Series news and notes 2009-07-29

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines 1. Options added to improve IndyCar Series competition 2. Kanaan cleared to compete 3. Lloyd's record-setting win among top Firestone Indy Lights moments 1. Options added...

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. Options added to improve IndyCar Series competition
2. Kanaan cleared to compete
3. Lloyd's record-setting win among top Firestone Indy Lights moments

1. Options added to improve IndyCar Series competition: IndyCar Series teams will have option of adding aerodynamic pieces to their cars as well as bursts of additional horsepower in an effort to increase passing opportunities.

Rear tire ramps, sidepod extensions and wheel backing plates used together, or in any combination will be optional items for the 1.5-mile ovals, beginning this weekend at Kentucky Speedway.

"The tire ramps and wheel flips should really help so we'll have grip when we are in traffic behind people," said two-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon. "I think those are good options. We are heading in the right direction. One, it gives you more grip and two, it gives you more drag so it's easier to get a draft on somebody or suck up behind them."

Teams will be required to remove half-inch rear wing endfence wickers to provide efficient downforce, remove drag and improve the ability of a trailing car to follow more closely. The optional pieces will give up to an additional 300 pounds of downforce.

"We had numerous conversations with drivers, team engineers and team managers and asked their opinions what needed to be done and these were chosen as the direction based on majority opinion," said Brian Barnhart, the Indy Racing League's president of competition and operations. "We've tried to give teams more options and tools, and they have choices now which downforce level they want to run both in qualifying and in race configuration.

"Some people are going to run more downforce than others, which should make for better overtaking and passing opportunities on the racetrack."

In addition to the aerodynamic performance-related items, Honda Performance Development will introduce brief bursts of additional horsepower and 200 rpms (to 10,500 total) available to drivers through a button on the steering wheel - referred to as an overtake assist button - for the remainder of the season (four ovals, two road courses).

A 5-20 horsepower gain will be realized dependent on fuel setting for intervals calibrated on a race-by-race basis, according to HPD Race Team Manager Roger Griffiths. For Kentucky, drivers will have 20 presses for a duration of 12 seconds each available. HPD will update teams before each race weekend regarding parameters.

"It's to provide the driver, if they're already making a passing maneuver, an additional tool to complete the pass," said Indy Racing League senior technical director Les Mactaggart. "It provides the teams options which they have to choose how they're going to run the race so it brings more strategy from a team aspect."

The system requires a simple ECU software alteration. After each use, there is a 10-second recharge period.

"We hope that the new Honda button feature will add a little spice to the racing; it gives the driver/team an additional tool to use during the course of the race that we believe will promote some additional overtaking with the added complexity in that the feature won't be available until the actual race so teams will have to experiment on the fly," Honda Performance Development IndyCar Series Team Leader Roger Griffiths said.

***

2. Kanaan cleared to compete: Tony Kaanan has been cleared by Indy Racing League medical officials to compete Aug. 1 in the Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Red Barron and Edy's at Kentucky Speedway.

Kanaan sustained superficial first degree burns to his face when the fueling hose remained open after his Lap 34 pit stop, splashing 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol onto the side of the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car and on Kanaan. The fuel ignited as the car left the pit stall and a second later Kanaan scrambled to extricate himself as Team Penske, Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Panther Racing crew members rushed to douse the car and driver with water to retard the flames.

Kanaan's hands didn't sustain any burns, though they were bandaged as a precaution after the incident. He has a small mark on his chin and left nostril.

"I need to thank the crews of Ganassi and Penske and Panther. It was amazing how quickly they responded and I am glad I'm OK," Kanaan said. "It looked a lot worse on TV than if you saw me right now. We have great people working for us, the firesuit, helmet and gloves worked fine and I'm glad nobody was hurt. We just have to move on."

Two Andretti Green Racing crew members in the center of the incident also were evaluated by the Indy Racing League medical staff and cleared to resume activities.

***

3. Lloyd's record-setting win among top Firestone Indy Lights moments: In celebration of the Firestone Indy Lights' 100th race, firestoneindylights.com is counting down the top-five moments in series history.

Today is Moment No. 4: Alex Lloyd wins his record-breaking fifth Firestone Indy Lights race-in-a-row in 2007.

When: June 2, 2007
Where: The Milwaukee Mile

The story: Alex Lloyd appeared cool and collected after exiting the car in Victory Lane at The Milwaukee Mile.

Why shouldn't he be? The 22-year-old Englishman doesn't need a GPS in the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon Systems/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car.

Lloyd set an Indy Pro Series record by winning his fifth consecutive race to start the season, defeating Apex Racing's Mike Potekhen by 2.2826 seconds in the Road Runner 100. His seventh career victory tied former series champions Thiago Medeiros and Mark Taylor for the most in Indy Pro Series history, and the season is only one-third complete.

"It's just been an unbelievable start to the year," said Lloyd, who started from the pole (146.077 mph; 25.0142 seconds) as practice, qualifying and the race were held on the same day. "Not just today but a great start to the year. I have such a great team behind me. I have never driven for a team that is so well-prepared, so great at what they do down to every individual."

Jonathan Klein, making his fourth start for Team Moore Racing, finished third. Sean Guthrie finished a career-best fourth and Bobby Wilson was fifth.

***

The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues Aug. 1 with the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Red Baron and Edy's at Kentucky Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 5p.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. A one-hour qualifying show will be telecast by VERSUS at 6 p.m. on July 31. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The radio broadcast also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Kentucky 100, the 100th Firestone Indy Lights race under the Indy Racing League banner, on Aug. 1 at Kentucky Speedway. The race will be telecast at 4 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 3 by VERSUS.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Mark Taylor , Scott Dixon , Sam Schmidt , Chip Ganassi , Alex Lloyd , Bobby Wilson , Jonathan Klein , Sean Guthrie , Mike Potekhen , Brian Barnhart , Thiago Medeiros
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing