Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. Belardi team expands to Firestone Indy Lights
2. Kanaan, Meira tackle Ironman 70.3 triathlon
3. Walker Racing announces charity workshop tour
4. Tickets on sale for IZOD IndyCar Series return to Milwaukee Mile
1. Belardi team expands to Firestone Indy Lights: Belardi Auto Racing will expand its efforts to two Road to Indy series in 2011 with plans to field a two-car effort in Firestone Indy Lights in addition to its entry in the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda.
The team, which previously competed as Liberty Motorsports, will be led by IndyCar veteran Larry Nash of the Nash Performance Group, Inc., and will relocate from Rockford, Ill., to Indianapolis.
"This has been a long-time dream of mine," said team owner Brian Belardi. "I have a true passion for open-wheel racing and am completely supportive of the Road to Indy and what it can mean for today's young drivers. To be a part of that process is very exciting."
With four seats available for the 2011 season, the team is already busy preparing equipment to the standard that is expected from Nash.
Nash has a long history of excellence in open-wheel racing that started with the likes of Gary Bettenhausen and Emerson Fittipaldi. As one of the original IZOD IndyCar Series entrants, Nash helped field cars for Sam Schmidt, Eliseo Salazar, Jaques Lazier, Scott Harrington and Davey Hamilton.
"The opportunity to work with Larry was one of the key factors that made the decision to add the Indy Lights effort an easy one," Belardi said. "His reputation, his integrity and his talent in making cars fast, in my opinion, is second to none."
Belardi Auto Racing also expanded its marketing operations with the addition of LeeAnne Nash, who will serve as director of marketing and administration.
"With the experience that Larry and LeeAnne bring to the team, having run the big cars, we believe we can do an outstanding job helping to train the next generation of IndyCar drivers, providing them with a level of preparation and service that they and their sponsors can be proud of," Belardi said.
2. Kanaan, Meira tackle Ironman 70.3 triathlon: Professional triathletes shared Miami roads and the Atlantic Ocean with families, young adults and three IZOD IndyCar Series drivers as more than 2,100 athletes competed Oct. 30 in the inaugural Rohto Ironman 70.3 Miami.
Tony Kanaan completed the 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run in 5 hours, 23.43 seconds (285th overall and 72nd of 526 participants in his age group of 35-39). He was in the top 50 of the bike of 2:29.15 in his age group even though he was delayed about 13 minutes because of a flat tire.
Kanaan represented the Blazeman Foundation, which supports ALS research at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. In 2005, Jon Blais was diagnosed with ALS (a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord). Five months later, he became the only individual with ALS to complete an Ironman (in Kona, Hawaii).
Fellow Miami resident Vitor Meira prepped for the Ironman World Championship on Nov. 13 in Clearwater, Fla., by finishing in 5:17.46 (36th in the 30-34 age division). Bruno Junqueira completed the circuit in 6:25.15.
3. Walker Racing Announces Charity Workshop Tour: Firestone Indy Lights team, Walker Racing will open the doors of its Indianapolis headquarters on Nov. 11 for a two-hour open house to support The Spinal Cord Injury Hope Fund.
The team's driver, Dan Clarke, and team owner Derrick Walker will host fans from 4- 6 p.m. for a tour of Walker Racing's facilities. The tour is free to the public and the team will be accepting donations to the SCI Hope Fund, who mission is to provide independence and quality of life through financial grant to individuals with spinal cord injuries.
"After meeting with SCI Hope at a recent golfing event, I realized there was an opportunity to show people the inside of a real IndyCar team," said Clarke, who finished seventh in Firestone Indy Lights points for Walker Racing. "Almost every element that goes into creating a winning race team can be found here at Walker Racing. That is something the general public or race fans rarely get to see.
"Initially I wanted to share that experience with just the individuals at SCI Hope but the more I thought about it the more I realized there was a potential to raise money for their charity also."
Visitors will also be able to test their racing skills by lapping Indianapolis Motor Speedway in an iRacing simulator. The fastest speeds will win prizes donated by iRacing. Walker and Clarke will be available for meet-and-greet and photo opportunities throughout the event. The team's race engineer and crew will also be on hand throughout the day to answer any questions that guests may have.
Fans can also enter a raffle, during the event, with the chance to win signed race-worn items and gifts from Dan Clarke, Walker Racing and INDYCAR.
4. Tickets on sale for IZOD IndyCar Series return to Milwaukee Mile: Within hours of announcing the resumption of IndyCar racing at The Milwaukee Mile in 2011, Chris McGrath's e-mail inbox was filled quicker than a trick or treat sack.
"Response has been outstanding," said McGrath, CEO of AB Productions. "In just a few days following the racing schedule press conference, we received thousands of calls and requests about tickets - many from prior season ticket-holders."
Individual tickets for the June 19 IZOD IndyCar Series race are on sale at www.milwaukeemile2011.tix.com or by calling 800-722-3840. It's Father's Day weekend, so cross off one gift purchase from your list with the click of a mouse or phone call. Hospitality packages, including paddock passes, and groups sales also are available.
"The support we've received from so many deepens our conviction that we're on track for a great weekend in Milwaukee on Father's Day next year," McGrath said.