INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- March 10, 2006 Today's IRL headlines 1. 2006 Sneak Peak: Vision Racing grows for second season 2. Sam Schmidt aide tops Gordon in charity poker tournament 1. 2006 Sneak Peak: Vision Racing grows for second...
INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- March 10, 2006
Today's IRL headlines
1. 2006 Sneak Peak: Vision Racing grows for second season
2. Sam Schmidt aide tops Gordon in charity poker tournament
1. 2006 Sneak Peak: Vision Racing grows for second season: Vision Racing hopes to avoid any "sophomore jinx" in its second season in the IndyCar Series.
The team, owned by IRL founder Tony George and his wife Laura, has added actor Patrick Dempsey to its ownership team and a second IndyCar Series effort for Tomas Scheckter.
The combination of returning driver Ed Carpenter and Scheckter, along with new Honda powerplants, has proven to be productive in a pair of preseason tests.
"During the winter off-season we really concentrated on a building program that had as its foundation; a strong nucleus of people from 2005," Tony George said. "And while we are all happy to have Honda power for the coming year, we have focused on becoming a two-car IndyCar Series team. We believe that both of these developments will begin paying dividends for us immediately."
In addition to Scheckter, several new crew members have been added to bolster the team, including engineer David Cripps, who worked with Scheckter at Panther Racing for the last two seasons.
"I am extremely excited to be a part of Vision Racing. Tony George and Ed Carpenter have built a solid foundation and the team is moving in the right direction," Scheckter said. "I have my engineer, David Cripps, with me and we have a solid working relationship. The time that I have had in the off season with Larry Curry has been encouraging. He is incredibly motivated to win races, and that is what I am looking forward to doing, winning races."
Carpenter also has benefited from his new teammate as well as Vision Racing's effort to improve every aspect of the team from equipment to training to personnel.
"I am very excited about the upcoming season," he said. "I have had a very productive off season, and am very confident for the start of the season. We had a great tests in Phoenix and Homestead to kick off the season. I am very happy with all of the changes that Tony and Laura have made, and feel that we have a very strong team for 2006. I think Tomas and I can turn some heads."
CO-OWNER'S OUTLOOK FOR 2006:
Patrick Dempsey: "I am thrilled to be a part of the Vision team and I feel like a kid in a candy store. I think Ed Carpenter and Tomas Scheckter is a formidable combination, and I believe they demonstrated this by their performance at the first test. I also cannot think of anyone other than Tony and Laura George that I would want to partner with in IndyCar Racing. All my experiences at Indy have been magical."
2. Sam Schmidt aide tops Gordon in charity poker tournament: Anna Bravo, a nurse who helps care for IRL Indy Pro Series team owner Sam Schmidt, knocked Jeff Gordon out of his own poker tournament.
Bravo participated in a tournament for the Jeff Gordon Foundation at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on March 8. She knocked Gordon out of the action in the first round and proceeded to eliminate World Poker Champion Chris "Jesus" Ferguson in the next round.
Bravo eventually advanced to the final table, which consisted of five professional poker players and two amateurs. She finished sixth among 56 players.
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.