INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- April 18, 2006
Today's IRL headlines
1. Road to Indy: Danica readies for return to Indy
2. Andretti Green Racing teams with Hemophilia of Indiana
1. Road to Indy: Danica readies for return to Indy: (Note: Second of a weekly series previewing the Indianapolis 500)
In a few weeks, Danica Patrick will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- home to the Indianapolis 500 and the place where "Danica-mania" was born.
The last 12 months have been a whirlwind for the 24-year-old native of Roscoe, Ill., who went from heralded rookie to one of the most recognized figures in auto racing.
"I'm excited about going back to Indy," Patrick said. "There may be more hype this year because everyone is ready for it this time, but it doesn't change that I need to go out there and do well."
In 2005, Patrick earned the best starting position (fourth) and finishing position (fourth) by a woman at Indianapolis. She also became the first woman to lead the 500. This season, she enters with simple goals -- build on last season's success.
"I think we can do very well," she said "As a team, we're strong at Indianapolis. Everyone does have Hondas now, which takes away the advantage we had last year over teams with the other two engines. But that just makes us work that much harder, and I think we're ready for that. It will just be a matter of not leaving any rock unturned."
Patrick enters her second May with experience gained from her JP Morgan Chase Rookie of the Year-winning performance and a successful rookie campaign in the IndyCar® Series.
"Hopefully there will be fewer mistakes," Patrick said. "I definitely made a couple of mistakes last year, but it's already been better and I got better as last season went on. I think you have to see how the month unfolds. You have to stay in the game and stay up front and make the most of every opportunity that you can."
In addition to returning to the track, Patrick will also release her autobiography "Danica Patrick: Crossing the Line."
"Writing a book is a situation that I didn't think would come up so early in my life," Patrick said. "I'm imagining that people think it's quite funny that I have a book out about my life that was finished when I was 23. I guess some people thought I had a story to tell, and I do."
The book chronicles Patrick's life, and she shares secrets and stories, tales from the track, and insights into her personal life that reveal her spirit and drive.
"For anybody out there who has a dream, it reiterates the fact that you have to follow it and never give up," she said. "I know that sounds pretty generic, but it's about everything that happened in my life and how that contributed to the way I am today."
Patrick, who collaborated with noted biographer Laura Morton, said she had complete involvement in the project, including selecting and captioning every photo and ensuring that every word Morton wrote was what she wanted.
"I was involved in every little bit," she said. "I think it's very important for me, especially for me having a book about my life, I want it to be correct and accurate. I've read every word in the book a few times. That's important. I picked all my favorite pictures, I captioned them. Having an author is good. They can pull the simple information out that you already know, or the fans may already know, and make a story out of it. It was a good experience. It was a lot of work and a good achievement."
2. Andretti Green Racing teams with Hemophilia of Indiana: Andretti Green Racing and Hemophilia of Indiana, Inc., a chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation, are teaming up in 2006 to support people with hemophilia and related bleeding disorders that are life threatening and can exceed $1 million in treatment costs per year.
The program, sponsored by Bayer HealthCare, is a novel approach to fundraising and awareness that will allow the business and private sector to support the cause while participating in events during the IndyCar Series season and the Indianapolis 500.
Racing for Hemophilia, was recently unveiled by the National Hemophilia Foundation in New York City as a new and exciting fundraising opportunity for its chapters throughout the United States. As a focal point of the fundraising program, it was announced that by logging onto www.racingforhemophilia.com, donors who contribute $1,500 or more to NHF or one of its local chapters and correctly answer five racing trivia questions will be eligible to be selected as the primary donor of Racing for Hemophilia.
The primary donor will have use of Bayer's sponsor space on the No. 26 Andretti Green Racing entry to be driven by Marco Andretti during the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 28. In addition, the featured primary sponsor donor will receive a VIP trip for two to the Indianapolis 500 as the guest of NHF and Andretti Green Racing. An equally exciting version of the program will continue throughout the 2006 IndyCar Series season.
"Our participation in Racing for Hemophilia gives Hemophilia of Indiana the unique opportunity to be part of a winning team like Andretti Green Racing and to tap into the global interest in the IndyCar Series to better promote awareness for hemophilia and related bleeding disorders," said John F. Spickelmier, Director of Marketing for Hemophilia of Indiana, Inc. an Indianapolis-based foundation serving the bleeding disorder community within the state of Indiana. "The program is illuminated with a distinctive way of attracting corporate support for this foundation, and this sets us apart from other not-for-profit organizations. It's also a great way to reward our supporters and show our appreciation."
Proceeds from all donations will help maintain hemophilia related programs like ongoing medical research, summer camps for children, medic alert identification, emergency financial assistance and special events for those affected by hemophilia and related bleeding disorders.
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 Friday, May 26 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast as part of ESPN2's Carb Day coverage on May 26.