Series news and notes 2011-02-10

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Today's IZOD IndyaCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:
1. Ganassi honored at Pittsburgh's Dapper Dan Dinner
2. Penske to be honored by RRDC
3. Plowman reaches fund-raising goal

1. Ganassi honored at Pittsburgh's Dapper Dan Dinner: IZOD IndyCar Series team owner Chip Ganassi received the first sports leadership award at the 75th Dapper Dan Dinner & Sports Auction at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh on Feb. 9.

In 2010, Ganassi became the first car owner to win the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 in the same year and only the second owner to win both in a lifetime. He added a Brickyard 400 win later in the year.

"I've always believed my Pittsburgh roots have played a large role in my work ethic and whatever success I've had in sports," said Ganassi, a Pittsburgh native and resident. "Maybe it was the tremendous upbringing at the hands of my parents. Maybe it was the success of the sports teams of the 1970s in this town that made me expect to win. Or maybe it was just the good old work ethic that this town has.

"It was probably a combination of all three."

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2. Penske to be honored by RRDC: The Road Racing Drivers Club will honor IZOD IndyCar Series team owner Roger Penske at its third West Coast banquet on April 14 during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend.

The "Captain" has been racing and winning in the United States since 1958 and has scored victories in every series in which he has competed. With 23 national championships, including 12 in Indy car racing, Penske Racing has been referred to as the "New York Yankees of motorsports."

Penske's formative years in the sport, which include the 1960-1972 period, will form the the primary focus of the dinner's program.

He retired from road racing in 1965 to focus on building his business, which began in Philadelphia, where he owned a Chevrolet dealership. Since then, the Penske Corporation, which includes Penske Racing, has become a multi-billion-dollar industry, employing more than 36,000 people in more than 1,800 facilities throughout the world.

His reputation as a meticulous and tireless racing team manager is legendary. Once retired as a driver, he immediately fielded race cars in endurance events in 1966, then joined with Mark Donohue to compete in the USRRC, Can-Am and Trans-Am series, winning two USRRC crowns, two Can-Am championships and three SCCA Trans-Am titles.

In 1968 Penske and Donohue made their debut in Indy car racing, winning the 1972 Indy 500 and embarking on a string of successes for Penske Racing with a number of drivers, which includes 153 victories (15 Indy 500s), 196 poles and 12 National Championships. Penske Racing has also competed in Formula 1, continues to field teams in NASCAR and claimed the American LeMans Series LMP2 championship three consecutive years.

"There is no one in this sport who's better known for his high standards of car preparation, presentation and development than Roger Penske," RRDC president Bobby Rahal said. "He set the bar high early on for his competitors, and many are still trying to reach those heights. We are privileged to honor the 'Captain' at the RRDC's Evening with Roger Penske in Long Beach."

The dinner's proceeds will help support the Team USA Scholarship, which the RRDC has backed since 1997.

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3. Plowman reaches fund-raising goal: Martin Plowman is still hopeful of securing a drive in the IZOD IndyCar Series for 2011, but the Englishman has already succeeded in his mission to raise money for two charities that service the armed forces in his native England and his adopted home in the U.S.

Plowman took part in a morale-boosting tour of US bases in Europe, the Middle East and Iraq alongside IndyCar famous faces such as Mario Andretti and Sarah Fisher. While on board the USS Abraham Lincoln he had his head shaved by a military barber as part of his bid to raise at least $10,000 for his two chosen charities. Plowman, who finished third in Firestone Indy Lights in 2010 and tested an IZOD IndyCar Series machine for Dale Coyne Racing last month, exceeded his fundraising target raising $11,190.27 as of Feb. 7.

He said: "A huge thank you goes out to each of you who helped raise the money, and to those who couldn't assist financially but gave your love, support, and prayers as the Indy 500 Centennial Tour embarked for Europe and the Middle East last month.

"A blog will follow with my thoughts about the trip. For now, know that you have made a difference in the lives of injured troops. Thank you."

-source: indycar

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Series INDYCAR , INDYLIGHTS