IRL: Indy500: weekly notes 2000-04-28

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, April 28, 2000 - The box score from the Vegas Indy 300 may have shown that rookie Airton Dare started 11th and finished 14th. But that was misleading. Dare was a contender for victory, leading Laps 159-171 of ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, April 28, 2000 - The box score from the Vegas Indy 300 may have shown that rookie Airton Dare started 11th and finished 14th. But that was misleading. Dare was a contender for victory, leading Laps 159-171 of the 208-lap event. His lead in the TeamXtreme-USACredit.com G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone grew to 6.45 seconds on Lap 166 over second-place Scott Goodyear. Then Dare made what was to be his final pit stop on Lap 171. The “X-Men,” TeamXtreme’s pit crew, performed a 10-second stop. But then heartbreak struck when the gearbox failed on Dare’s car as he left his pit stall. “He was a factor all day,” said TeamXtreme General Manager John Lopes. “It’ s a shame it ended with a gearbox problem, but we are proud of the race he ran and we’re looking forward to Indy. “This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, and it’s certainly not to us. This is what we expect out of a driver of Airton’s caliber, and more importantly, it is what he expects from himself.” Dare, 22, from Bauru, Brazil, joined the team this year after a distinguished career in Indy Lights. He won on a road course in 1998 at Detroit and on an oval in 1999 at Nazareth, Pa.

*** Dean’s returns with Miller: Dean Foods Company, the nation’s largest dairy processor and distributor, recently announced its second year of sponsorship of Indy Racing Northern Light Series driver Dr. Jack Miller. The sponsorship will promote Dean’s Milk Chug brand, available throughout Indiana. Miller made his 2000 Indy Racing debut at the Vegas Indy 300 in the Milk Chug-Century 21-Opalescence Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone fielded by Tri Star Motorsports, finishing 24th. He will attempt to qualify the same car for the 84th Indianapolis 500 on May 28. “We’re thrilled with the opportunity to sponsor Dr. Jack again this year in the 84th annual Indianapolis 500,” said Jim Lanciotti, vice president of sales and marketing for Dean Foods Company of Indiana. “We want to continue to establish our commitment to the Indiana community through the healthy competition of racing and with the healthy benefits of Milk Chugs. Dr. Jack is the perfect spokesperson for this sports marketing partnership.” Milk Chugs also will sponsor a tour of elementary schools throughout Indiana, bringing the Milk Chugs race car and a message of health and safety. “I’m very excited that we have teamed up with Milk Chugs again this year as well as with all our other sponsors,” said Miller, a practicing dentist. “I feel that all are great partners with which to conduct the national program’ s positive message of health and safety for the Indiana community. “I have overwhelming confidence in the abilities of the Tri Star team. I know they will prepare a car that will take me all the way to the Indy 500 championship this May.” Miller finished 31st last year at Indy in the Dean’s Milk Chug entry fielded by Tri Star Motorsports, partially owned by 1996-97 Indy Racing champion Tony Stewart.

*** Running men: Just five drivers have been running at the finish of all three Indy Racing Northern Light Series events this season: Billy Boat, Robbie Buhl, Tyce Carlson, Eddie Cheever Jr. and Jeret Schroeder. It’s no coincidence that all five are in the top 12 in the point standings, led by Buhl.

*** Helping Sam: Treadway Racing and Morton’s of Chicago, The Steakhouse are playing host to the third annual Indianapolis 500 Charity Benefit on May 15 at Morton’s Steakhouse in downtown Indianapolis. All proceeds from the gala are going to Sam Schmidt, the Treadway Racing driver who suffered paralysis from his shoulders down in a testing accident in January at Walt Disney World Speedway. The benefit will feature a lavish dinner buffet, open bar and valet parking. Among the Indianapolis 500 drivers expected to join host Arie Luyendyk, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, are: two-time Indy winner Al Unser Jr., Treadway Racing driver Robby McGehee, and Target-Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Jimmy Vasser and Juan Montoya. Many motorsports collectibles and items from the NFL, LPGA and music industry will be available for bidding in a silent auction. The event will start at 7 p.m., with tickets $75 per person. Call Ruthie Culbertson at Treadway Racing at (317) 387-0888 for ticket information or reserve a space online at www.treadwayracing.com. Schmidt is participating in a program at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis that is designed to optimize neural activity in the injured spinal cord and reverse his quadriplegia. He has recovered enhanced ability to spontaneously breathe and has begun to gain motor and sensory function below his original level of injury.

*** Cars & Stars: Alphabet Junction, Inc., administrator of the Clarian IRL Kids program, recently unveiled a list of several celebrities scheduled to attend the Cars & Stars Gala on May 21 in the Blue Ribbon Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. The list includes: ·Legendary pop group The Beach Boys, who will perform, and country music superstar LeAnn Rimes. ·Actors Andrew Keegen (“Party of Five”), Beverly Mitchell (“7th Heaven”) and Bryton (“Family Matters”). ·Indy Racing drivers Billy Boat, Robbie Buhl, Tyce Carlson, Buzz Calkins, Mark Dismore, Sarah Fisher, Stephan Gregoire, Davey Hamilton, Sam Hornish Jr., 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier, Jaques Lazier, Robby McGehee, Jack Miller, 1999 Indy Racing Northern Light Series champion Greg Ray, Scott Sharp and Jeff Ward. ·Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk and former Indy driver John Paul Jr. The evening will include silent and live auctions and a celebrity mini-Indy kart race. All proceeds from the event will benefit Alphabet Junction, Inc., Team RADD (Recording Artists, Actors and Athletes Against Drunk Driving) and the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund. Team RADD is one of the partners in promotion of the event. Call Alphabet Junction, Inc. at (517) 278-1356 for ticket information.

*** Good luck: Indy Racing rising star Jeret Schroeder will receive a festive send-off from the residents of his hometown, Vineland, N.J., and surrounding communities May 4 during an “Indy 500 Bash.” The party will start at 8 p.m. (EDT) at the East Side Café in Vineland. Schroeder will sign autographs from 8-9 p.m., and door prizes, T-shirts and a free buffet will be available. A disc jockey will provide entertainment, and tricycle races also are planned. Partygoers must be 21 and have proper identification. Schroeder will drive the Armour Swift-Eckrich/Tristarmall.com Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone this year at Indianapolis. He finished 15th last season in his first Indianapolis 500.

*** Hot laps: Rookie Sarah Fisher recently was featured in a story in the April 24 issue of Sports Illustrated. She also is on the cover of Indianapolis Woman Magazine, with a long feature story inside. Fisher also visited six Cummins Engine plants in Columbus, Ind., on April 27 to celebrate “Bring Your Daughters to Work Day.” She spoke to daughters at each of the plants … Indy Racing iron man Davey Hamilton also leads the USAC Western Sprint Car Series point standings after winning a 40-lap feature April 22 at Tuscon (Ariz.) Raceway Park … Truscelli Team Racing, which fields an Indy Racing Northern Light Series car for Jaques Lazier, is racing into cyberspace with the launch of its new World Wide Web site at www.truscelli.com. Fans can learn more about the team, e-mail Lazier and purchase team merchandise … Indy Racing Northern Light Series standout

Donnie Beechler and his wife, Paula, are expecting their second child in November.

-IRLNS/IMS-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Robby McGehee , Sarah Fisher , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Jeff Ward , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Airton Daré , Mark Dismore , Scott Goodyear , Jimmy Vasser , Jeret Schroeder , Donnie Beechler , Sam Schmidt , Tyce Carlson , Chip Ganassi , John Paul , Jaques Lazier , Jack Miller