MENARDS INFINITI PRO SERIES FUTABA FREEDOM 100 WHAT: Futaba Freedom 100, 4th race in 14-race 2005 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series season. WHERE: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2.5-mile oval WHEN: 1:30 p.m. (EDT), Friday, May 27 DISTANCE: 40...
MENARDS INFINITI PRO SERIES FUTABA FREEDOM 100
Futaba Freedom 100, 4th race in 14-race 2005 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series season.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2.5-mile oval
1:30 p.m. (EDT), Friday, May 27
40 laps/100 miles
Dallara chassis; Infiniti V8 engines; Firestone tires
PREVIOUS RACE WINNERS:
2004 -- Thiago Medeiros
2003 -- Ed Carpenter
ESPN2, 2 p.m. (EDT), May 27
SCHEDULE: (all times local; subject to change)
Wednesday, May 25
12-1 p.m. -- Menards Infiniti Pro Series driver autograph session
Thursday, May 26
10-10:45 a.m. -- Menards Infiniti Pro Series practice
12-12:45 p.m. -- Menards Infiniti Pro Series practice
2:15 a.m. -- Menards Infiniti Pro Series qualifying
4:40-5 p.m. -- Menards Infiniti Pro Series practice
Friday, May 27
12:30 p.m. -- Menards Infiniti Pro Series Futaba Freedom 100 (40 lap/100 miles)
1. Andretti and Unser to race side-by-side at Indy
The Futaba Freedom 100 will mark the 33rd time an Andretti and an Unser have competed in the same race at IMS. The families have combined for 10 victories in the Indianapolis 500.
* Marco Andretti, 18, and "Just" Al Unser, 22, are entered for the Futaba Freedom 100.
* Grandfathers Mario Andretti and Al Unser Sr. raced together in 26 Indy 500s (1965-1993).
* Fathers Michael Andretti and Al Unser Jr. raced against each other in 13 Indy 500s.
* Mario, Michael, Al Sr. and Al Jr. started in 8 Indy 500s.
2. Mishael Abbott first woman to drive in Futaba Freedom 100.
* Debuted in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway, qualifying fourth.
* Studying Elementary Education at Florida Atlantic University, and has accompanied Robbie Buhl on several Racing for Kids hospital visits.
* Competing for Hemelgarn Johnson 91 Motorsports.
* Has spent this month spotting for Jaques Lazier.
3. Two races at Indy within 22 days.
The Menards Infiniti Pro Series is the only series to conduct races on both the oval and road-course circuits at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Futaba Freedom 100 is May 27 on the oval. The Liberty Challenge is June 18 on the road course.
4. Four graduates entered in Indianapolis 500.
The Menards Infiniti Pro Series is the top ladder series to the IndyCar Series. Formed in 2002, the Menards Infiniti Pro Series is designed to give young drivers a forum to gain experience in open-wheel racing with the ultimate goal of graduating those drivers to the IndyCar Series.
* The 2004 Indianapolis 500 featured five drivers with Menards Infiniti Pro Series experience (Ed Carpenter, A.J. Foyt IV, Marty Roth, Jeff Simmons, Mark Taylor)
1. Carpenter was the 2003 Menards Infiniti Pro Series runner-up.
2. Foyt was the 2002 series champion.
3. Roth and Simmons became the first drivers to compete in both the Futaba Freedom 100 and the Indianapolis 500 in the same year.
4. Taylor was the 2003 series champion.
* Drivers entered in the 2005 Indianapolis 500 with Menards Infiniti Pro Series experience include: Carpenter, Foyt IV, Arie Luyendyk Jr. (2002 runner-up), Roth. Paul Dana, 2004 runner-up, also was entered, but will not be able to compete.
5. Sam Schmidt serves as inspiration.
* Owner in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series.
* Team won championship in 2004, leads points in 2005.
* Schmidt was paralyzed in a racing crash in 2000.
* Racing to Recovery Gala was held on May 16.
* Also has car entered in the Indy 500.
6. Points leader Travis Gregg early favorite to win Futaba Freedom 100.
* Rookie has started on the front row in five of six career races.
* Won the pole at both of this year's oval events.
* Earned his first career victory in season-opener at Homestead-Miami.
* Ohio native previously raced sprint cars at short tracks in Indiana and Ohio.
7. Sprint Car champion Jay Drake has busy month ahead.
* Drake debuted in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series in the 2004 Futaba Freedom 100, finishing fourth.
* Returned for a full season in 2005 with Vision Racing, owned by Tony George and managed by Larry Curry.
* Drake won the USAC National Sprint Car championship driving for Tony Stewart in 2004 and leads the points race after two races in 2005.
* In addition to the Futaba Freedom 100, Drake will compete in several other USAC events in May.
May 25 -- Sprint car race at Anderson
May 27 -- Silver Crown race at Indiana State Fairgrounds
May 28 -- Midget race at Indianapolis Raceway Park
May 29 -- Sprint car race at Eldora
8. Guidance of Rick Mears, four-time Indy 500 winner, invaluable to Menards Infiniti Pro Series drivers.
Rick Mears is the driver coach for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. He observes and instructs the young drivers in the series.
9. Butch Meyer continues family tradition at Indianapolis.
* Butch Meyer is the technical director for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series.
* Grandfather Louis Meyer competed in 12 Indy 500s and was the first three-time winner of the event.
* Family purchased the Offenhauser plant in the early 1940s, and for 20 years built the "Offy" engine which dominated open-wheel racing.
* Father Sonny was an engine builder for 15 Indy 500 winners.
* Butch began working on engines at age 8.
* Built engines for Patrick Racing, Granatelli Racing and Team Menard.
* Won the 1982 Indy 500 with Gordon Johncock.
* Won two IndyCar Series championships and 23 pole positions in 52 races with Team Menard.
10. Jeff Simmons hoping for double duty again in 2005.
* Competed in both the Futaba Freedom 100 and the Indianapolis 500 in 2004.
* Finished second in Futaba Freedom 100.
* Finished 16th in Indy 500 --second-highest rookie.
* Menards Infiniti Pro Series runner-up in 2003.
* Brother, Chris, is an engineer for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
11. Marty Roth preparing for two races in May.
* Entered for both the Futaba Freedom 100 and the Indianapolis 500 in 2005.
* Competed in both races in 2004, finishing 16th in the Freedom 100 and 24th in the Indy 500.
* Teamed with PDM to run a Chevy engine in this year's Indy 500.
12. Imran Husain to be first native of India to compete at Indianapolis.
* Husain was born in Lucknow, India where he lived for two years.
* Raised in Africa where he started racing motocross.
* Came to the U.S. as a teen-ager to attend Florida International University.
* Has competed in Toyota Atlantic, Formula Mazda and has tested Formula One cars.
13. Tom Wood returns to racing following crash in 2003.
* Wood competed in 12 Menards Infiniti Pro Series races in 2002 and 2003.
* Was fifth in points when he crashed at Kentucky in Aug. 2003.
* Fractured his spine, hand, knee, both legs, ankles and feet.
* Underwent 14 surgeries and extensive physical rehabilitation that continues to this day.