St. Pete: Series news and notes 2010-03-24

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines 1. Power aims for second victory of the season 2. Q&A with advisory panel chairman Gen. Looney 3. Winslow joins Sam Schmidt Motorsports 1. Power aims for second victory of the ...

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. Power aims for second victory of the season
2. Q&A with advisory panel chairman Gen. Looney
3. Winslow joins Sam Schmidt Motorsports

1. Power aims for second victory of the season: Will Power, who won the season-opening IZOD IndyCar Series race on the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 14, will challenge 23 other drivers for the winner's trophy in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg this weekend.

Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, was a guest on the Indy Racing League teleconference March 24. Select questions and answers:

Q: You've had emotional victories before, obviously your first win in Champ Car, and last year winning for Penske in Edmonton. But this was different. This was different at Sao Paulo because of the injury that you recovered from that you suffered at Infineon. Explain the emotion of your victory in Brazil and how it differed from other wins.

A: It was quite emotional to be honest because when you have an injury like that and you have a lot of downtime during the recovery period. You can become a little bit uncertain whether you'll come back as strong as you were and whether you'd be as quick as you were, and that was just confirmation that everything is back as it was and just helped with my confidence to be honest.

Q: You have a reputation as being quite the road warrior as far as on these street circuits. What is it about street circuits, and St. Pete also coming up is a street circuit, but what about street circuits suits do you like?

A: I'm not sure what it is about street circuits, but there's a lot more challenges on a street circuit than there are on ovals or road courses with uneven surfaces, bumps, different surfaces, grip level‑wise, and you've got a wall. So you can't make a mistake. You've got to creep up on it all weekend. The track is constantly changing because the rubber goes down over the weekend because it's just a street during the normal day, and it's just all these little details that count to be quick.

Q: Talk about the importance of getting a victory right out of the box.

A: It's important for any victory during the season, but I guess it just gets the season kicked off in a good way. You get pit out of the next race, which is St. Pete coming up, and I think it gives the team, which is a new crew for me, confidence in me, and I have confidence in them that we can win this championship, we've just got to keep it together.

***

2. Q&A with advisory panel chairman Gen. Looney: Air Force Gen. (Ret.) William R. Looney sees the correlation to a jury foreman, though he's not tasked with delivering a verdict respective to IZOD IndyCar Series' next generation of chassis and engine.

Looney equates the role more as unbiased facilitator, which is why Indy Racing League CEO Randy Bernard sought him out to chair the committee that will be comprised of a league representative, a team owner elected by vote of all owners, an engine expert, a marketer/promoter and a racing engineer.

Bernard will get the process moving in earnest this weekend as he addresses team owners during the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. A recommendation is expected within 90 days.

"I'm not going to drive the solution," Looney said. "My main role is to ensure everybody is heard, everybody has the opportunity to make their points and ask their questions. And then, when this is all said and done, ensure that we're all happy with what we're going to recommend is, in fact, the best mutual-shared value we can come up with for the league."

Gen. Looney spoke to his outlook and responsibilities during a Q&A with indycar.com, with selections below:

Q. You've had many assignments in military career; what were your initial thoughts when Randy Bernard approached your about this advisory panel.

A. It was not the normal request for the consulting I do, which mostly is involved with defense matters, leadership and management. As Randy went into a discussion about what he was hoping to put together, which essentially was an advisory committee of subject matter experts - of which I am not but a casual fan - and he needed someone to facilitate, mediate and chair the discussion that had no agenda, was completely objective and had no bias with respect the businesses of racing. I do fit that bill. He wanted someone who had been in that kind of environment where you bring people with different skill sets together and you're tasked with a mission that needs to be resolved and together you work through it to come up with an answer that is good for the enterprise that is the Indy Racing League and all its different stakeholders.

When you make decisions, especially one of this magnitude in respect to the next generation of race car, you have to consider all of those stakeholders - the public, car owners, drivers, the employees, the communities you race in - in order to hopefully come up with a solution that adds value to every one of your stakeholders not just one or two. I'll guide the discussions and make sure we look at it from an enterprise level as to what is best to racing and all those stakeholders.

Q. You'll be seeking to build consensus then and not be bogged down or follow multiple trails.

A. Hopefully, the advisory committee will be just that - we will provide a recommendation or two to the Indy Racing League that will be based on our analysis and assessment of the various options. Then it will be up to the Indy Racing League to determine whether it wants to move forward and execute those recommendations or not.

Q. Do you draw correlations with your last assignment in Texas of updating the Air Force fleet of aircraft with the technology aspects that this panel will review and recommend.

A. Yes, to a degree. During my 36-year career in the Air Force, I spent the majority of it in flying operations - primarily in fighters. I then spent four years in our space operations and then I went into the acquisition world. In that regard, I was responsible for the procurement of aircraft and the modernization of the aircraft fleet we possessed along with procurement of command and control capability of our forces. That experience exposed me to industry. It also exposed me to the techniques and approaches organizations use in order to create and acquire new products. So many of the things I was exposed to and learned during my command tours in the acquisition world do apply to what the Indy Racing League is doing today. A lot of the approaches in this particular process correlate to the things I was involved with in the Air Force when you look for new aircraft to replace its aging aircraft. So there was a way to make that tie.

In each one of those endeavors, you go through a request for proposal from the manufacturing companies, then you have criteria you measure that against. You have discussions and have a group that comes together and take a look at what was proposed. Then, through a measurement criteria, determine what they felt what was the best value for the government and then submit that for approval.

***

3. Winslow joins Sam Schmidt Motorsports: James Winslow, who has won three international titles in as many years and four in total, has signed with Sam Schmidt Motorsports and will contest the opening round of the Firestone Indy Lights season this weekend in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Winslow already has had seat time in a Sam Schmidt Motorsports car in the off-season.

"The multiple years that James has had in various levels of European open-wheel racing should make him an instant contender in this series," team owner Sam Schmidt said. "He's proven to be quick across the pond, and he's showed us he's quick here in our cars. We're looking forward to seeing what he can do on the track."

As a charitable effort, Winslow's car will be displaying the Bright Side of the Road Foundation logo, a non-profit organization that raises funds for ALS research (www.brightsideoftheroad.org).

Winslow followed up his 2006 Asian F3 crown with similar success in Renault V6 in 2007 before adding another title in the close-fought Australian F3 series. He became a vital member of Team Great Britain in the A1 Grand Prix series and raced impressively in his debut in Australia's V8 Supercar category.

"I'm very happy to be joining with Sam Schmidt Motorsports to race," Winslow said. "We were very quick together in testing, and that's no surprise given the professionalism that the team displays. I had a little taste of American racing last year, and I'm ready to get back into it for this year."

***

The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues March 28 with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 3:30 p.m. (ET) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season opens with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg at 12:45 p.m. (ET) March 28. The race will air live on indycar.com.

-source: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Will Power , James Winslow
Teams Team Penske