IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2005-01-31

Indy Racing League News and Notes -- Jan. 31, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. Dixon "Bops To Top" for charity 2. Simmons returns to Kenn Hardley Racing: 3. Menards Infiniti Pro Series To Test On Road Course And Oval At Indianapolis Motor...

Indy Racing League News and Notes -- Jan. 31, 2005

Today's IRL headlines
1. Dixon "Bops To Top" for charity
2. Simmons returns to Kenn Hardley Racing:
3. Menards Infiniti Pro Series To Test On Road Course And Oval At Indianapolis Motor Speedway
4. Enge wins Golden Wheel

1. Dixon "Bops To Top" for charity: Like any race car driver, 2003 IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon wasn't pleased with his time. Of course, after climbing the 37 floors (515 feet) of the OneAmerica Tower in Indianapolis -- 806 grueling steps -- any time should be considered passable.

Dixon, driver of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone, and Super Aguri Fernandez Racing's Kosuke Matsuura were among the nearly 700 participants in the 22nd Bop to the Top on Jan. 29.

Dixon, 24, finished 23rd in 5 minutes, 1.5 seconds. Matsuura, 25, finished in 7:10.7. Their trainer, Jim Leo of PitFit Training in Indianapolis, finished in 5:06.4.

"I was kind of disappointed actually," said Dixon, who is preparing to compete in the Rolex 24 Hours this week with teammate Darren Manning. "I was looking for a 4:30, but I didn't break 5 minutes. Maybe next year."

It was the second consecutive year Dixon participated in the event that raises funds for Riley Hospital for Children.

"We just do it for fun," he said. "It's a way of measuring your fitness."

Dixon and Matsuura, like other IndyCar Series drivers, have been stepping up their cardiovascular and weightlifting workouts in preparation for the season that begins March 6 with the Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. They'll also participate in an Open Test next week at Phoenix International Raceway.

"Our workouts now are weightlifting four or five times a week and then we do quite a bit of running, cycling on trainers and spinning classes," Dixon said. "Typically during the week we do cardiovascular things in the morning and lifting in the afternoon."

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2. Simmons returns to Kenn Hardley Racing: American Jeff Simmons will return to drive the No. 24 Kenn Hardley Racing entry in the Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series^Ù in 2005, the team announced Jan. 31.

Simmons, 28, competed in the final four races of the 2004 season with the team, capturing a pole position and a second-place finish. He also competed for A.J. Foyt Racing in the Futaba Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May, finishing in second.

"I'm ready for the season to start," said Simmons, a native of East Granby, Conn. "I want to win the series this year, and I feel I've got an excellent chance with Kenn Hardley Racing. This is a solid team, and I'm glad to be a part of it."

Simmons made history in 2004 when he and Marty Roth became the first drivers to compete in both the Futaba Freedom 100 and the Indianapolis 500 in the same year. Simmons qualified 29th for the Indianapolis 500 with Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing and went on to finish 16th, the second-highest rookie in the field.

Later in the 2004 season, Simmons got an opportunity with Patrick Racing to drive in the IRL IndyCar® Series race at Kansas Speedway where he finished 19th.

Simmons was runner-up in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series as a rookie in 2003. Driving for Keith Duesenberg Racing, he won at Gateway and Kentucky while recording three second-place finishes.

Simmons is the only two-time winner of the Barber Dodge Pro Series championship, earning titles in 1998 and 1999.

Kenn Hardley Racing enters its third season in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series in 2005. Team owner Kenn Hardley owns Integrated Services Incorporated, a transportation, warehousing and logistics company, headquartered in Kokomo, Ind.

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3. Menards Infiniti Pro Series To Test On Road Course And Oval At Indianapolis Motor Speedway: The Menards Infiniti Pro Series has changed its Open Test schedule to include testing on both the oval and road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Menards Infiniti Pro Series cars will test on the 2.605-mile road course on March 24, and on the 2.5-mile oval on May 2.

The Menards Infiniti Pro Series will be the first series to compete on both circuits at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The series will hold the Futaba Freedom 100 on the oval on May 27, and will hold a race on the road course in mid-June as part of the United States Grand Prix weekend.

To accommodate the tests at Indianapolis, the Menards Infiniti Pro Series will no longer hold tests at Infineon Raceway or Watkins Glen International.

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4. Enge wins Golden Wheel: Tomas Enge received the Golden Wheel Award as the Czech Republic's top driver for the sixth year in a row.

Enge also received the Speed Award trophy for the fastest average speed.

"I am very happy that the tradition of the Golden Wheel goes on," said Enge, who will drive the No. 2 Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone in the 2005 IndyCar Series season.

"I am naturally pleased from the trophy because it is clear that my performances have not been unnoticed at home despite the fact that I do not many chances to race in the Czech Republic. I am now at the beginning of new and exciting season. There will be a new challenges and starts in legendary Indy 500 and 24 Hours Le Mans. I will do my best for a good representation of the Czech motorsport around he whole world."

The Golden Wheel is voted on by Czech motorsport journalists. Enge won the Golden Wheel 2004 for the best circuit racing driver. The Liberec native received the Speed Award for the fastest average lap speed in a race.

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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 televised 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 televised by ESPN2 at 4 p.m. (EST) on March 17.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Tomas Enge , Darren Manning , Scott Dixon , Marty Roth , Kosuke Matsuura , Jeff Simmons , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Mo Nunn
Teams Panther Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing