Today's IRL headlines
1. Castroneves drives World Champion's car
2. Kanaan is task manager on "The Apprentice"
3. Wheldon presents AutoRox award

1. Castroneves drives World Champion's car: Put IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves behind the wheel of a Ferrari and he might not return it exactly at the agreed upon time.

But organizers of this weekend's 14th annual North American Ferrari Challenge Series had one thing in their favor Friday, April 7, when the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion sat in the Ferrari F2002 driven in 2002 by World Champion Michael Schumacher: it was on a closed course.

Castroneves, who won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on April 2 and is the IndyCar Series points leader, took the car that carried Schumacher to 11 victories and 17 podium finishes for a spin (no pun intended) on the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course.

"This is an incredible opportunity to drive a Formula One car," he said. "I'm going to go out and have a good time. It's going to be interesting when they tell me to come in -- I might not want to stop driving it."

2. Kanaan is task manager on "The Apprentice": Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan will appear in an episode of "The Apprentice," which will air at 10 p.m. (EDT) April 10 on NBC. Fortunately, he won't have to hear Donald Trump bellow "You're fired!"

Kanaan, the 2004 IndyCar Series champion, was called upon by Trump to participate with 7-Eleven in the show, which pits two corporations made up of candidates against each other in a series of various business-oriented tasks.

Kanaan and the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone prepared by Andretti Green Racing play a direct role in the completion of the task assigned by Trump to the corporations (Synergy and Gold Rush) to help roll out a new product by 7-Eleven available April 11.

"This particular item is the first of its kind; nothing like it exists in the market, and we're very excited about it," said Joe DePinto, president and CEO of 7-Eleven, Inc. "Building on that, we thought it would be interesting to do something else we've never done before: challenge the best and brightest business entrepreneurs on 'The Apprentice' to come up with out-of-the-box ideas to introduce a new product that is completely novel to consumers. We think they will enjoy the show and the product."

The episode is the second of back-to-back first-run shows. Each episode, Trump issues his signature "You're fired" to one candidate. The last candidate standing wins the title of The Apprentice and is given a high-level job within Trump's organization.

3. Wheldon presents AutoRox award: Reigning IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon will join actress Pamela Anderson on stage to present the 2006 Car of the Year award during SpikeTV's AutoRox Awards Show on Friday, April 7, at the Freemont Experience in Las Vegas.

The star-studded homage to cars will feature categories including Best Luxury Car, Hottest Exotic, Convertible, Sports Car, SUV's, and others. One industry icon, chosen for their major contributions to the automotive world, will be recognized. The 2005 recipient was racer and car builder Carroll Shelby.

Ice Cube is host of the show that will be televised at 10 p.m. (EDT) April 18.

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The 2006 IRL IndyCar Series continues with the Indy Japan 300 at midnight (EDT) on April 22 at Twin Ring Motegi. ESPN2 will telecast the race at noon (EDT) on April 22. The race will be broadcast live on the IMS Radio Network beginning at 11:30 p.m. (EDT) on April 21. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 145 "IndyCar Racing" and www.indycar.com. The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Freedom 100 on Friday, May 26 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. ESPN2's coverage of the Indy Pro Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be telecast at 4 p.m. (EDT) on April 7.

-irl