IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2005-10-11

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Oct. 11, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. Medeiros ready for IndyCar Series debut 2. Matsuura joins with Sato for Japanese event 3. Luyendyk to race at California 4. Cheever team adds sponsor for California ...


Today's IRL headlines
1. Medeiros ready for IndyCar Series debut
2. Matsuura joins with Sato for Japanese event
3. Luyendyk to race at California
4. Cheever team adds sponsor for California event

1. Medeiros ready for IndyCar Series debut: A year ago, Thiago Medeiros ran away with the Firehawk Cup, claiming the 2004 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series on the strength of six wins in 12 starts. But unlike previous series champions, A.J. Foyt IV and Mark Taylor, Medeiros has yet to graduate to the IndyCar Series.

That will change this weekend as Medeiros joins Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in a second Honda-powered Dallara for the Toyota Indy 400 on Oct. 16 at California Speedway. Medeiros will team with regular Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver Roger Yasukawa.

"I've really been waiting for this since the end of last year," said Medeiros, who remained visible in the IndyCar Series paddock through a position with BAND Sports, the IRL's Brazilian television partner. "I can't wait to get in the car for the first practice. It's been a long year and a very tough year, but this is a big opportunity for me to start racing an IndyCar and get ready to build for 2006."

In order to prepare for his IndyCar Series debut, Medeiros has been training every day for a month. He's also been visiting the team's race shop to help his team in any way he can.

"I think I'm in my best shape ever, and I need to be to do a 400-mile race," he said. "It's the longest race I've ever done, and pit stops will be new for me. But I've been to the shop over the last few days and watched them load my car on the truck and leave for California. I just wanted to show the crew they can trust me."

Medeiros feels he needs that trust because he will have to make pit stops for the first time in his career. Medeiros, who has tested with the team twice since the end of last season, said he was a little concerned with the pit stops, but is confident the work he's done to prepare will help.

"I've done some (pit stop) simulations with the team," he said. "It was little harder than I expected. The first time we tested, I couldn't see my marks because the steering wheel was a little high. But we've made a different seat, so I will be in a very comfortable position for the race and see a little better. We've done some more simulations with a car ahead and one behind this week, and it's difficult to hit the marks when you are full-lock to the left to come in and full-lock right when you exit."

The track, however, won't be new. Medeiros claimed the Menards Infiniti Pro Series championship at California Speedway last season and said he only has good memories of the facility.

"I won the pole and led the most laps there last year," he said. "It was a very good race last year, with the exception of the accident I had late in the race. I was in position to win the race, when the accident happened, so I only have good memories."

But he also knows he will only have one chance to make a good first impression.

"I hope to do as well as possible," he said. "I want to finish the race. I want to do all the pit stops right. I'm very thankful to Robbie (Buhl), Dennis (Reinbold) and Honda for the opportunity, and I just want to do it all right."


2. Matsuura joins with Sato for Japanese event: Two of Japan's leading racers, IndyCar Series driver Kosuke Matsuura and Formula One driver Takuma Sato participated in a ride-along program at Suzuka race course following the Japanese Grand Prix.

Matsuura, Sato and former Indianapolis 500 starter Shinji Nakano drove approximately 80 guests around the famed Japanese road course in Honda Integras as part of the Eneos F1 tour event.

The event was one of several events that Matsuura attended before his home country's grand prix. Matsuura and team owner Aguri Suzuki participated in a talk show during the event and Matsuura also was featured on Japanese television network NTV.


3. Luyendyk to race at California: Arie Luyendyk Jr. will be back in a familiar place next weekend, piloting the No. 25 AFS Racing machine in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series California 100. Luyendyk is looking forward to returning to the AFS team. Last year, he recorded four top-five finishes in five starts with the team.

"I am looking forward to representing Automatic Fire Sprinklers and running up front again with the AFS Racing crew," Luyendyk Jr. said. "Last year we had the win taken from us in California. Hopefully this year the cards will fall our way. I am excited about the preparation AFS Racing has taken for this event, and I am ready for the challenge."

In the 2004 California 100, Luyendyk started second and led 24 laps until he suffered a cut tire on Lap 27. Luyendyk's tire deflated and sent his car into a spin entering Turn 3, ending his day in 14th place.


4. Cheever team adds sponsor for California event: In an effort to promote its CREDITZ brand, CEO America, Inc. will join Red Bull Cheever Racing as a team sponsor for the Toyota Indy 400 on Oct. 16 at California Speedway. Both the No. 51 car driven by Alex Barron and the No. 83 car driven by Patrick Carpentier will feature the CREDITZ Digital Currency logo.

CEO America is the exclusive licensed operator of the CREDITZ System in the United States. CREDITZ is the world's first digital currency system. The system combines digital payment processing, customer intelligence, loyalty and marketing communications into one coherent services platform, which provides benefits for consumers, retailers, marketers, transaction processors and the electronic payment industry.

"We are pleased to be a part of the Cheever racing team," said David Vaters, chairman of CEO America Inc. "We believe that Red Bull Cheever Racing is one of the most technologically minded race teams in North America, which is, synergistic to the leading-edge thinking we want our brand associated with. Our company, like the team, has the drive to succeed using today's technologies to enable us to do so."

The partnership was made possible courtesy of team technical partner, Mecachrome International.

"Collaboration with our partners is the foundation of our business, and I would like to thank Mecachrome for introducing us to such an innovative company," said Red Bull Cheever Racing owner Eddie Cheever. "This new endeavor will provide CEO America and CREDITZ with the exposure and promotion that will allow them to reinforce the brand to existing customers while reaching out to new ones."


The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition concludes 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 final Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the California 100 on Oct. 16 at California Speedway. The ESPN2 race telecast will be available live on ESPN360.com. It will be telecast at 3 p.m. (EDT) on Oct. 20.


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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Takuma Sato , Mark Taylor , Eddie Cheever , A.J. Foyt IV , Patrick Carpentier , Shinji Nakano , Alex Barron , Roger Yasukawa , Kosuke Matsuura , Aguri Suzuki , Thiago Medeiros , Arie Luyendyk Jr.
Teams Dreyer & Reinbold Racing