Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines: 1. Franchitti looking forward to next accomplishment 2. Power enjoys being in right place 3. Racing 4 Bone Heath to debut at Miami 1. Franchitti looking forward to next ...
Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. Franchitti looking forward to next accomplishment
2. Power enjoys being in right place
3. Racing 4 Bone Heath to debut at Miami
1. Franchitti looking forward to next accomplishment: Whether the Indianapolis 500 or the IZOD IndyCar Series championship-deciding fray at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend, Dario Franchitti looks forward to the next race. As a competitor, it's always about next.
"The first Indy 500 was amazing and to win that championship in the last corner of the last lap was pretty exciting," the open-wheel racing veteran says of the 2007 season. "To come back last year and win (the championship) again was something. It's always about the next race though, isn't it?
"It's all about what we can do this next race."
Drive into Victory Circle in the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 is the best the driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing and crew can do in an effort to claim a series record-tying third championship. The variable then would be in what position lone title contender Will Power finishes the 200-lap race. There is precedent. Last October, Franchitti out-dueled teammate Scott Dixon and Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe over the second half of the caution-free race to claim the season-long prize.
"We know how to get the job done," Franchitti says. "The guys at Team Target know how to win it, too. We're not going to go out and change our game plan. We're going to go out to win the race. We've got to make up the points. We've got to get a 13 point advantage, which is not going to be easy.
"We've been talking about a lot this week about the ins and outs and the championships and the points. At this point, we just want to get on the track and fight out there."
Franchitti, who will make his 101st IZOD IndyCar Series start, has won on two ovals and the Mid-Ohio road course in amassing 575 points (12 arrears of Power) through 16 races.
"It's a team effort, and every team I've ever been with it's been the same thing," he says. "It's the communication between the driver and the engineer, but it's the ability of the every single person at the track and back in Indy who are working constantly trying to make these things just a little better here and there. It's the guys building the cars, the attention to detail. It's the guys in pit lane, just no mistakes. It takes all that to get you in this position. We see how costly a mistake can be, whether it's a mistake in pit lane or a mistake on the track."
Aside from a broken gearbox at Iowa Speedway, which deposited him in 18th place, Franchitti has finished out of the top 10 in only one other race (12th at Long Beach in mid-April).
"It's getting more and more you have to have a perfect season to be in championship contention, and on those days it's not going well you just have to make the best out of it," he says. "You want to win every race, but you have to accept some days you're not just going to do it. And as the competition level in the IZOD IndyCar Series continues to go up, it's getting harder and harder."
Franchitti was among 11 drivers to test Sept. 27 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and he and engineer Chris Simmons went through a checklist to cover potential variables of weather, track conditions and race strategy.
"One of the interesting things about these cars is because we've had them for so long and the regulations are so tight, it's not like you're going to find the big changes you used to get anymore," Franchitti says. "It's all little things and it's all looking for those tiny advantages."
2. Power enjoys being in right place: Will Power watched the 2009 IZOD IndyCar Series championship-deciding race from a suite at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which played out like a 90-minute inspirational video for the Australian driver to push physically and mentally to be in a similar position this year as Team Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe.
He'll be on the grid Oct. 2 in the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, aiming to realize that goal. Power takes a 12-point lead over reigning series champion Dario Franchitti into the 200-lap race under the lights. There are a number of scenarios in which Power can clinch - foremost finishing ahead of his lone competitor in the field of 27.
Power's 587 points have been amassed through five victories on road/street circuits and top-10 finishes in 13 of the 16 races. He's also accrued 29 bonus points from a series-record eight pole starts and race laps led.
"If I go back to the end of 2008, it's amazing the position I'm in right now," said Power, who transitioned to the IZOD IndyCar Series with KV Racing Technology that season. "This is what I've been working for the last 10 years of my career, which in 2000 I decided I wanted to be a race driver at a high level and get as far as I can. At this point, to win a championship in a major series has been the goal.
"I remember saying at the beginning of the year I wanted to be a contender at the end of the year. I did that, but I didn't think it would come down to two people."
