IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2005-03-02

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- March 2, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. ESPN2 to provide in-car camera simulcast of season-opening IndyCar Series event 2. Drake prepares for full season with Vision Racing: 3. Target, XM Satellite Radio and...

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- March 2, 2005

Today's IRL headlines
1. ESPN2 to provide in-car camera simulcast of season-opening IndyCar Series event
2. Drake prepares for full season with Vision Racing:
3. Target, XM Satellite Radio and Phoenix International Raceway bring Grammy winners to IndyCar Series

1. ESPN2 to provide in-car camera simulcast of season-opening IndyCar Series event: ESPN2 will provide viewers with a unique look at IRL IndyCar® Series racing with a live telecast utilizing only in-car cameras during the Toyota Indy 300 on March 6. The coverage will be a simulcast of ESPN's coverage of the race from Homestead-Miami Speedway.

As part of the in-car camera only simulcast:

* ESPN2 will use in-car cameras in the cars of Patrick Carpentier, Scott Dixon, Bryan Herta, Tony Kanaan, Danica Patrick, Tomas Scheckter and Scott Sharp.

* The ESPN2 simulcast will feature no national commercial breaks and only five local breaks. ESPN2's local commercial breaks will be taken at a different time than ESPN commercials to ensure viewers will be able to see race action at all times.

* ESPN2 and ESPN will utilize separate announce teams. The ESPN2 simulcast will feature Gary Gerould calling play-by-play and 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner Kenny Brack as the analyst. ESPN's coverage will pair commentator Todd Harris with analysts Gil de Ferran and Scott Goodyear and pit reporters Dr. Jerry Punch, Jamie Little and Vince Welch.

ESPN and ESPN2 first combined to offer a standard coverage and in-car camera simulcast in 1994 with an Indy-style race from Nazareth, Pa. It marked the first time any network utilized the innovative concept.

ESPN and ABC Sports' telecasts of the first two 2005 IndyCar Series races will feature continuous coverage of race action through all national commercial breaks with "Side-By-Side," a split screen of the race and commercials. ESPN will debut the new way of viewing open wheel racing at the Toyota Indy 300. ABC Sports will utilize "Side-By-Side" on the XM Satellite Radio Indy 200 presented by Argent Mortgage from Phoenix International Raceway Saturday, March 19 at 3 p.m.

In addition, ESPN360, formerly ESPN Broadband, will provide a live split-screen simultaneous display of ESPN and ESPN2's coverage, allowing users to see ESPN's side-by-side concept and ESPN2's unique in-car camera perspective at the same time. ESPN360 will showcase IndyCar content throughout the season, with live and on-demand coverage of select IndyCar Series and Menards Infiniti Pro Series races, plus extensive analysis and live action from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway throughout the month of May.

***

2. Drake prepares for full season with Vision Racing: Note -- The following story is part of a series previewing each of the teams competing in the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series.

Jay Drake has been racing since he was 8. Now, at 35, he will take another step toward competing in the Indianapolis 500 when he races full time in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series^Ù in 2005. The series will race twice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including the weekend of the 89th Indianapolis 500.

"I'm just thrilled to death and excited to have an opportunity like this, to step ahead and further my career," said Drake.

Drake's career already includes top-five finishes in USAC midgets and silver crowns and a national championship last year in USAC sprint cars.

Last year also included a one-race effort in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series at Indianapolis, where he finished fourth.

"Last year, running the speedway in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, it was a dream come true for me just to get to race at that racetrack," Drake said. "It was something I'd always dreamed of and never really expected a chance to get to do it. And to do it, actually run what I thought was a very successful performance to get in that car and get up to speed as quickly as we did, that's just a testament for (team manager) Larry Curry. He was able to coach me along quickly and get me comfortable enough into that car. When he told me I could go out there and run it wide open, I believed it. I went out and did it. It worked."

Drake, who has worked with Curry as part of Tony Stewart's USAC team, will continue that relationship in 2005 as Curry manages Vision Racing, a team formed in February by Tony and Laura George.

"I've worked with Jay as Tony Stewart's team won the sprint car championship last year," said Curry, who also was the chief mechanic on Stewart's 1997 IndyCar® Series championship team. "I'm really, really pleased that he's getting an opportunity at this also. I think that Jay is one of those guys that maybe has been overlooked a little bit. So we're planning on getting a chance to showcase his talent."

