IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2006-10-24

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Patrick featured in GQ 2. Castroneves' luck rubs off on Tigers 3. Three teams to test potential Indy Pro Series drivers 4. Marco Andretti to race, Mario receives award 5. Schmidt to receive...

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Patrick featured in GQ
2. Castroneves' luck rubs off on Tigers
3. Three teams to test potential Indy Pro Series drivers
4. Marco Andretti to race, Mario receives award
5. Schmidt to receive Las Vegas honor
6. In Review: Jonathan Klein

1. Patrick featured in GQ: IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick is in the GQ spotlight for November.

In an 18-page feature "The Originals: 16 of the coolest sports heroes of all time," the magazine looks at the 2005 Bombardier Rookie of the Year's flair on and off the racetrack. The Patrick package, including a full-page photo, highlights her drive toward perfection that "makes her one of the most unbridled -- and entertaining -- competitors out there."

Other featured athletes include Willie Mays, Joe Namath, Kevin Garnett, Michael Vick and Kelly Slater. The magazine is available on newsstands.

Patrick also is featured in the new Jay-Z video "Show Me What You Got," which debuted Oct. 16 on MTV. The opening scene, featuring Patrick racing Jay-Z in sports cars above Monaco, has been part of a Budweiser Select commercial shown on the Fox broadcasts of the World Series and League Championship Series.

2. Castroneves' luck rubs off on Tigers: Helio Castroneves' good luck rubbed off on the Detroit Tigers on Oct. 22 during Game 2 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Castroneves and Marlboro Team Penske teammate Sam Hornish Jr. watched the game from the Penske Corp. suite at Comerica Park in Detroit. After the Tigers' 3-1 victory that evened the series at 1-1, longtime friend Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez e-mailed Castroneves a note of thanks for bringing the team good luck.

"I guess my being at the game was good luck for the Tigers," Castroneves joked. "Now that they've got the first win out of the way, hopefully they will win the whole thing. It's too bad that Pudge and I missed each other, but I'll definitely be rooting for the Tigers as I follow the series on TV. This was my first World Series experience, and I couldn't have asked for anything more."

The Coral Gables, Fla., resident has thrown out a number of ceremonial first pitches at major league games, but it was his first game he watched in its entirety.

For Hornish, a Napoleon, Ohio, resident, it was the second post-season Tigers game he attended.

"Despite the low temperatures, it was a lot of fun to watch a World Series game with Roger and Helio," the three-time IndyCar Series champion said. "I've never been to a baseball game when it was that cold, but the great action and electric atmosphere made me forget about the weather."

3. Three teams to test potential Indy Pro Series drivers: The Indy Pro Series test of the top drivers from three formula car series based in the United States is scheduled for Oct. 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Adrian Carrio, JR Hildebrand and Reed Stevens will test a Sam Schmidt Motorsports machine on the 1.5-mile oval.

"Our team is honored to conduct this test in conjunction with the Indy Pro Series," team owner Sam Schmidt said. "As we see the future of the series involving more road-course racing, we will need to look to series such as Formula Mazda, Formula BMW and Cooper Tires Formula Ford Zetec for up-and-coming drivers.

"Adrian Carrio, Reed Stevens and JR Hildebrand have each accomplished a great deal in 2006 in extremely competitive environments. They are all capable of advancing to the highest level of open-wheel racing in the United States, and we're hoping this initial test will motivate them to compete in the Indy Pro Series."

The three drivers will test under the watchful eyes of Indy Pro Series executive director Roger Bailey and technical director Butch Meyer with the hopes of earning their rookie licenses.

Carrio, a 17-year-old from Monument, Colo., won the Star Mazda championship this season on the strength of two victories and six pole positions.

Hildebrand, a 19-year-old Sausalito, Calif. native, dominated the Cooper Tires Formula Ford Zetec championship, surpassing records set in 2005 by Jay Howard, who captured the Indy Pro Series championship in 2006. Hildebrand won a record seven consecutive races to start the season, and finished with 12 victories and 10 poles.

Stevens led the Formula BMW USA championship with four victories and eight podium finishes. The 21-year-old from Palo Alto, Calif., finished third in the final standings, just seven points behind the champion.

Other teams are also testing potential drivers for 2007. Part Sourcing International, owned by Steve Eppard, expects to test two candidates on the 1.5-mile oval at Chicagoland Speedway on Oct. 24, while Brian Stewart Racing has scheduled a Nov. 21 test at Homestead-Miami Speedway with two Canadian champions.

Patrick Larmour recently captured the Brian Stewart Racing Karting Championship while Shane Jantzi won the Ontario Formula Ford Championship for the fourth time in five years.

"There's some great talent and some great competition in Ontario regional racing," said team owner Brian Stewart, whose team won its second consecutive Indy Pro Series championship in 2006. "Providing the test day for the Formula Ford and karting driver with the highest points total at the end of the season is a way we can support the high-caliber competition."

