Series news and notes 2011-01-18

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Today's IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:
1. Hunter-Reay fishes for a good cause
2. Wyoming family wins Jensen Motorsport design contest
3. Tagliani, Wheldon join Florida Winter Tour

1. Hunter-Reay fishes for a good cause: IZOD IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay will use his love of deep sea sport fishing to help support cause near to his heart.

Hunter-Reay, an avid fisherman who grew up in South Florida, will serve as host of the Florida Fish for Life Sailfish Tournament off the coast of South Florida on Jan. 19-22. The tournament, now in its sixth year, supports people with colon cancer and raises awareness of early screening for the disease, which is the fourth-most common cancer in the United States.

""I've done a lot fishing in South Florida and it's a big part of my life, so this was a fun way to get involved with a cause that is very close and important to me," said Hunter-Reay, who serves as an ambassador for Racing for Cancer, a charitable organization founded in honor of his mother. "I want to do whatever I can, whenever I can, as much as I can for the fight against cancer, whether it's awareness or research.

Hunter-Reay will be fishing both legs of the Palm Beach Double Shot, the Florida Fish for Life and the Buccaneer Cup Sailfish Release Tournament, and will be making personal appearances at the Captain's Meeting at the Buccaneer Restaurant and the Awards Dinner at the Sailfish Club of Palm Beach.

"We found each other through mutual contacts. It made sense for us to combine our efforts. It's a pretty big tournament for sailfish and billfish," Hunter-Reay said. "It's to benefit Racing for Cancer and funding cancer research. I'm entering my boat, and as a host, I need to do well. There's a lot on the line."

Participating in the tournament made sense for Hunter-Reay, whose mother Lydia, battled colon cancer before passing away late in 2009. When Ryan heard about Fred Miller's parallel efforts through the Florida Fish for Life Sailfish Tournament, he decided to get involved personally. Miller is a colon cancer survivor who started Fish for Life six years ago to help other people afflicted with the disease and raise awareness of early screening.

"We are thrilled to have one of racing's great drivers involved in the Double Shot," said Fred Miller, the tournament's founder and a colon cancer survivor. "We hope it serves as yet another incentive to enter and fish with us this January. These are two very special tournaments that combine sport fishing history and friendly competition while generating funds for great works."

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2. Wyoming family wins Jensen Motorsport design contest: Race fans from Wyoming have won a contest held by Firestone Indy Lights team Jensen MotorSport is to design the livery of its racing cars for 2011.

The husband and wife team of Don Christner and Tonya Kay Christner of Cheyenne, Wyo. submitted the winning design on the last day of the contest. They have been active IndyCar fans for many years and intend to use their pit passes to attend the Indianapolis 500 and Firestone Freedom 100 in May.

"Congratulations to the Christner family on their winning submission, and thank you to everyone who entered the contest," said team owner Eric Jensen. "We appreciate the input, and we will continue throughout this season to have more interactive opportunities for race fans on our Facebook team page."

Don Christner first attended the Indianapolis 500 in 1992, and in recent years the he and his wife have travelled to the Indianapolis 500 with their four children, Christian 16, Cylas 15, Hanna 13, and Caleb 10.

"What a thrill to win this contest," Don Christner said. "Our family was planning to once again attend the Indianapolis 500 this year, so it's terrific that we will benefit from the VIP PIT PASSES to join Jensen MotorSport for some behind-the-scenes access and to experience what it's like to be part of one of the teams!"

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3. Tagliani, Wheldon join Florida Winter Tour: IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Alex Tagliani and Dan Wheldon will shake off some winter rust by joining some of the top go-kart racers in North America for the opening round of the Rotax Max Florida Winter Tour in Orlando, Fla.

Wheldon, who raced in selected races last year to tune up for the IZOD IndyCar Series season, will race for the Ocala Gran Prix Tony Kart team in while Tagliani will race a Birel kart in the DD2 Masters Class for SRA Karting.

-source: indycar

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Series INDYCAR , INDYLIGHTS