Series news and notes 2011-04-04

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IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. Foyt hires Junqueira for Indianapolis 500
2. Mr. Veach goes to Washington
3. ZOOM Motorsports Raises Funds for Earthquake and Tsunami Victims in Japan

AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt

Photo by: Adriano Manocchia

1. Foyt hires Junqueira for Indianapolis 500: Bruno Junqueira, the 2002 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter, will join fellow Brazilian Vitor Meira in competing for A.J. Foyt Racing in the 100th anniversary Indy 500 on May 29.

Junqueira, seeking to make his seventh start, will drive the No. 84 ABC Supply car.

"I am very happy," said Junqueira, who has a best finish of fifth in the '500' with two different teams. "First, because I love the race; second, because the biggest champion in that race is A.J. Foyt - he won as a driver, he won as a team owner, and third, I'm going to have Vitor as my teammate who is a good friend and a good driver so I think it's a perfect combination."

Meira, too, is excited about the addition to the team.

"Aside from our friendship, which we've had for a long time, Bruno is an awesome addition to the team because of the amount of experience he brings with him," said Meira, who has been the runner-up twice in the race in eight starts. "This year's race will be the toughest in a long time and we need to have every tool available to get 100 percent out of the car."

Junqueira, 34, finished fifth as a rookie driving for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2001 and again in 2004 driving for Newman/Haas Racing. Last year, driving a second car for FAZZT Racing, he started 25th and finished 32nd.

"Indy was actually my second oval race; my first race was in Nazareth (Pa.)," he said. "So I went from a one-mile track, very tough to a very fast '500.' It was one of the biggest experiences of my life. I had a very fast car that year and I qualified as the fastest rookie. I did not practice and qualify on Pole Day, just the second day of qualifying, and I was the fastest second-day qualifier. I had a really fast car but I started 20th so I was in the middle of the field.

I may have to start learning Portuguese.

AJ Foyt

"I had Al Unser Jr. on the inside and Michael Andretti on the outside of me and I said to myself, 'Man, two great drivers, two winners next to me here.' It was a big experience and I had a great time."

Junqueira is paired with Cristiano Da Matta in competing for Paul Gentilozzi's Jaguar team in the American Le Mans Series this year.

Four-time Indy 500 champion A.J. Foyt is enthusiastic about the addition.

"Bruno certainly knows his way around Indy," he said. "Every time he's run there, he's been fast. Plus he and Vitor get along well. I may have to start learning Portuguese. Not really, but I think it'll be great and it will make us a stronger team for Indy."

2. Mr. Veach goes to Washington: Zach Veach, who drives for Andretti Autosport in USF2000, will address lawmakers April 5 at the U.S. Capitol as part of the American Public Health Association's celebration of National Public Health Week.

The focus of National Public Health Week is injury and violence prevention, and the 16-year-old Veach's speech will focus on bullying and distracted driving. He'll include selections from his recently released book, "99 THINGS TEENS WISH THEY KNEW BEFORE TURNING 16."

Other panelists include:
• Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director, American Public Health Association.
• Dr. Linda Degutis, Director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
• Tyler Presnell, a Washington state native who sustained serious injuries from a car crash at age 14.

Veach had third- and fourth-place finishes in the races on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 26-27.

Sanctioned by INDYCAR, the USF2000 National Championship presented by Cooper Racing Tires and powered by Mazda, is one of three series that is part of both INDYCAR's Mazda Road to Indy ladder system and the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver program.

3. ZOOM Motorsports Raises Funds for Earthquake and Tsunami Victims in Japan: ZOOM Motorsports, the exclusive event promoter of the Barber Motorsports Park, announced today that this weekend's Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy will raise funds for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan through the Friends of Honda American Red Cross Donations.

Their money is benefitting a very worthy cause.

Ene Hallman

Throughout the April 8-10 event weekend, fans can leave donations in the collection boxes located throughout the Barber Motorsports Park. Donations will also be collected from corporate sponsors and partners of the event to support victims affected by the devastating tragedy in Japan.

"We are committed to raising both awareness and money for the Japan Tsunami relief fund," said Gene Hallman, President and CEO of ZOOM Motorsports. "So many of our fans and corporate sponsors have already stepped forward to assist us in our efforts. Donors can be assured that their money is benefitting a very worthy cause with the American Red Cross administering the fund."

All gifts to the Friends of Honda American Red Cross Donations will support the disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific. On those rare occasions when donations exceed American Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters.

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The 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series continues with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 10 at Barber Motorsports Park. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 3 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 212 and www.indycar.com. The 2011 Firestone Indy Lights season continues April 10 at Barber Motorsports Park with the Barber 100. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at Noon. (ET) by VERSUS

-source: indycar

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Series INDYCAR
Tags foyt, franchitti, izod, junqueira, veach