Series news and notes 2010-04-19

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines 1. Andretti Autosport shines in first quarter of 2010 2. Inside the numbers: Long Beach 3. Kasemets has eventful debut race 4. Fans can vote for Firestone...

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. Andretti Autosport shines in first quarter of 2010
2. Inside the numbers: Long Beach
3. Kasemets has eventful debut race
4. Fans can vote for Firestone Tire-ific Move of the Race

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1. Andretti Autosport shines in first quarter of 2010: A quarter of the way into the IZOD IndyCar Series season, four different teams are represented in the top five of the championship standings.

The third different and most recent race winner, Ryan Hunter-Reay, isn't surprised at all. The field is deep with road racing talent, and is equally broad in oval experience.

"That's what I love about IndyCar," said Hunter-Reay, who guided the No. 37 IZOD car to victory in the 36th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 18. "There is no series in the world that goes from a road course like we just did (Barber Motorsports Park on April 11), to a street course, to an oval. That's what it's about; you have to stay on your toes.

"The talent that you bring to it has to be diverse, and that's what I enjoy about IndyCar."

After four street/road course events, the attention turns to a four-race set on divergent ovals - beginning May 1 at Kansas Speedway for the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300.

"I'm looking forward to getting in some great race cars when I'm turning left," Hunter-Reay said. "It's a struggle on ovals when you're not fast. When you have the car and you have the team behind you, it can be some of most fun racing you do."

Hunter-Reay has had the team behind him throughout this season, and on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn Long Beach temporary street circuit he delivered for Andretti Autosport. It was the team's first victory since Tony Kanaan's prevailed on the Richmond International Raceway bullring in June 2008.

It also was the second consecutive strong showing for Andretti Autosport, which this year is solely owned and operated by Michael Andretti. At Barber Motorsports Park, Marco Andretti led a field-high 58 laps and finished fifth in the No. 26 Team Venom Energy car. Kanaan was eighth in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car.

This week, Kanaan joined Hunter-Reay in the top five.

"Last week we dominated the race, almost won, and this week dominated and won," Michael Andretti said. "And I was happy that Ryan got us the win and for IZOD being the great supporter and the best series sponsor we could every want. What they're doing with all the things, this thing is about to explode. I'm so excited about the future of IndyCar racing right now."

Hunter-Reay, who recently moved from California to his home state of Florida and kicked off the season with a runner-up finish in Brazil, said the victory was especially gratifying because of its location.

"This is where I had my first big--time race in Atlantics, and also my first big--time race in kart," said Hunter-Reay, whose initial series victory came at Watkins Glen International in July 2008. "I've been telling everybody ---- not to make Michael feel old but I remember being a kid and watching the TV, watching him win, and I was playing with my cars on the rug."

Andretti, who posted his first Indy car victory in 1986 at Long Beach and his last in 2002, laughed with the others in the post-race news conference.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Justin Wilson finished 5.6 seconds behind Hunter-Reay, and Team Penske's Will Power widened his championship points margin to 42 over teammate Helio Castroneves with a third-place finish. Hunter-Reay (129) is third, Wilson (125) is fourth and two-time series champion Scott Dixon (112) is fifth after advancing four positions to finish fourth at Long Beach.

"Andretti has picked up the pace and they're right there now," said Power, a two-time winner this season and the pole sitter at Long Beach. "Like I predicted, the championship is going to be tight, and you're going to see a lot of different race winners."

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2. Inside the numbers: Long Beach: Numbers to note following the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the fourth of 17 races in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season.

0.0367 - Margin that Alex Tagliani missed qualifying for Firestone Fast Six.

1.0537 - Seconds separating PEAK Pole Award winner Will Power from 13th-place starter Simona De Silvestro, the quickest driver among the drivers eliminated in Segment 1).

2.1160 - Seconds separatingPEAK Pole Award winner Will Power from 24th-place qualifier Bertrand Baguette, the slowest driver among the drivers eliminated in Segment 1).

4 - Teams represented in the race's top-five finishers andthe series point standings.

6 -Teams represented in the top 10 of the race and in the series point standings.

9 - Positions improved by seventh-place finisher Mario Moraes, the highest number of positions gained by any driver.

17 - Cars running on the lead lap at the finish.

20 - Consecutive races that Danica Patrick has without a DNF. The IZOD IndyCar Series record is 28 by Scott Dixon.

36 - Consecutive top-10 starts for Scott Dixon - extending his IZOD IndyCar Series record.

37 - The car number of race-winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, the first time the number has won an IZOD IndyCar Series race.

49 - Wins by Andretti Autosport in events sanctioned by the Indy Racing League (IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights). The win was the first IZOD IndyCar Series win for Michael Andretti as sole owner of the team.

64 - Laps led by race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, nearly twice the number of laps than he had previously led in his IZOD IndyCar Series career (33).

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3. Eventful debut for Team PBIR's Kasemets: Tonis Kasemets arrived at Long Beach having never driven a Firestone Indy Lights car. He left with an impressive sixth-place finish.

"For the first Indy Lights race ever in my life and my first time in an Indy Lights car, I think it's a super result, being in the top six," said Kasemets, who has previously competed at Long Beach in Atlantics. " I'm really, really happy."

The 36-year-old Estonian, who now lives in Mundelein, Ill., moved steadily through the field despite despite running a safer setup than others around him.

"It was very tough to pass because we carried a lot of downforce," said Kasemets. " We did it for my security, so I could feel secure in the car. But it really hurt us in a straight line. But the car was very good, and the team did a great job."

***

4. Fans can vote for Firestone Tire-ific Move of the Race: The $10,000 prize is awarded after each IZOD IndyCar Series race to the driver who best utilizes his or her Firestone tires to make a bold, dramatic move during the event.

This week's nominees are Ryan Hunter-Reay, for his nifty pass of lapped traffic to retain the lead and go on to win; Mario Moraes, for a quiet but spectacular drive from 15th starting position to finish sixth; and Justin Wilson, who recovered from a lengthy pit stop to replace a broken front wing to finish second.

Fans can vote at www.indycar.com.

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The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues May 1 with the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 1:30 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 continues with the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway The race will air live on VERSUS.

-source: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Justin Wilson , Helio Castroneves , Michael Andretti , Alex Tagliani , Scott Dixon , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Marco Andretti , Will Power , Tonis Kasemets , Bertrand Baguette , Mario Moraes , Danica Patrick
Teams Andretti Autosport , Team Penske