"I always have high expectations of myself, and if there's any pressure, I put it on myself," Drake said. "I expect to succeed in any type of racing that I do, and that's no different here."

Capsule look at Vision Racing
Chassis/engine/tire: Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone
Owner: Tony and Laura George
Driver: Jay Drake
Team manager: Larry Curry
Chief mechanic: Richard Armour

Driver Viewpoint

Jay Drake: "It's an awesome opportunity in any case, and then to do it with this caliber of a team, what this caliber of a team is going to become, is obviously very thrilling to me. Fortunately I have some guys involved with the team already that can help me out with that learning process, too, hopefully give me good cars. That's a big part of it. Having good equipment is a big part of getting around any kind of racetrack, and I'm confident that we're going to have that. It will be up to me to shorten my learning curve as much as possible and see what we can do with it."

***

3. Target, XM Satellite Radio and Phoenix International Raceway bring Grammy winners to IndyCar Series: Target, XM Satellite Radio and Phoenix International Raceway announced March 2 that Grammy Award-winning Velvet Revolver will perform at the Phoenix International Raceway Speed Jam on March 19, following the IRL IndyCar® Series XM Satellite Radio Indy 200 race. The concert will begin immediately following the race with an opening set by Silvertide. The Speed Jam event also will feature the Indy Racing Fan Experience and an all-star lineup of motocross athletes.

Velvet Revolver, comprised of Scott Weiland (lead vocals), Slash (guitar), Duff McKagan (bass), Matt Sorum (drums) and Dave Kushner (guitar) is touring arenas in connection with their platinum-plus debut Contraband album, featuring the Grammy Award-winning and No. 1 rock single "Slither," as well as the band's other No. 1 rock hit "Fall to Pieces" and their new single "Dirty Little Thing."

Contraband debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart, selling more than 250,000 copies. Notably, this marks the best-ever debut for a new rock artist in the SoundScan era. Contraband sold more than three million copies worldwide. Rolling Stone calls the album a "powerhouse," Newsweek describes the band as "truly explosive" and Maxim says "Slash and Scott Weiland bring unpredictability back to rock."

"Target wants the younger fan to check out the exhilaration of IndyCar Series racing and this unique partnership will allow that to happen," said John Remington, vice president of communications for Target. "Target is very excited to bring together such an exciting entertainment package for the Phoenix area and IndyCar racing. Fans will see a great race and be able to rock with Velvet Revolver."

Motocross athlete and Glendale, Ariz.-native Nate Adams, who took first place in Freestyle Motocross in the 2004 X Games, will appear at Speed Jam along with Tommy Clowers, multiple X Games medalist in the X Games Step Up. Jeff Tilton, first place winner at Adrenaline X and Vans Triple Crown Biggest Whip, 19-year-old phenom Niki Danielson and 1999 IFMA Rookie of the Year John Distler will appear as well.

The riders will sign autographs and perform freestyle motocross demos at various times throughout the weekend just outside of Turn Two at Phoenix International Raceway.

Designed to bring fans of all ages closer to the excitement of the IndyCar Series, the IndyCar Series Fan Experience is divided into four properties --Pole Position, Tech, XM Live Stage and Pit Stop. Fans can experience what it is like to be an IndyCar Series driver or crew member and learn about the cars in an entertaining fashion.

"This will be the first concert held at Phoenix International Raceway, and we're pleased to have such a talented group like Velvet Revolver performing for our fans," said Phoenix International Raceway president Bryan R. Sperber. "With the XM Satellite Radio Indy 200, Indy Racing Fan Experience, Velvet Revolver and motocross exhibition, everyone here will be in for an adrenaline-charged weekend."

Tickets for Speed Jam are available to the public for $20 and include admission into the IndyCar Series race on March 19, along with admission to the concert and motocross events.

Both events will take place outside the track near Turn Two following the race. Fans can order tickets to Speed Jam by calling 1-866-408-RACE (7223) and mention the promotional code: Target. Tickets also are available through the Phoenix International Raceway website at www.phoenixraceway.com. The IndyCar Series XM Satellite Radio Indy 200 race will be nationally televised on ABC at 3 p.m. (EST) and nationally broadcast by the IMS Radio Network.

***

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 broadcast by the IMS Radio Network and indycar.com. 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.

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Tony Stewart , Tomas Scheckter , Scott Sharp , Scott Goodyear , Gil de Ferran , Patrick Carpentier , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Kenny Brack , Jay Drake , Jamie Little , Danica Patrick , Todd Harris