Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. Briscoe Weds Manske in Hawaii
2. Castroneves ready to welcome new member of Penske Racing
3. Target Chip Ganassi Racing featured on VERSUS program
4. Brian Stewart Racing to field USF2000 team
1. Briscoe Weds Manske in Hawaii: IZOD IndyCar Series driver Ryan Briscoe was married to ESPN anchor Nicole Manske in Maui, Hawaii, Dec. 19.
The couple kicked off their tropical wedding celebration Dec. 18 by treating each of their 100 guests to a traditional luau celebration. The following day, the Team Penske driver and Manske said their vows during a cliff-side ceremony under the Hawaiian sunset.
Following the ceremony and a beach-side dinner, guests were treated to a club-like "after party" that featured a 12-foot ice martini bar, an ice cream sundae bar and the couple's favorite indulgences: french fries for Manske and salt and vinegar chips for Briscoe.
Briscoe, who finished third in the 2009 IZOD IndyCar Series standings after he recorded three wins and four poles for Team Penske, proposed to Manske last year during the holidays when the two were vacationing at the Great Barrier Reef in Briscoe's home country of Australia. The couple chose Hawaii as the location for their wedding because it was roughly the midpoint between their two hometowns of Sydney, Australia (Briscoe) and Roscoe, Illinois (Manske).
The newlyweds will spend their honeymoon in Fiji before visiting Sydney for a few days. The couple will then return to their home in Charlotte, N.C. before Manske resumes her hosting duties for "NASCAR Now" on ESPN and Briscoe takes his place behind the wheel of the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda in January for pre-season testing.
2. Castroneves ready to welcome new member of Penske Racing: Team Penske's Helio Castroneves and his girlfriend, Adriana Henao, are preparing for a very special gift this holiday season.
The couple is expecting their first child - a little girl that will be named Mikaella - over the holidays and they could not be more excited. The baby is due shortly after Christmas.
"Adriana is doing great and we are just waiting for the little one to arrive," said Castroneves, the three-time Indianapolis 500 champion with Team Penske. "Like we do at Team Penske, we are trying to make sure we are well prepared for the big race. We have been working on her room and getting everything ready - basically just making sure we are set to go when we get the green flag."
The expectant mother and father are in Atlanta, where the baby will be born and where Henao and her family reside. They have prepared the baby's room with all the necessities, including a beautiful crib and all the stuffed animals a newborn could possibly need.
"It has been a crazy year but this is the best ending we could hope for in 2009," said Castroneves. "Adriana and I are so happy and we are looking forward to the best Christmas present of all!"
3. Target Chip Ganassi Racing featured on VERSUS program: NFL linebacker Junior Seau smelled the ethanol, got his hands dirty and lifted a few tires during his weekend with the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew for Scott Dixon during the Infineon Raceway race weekend in August.
What he learned and experienced will be shown on "Sports Jobs with Junior Seau" on VERSUS. The first airing of the pit crew episode is 10 p.m. (EST) Dec. 23.
Seau, a 19-year veteran who played with the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, experiences a different sport each episode of the show, trying behind-the-scenes jobs that make the athletic activity possible.
4. Brian Stewart Racing to field USF2000 team: Two-time Firestone Indy Lights championship winning entrant Brian Stewart Racing announced plans to field a team in the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda in 2010.
The new team will serve as a development step for the team's Firestone Indy Lights program, which claimed back-to-back entrant championships in 2005 and 2006.
"Since 2005, we have sponsored the Brian Stewart Racing Karting Championship (BSRKC) in an effort to enable all young people to be able to participate in a competitive karting series while developing their driving skills," said team founder, Brian Stewart. "Now we want to take our Driver Development Program one step further by establishing a new stepping stone between karting and our Firestone Indy Lights team. The decision to enter a team in the USF2000 Series also helps us to support the 'Road To Indy' ladder program that was recently announced by the Indy Racing League."
Participants in BSR's Driver Development Program will compete in 12 USF2000 races over the course of the year and will be supported by Firestone Indy Lights quality staff and technology, including driver coaching by Tommy Byrne and physical training from the staff of PitFit.
"Each driver will have a team of people to support them, including top-notch mechanics and engineers," added BSR business manager, Janet Stewart. "We will be bringing 45 years of experience and our history of excellence with us to this series."