IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2005-09-29

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Sept. 29, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. Danica Patrick honored among top 100 women in North American auto industry, featured on ESPN The Magazine 2. IRL community golfs for charity 3. Simmons still chasing ...

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Sept. 29, 2005

Today's IRL headlines
1. Danica Patrick honored among top 100 women in North American auto industry, featured on ESPN The Magazine
2. IRL community golfs for charity
3. Simmons still chasing Menards Infiniti Pro Series title:

1. Danica Patrick honored among top 100 women in North American auto industry, featured on ESPN The Magazine: Automotive News' 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry 2005 honorees include seven CEOs, three COOs, 13 presidents, 52 vice presidents, four assembly plant managers and one race car driver.

One guess allowed for that person's identity.

IndyCar Series Bombardier Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick is being recognized with other women who are leaders in the automotive field at a dinner Sept. 28 in Detroit. A special section recognizing the honorees also is in the current issue of the magazine.

Each honoree will be recognized on stage, with brief remarks from Adriane Brown, president and CEO, Honeywell Transportation Systems; Cheryl Jones, project general manager, Baja California, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Inc.; and Maureen Kempston Darkes, group vice president and president, GM Latin America, Africa and Middle East, General Motors among others.

Patrick also is featured on the cover of the current issue of ESPN: The Magazine. Patrick and Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade are featured on a split cover for the "Hot and Cool" issue of the magazine.

***

2. IRL community golfs for charity: More than 200 golfers representing Indy Racing League officials, sponsors and teams gathered at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in Indianapolis for the 15th Phil Casey Charity Golf Tournament on Sept. 28.

This year's winning team represented Delphi and consisted of Scott Kelly, Rob Schroeder, Charles Burns, Chad Seibert and Brad Stout. The winning team shot a 55, two shots better than the defending champions from the Indy Racing League which featured IRL President and COO Brian Barnhart, IRL Director of Operations John Lewis, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and COO Joie Chitwood, Jay Howard and IRL National Sales Manager Tom Edens.

"I want to thank everybody who played," said Casey, the IRL's senior technical director. "This tournament wouldn't be anything if it wasn't for you. I'd like to thank all the people who helped, and I'd like to congratulate Andretti Green Racing for the championship this year."

Because of high demand, a separate tournament was held at Prestwick Country Club in Avon, Ind. The winners of the Prestwick tournament represented IRL Sales and consisted of Brian Zepp, Dennis Vervynckt, Brian Annakin and Lance West.

Proceeds from the tournament along with a charity raffle and auction held at the event, benefit Valley Children's Hospital in Fresno, Calif., and Rupert's Kids. Tournament organizers expect to beat last year's record total of $40,000.

Casey organized his first charity tournament for a very personal reason. His granddaughter, Jennifer Burkhart, was diagnosed with pediatric diabetes at age 3. She was treated by doctors at Valley Children's Hospital.

Indy Racing League founder Tony George and his wife Laura selected Rupert's Kids to receive funds from the 2005 tournament. Rupert's Kids is a not-fot-profit organization founded by former "Survivor" contestant Rupert Boneham. The organization is committed to changing lives by empowering youth to discover their inner strengths, realizing their own self worth and their value to society through mentoring and educational programs for youth in Indianapolis.

Among the participants who played were IndyCar Series drivers Darren Manning and Sam Hornish Jr., team owners Tom Anderson and Brian Stewart, ABC Sports/ESPN broadcaster Scott Goodyear, former Indiana University standout and two-time Indiana Woman's State Amateur champion Danah Ford and former Indianapolis Colt Ken Dilger.

***

3. Simmons still chasing Menards Infiniti Pro Series title: Jeff Simmons can't help but wonder what would have been:

* If mechanical issues with the Kenn Hardley Racing-prepared No. 24 Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone didn't strip their efforts at the season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway and on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in June.

* If he wasn't forced out of consecutive races at Phoenix International Raceway and the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., while in the top five because of crashes in which he was the victim.

* If there was more than one race remaining on the Menards Infiniti Pro Series schedule -- at the 2-mile California Speedway on Oct. 16.

Lamenting what could have been though is counter-productive for the veteran driver who has vaulted to second behind Wade Cunningham in the standings. Simmons, 29, is looking forward -- as he should -- to finishing the 14-race season on a positive note. That's what he's seen in the past six events, which have included four victories and two other top-five finishes.

His latest came on the 3.37-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen International course, where he overtook Marco Andretti on Lap 27 of 29 to win the Corning 100 by 0.6136 of a second. Simmons became the first Menards Infiniti Pro Series driver to win on a superspeedway (Chicagoland), short oval (Pikes Peak, Milwaukee) and road course in the same season.

"We have a chance mathematically in the points," said Simmons, who almost six years earlier celebrated his second Barber Dodge Pro Series championship at the historic facility in central New York. "If Wade has problems and we're able to win again, we have a chance. It's a little bittersweet because we had mechanical problems and got taken out a couple of times early in the year, so we know that we could have been way ahead in the points right now.

"To still have a chance after all of the problems we had, we came back in such a short amount of time, I'm proud of everyone on Team ISI and the Kenn Hardley Racing team for sticking with it."

Cunningham, who finished third in the Corning 100 and has yet to win in his first Menards Infiniti Pro Series season, has a 33-point cushion. Simmons must win the California 100 and Cunningham finish 13th or worse to grab the title.

The event at Watkins Glen International was Cunningham's 12th top-5 finish.

"Everything wasn't quite right," said Cunningham, who started from the pole in the No. 33 Motorsport New Zealand car of Brian Stewart Racing. "We had the car set up for higher downforce. It was difficult, but once everything settled down the car was fast. I was quick, if not a little quicker than the guys in front of me, and I just couldn't go anywhere behind them. I couldn't get close enough to make a pass going into the corners.

"Other than that it was OK, third place, and we'll get ready for California (Speedway)."

***

The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the Toyota Indy 400 at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on Oct. 16 at California Speedway. The race will be broadcast by ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The race broadcast also will be carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme). The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the California 100 on Oct. 16 at California Speedway. The ESPN2 race telecast will also be available live on ESPN360.com. It will be telecast at 3 p.m. (EDT) on Oct. 20.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Darren Manning , Scott Goodyear , Brad Stout , Marco Andretti , Tom Anderson , Jeff Simmons , Tony George , Wade Cunningham , Jay Howard , John Lewis , Brian Barnhart , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick