IRL: Notebook 2002-03-28

Nice wheels for Hornish; Kelley names new team manager INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, March 28, 2002 - Sam Hornish Jr. is a man of many wheels, especially this week. On Sunday, March 24, Hornish drove his No. 4 Pennzoil Panther ...

Nice wheels for Hornish; Kelley names new team manager

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, March 28, 2002 - Sam Hornish Jr. is a man of many wheels, especially this week.

On Sunday, March 24, Hornish drove his No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone to victory in the Yamaha Indy 400 at California Speedway. He flew home that night to Defiance, Ohio, but departed for Indianapolis on Tuesday morning in a snow and ice storm to visit the Panther Racing team headquarters. He drove the Cadillac CTS that General Motors gave to him to use after he won the Indy Racing League championship last season.

When Hornish arrived, he found another vehicle waiting for him to drive back home to Ohio. It was a top-of-the-line new truck - a 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 5.3-liter, four-wheel-drive beauty.

Hornish will have some time to get acquainted with the truck because the next Indy Racing League event - the Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway - isn't until April 21.

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Kelley selects new team manager: Jim Wilson was named team manager of Kelley Racing effective immediately, team general manager Jim Freudenberg announced March 28.

Wilson is in charge of racing operations and the day-to-day management of Kelley's two Indy Racing League teams. Kelley fields the No. 7 Corteco/Bryant Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone driven by two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. and the No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone driven by 1996 IRL co-champion Scott Sharp.

Although Wilson has performed many responsibilities with race teams, this will be his first experience as a team manager. He has been involved in racing for almost 20 years, working for such teams as Team Green, Chip Ganassi Racing and Galles-Kraco Racing. He also worked for Players LTD/Team Green in 1995 when it won the Indianapolis 500 and CART championship with driver Jacques Villeneuve.

Wilson joined Kelley Racing in December 2001, when he was hired to oversee renovations to the team's new race shop in Indianapolis. The team moved into the 34,000-square-foot facility Jan. 1, and final renovations should be completed this spring.

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No double for J. Andretti: It appears that John Andretti's wish to again compete in the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day must wait another year.

Andretti was the first driver to accomplish the feat, in 1994, and he wanted to do it again this year. But his boss in his full-time job as a NASCAR Winston Cup driver, Kyle Petty, won't allow Andretti to attempt the daily double.

"John's not going to do it," Petty said in an Associated Press report last weekend at Bristol, Tenn. "We're just not in a position to let John do this at this time. I want John to do it, but we need his focus to be on the Winston Cup cars."

"I 100 percent want to do it, so I asked, and then I listened for a while," Andretti told the AP. "He kind of made his thoughts known, and I believe he thinks the conversation is over. I kind of think it might still be hanging a little bit."

Petty is hopeful Andretti will get a chance to race at Indy and Charlotte, N.C., on the same day very soon.

"His name and Indy are synonymous, and I know he'd like to get back to it," Petty told the AP. "But it's got to be the right time for everyone, not just the right time for John. Right now, it's not the right time for us."

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CARA news: Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary officials recently announced that Elaine Mellencamp, spokeswoman for the Indy Racing League, will be the honorary chairperson for the 21st annual CARA Fashion Show on May 24 in Indianapolis.

Secondly, CARA announced that former open-wheel driver Alex Zanardi will design the 2002 Christmas ornament annually sold by the organization to benefit charity. Zanardi has learned to walk again since losing both legs in a racing accident in Germany last fall.

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Memorial fund: Lyn St. James, who made seven Indianapolis 500 starts before retiring last May, has established a memorial fund for her mother, Maxine W. Cornwall, who passed away last week at age 81.

Contributions to the Maxine W. Cornwall Courage Fund may be made in her name and checks made payable to the Lyn St. James Foundation, 57D Gasoline Alley, Indianapolis, IN 46222.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers John Andretti , Kyle Petty , Jacques Villeneuve , Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Alex Zanardi , Lyn St. James , Chip Ganassi , Jim Wilson , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Panther Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing