IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2005-01-13

Indy Racing League News and Notes -- Jan. 13, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. Indy Racing League, Michigan International Speedway Bring Excitement To Detroit 2. Franchitti Re-Signs With AGR 3. Menards Infiniti Pro Series Teams To Test At ...

Indy Racing League News and Notes -- Jan. 13, 2005

Today's IRL headlines
1. Indy Racing League, Michigan International Speedway Bring Excitement To Detroit
2. Franchitti Re-Signs With AGR
3. Menards Infiniti Pro Series Teams To Test At Homestead-Miami Speedway
4. Wheldon Appears at International Builders' Show

1. Indy Racing League, Michigan International Speedway Bring Excitement To Detroit: The Indy Racing League and Michigan International Speedway will bring the excitement of the IRL IndyCar® Series to downtown Detroit during the North American International Auto Show Jan. 15-23 at the Cobo Center.

In partnering with the NAIAS, Michigan International Speedway and the IndyCar Series will have unprecedented exposure at one of the most prestigious auto shows in the world.

"We're pleased to bring the exotic and exciting vehicles of the IndyCar Series to the Super Bowl of the automotive industry," said Bill Long, the IRL's vice president for marketing. "This is an outstanding opportunity to showcase our race cars, powered by our partners at General Motors, Honda and Toyota, as well as introduce the high speed and close competition of the IndyCar Series to thousands of new fans."

Among the interactive items on display in the IRL and MIS booths will be two Indy Racing League simulators featuring the IndyCar Series 2005 video game, a Panther Racing Chevrolet race car and an Indy Racing Experience two-seat IndyCar Series car also will be displayed

In addition, Indy Racing Fan Experience properties, including the Indy Racing Live Stage, which will serve as centerpiece of Cobo Arena, will also be on hand.

"With Detroit area companies such as Chevrolet, BorgWarner and Delphi and one of the most successful owners in open-wheel history, Detroit's Roger Penske, it seems a perfect fit to partner with the Indy Racing League on this interactive display during this year's North American International Auto Show," said MIS President Brett Shelton. "For automotive and race fans, this year's auto show has it all."

In addition to the race cars and interactive displays, several IndyCar Series personalities, including IRL Rising Star Award winner Vitor Meira, A.J. Foyt IV, the grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, and Paul Dana, will make appearances at the show Jan. 15. The drivers will sign autographs at noon.

Fans attending the auto show also can purchase tickets to the Michigan Indy 400 IndyCar Series event using the IRL's "Two for $40" tie-in. Ten dollars out of each ticket package sold will benefit the auto show's designated charities.

The wheel-to-wheel action of the IndyCar Series returns to MIS on July 30-31 for another mid-summer classic.

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2. Franchitti Re-Signs With AGR: Andretti Green Racing announced Jan. 12 that Dario Franchitti will return as driver of the No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone entry in the IndyCar Series.

"We are very pleased to have Dario continue as the driver of the No. 27 ArcaEx machine," said Kevin Savoree, who owns the team along with partners Michael Andretti and Kim Green. "The ArcaEx team earned two victories last season and we look for Dario and the ArcaEx team to challenge for the IndyCar Series championship in 2005."

Franchitti has driven the No. 27 ArcaEx entry during the past two seasons and earned two IndyCar Series victories in 2004, as well as the first IndyCar Series pole of his career.

"I'm delighted to be back this season driving the No. 27 ArcaEx car for Andretti Green Racing," Franchitti said. "I hope to improve on the season we had in 2004. With a technical package that remains pretty much unchanged, I hope we can win more races and challenge for a championship."

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3. Menards Infiniti Pro Series Teams To Test At Homestead-Miami Speedway: Three IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series^Ù teams will conduct a private test Jan. 18 and 21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in conjunction with the IndyCar Series' Open Test.

Defending Menards Infiniti Pro Series champion Sam Schmidt Motorsports, along with Roth Racing and Genoa Racing, will test cars on the 2.21-mile road course on Jan. 18 and on the 1.5-mile oval on Jan. 21.

Americans Chris Festa and Travis Gregg comprise the Schmidt team, while Marty Roth will drive for Roth Racing and James Chesson and Larry Connor will test with Genoa Racing.

"Testing at Homestead is a great opportunity to work on both elements of the season, road course and oval, back-to-back," said Sam Schmidt, owner of Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

"For our team specifically, we have a nice combination in Travis and Chris. Travis has the oval experience from running three races with us last year, and Chris has the more-recent experience of running on road courses. Hopefully, they'll get a lot of time on track together to help each other adapt to the new type of racing each will be doing. There's a lot we want to accomplish."

Chesson also is looking forward to the test.

"This is an important test for me, because I've never raced on a road course," he said.

Chesson earned one victory in three starts with Nunn Motorsports last season. He previously raced in World of Outlaws and USAC National Midget series.

Roth has competed in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series in each of the last three seasons and made his IndyCar Series debut last year at the Indianapolis 500. Connor has raced sports cars for more than 10 years.

Menards Infiniti Pro Series teams are allowed five days of private testing each year. The first Open Test for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series will be Feb. 8 at Phoenix International Raceway. The 2005 season begins on March 6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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4. Wheldon Appears at International Builders' Show: Dan Wheldon will make an appearance at the Klein Tools booth and "Show Village" during the 2005 International Builders' Show in Orlando, Fla., on Jan. 14-15.

Klein Tools, a leading manufacturer of professional hand tools and protective equipment, is a major sponsor of Dan Wheldon's No. 26 car and is an associate sponsor of Andretti Green Racing's other IndyCar Series entries.

Wheldon will sign autographs at the Klein Tools booth at the Orange County Convention Center and at "Show Village," located adjacent to the convention center.

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The IRL IndyCar Series opens its 10th season of competition with the Toyota Indy 300 at 2 p.m. (EST) on March 6, 2005 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The 2005 Menards Infiniti Pro Series season also opens on March 6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast by ESPN2 at 4 p.m. (EST) on March 17.

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Michael Andretti , A.J. Foyt IV , Dario Franchitti , Larry Connor , Dan Wheldon , Sam Schmidt , James Chesson , Marty Roth , Kim Green , Paul Dana , Chris Festa , Travis Gregg , Roger Penske , A.J. Foyt , Mo Nunn , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing