Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. IZOD IndyCar Series has Super Bowl XLIV ties
2. Wilson co-drives runner-up car in 24-hour race
3. Wheldon goes back to his karting roots
4. Drivers to meet with Brazil president
5. Tickets on sale for Sao Paulo Indy 300
1. IZOD IndyCar Series has Super Bowl XLIV ties: The Indy Racing League Championship Cup, hoisted by Dario Franchitti at Homestead-Miami Speedway in October, will be on display in downtown Miami this week as part of the Eats, Beats and Cleats fan event preceding Super Bowl XLIV.
Eats, Beats and Cleats, which replaces the NFL Experience, will showcase more than 75 current and former NFL All-Stars and other sports legends during the four-day event on Lincoln Road.
Also, the Indy Racing Experience street-legal two-seater will be in town to shuttle media and personalities around Miami. Three IZOD IndyCar Series show cars will be in Miami, too.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, who tested the No. 37 IZOD car for Andretti Autosport at Sebring International last week and co-drove the third-place car in the Rolex 24 At Daytona over the weekend, will be among the participants in the Super Bowl Hall of Fame Players Classic presented by Van Heusen on Feb. 4 at the Biltmore Golf Club and Resort in Coral Gables. The event's goals are to raise awareness and funds for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinees Assistance Fund, which lends assistance to fellow Hall of Fame alumni.
Andretti Autosport driver Danica Patrick will be a guest on "Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials" on Feb. 3 (8 p.m. EST, CBS). Patrick has been featured in GoDaddy.com spots during the Super Bowl the past few years.
As a side note, Patrick is included in BusinessWeek's 2010 Power 100 list of athletes. Tiger Woods, who ended '09 embroiled in scandal, still topped the list as he raked in an estimated $103 million on and off the golf course. The issue is on newsstands and online now.
2. Wilson co-drives runner-up car in 24-hour race: IZOD IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson co-drove the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates car to a runner-up finish in the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 31.
Wilson teamed with Scott Pruett, Max Papis and Memo Rojas. The No. 01 entry was just one of two Daytona Prototypes to finish on the lead lap, finishing 52.303 seconds behind the No. 9 Action Express Racing car.
"I really enjoyed being part of this team for the weekend," Wilson said. "We seemed to always be first or second. What a great experience."
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates' second entry, driven by reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray, retired with mechanical issues to finish 15th in the Daytona Prototype class. The two cars combined to lead 285 of the 755 laps (No. 01 led 146 laps).
Ryan Hunter-Reay, who will drive the No. 37 IZOD car for Andretti Autosport this season, teamed with Scott Tucker, Richard Westbrook and Lucas Luhr to finish third overall.
KV Racing Technology co-owner Jimmy Vasser, 2009 Apex-Brasil Rookie of the Year Raphael Matos of Luczo Dragon Racing, 2004 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Rice, and IZOD IndyCar Series driver Darren Manning also competed in the event.
3. Wheldon goes back to his karting roots: It's difficult to keep IZOD IndyCar Series driver Dan Wheldon off a racetrack.
Over the weekend, he drove in the Rotax Senior division of the CKI Florida Cup in Homestead, Fla. - the first of 13 scheduled karting events he'll compete in around the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule.
"Kart racing is something that is very close to my heart," said Wheldon, the 2005 IZOD IndyCar Series champion who will compete for the second season in the No. 4 National Guard car for Panther Racing. "It's how I got my start in racing when I was 4 years old. And once you develop a love for kart racing it never goes away, no matter how successful a racing career you might develop over the years in other disciplines."
Wheldon, who earned second place at the World Karting Association event in Daytona, Fla., in December, will participate in two karting events before the IZOD IndyCar Series Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Feb. 24-25. He'll return to Homestead (Fla.) Feb. 26 for the second round of the CKI Florida Cup.
"I couldn't say no to an opportunity to race with some of the best up-and-coming talent out there," said Wheldon, 31. "Those kids are keeping me on my toes … and that is not something that I take lightly."
Vitor Meira, who will drive the No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series, also competed in the Rotax Senior division at the Homestead facility.
4. Brazilian drivers to meet with President Lula: IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Raphael Matos, Vitor Meira and Mario Moraes and Firestone Indy Lights standout Ana Beatriz are scheduled to participate in a photo opportunity with Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Feb. 2 in the capital city of Brasilia.
The meet and greet is in advance of the inaugural São Paulo Indy 300 on the streets of the state capital March 14. It will be the first IZOD IndyCar Series race in South America and will kick off the 17-race season.
5. Tickets on sale for Sao Paulo Indy 300: Tickets for the Sao Paulo Indy 300 on March 14 are on sale by visiting www.saopauloindy300.com.br or www.livepass.com.br. Most of the grandstands for the 75-lap race on the 2.6-mile, 11-turn circuit are part of the Sambodromo - permanent structures mainly used during the colorful parades of Carnival this month.
The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season begins March 14 with the Sao Paulo Indy 300 on the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 11:30 a.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season opens with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg March 28 on the streets of St. Petersburg. The race will air live on indycar.com.