Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. Doubleheader format returns to Indy car at Texas
2. SSM secures Malloy to serve as engineer
3. Knowles joins INDYCAR staff as director of engine development
4. Firestone Indy Lights to race twice at Edmonton
5. Cenveo named INDYCAR's Official Printer, Visual Communications Partner
1. Doubleheader format returns to Indy car at Texas: INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard and Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage announced last August that almost 20 years after Rick Mears won both races at Atlanta Motor Speedway that the IZOD IndyCar Series would revisit the twin race format.
Excitement for the Firestone Twin 275s (formerly the Firestone 550k) on June 11 - consisting of two full-field races on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval - has been building ever since.
"IndyCar Series races at Texas Motor Speedway have never disappointed, and with a record 30 cars on the track the excitement of the Firestone Twin 275s will reach a whole new level," Gossage said. "Texas Motor Speedway hosting the first twin races in IndyCar Series history makes it big and this only enhances the significance."
Four of the 21 IZOD IndyCar Series races at Texas Motor Speedway have featured 28-car fields. Fourteen of those 21 races have had a margin of victory of less than one second, and seven have been decided by less than one-tenth of a second.
There were 17 doubleheaders (nine on ovals) under USAC and CART sanction from 1967-81, with a driver sweeping both races 10 times. The grid for the second race was determined by finishing order in the first contest in all 17 events.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Q. How will the grids be set?
A. Traditional oval qualifying (combined time of two green flag laps) will be employed for the first race, and the starting positions for the second race will be determined by a blind draw conducted approximately 15 minutes after the checkered flag for Race 1.
Each driver will draw his/her starting position for Race 2 on the frontstretch stage (punching through the paper center of one of 30 Firestone Firehawk tires to select their number). The draw will be conducted in reverse order of finish.
All drivers will sign a Firestone tire that will be presented to Gossage to auction, with proceeds going to Speedway Children's Charities.
Q. How are championship and bonus points/prizes awarded?
A. Each race winner will receive 25 points through 5 points for the 25th-place and subsequent finishers (all half points). The driver leading the most laps in each race will earn the two bonus points, but the driver starting on the pole in Race 2 won't receive the one point that the first race pole winner receives through PEAK Performance Pole qualifying.
Half bonus money -- $17,500 for first place through $5,000 for fifth - also will be allocated for each race.
Q. Will teams have to switch pit locations between races?
A. Entrants will utilize the same pit locations, based upon qualifications results for the Indianapolis 500, for both races. The No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins car, driven by Alex Tagliani for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, will occupy the first pit stall (closest to pit out).
Q. Can crews work on their cars between races?
A. At the conclusion of Race 1, all cars other than the race winner's proceed to their pit boxes and are held until the winner's car returns to its pit box from Victory Circle. Teams will be given a signal that they can work on their cars until the "all drivers to your cars" command is given about 5 minutes to rollout.
Q. What about technical inspection?
A. All cars will go through technical inspection for Race 1 in starting grid order. After a car has successfully completed inspection, it will be escorted to the fuel depot for filling and then will be placed in impound until "push out" (about 35 minutes to green flag). Only changes permitted on the grid are front wing adjustment, changing of tires, tire pressure adjustments, and plugging in the probe after final warm-up.
All cars will go through technical inspection following Race 2.
Q. Will teams have access to extra engines?
A. Honda Performance Development will make available one spare engine per team, which can be installed in a backup car and fired up for leak checks for potential use in Race 2.
If an engine is installed in a backup car, it will go through technical inspection on race day. After a backup car has successfully completed technical inspection, it will be placed in impound.
Backup cars are not included on the entry for the Texas event so an entry change form is required to be submitted to INDYCAR for Race 2. The sanctioning body in its discretion may permit an entry to remain in its starting grid position through the blind draw for Race 2 (not assign it to the rear of the field) though it will use a backup car because of crash or other circumstance in Race 1.
If a driver change for Race 2 is necessary for any reason, that car will start at the rear of the field.
Q. How much track time do drivers get?
A. Track activity gets underway with a 75-minute session at 12:30 p.m. (local time) that leads into PEAK Performance Pole qualifying at 3:45 p.m. A 30-minute practice begins at 6:45 p.m. There is not a race day warm-up session.