Indy Pro Series teams are taking advantage of unlimited offseason testing to prepare for 2007.

4. Marco Andretti to race, Mario receives award: IndyCar Series Bombardier Rookie of the Year and Indianapolis 500 runner-up Marco Andretti will compete in the All-Stars Karting Classic on Dec. 14 in Orlando, Fla.

The event, in conjunction with the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, will feature the top drivers and teams from the Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the Indy Racing League competing in the Karting division. Guest drivers, including Andretti and IndyCar Series veteran Bryan Herta, will participate in the Masters division. The top drivers from both divisions will advance to a final race.

"Marco is not only (an Andretti Green Racing) teammate but a great friend as well," said Herta, founder of the Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the Indy Racing League. "When I asked him if he wanted to race, he was very excited to come mix it up in a kart again. What makes it even better is the fact that Marco was racing in our series only a few years ago."

Andretti, 19, joined his father, Michael, in New York City on Oct. 23 to be present when his grandfather, Mario Andretti, was awarded the title of "Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana" by Antonio Bandini, Italy's Consul General in New York.

The title of commendatore is the third of six ranks of the Ordine al Merito della Repubblica, an organization similar to Britain's Order of the British Empire. It is in recognition of his auto racing career and good character, which have reinforced a positive image of Italians throughout the world.

5. Schmidt to receive Las Vegas honor: Indy Pro Series team owner Sam Schmidt will receive a spot in the Las Vegas "Walk of Stars" on Oct. 28.

The founder of the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation, Schmidt will be honored for his years of fundraising and the creation of special events that directly benefit those suffering from spinal cord injuries and other disabilities. He has been cited for his popular "Day at the Races" program that entertains victims of spinal cord injuries and their families at the IndyCar Series races each year and for several fund-raising activities such as his Indy Jet and annual "Racing to Recovery Gala" projects.

Schmidt has made Las Vegas his home for the past 11 years.

The Las Vegas Walk of Stars honors people of prominence in the Las Vegas community from a variety of fields including entertainment, sports, literary, humanitarian, civic, military and pioneers. Each honoree receives a three-foot slab of polished granite weighing 180 pounds that is inlaid with the recipient's name and specialty. Schmidt is receiving his award as a humanitarian.

The slabs are then laid on a four-mile sanctioned section of sidewalk located to the East and West of Las Vegas Boulevard South between Sahara and Russell. It is similar to the world-renowned Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles that honors celebrities from the entertainment world.

The Las Vegas Walk of Stars has honored celebrities such as Wayne Newton, Liberace, Rich Little, best-selling author Wayne Allyn Root, and most recently the Las Vegas show greats Siegfried & Roy. Others scheduled to be honored in the near future are the Society of Seven, Sammy Davis Jr. and Bobby Darin.

6. In Review: Jonathan Klein (Note: This is part of a series reviewing the season of the top drivers in the Indy Pro Series in 2006.)

Jonathan Klein, No. 27 Klein Tools/Turn-Key Forging/Andretti Green Racing
Championship points: 386, 2nd place (-4)
Starts: 12
Best Finish: 2nd (Kentucky, Chicagoland)
Avg. Finish: 4.67
Poles: 1 (Kentucky)
Avg. Start: 4.25

Noteworthy: Led all Indy Pro Series drivers with 10 top-five finishes and 594 laps completed. Tied for the lead with 11 top-10 finishes and 11 races running at the finish. Finished second in the final point standings in the closest championship battle in series history, missing the title by just four points.

In his own words

Season overall: "I've said it before and I'll say it again, the team did a stellar job this season. I didn't have one mechanical failure all year, and the car was always competitive. I think we proved how crucial it is to finish every race. Wade (Cunningham) demonstrated that last year, and we proved it again. I think we completed the most amount of laps in the series, and I'm sure we had the most top-five finishes of anybody all year. I gained a wealth of knowledge this year about oval racing and cannot wait to (hopefully) come back next year with what I know now and win lots of races."

Season highlights: "I think the season highlight is culminated in all of the races. I was very pleased to be able to demonstrate the consistency that I did this year. That's why we were in the championship battle to the very end. I definitely loved getting the pole at Kentucky and thoroughly enjoyed the tight competition, especially at Chicagoland."

Season lowlights: "The worst part of my season is definitely when I got hit by another driver in Homestead. We were running a strong second, challenging for the lead, when I got tagged from behind. Had that not happened, the championship turnout may have been different, but that's how racing goes. There really are too many 'what ifs' to dwell on things like that. I also was very disappointed to lose the pole at Homestead and Chicagoland to Jay by such close margins, but mistakes in qualifying is all part of the learning process."

-credit: irl

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Bryan Herta , Sam Schmidt , Mario Andretti , Marco Andretti , Roger Bailey , Adrian Carrio , Reed Stevens , Jay Howard , Jonathan Klein , Shane Jantzi , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick
Teams Team Penske