Series news and notes 2010-11-08

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Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines: 1. Indy 500 Centennial Tour begins to tape shape 2. USAC National Drivers Championship chase tightens 3. Dreyer & Reinbold visits Eglin Air Force Base 4. Series drivers compete in ...

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. Indy 500 Centennial Tour begins to tape shape
2. USAC National Drivers Championship chase tightens
3. Dreyer & Reinbold visits Eglin Air Force Base
4. Series drivers compete in Colombian karting event

1. Indy 500 Centennial Tour begins to tape shape: An overseas tour of auto racing personalities representing the past, present and future of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is beginning to take shape as more participants and details of the trip are confirmed.

1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti and Cameron Haven, the IZOD Trophy Girl, have confirmed their participation on the Indy 500 Centennial Tour will will take participants to visit American military personnel stationed in Europe and Southwest Asia in January. The tour is the brainchild of the Morale Entertainment Foundation, which is closely coordinating with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IZOD IndyCar Series to have the group visit U.S. troops. Among the tour participants are: Al Unser, Jr., Johnny Rutherford, Graham Rahal, Davey Hamilton, Larry Foyt and Martin Plowman, along with racing announcer Jack Arute and IZOD IndyCar Series Executive Terry Angstadt.

The tour is expected to begin in Germany with a visit to wounded warriors and continues with appearances at U.S. bases in Southwest Asia and on an active duty US carrier at sea. Thirty-minute panel discussions will be conducted in auditoriums with Jack Arute serving as the moderator. Panel discussions will be followed by questions as well as a meet and greet and photo opportunites.

"The troops serving downrange are always happy to get a taste of home," said Lt Col USAF Kathleen Weatherspoon, Chief, Armed Forces Entertainment. "And nothing says 'America' more than bringing these amazing drivers to share their stories and to thank our men and women in uniform." Armed Forces Entertainment is the official Department of Defense agency providing entertainment for American troops stationed around the world.

The Morale Entertainment Foundation has been taking inspirational celebrities to visit US troops since 2008. They have taken three groups of NCAA football coaches and more recently five Legends of Aerospace - Apollo astronauts Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan, plus famed test pilot Bob Gilliland and Vietnam War USAF ace Steve Ritchie.

"We enjoy the opportunity to provide a boost to our brave men and women abroad," said Morale Entertainment Foundation tour director, Thomas M. Lee.

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2. USAC National Drivers Championship chase tightens: Chris Windom of Canton, Ill., led all 40 laps to win the Nov. 6 feature of the 15th Budweiser Oval Nationals AMSOIL USAC National and USAC/CRA Sprint race at Perris Auto Speedway in California.

USAC National Drivers Championship combatants Levi Jones and Bryan Clauson finished seventh and 11th, respectively, but Jones cut Clauson's lead to nine points heading into the Nov. 13 Pacific Coast Nationals at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., by winning the Nov. 4 preliminary feature.

INDYCAR will award the winner of USAC's inaugural National Drivers Championship a scholarship to compete on the oval schedule in Firestone Indy Lights, kicking off at the Firestone Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May.

Windom took the lead at the green flag and paced all 40 laps of the feature, concluding three nights of action on the half-mile dirt track. Damion Gardner, Bobby East, Mike Spencer and Jon Stanbrough completed the top five.

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3. Dreyer & Reinbold visits Eglin Air Force Base: The No. 22 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing crew will demonstrate a pit stop and stage friendly competitions among personnel of the 33rd Fighter Wing as part of the team's Nov. 10 Partner Summit visit to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

Representatives of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's commercial partners also will have the opportunity to try out the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter simulator during the second day of the inaugural summit. Eglin Air Base is the F-35 training site for the Marines, Navy, Air Force and eight coalition partners.

"We are extremely excited to have our first ever Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Partner Summit," team co-owner Robbie Buhl said. "This is a telling sign and strong reflection on how the team has grown."

***

4. Series drivers compete in Colombian karting event: IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights driver Sebastian Saavedra nearly stole the show in the ninth Grand Prix Easykart of Cartagena in his native Colombia on Nov. 6.

Saavedra, who teamed with 2009 Firestone Indy Lights championship runner-up James Davison, led most of the event in a close battle with Federico Montoya, younger brother of 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, who founded the race in 2002.

But Saavedra's kart suffered a mechanical issue five laps from the end of the race, allowing Montoya to pass and eventually forcing him to retire.

Two other guest drivers with ties to INDYCAR also had bad luck. Helio Castroneves retired with a blown motor, while Carmen Jorda had an incident on the track that forced her to retire from the event, which raised funds for wounded Colombian soldiers through the Tejido Humano Foundation.

E.J. Viso and Gil de Ferran also competed in the race.

-source: indycar

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Series INDYCAR , INDYLIGHTS