Q. What's the fuel limit and the overtake assist numbers?
A. Each entry will have 125 gallons of 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol for both 171-mile (114-lap) races. Drivers will have 20 uses of the Honda overtake assist at their disposal -- each of 12-second duration and a 10-second recharge period. One overtake assist will be available for the final practice session (6:45-7:15 p.m. June 10).
2. SSM secures Malloy to serve as engineer: Todd Malloy will be the race engineer for the No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins car driven by Alex Tagliani for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in this weekend's Firestone Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway.
He replaces Allen McDonald, who earlier this week returned to Andretti Autosport as director of engineering and race engineer for the No. 27 car driven by Mike Conway.
"We are very fortunate to have Todd with us this weekend," team manager Rob Edwards said. "Since he was part of the engineering group (Nos. 77, 98 and 99 teams) working together at Indy, it will help the transition. At the same time, Allen was part of the founding group of this team; so much of the continuity that has built up over the last 18 months will be lost. Instead of work happening intuitively, we will have to learn to work together as we go."
McDonald was the chief race engineer for Tagliani, who earned the PEAK Performance Pole Award presented by AutoZone for the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500.
3. Knowles joins INDYCAR staff as director of engine development: INDYCAR, the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series, has hired Trevor Knowles as director of engine development.
Knowles, who will report to INDYCAR's Vice President of Technology Will Phillips, will work in developing the rules and performance standards for the three IZOD IndyCar Series engine manufacturers beginning in 2012.
... they are competing within the rules ...
"Trevor's primary role will be to monitor all engine manufacturers' performance and competition for the 2012 INDYCAR program and beyond," Phillips said. "This will ensure they are competing within the rules defined by INDYCAR. I'm happy to have someone of Trevor's experience join the team."
Knowles has an extensive motorsport background with experience in INDYCAR, NASCAR and Formula 1. He worked with Penske Racing and Evernham Motorsports in NASCAR and also worked with Honda Performance Development, helping develop the 2003-2006 Honda Indy V-8 engine and the Acura's P2 engine for ALMS.
4. Firestone Indy Lights to race twice at Edmonton: The Firestone Indy Lights schedule has expanded with the addition of a second race during the Edmonton Indy race weekend July 22-24 at the new City Centre Airport circuit.
The first race of the doubleheader will precede IZOD IndyCar Series qualifications July 23, and the second race will take the green flag a few hours before the IZOD IndyCar Series feature July 24.
"We are glad to host two rounds of the Firestone Indy Lights Series at this year's Edmonton Indy," said François Dumontier, president of Octane Motorsports Events, the Montreal-based event promoter. "Our spectators will get a real open-wheel racing treat, no less than 12 hours of track time with IndyCar and Indy Lights racing. With this doubleheader, coming to Edmonton is now very attractive for teams and drivers."
Canadian James Hinchcliffe, who graduated this season to Newman/Haas Racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series, won last year's Firestone Indy Lights race on the temporary circuit.
Octane Motorsports Events also announced the return this year of the NASCC Eurasia GT Invitational and of the Canadian Drift Mania Championship programs.
Tickets are available through the Edmonton Indy box office, at 1-855-350-4639 and at www.edmontonindy.com. Corporate packages and trackside suites also are available.
5. Cenveo named INDYCAR's Official Printer, Visual Communications Partner: INDYCAR announced a multi-year print services contract and sponsorship deal with Cenveo that will assist the governing body of IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and its bNet sponsors with printing and visual communications, delivery solutions, and fulfillment services.
"We understand INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard's call to action," said Cappy Childs, President, Cenveo Sales, Digital Operations and Logistics. "Our ability to quickly understand the league's growth and profitability goals is key to accelerating the entire communication process. We aim to deliver increased ROI for the league and extend strategic value to IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights teams, tracks, suppliers and sponsors alike."
The deal between Cenveo and INDYCAR leverages the complete Cenveo platform: commercial and digital printing, envelopes, forms and labels, publisher services, e-commerce and distribution services.
"We are excited to be working with Cenveo to help us get closer to our fan base and our partners," said Greg Gruning, Vice President of Sales for INDYCAR. "Its manufacturing assets will allow us to focus on delivering the INDYCAR promise, worldwide."
The 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues with the Firestone Twin 275s on June 11 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 8 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM channel 94 and www.indycar.com. The 2011 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the David Hobbs 100 at the Milwaukee Mile on June 19.