Series news and notes 2010-03-23

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines 1. Franchitti to make 200th open-wheel racing start 2. Castroneves a guest on 'Sports Soup' on VERSUS 3. Star Mazda Championship, USF2000 join in at St. Petersburg 4. KYMCO USA ...

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. Franchitti to make 200th open-wheel racing start
2. Castroneves a guest on 'Sports Soup' on VERSUS
3. Star Mazda Championship, USF2000 join in at St. Petersburg
4. KYMCO USA sweepstakes kicks off in St. Petersburg
5. William Rast joins Bryan Herta Autosport as sponsor

1. Franchitti to make 200th open-wheel racing start: Dario Franchitti has numerous memories and personal/team accomplishments during his motorsports career. Another will be marked this weekend in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg when Franchitti joins Tony Kanaan (210) and Helio Castroneves (211) as active IZOD IndyCar Series drivers with 200 open-wheel racing starts.

"It's definitely a milestone," says Franchitti, who has 13 IZOD IndyCar Series victories in 84 races. "There are a lot of good memories, a lot of fun. I'd say it's a milestone but hopefully there will be more along the way."

Franchitti, who is tied for 15th on the all-time Indy car victory list, wants to add to the memories.

"The first 200 have been a lot of fun and let's hope we can reach another couple of big milestones and be as competitive and have as much doing it," he says.

Franchitti by the numbers

* Has covered 41,792.15 miles in open-wheel racing career.

* Of 23 victories, nine have been on a street course, three on a road course and 10 on an oval.

* Has raced with four different teams in 12 years: Hogan Racing, 1997; Team Green, 1998-2002; Andretti Green Racing, 2003-07; Target Chip Ganassi Racing, 2009-present.

* In four starts at St. Petersburg, has claimed three top-five finishes with a high of third in the inaugural event in 2005.

* Will make his 45th start on a street course (35 in CART and 10 in IZOD IndyCar Series).

* Of 199 races, has been running at the end of 140.

* Has finished on the podium 60 times in open-wheel racing career.

* In past two seasons (2007, '09), has only finished outside the top 10 in only three races: 2007 - Michigan, 13th; 2009 - Kansas, 18th, Watkins Glen, 15th.

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2. Castroneves a guest on "Sports Soup" on VERSUS: Team Penske's Helio Castroneves will be doing his best John Wall impersonation in a March Madness sketch while promoting the IZOD IndyCar Series season during an appearance on "Sports Soup" March 23 on VERSUS. Check local listings.

Castroneves, a former "Dancing with the Stars" champion, also appeared on the season premiere of the hit ABC show March 22. He's in Southern California to promote the April 16-18 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

IZOD IndyCar Series drivers have fanned out across the country to participate in media activities in support of upcoming races at Barber Motorsports Park (Will Power), Kansas Speedway (Raphael Matos) and St. Petersburg (Ryan Hunter-Reay).

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3. Star Mazda Championship, USF2000 Championship join in race weekend: The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and the USF2000 Championship will run on the same weekend with the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights for the first time in St. Petersburg as part of the Road to Indy program.

Both series also will run alongside the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights at Iowa Speedway in June. The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear opened its season last weekend at Sebring International Raceway with Tristan Vautier taking the checkered flag.

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4. KYMCO USA sweepstakes kicks off in St. Petersburg: KYMCO USA, in conjunction with the IZOD IndyCar Series, Andretti Autosport Team IZOD driver Ryan Hunter-Reay and Team IZOD sponsor AirTran Airways, is launching the "Live Like an IZOD IndyCar Series Driver" sweepstakes, giving fans the opportunity to win a trip to the IZOD IndyCar Series season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The sweepstakes launch will coincide with the IZOD IndyCar Series race on the streets of St. Petersburg on March 28. During the six month sweepstakes period, fans will have the opportunity to pick up a free entry coupon at IZOD IndyCar Series events by visiting the IZOD IndyCar Series Fan Zone and at participating KYMCO dealerships. After entering their information and code on the sweepstakes Web site, the winners will be notified by Sept. 15.

The grand prize is a weekend trip for two to the season finale race, including airfare provided by AirTran Airways, hotel and race tickets along with VIP credentials so they can truly "Live Like an IZOD IndyCar Series Driver." First prize is a KYMCO UXV 500 Side X Side Off Road Vehicle and there are two second prizes: KYMCO Driver Autographed Super 8 49cc Scooters.

"We are so happy to be able to work with the IZOD IndyCar Series on this promotion and further integrate our fan bases," said Rick Pawelka, KYMCO USA Marketing Director. "The IZOD IndyCar Series drivers have been very enthusiastic about our product and really enjoyed signing the two scooters we're giving away."

KYMCO USA is the official scooter and off-road utility vehicle of the Indy Racing League.

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5. William Rast joins Bryan Herta Autosport as sponsor: William Rast has partnered with Bryan Herta Autosport as primary sponsor on the No. 29 Firestone Indy Lights car driven by Sebastian Saavedra.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, William Rast was launched in 2005, and has evolved from a denim-only line into a complete lifestyle collection sold worldwide.

"We are thrilled to be able to partner with such a globally recognized, forward-thinking and exciting brand," team co-owner Bryan Herta said. "William Rast's enthusiasm and creativity is infectious, and we are looking forward to developing innovative ideas to showcase their premium lines. They add considerably to our already high level of momentum heading into the start of the season this week."

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The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues March 28 with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 3:30 p.m. (ET) by ABC. 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 at 12:45 p.m. (ET) March 28. The race will air live on indycar.com.

-source: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Will Power , Sebastian Saavedra , Tristan Vautier
Teams Andretti Autosport , Team Penske , Bryan Herta Autosport , Chip Ganassi Racing