IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2006-11-01

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. IndyCar Series' switch to ethanol featured at Popular Science event 2. Dreyer & Reinbold add pair of engineers 3. AGR drivers to host XM show 4. Scheckter to race in karting event: 1....

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. IndyCar Series' switch to ethanol featured at Popular Science event
2. Dreyer & Reinbold add pair of engineers
3. AGR drivers to host XM show
4. Scheckter to race in karting event:

1. IndyCar Series' switch to ethanol featured at Popular Science event: Fusion of power and innovation has been a hallmark of the IndyCar Series since its inception. In 2007, the series again will be a technological pioneer with the introduction of 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol in its Honda Indy V-8 engines.

Embracing an alternative fuel produced in the United States has struck a chord with consumers and has caught the attention of editors of Popular Science magazine, who have invited the IndyCar Series to showcase its association with ethanol at the 19th annual "Best of What's New" show Nov. 7-9 in New York City.

The IndyCar Series utilizing ethanol in its 650-horsepower racing engines certainly fits the theme of the event, "The Future Now," in Vanderbilt Hall of the cavernous Grand Central Station (42nd Street at Park Avenue).

"We are honored to be playing such an integral role in Popular Science's 'Best of What's New' show," said Brian Barnhart, president and COO of the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series. "The anticipation and momentum building towards ethanol's 100 percent fuel-grade debut in 2007 exemplifies the regard held that the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway are innovators in motorsports safety and technology."

Ethanol, made from a variety of plants including corn, milo/sorghum, sugar cane and switch grass, has proven to burn cleaner than methanol and gasoline, the majority of current racing fuels. On-track testing of the 3.5-liter Honda Indy V-8 engines fueled by ethanol also has shown increased mileage over methanol.

The 100 percent non-toxic and biodegradable fuel is rapidly gaining favor in the United States as an alternative source of energy. Ethanol production facilities across the country are being built, and E-85 pumps (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline) for flex-fuel vehicles are becoming more readily available.

"The Indy Racing League has always been an early adopter of technologies that increase performance," said Tom Slunecka, executive director of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council. "Choosing ethanol to fuel IndyCar Series carss has demonstrated ethanol is a performance fuel. It has helped to raise awareness among consumers that ethanol will perform in their vehicles.

"We look forward to seeing those technologies developed for the IndyCar Series to capitalize on ethanol's attributes, implemented in the passenger fleet."

In July, President George W. Bush praised the IndyCar Series as being "leading edge" for its use of ethanol. It drew the interest of the editors of Popular Science magazine. Each year, they review thousands of products in search of the top 100 tech innovations -- breakthrough products and technologies that represent a significant leap in their categories.

The best are displayed in New York and featured in the December issue of the magazine. Last year, the "Best of What's New" show drew more than 150,000 visitors in addition to the one million-plus who pass through Grand Central Station each day.

IndyCar Series driver Jeff Simmons will make an appearance at the event on Nov. 7 and a Team Ethanol IndyCar Series simulator will be part of the display for visitors to try their hand racing on the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Indy Racing League's trackside Timing and Scoring station, which shows real-time track data on monitors, also will be part of the display.

2. Dreyer & Reinbold add pair of engineers: Veteran engineers John Dick and Chris Finch have joined the engineering staff of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, team officials announced on Oct. 31.

Dick, who has engineered cars from Scott Sharp, Kosuke Matsuura and Alex Barron in the IndyCar Series, will oversee all aspects of DRR's engineering department.

"Motorsports is a very competitive environment and our focus during the off-season is to become more competitive as we prepare for the 2007 race season," said team co-owner Dennis Reinbold. "We have continually made investments in our team and our staff members. The addition of John to our current engineering staff will play in integral role in that step forward."

Dick's career spans more than 20 years and encompasses a variety of series including Trans-Am, IMSA GTP, NASCAR, CART and, more recently, the IndyCar Series. Dick led Matsuura to Bombardier Rookie of the Year honors in 2004 and Sharp to six top-10 and two top-five finishes in the 2006 IndyCar Series season.

Finch spent the last six years with Fernandez Racing, where he guided Matsuura to six top-10 finishes in 2006. In 2005, Finch led Sharp to a fifth-place ranking in the championship, which included a race win at Kentucky, 13 top-10 and six top-five finishes. He was also instrumental in Adrian Fernandez's debut in the IndyCar Series during the 2004 season, netting three wins, 12 top-10 finishes and fifth in the final point standings.

3. AGR drivers to host XM show: Members of two-time IndyCar Series championship-winning team Andretti Green Racing will host "The Andretti Green Racing Hour" exclusively on XM Satellite Radio beginning in February 2007.

"The Andretti Green Racing Hour" will be a one-hour weekly program on XM's sports talk channel XM Sports Nation featuring drivers from the Andretti Green team, as well as Michael Andretti, co-owner of Andretti Green Racing.

The 2007 Andretti Green driver lineup will include, among others, Danica Patrick, 2005 IndyCar Series Bombardier Rookie of the Year; Marco Andretti, 2006 IndyCar Series Bombardier Rookie of the Year; and Tony Kanaan, 2004 IndyCar Series champion.

"XM is the exclusive home to racing's biggest stars," said Eric Logan, executive vice president, Programming, XM Satellite Radio. "'The Andretti Green Racing Hour' will give fans the chance to hear from the superstars about what it's like behind the wheel and beyond the track. It's insight that only XM can provide."

"We're thrilled to be joining XM's outstanding lineup of sports programming," said Michael Andretti. "Racing fans across the country will now not only be able to get behind-the-scenes access to races and rivalries, but 'The Andretti Green Racing Hour' will provide the ultimate access into the lives and unique personalities of each of the drivers."

XM Satellite Radio, the nation's leading satellite radio company with more than seven million subscribers, is the official satellite radio network of the Indy Racing League and broadcasts every IndyCar Series race live on XM 144 "IndyCar Racing."

4. Scheckter to race in karting event: Tomas Scheckter is the third IndyCar Series driver to commit to the All-Stars Karting Classic Dec. 14 in Orlando, Fla., joining Marco Andretti and Bryan Herta.

The race, put on by the Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the Indy Racing League, is held the first evening of the Performance Racing Industry trade show.

"I am really looking forward to working with First Kart and everyone there," said Scheckter, who drove the No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone in 2006. "First Kart has a proven record of success. I am also very excited about joining the Stars of Karting Series. The series has a lot of good, young, talented drivers. The competition should be quite good."

Herta, a co-owner of Snap-on Stars of Karting, can't wait to see the South African in action in Orlando.

"Tomas is always one of the most aggressive guys on the track no matter where we go, and I don't expect anything to change in Orlando," Herta said. "I know he has a lot of experience in a kart, and I expect him to be one of the top competitors in the event."

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Scott Sharp , Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Bryan Herta , Alex Barron , Marco Andretti , Kosuke Matsuura , Jeff Simmons , Brian Barnhart