IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2007-01-15

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- Jan. 15, 2007 Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Indy Pro Series adds new wing package 2. Hornish collects more hardware 3. IndyCar Series helps Detroit Auto Show's Auto Racing Day 1. Indy...

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- Jan. 15, 2007

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Indy Pro Series adds new wing package
2. Hornish collects more hardware
3. IndyCar Series helps Detroit Auto Show's Auto Racing Day

1. Indy Pro Series adds new wing package: Could the Indy Pro Series see new track records in 2007? Quite possibly if the benefits from a new aerodynamic package introduced on Jan. 12 deliver results as projected. Indy Pro Series officials introduced a triple-element rear wing and a larger front wing element that will be used on all short ovals and road courses in 2007, beginning with the first Open Test on the road course at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Feb. 20.

"We have an excellent aerodynamic package for the speedways and superspeedways," Indy Pro Series technical director Butch Meyer said. "However, we found we needed to make a few changes on the short ovals and road courses. The new package will allow us to achieve more downforce on the car and to change the balance of the car. We're moving some of the downforce forward. Overall, the cars will have more grip on the short ovals and road courses, which will make the racing better."

More grip should translate into faster speeds as Alex Lloyd learned at a test in November. The two-time race winner, who recently signed with Sam Schmidt Motorsports for 2007, was one of the first drivers to test the new aerodynamic package, turning laps on the Homestead road course nearly one second quicker than at a test last year. "There's a major difference now," Lloyd said. "The wings are a lot more effective. Small changes you can feel a lot more as a driver. Before, you'd do quite a big change and it would provide only a limited response with the car. It's going to be a lot more interesting for drivers and teams to work on. I think the overall performance of the car and the speeds are going to increase quite a lot. It should be a really good change."

Of the series-record 16 races in 2007, the new wing package will be used in 11, beginning with the doubleheader race weekend on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., March 31-April 1.

2. Hornish collects more hardware: Three-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. was honored by the members of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association on Jan. 13 at the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis. Hornish collected his third "Horsepower Trophy" after being named to the organization's All-America Auto Racing first team. He was also a finalist for the Jerry Titus Award, given in remembrance of the late racer/journalist, which signifies the top vote-getter on the All-America team regardless of category. Drag racing champion Tony Schumacher won the award.

"2006 was a great year for us, even if we won Indy and the championship by the slimmest of margins," Hornish said in accepting the award. "Hopefully we can repeat the success, but have a little more breathing room."

Hornish won four races, including the 90th Indianapolis 500 with a dramatic frontstretch pass of rookie Marco Andretti that gave team owner Roger Penske a 14th victory in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Hornish also was nominated for Autosport's International Driver of the Year award and is among the finalists for the SPEED Performer of the Year award.

Dan Wheldon, who came within a few laps of successfully defending his IndyCar Series title, was named to the second team. Hornish's Team Penske teammate, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, was an honorable mention selection.

3. IndyCar Series helps Detroit Auto Show's Auto Racing Day: IndyCar Series drivers will help the 100th Anniversary North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) celebrate auto racing with appearances on Jan. 18. During Auto Racing Day, which is presented by Michigan International Speedway, the NAIAS 2007 will celebrate the history and excitement of auto racing with a Racing Day theme in Cobo Center's concourse.

The event features a pair of IndyCar Series racing simulators, Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix show car and appearances by 2006 IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr., (Noon -- 1 p.m.), 2005 IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon and Panther Racing's Vitor Meira (1 p.m. -- 2 p.m.) and two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves and IndyCar Series driver Sarah Fisher (2 p.m. -- 3 p.m.)

"Auto Racing Day is a great opportunity for race car enthusiasts to enjoy themed attractions and meet with drivers, all while being a part of the excitement that surrounds the NAIAS 2007," said Robert Thibodeau, senior co-chairman for the NAIAS 2007. "The themed-event even gives guests a chance to experience what it is like to be behind the wheel of a race car."

In addition, race car enthusiasts can enjoy the many exhibits which will showcase different aspects of racing, including displays from Michigan International Speedway and the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, which will each host an IndyCar Series event in 2007.

***

The 2007 IndyCar Series season begins under the lights with the XM Satellite Radio 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 24. 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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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Helio Castroneves , Dan Wheldon , Sam Schmidt , Marco Andretti , Alex Lloyd , Roger Penske , Sam Hornish Jr. , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske