Indy Racing League News and Notes 2008-04-14

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES - April 14, 2008 Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines 1. One weekend, two races in two hemispheres 2. Rahal's win broke three-team, 37-race streak 3. Web traffic spikes at indycar.com 1....

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES - April 14, 2008

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. One weekend, two races in two hemispheres
2. Rahal's win broke three-team, 37-race streak
3. Web traffic spikes at indycar.com

1. One weekend, two races in two hemispheres: IndyCar Series fans will have their attention divided between two races on two hemispheres April 19-20.

Eighteen IndyCar Series drivers will compete in the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi on April 19. Thanks to a 13-hour time difference between Japan and the east coast of the United States, that race begins at midnight.

Thirty-six hours later, at 4 p.m. ET on April 20, 20 drivers, including nine who have started the first two IndyCar Series races of the 2008 season, are expected to compete in the Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.), the final event of the Champ Car World Series.

"It's going to be a great weekend, and we're going to make the most of ensuring that both events come off in world-class fashion," said Indy Racing League CEO Tony George.

Drivers from both events will earn points towards the IndyCar Series championship, and both races will be televised in High Definition on ESPN2.

ESPN's Jack Arute will literally travel the globe to cover both events.

"This actually started as a lark, like 'wouldn't it be funny to do both Motegi and Long Beach,'" said Arute, a regular member of ESPN's IndyCar Series coverage team. "But then we started looking into it and saw that it could be done.

"Fortunately, I can sleep on airplanes with no problem. But I've asked one of the teams to have a cot in their pit at Long Beach, just in case I need it. And lots of coffee."

***

2. Rahal's win broke three-team, 37-race streak: Graham Rahal's victory in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg April 6 for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing was the first by a driver for a team other than Andretti Green Racing, Target Chip Ganassi Racing or Team Penske since Aug. 14, 2005 - a span of 37 IndyCar Series races. Fernandez Racing's Scott Sharp won the race at Kentucky Speedway in 2005 before the streak started.

A look back at some key numbers from the streak of race wins by those three teams:

* 4 - Seasons encompassed by the streak (2005, 5 races; 2006, 14 races; 2007, 17 races; 2008, 1 race)

* 15 - Victories by Andretti Green Racing, the most of any team during the 37-race streak. Target Chip Ganassi Racing won 12 races, while Team Penske won 10.

* 7 - Drivers who recorded victories during the 37-race period (Scott Dixon, 8; Tony Kanaan, 7; Dan Wheldon, 6; Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish, Jr., 5; Marco Andretti, 1)

***

3. Web traffic spikes at indycar.com: The unification of open-wheel racing under the IndyCar Series banner has already resulted in increased car counts and a renewed interest among sponsors and fans. Another sign of the growing excitement surrounding the unified IndyCar Series is the drastic increase in web traffic at the series' official Web site, www.indycar.com. The site, which unveiled a new, improved design in March, has seen tremendous growth since the beginning of the year.

Unique visits, the most accurate statistical measurement of a Web site's visitation, have increased dramatically in every major section of indycar.com. The home page has seen at least a 90 percent increase in unique visits each month since January. Visits to the 2008 IndyCar Series schedule section have more than doubled each month. IndyCar Nation, a popular feature on the site that allows fans to connect to the series by designing paint schemes, submitting fan photos, and discussing the series in IndyCar Nation Talkback, saw a 243 percent increase in unique visits from February to March alone.

Statistics show that a solid portion of the increased site activity is comprised of first-time visitors to the site, a healthy indicator of growing interest in IndyCar Series racing. At least a quarter of the total visitors to the Web site each month in 2008 have been new visitors.

The growth in web traffic to the site has also provided a great platform for IndyCar Series sponsors to gain exposure to a growing fan base. IndyCar Race Control, a dynamic new way for fans to watch IndyCar Series racing online, is being presented by DirecTV. Firestone is sponsoring the "Tire-ific Move of the Race" fan pole, and PEAK Motor Oil is sponsoring the "Speed Read" feature on the Web site. The growing readership statistics are generating interest in future sponsorship opportunities as well.

***

The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with a unique weekend - two races on two continents - the Indy Japan 300 on April 19 at Twin Ring Motegi and the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 20 on the streets of Long Beach, Calif. Points will be awarded for both races with IndyCar Series drivers participating in Japan and Champ Car World Series competitors in Long Beach. The Motegi race will be telecast in High Definition at 11:59 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN2 on April 18 and re-aired at 3 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, April 18 at 11:30 p.m. (EDT). A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The Long Beach race will air on April 20 at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues April 27 with the Kansas Lottery 100 at Kansas Speedway.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Marco Andretti , Chip Ganassi , Tony George , Sam Hornis
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing