IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2006-02-27

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Feb. 27, 2006 Today's IRL headlines 1. New Zealand's Hamilton joins Indy Pro Series 2. Ganassi website re-launched 3. Mansell to promote website on ESPN2 1. New Zealand's Hamilton joins Indy Pro Series:...

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Feb. 27, 2006

Today's IRL headlines
1. New Zealand's Hamilton joins Indy Pro Series
2. Ganassi website re-launched
3. Mansell to promote website on ESPN2

1. New Zealand's Hamilton joins Indy Pro Series: Just days after celebrating his 23rd birthday, Matthew Hamilton finalized a deal with Dave McMillan Racing to compete in the Indy Racing League Indy Pro Series in 2006.

The deal unites two New Zealand natives who will try to make their mark in the series beginning with the Miami 100 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 26.

Hamilton, who celebrated his birthday Feb. 21, is completing his second season in New Zealand's Toyota Racing Series. He won the first two races of the season, including the prestigious Lady Wigram Trophy race, and is in second place in the point standings with two races remaining.

"This is pretty exciting stuff," said Hamilton, who has won six New Zealand karting titles. "I've been working towards something like this for a long time.

"I was up here last year. I came to the Texas round and also to Indianapolis for the Grand Prix, and then I did the test at Nashville. That went really well. We worked our way up to it. After that, we were very pleased and thought that this was the way to go. It's going to be a bit of a learning curve, but I'm certainly looking forward to the road courses, and then we'll see how it goes on the ovals."

Hamilton will drive the No. 2 Indy Pro Series machine for McMillan.

"I'm very excited about this, particularly being able to run a fellow Kiwi," McMillan said. "I haven't seen him drive yet, but there have been some very good drivers coming out of New Zealand recently. We saw that with (2005 Indy Pro Series champion) Wade (Cunningham) last year. I hope Matthew can be as good as that if not better."

McMillan is fielding a team under his own racing banner for the first time in the Indy Pro Series, but he is no stranger to the circuit. McMillan was the team manager and engineer for Keith Duesenberg Racing in 2003 and 2004, helping the team to three victories. Last year, he ran Marco Andretti under the Andretti Green Racing banner.

As a driver, McMillan won several open-wheel championships in New Zealand in the early 1980s, and in 1982 became the first driver from overseas to win a Toyota Atlantic championship.

The Indy Pro Series is the premier ladder series for drivers, teams and sponsors striving to compete in the IndyCar® Series and the Indianapolis 500. The 12-race schedule in 2006 features six races on ovals and six races on road courses, including competing on both circuits at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Teams compete for $3 million in prize money in cars that generate 420 horsepower and speeds in excess of 190 mph. The races are telecast to more than 88 million homes in the United States on ESPN2.

2. Ganassi website re-launched: Chip Ganassi Racing recently launched its redesigned Official Team Website, located at www.chipganassiracing.com. The site, designed by interactive communications firm RACERSITES.COM, will take fans through the inner workings of the team's seven-car operation spanning the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series, IRL IndyCar Series and Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series programs.

The site redesign strengthens Chip Ganassi Racing's commitment to adding value to its sponsors' partnerships with the team while offering fans everything from the latest CGR news and information to driver bios, race results and much more.

Downloadable wallpapers, revamped photo galleries, and detailed sponsor sections are among the new features the site will roll out over the coming weeks.

3. Mansell to promote website on ESPN2: Indy Pro Series driver Scott Mansell will appear on ESPN2's Cold Pizza on Feb. 28 to discuss his website, www.milliondollarmansell.com.

Mansell, inspired by a university student in England who raised $1 million by selling spots on a website to fund his education, started the website in an effort to raise sponsorship money to compete in the United States in the Indy Pro Series in 2006.

Starting at just $50, companies or individuals can buy logo space not only on the website, but also on Mansell's race car. Drivers typically need about $350,000 to compete for a full season in the Indy Pro Series.

Cold Pizza airs from 10 a.m. -- Noon (EST) on ESPN2.

***

The IRL IndyCar Series opens the 2006 season with the Toyota Indy 300 at 3:30 p.m. (EST) on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network. The IMS Radio Network broadcast is also carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition opens with the Miami 100 at 12:30 p.m. on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be telecast at 1 p.m. on March 31 by ESPN2.

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Marco Andretti , Chip Ganassi , Matthew Hamilton , Scott Mansell
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Toyota Racing