Franchitti won that championship race last October, coaxing more fuel mileage out of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car in the second half of the caution-free race than fellow title contenders Briscoe and Scott Dixon. This year, Franchitti has won four times on ovals.
"Dario is experienced and never makes mistakes," said Power, standing a few feet from the two-time Indy 500 winner during the second wave of interviews Sept. 29 in Miami to preview the show. "You can't hang back. You have to be on it. I expect it to be intense."
Both drivers tested on the 1.5-mile oval Sept. 27, even hooking up late in the session for brief race preview.
"It was definitely more beneficial for me than anyone else with the position we're in and not really racing there before," said Power, who in the '08 season opener finished 25th in his first oval race. "I think we have good cars and I've been knocking on the door of winning an oval with strong finishes in the last three. We're there; I feel like I'm ready to win a race.
"Winning races, you want to add to your resume. But it's been a process of getting experience without taking too big of a risk and trying to win a championship at the same time. I feel like I've got all that this year and now in a position to do that.
"If I don't win the race this weekend it doesn't mean anything to me. The championship is the one thing I want to win."
3. Racing 4 Bone Heath to debut at Miami: Wide Open Performance and Infused Calcium Technologies have teamed up with Andersen Racing to promote calcium-enhanced beverages in Firestone Indy Lights, the official development series of the IZOD IndyCar Series, beginning with this weekend's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla.
The marketing program is called Racing 4 Bone Health.
"After several years of development I am pleased to announce that this relationship can serve as a catalyst to not only bring awareness to the global menace of osteoporosis, but also to help increase the dialogue between medical professionals and patients for the testing, treatment and prevention thereof," said Thomas Underdahl, founder and chief executive officer of Wide Open Performance and director of ICT. "By being able to deliver 500 mg of completely absorbable calcium in each 20-ounce bottle of water beverages, we can make a difference by encouraging our customers to not only stay hydrated, but to intake the daily recommended calcium requirement at the same time.
"I cannot thank Dr. Rifat Parvez, a formulation scientist, enough for his dedicated effort in the past four years to make this technology happen," Underdahl continued. "By combining this technology with the global sport of auto racing we can make a difference to help reduce the incidence of osteoporosis."
Infused Calcium Technologies (ICT), based in Irvington, N.J., developed the technology to dissolve calcium in beverages. Wide Open Performance, which is based in Abingdon, Va., has an energy drink, teas, bottled water and cranberry juice in the marketplace. Wide Open Performance's most recent product development includes ICT's technology for its lines of teas and calcium waters that will be in the marketplace later in 2010.
The companies are using Andersen Racing's teams to bring awareness not only to its beverages but also to the global health concern of osteoporosis, a disease in which bones become increasingly brittle and subject to fracture due to a lack of calcium as one ages. The U.S. Surgeon General reported in 2004 that about 12 million people over the age of 50 have osteoporosis and another 40 million are at risk. By 2020 those figures are expected to increase to 14 million cases of osteoporosis and over 47 million cases of low bone mass.
The companies' decals will be displayed on Andersen Racing's No. 4 Firestone Indy Lights car this weekend at Homestead, which is being driven by Sean Guthrie. The marketing program will also feature Andersen Racing in promotional posters. In addition, Wide Open Performance's beverages will also be sold to karters and corporate karting participants at Andersen RacePark, a 1-mile road course in Palmetto, Fla. where the team is headquartered.
"We hope the Racing 4 Bone Health program brings attention to ways to battle the problem of osteoporosis," said Dan Andersen, Andersen Racing's chief executive officer. "Racing has long been a showplace for the newest technology and drivers are always searching for ways to improve their physical conditioning. We hope that racing's 'wide-open' lifestyle will encourage the public to get the recommended amount of calcium daily, and will contribute to improving the health of people around the world for years to come."
The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season concludes with the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 on Oct. 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race, which will decide the IZOD IndyCar Series championship, will be telecast live in High Definition at 6 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 212. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season concludes with the Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka 100 on Oct. 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.