IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2007-01-08

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- Jan. 8, 2007 Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Indy Pro Series increases purse for 2007 2. MainGate announces five-year deal with IndyCar Series: 1. Indy Pro Series increases purse for...


Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Indy Pro Series increases purse for 2007
2. MainGate announces five-year deal with IndyCar Series:

1. Indy Pro Series increases purse for 2007: Indy Pro Series teams and drivers will compete for nearly $4 million in 2007, a 24 percent increase over 2006, league officials announced Jan. 8. The total payout includes more than $3.7 million in event prize money plus additional money from contingency awards. "We've gone from $1 million to almost $4 million in two seasons," Indy Pro Series Executive Director Roger Bailey said. "The increase is one of the major factors driving our growth and shows the commitment we have for teams, drivers and sponsors."

Four payment schedules are in place for the series-record, 16-race schedule in 2007, which opens March 24 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The biggest purse, $300,000 split among the top 18 finishers, will be paid at the Freedom 100, held on the historic 2.5-mile oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the Friday before the Indianapolis 500. The winner of that race will pocket $40,000. The purse for the remaining seven single races is $275,000 per race. Competitors earn the most return at the four doubleheader weekends. At the Liberty Challenge on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, teams will vie for more than $190,000 in each race while the remaining three doubleheader weekends will pay $187,500 per race ($375,000 total).

"Last year, we had seven teams earn more than a quarter of a million dollars," Bailey said. "In 2007, teams will make much more." While rewarding winning, the balanced payout structure also encourages participation by all teams. A team that finishes 10th in all 16 races would earn more than $189,000 while a team finishing 18th in every race would earn more than $130,000.

"I am absolutely thrilled to learn of the increase in prize money," said team owner Michael Crawford, whose first-year team recorded eight top-10 finishes in 2006. "The prize money that Michael Crawford Motorsports earned in 2006 has given us the opportunity to improve our program for 2007. I've had the belief for a long time that the prize money will draw more teams, drivers and sponsors to the series."

2. MainGate announces five-year deal with IndyCar Series: In an effort to provide IndyCar Series fans with the most innovative and complete merchandising services, MainGate Inc. announced that it has agreed to a five-year deal with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League, becoming the retail and merchandising partner for the IndyCar Series. The partnership formally begins at the first IndyCar Series race of the year in Homestead, Fla on March 24. MainGate Inc., an Indianapolis-based company, will operate a mobile retail store as well as manufacture and source a portion of the merchandise for sale.

"MainGate has a solid history of providing exceptional customer service and innovative product that race fans like," said Terry Angstadt, vice president of marketing for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which handles licensing for the IndyCar Series. Since its founding in 1963, MainGate's primary activity has been the coordination of event merchandise sales for the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). While that partnership has grown and remains a core part of the company's business, MainGate has become a multifaceted merchandising and marketing company that serves numerous business partners. MainGate is the exclusive on-site merchandiser of the NHRA, Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR), Budweiser King Racing, John Force Racing, Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auto Auction, 2003 & 2006 NBA All Star Games, the 2003 & 2004 NHL All Star Games and beginning in 2008 the exclusive merchandise partner for the Indianapolis Colts. MainGate also has partnerships with numerous NBA and NHL teams and holds licenses for the NCAA, Harley-Davidson, Matco Tools Racing, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Mopar, Pontiac, National Lacrosse League and Danica Patrick.

"We are excited to be selected for this great opportunity. Providing a mobile retail experience to the fans is what we do best. We have a long standing history and relationship with IMS and the Indy Racing League and are confident in the success of this program." said David Moroknek, President and CEO of MainGate. "This is a great extension of our existing partnership that is already in place. The Indy Car Series' future is very bright, and we are proud to be part of the growth of the sport."


The 2007 IndyCar Series season begins March 24 with a 300-mile event under the lights at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be telecast live by ESPN2 at 8 p.m. (EST) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPN Deportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The sixth season of Indy Pro Series competition begins with the Homestead-Miami 100 on March 24 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be telecast on a delayed basis by ESPN2.

-credit: irl

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Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers John Force , Roger Bailey , Danica Patrick