Series news and notes 2011-01-07

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:
1. Happy returns: Meira, ABC back with A.J. Foyt
2. Wilson leads contingent of IZOD IndyCar stars to Rolex 24

1. Happy returns: Meira, ABC back with A.J. Foyt: Driver Vitor Meira, chief engineer Jeff Britton and longtime sponsor ABC Supply are returning to A.J. Foyt Racing for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season.

"I am really glad to have both ABC Supply and Vitor back with us," four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and team owner A.J. Foyt said. "ABC has been with us since 2005 and their loyalty and support means a lot to me. Over my career, I have always had just one or two main sponsors at a time. It works for me and I think it works for them because they usually work into long-term deals. ABC has stood by my team through some tough times recently and I'm planning to give them some great times this season.

"Working with Vitor has been good. It's taken us a little time to adjust and having a full season under our belt with Vitor and Jeff will help us going into 2011. I look for us to have a good year."

Meira, who returned to the team for a full season in 2010 after suffering injuries in the 2009 Indianapolis 500, recorded six top-10 finishes with a best of third in the opener in his native Brazil. Over 114 IZOD IndyCar Series races, Meira has 63 top-10 finishes.

"I am really happy about working with A.J. Foyt and his ABC Supply team again," said Meira, who turns 34 on March 27 (the date of the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg).

"Being able to continue the progress that we made at the end of last year will make for a good season this year. We know the areas that we have to work in to improve and we have already started to do that in the off season. Besides that, ABC Supply is an awesome sponsor and I really enjoy working with their people. They make great use of the racing program throughout the year, not just during the racing season, and I think that benefits everyone because it keeps the IndyCar name out there 12 months of the year."

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2. Wilson leads contingent of IZOD IndyCar stars to Rolex 24: Justin Wilson has set aside the wheel of his iracing.com console temporarily to get behind the wheel of a Daytona Prototype for the Rolex 24 Hours.

Wilson, who returns to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season, is co-driving the No. 6 entry alongside A.J. Allmendinger and Michael McDowel for Michael Shank Racing. He's among seven full-time IZOD IndyCar Series drivers from the 2010 season who are testing this weekend at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the event Jan. 29-30 on the 3.56-mile, 12-turn circuit.

Also competing will be reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti and Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing's Graham Rahal (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe (Sun Trust Racing), Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay (Level 5 Motorsports), and 2009 IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Raphael Matos (Level 5 Motorsports). Additionally, drivers with ties to the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 competing include 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, Max Papis and Memo Gidley.

Rahal will join Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, the reigning Rolex Series Daytona Prototype co-champions, plus Joey Hand in the No. 01 TELMEX/Target car. Franchitti and Dixon - a two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion - will co-drive the No. 02 Target/TELMEX entry with Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray.

Collectively, the two teams have won 12 series championships, eight Rolex 24s, one Daytona 500 and four Indianapolis 500s.

"The Rolex 24 At Daytona is always exciting for our team, especially because it involves so many of our drivers from all different series," Ganassi said. "There are so many elements out of the drivers' hands that need to come together, in order to have a shot at winning this event. That's what I love about it. You have to not only be good, but you also have to have a little bit of luck on your side to succeed in a race that lasts 24 hours."

-source: irl

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Series INDYCAR