INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- Oct. 11, 2006 Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Another successful test at Iowa 2. Karting event brings out stars 3. PEAK sweepstakes features meeting with Patrick 1. Another successful...
INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- Oct. 11, 2006
Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Another successful test at Iowa
2. Karting event brings out stars
3. PEAK sweepstakes features meeting with Patrick
1. Another successful test at Iowa: Iowa Speedway received rave reviews from IndyCar Series drivers participating in Firestone tire and IndyCar Series aerodynamic testing at Iowa Speedway on Oct. 9.
Panther Racing's Vitor Meira and 1996 IndyCar Series co-champion Scott Sharp, who was invited by Rahal Letterman Racing to give his short-track set-up input in the No. 15 car, participated in the test at the facility, which will host the inaugural Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Ethanol on June 24, 2007.
"I was impressed with how smooth the track is," Meira said. "I think it will be a real exciting short-oval race. With the amount of downforce that we're studying and we think we'll run, there definitely will be lots of side-by-side racing. It will really make it a fun race."
Both drivers pounded out laps on an overcast and chilly day using a variety of Firestone Firehawk compounds. Firestone engineers were seeking comprehensive data -- in concert with aero packages -- to develop the correct level of grip for the racing on the .0875-mile variably banked oval.
"We were really pleased to test on a short oval and on a new track on our schedule next year," said Sharp, a free agent after his two-year deal with Fernandez Racing expired at the end of the season. "It's very impressive. Already the speeds we can turn, we're envisioning the kind of race we're going to have here. It will be extremely tight. I imagine you'll see three- or four-tenths of a second separating the entire field. It will be like some of our wild races have been on a big track."
The aerodynamic and tire package is critical for safety and competitive racing, which produces the excitement for ticket buyers and TV audiences have come to expect from the IndyCar Series.
"We're constantly trying to find a balance between the car being limited by its aerodynamics (drag) and limited by its level of grip," said Les Mactaggart, senior technical director of the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series. "We're trying to find a balance where the car becomes grip-limited, where it becomes much more challenging for the driver. On this type of track it's difficult, because it's high-banked.
"We decided (after morning testing) that we'll stick with the package that we discussed three weeks ago because that will give us the right level of performance, safety and the right level of aerodynamic balance we need for the track.
"Between ourselves and Firestone, we come up with the most practical compromise. It's trying to look forward into a crystal ball to see what you have next summer. I think we have a good package. It's going to be very fast racing. The cars will be able to run two- and maybe three-wide."
2. Karting event brings out stars: Bring together IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series drivers and you can be sure competition will ensue. Soccer, beach volleyball, darts or karting, it doesn't matter.
Spirited competition is expected during the RoboPong.com 200 -- a 200-mile endurance karting race at New Castle (Ind.) Motorsports Park on Oct. 15. The race, at the facility owned and operated by former IndyCar Series driver Mark Dismore, features two-four drivers per team, green flag pit stops and a purse that would rival some other open-wheel series' events. In its third year, the event will be shown on tape on Speed Channel at a later date.
The noon (ET) event is free and open to the public. Dan Wheldon, the 2005 IndyCar Series champion, will team with Mark Dismore Jr. in an attempt to successfully defend their title against 55 other teams.
Challengers will include Wheldon's Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Scott Dixon, who will be paired with Adam Rovazzini. Jeff Simmons will drive for Team Ethanol, while Tomas Scheckter and Sarah Fisher also will compete.
Indy Pro Series champion Jay Howard will have a kart on the pavement. Veronica McCann, who competed in the Indy Pro Series finale at Chicagoland Speedway, also will participate. Also in the field are former IndyCar Series drivers Robby McGehee and Rick Treadway.
"It will be a blast to be back on the go-kart track where the fundamentals of racing begin," Fisher said. "New Castle is one of the tracks where I run my shifter kart at to get ready for road course racing and to just stay sharp. New Castle is also where I have worked with Kyle O'Gara, my fiance's little brother, for the past two years as he is an up-and-coming go-kart racer."
3. PEAK sweepstakes features meeting with Patrick: PEAK Antifreeze recently announced a national sweepstakes, which will send 15 lucky winners on an exclusive PEAK trip to a Skip Barber Racing School -- with IndyCar Series star Danica Patrick among their personal instructors.
Patrick, the 2005 IndyCar Series Bombardier Rookie of the Year, and the Skip Barber staff will teach the PEAK prize winners to drive Skip Barber Formula Dodge open-wheel race cars on Phoenix International Raceway's 1-mile oval.
PEAK's Open Wheel Driving Lessons with Danica grand prize includes:
* A full 2-day Skip Barber Racing School experience, with both professional classroom instruction and track time at Phoenix International Raceway
* Personal instruction from Danica Patrick
* Seat time behind the wheel of a Formula Dodge open-wheel race car, capable of 130mph
* Roundtrip airfare, lodging and all meals
To enter, consumers can pick up a PEAK sweepstakes entry form from retailers, or enter online. All entries must be received by Dec. 31. For more details and official sweepstakes rules, visit www.peakantifreeze.com.