IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2007-03-02

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- March 2, 2007 Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. IndyCar Series sneak peak: Andretti, Kanaan expect to contend in 2007 2. Season Preview: Team KMA 1. IndyCar Series sneak peak: Andretti, ...


Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. IndyCar Series sneak peak: Andretti, Kanaan expect to contend in 2007
2. Season Preview: Team KMA

1. IndyCar Series sneak peak: Andretti, Kanaan expect to contend in 2007: In 2006, the only drivers other than the four from Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing to win were Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti. The duo hopes to do it a lot more in 2007.

Strong performance in preseason Open Testing has Kanaan feeling like Team 7-Eleven can return to its championship contending form after finishing a disappointing sixth in points last year. "We spent a lot of time in the off-season working very hard to close the gap, and I think the lap times at the tests have shown that," Kanaan said. "But, we've still got some work to do on the Team 7-Eleven car before the Homestead race. We're getting closer to the red-and-white cars, and hopefully you'll see us win more races this season." Kanaan, who claimed victory at Milwaukee, returns to the seat of the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Honda-powered Dallara with longtime chief mechanic Jeff Simon and engineer Eric Cowdin. Team manager George Klotz, who served as race strategist for Bryan Herta the last two seasons, will call races for Kanaan in 2007.

Andretti, the son of team co-owner Michael Andretti, turned heads during his rookie season in the IndyCar Series. A narrow loss to Sam Hornish Jr., in the 90th Indianapolis 500 served as Andretti's coming out party, and he followed that up with three more top-five finishes, including a breakthrough win at Infineon Raceway in August. With a win and Bombardier Learjet Rookie of the Year title under his belt, he looks to avoid the sophomore jinx by contending for the IndyCar Series title with the same leadership that led Dan Wheldon to the 2005 IndyCar Series crown -- engineer Eddie Jones, chief mechanic Mike Horvath and race strategist John Anderson.

"I think what's realistic is a championship. I really do," said Andretti, who only failed to finish once after breaking halfshafts in each of his first two races. "People thought I was crazy when I said, 'I think I can win the Indy 500' before that race. I'm not going to say it to make me look good or anything like that. "I think it's pretty realistic with the team we have this year, it's going to be pretty strong. A championship is one of my goals. There's one thing left to do at Indy, as well. I'm here to win this year."

Car numbers: 11 (Kanaan), 26 (Andretti)
Chassis/engine/tire: Dallara/Honda/Firestone
Drivers: Tony Kanaan, 32, of Salvador Bahia, Brazil and Marco Andretti, 20 (on March 13) , of Nazareth, Pa.
Race engineers: Eric Cowdin (Kanaan), Eddie Jones (Andretti)
Chief mechanic: Jeff Simon (Kanaan), Mike Horvat (Andretti)
Team managers: George Klotz and John Anderson


Kevin Savoree

"Andretti Green Racing worked very hard during the off-season, and we are really anxious and ready to get the 2007 season underway. We've seen some big changes in our organization with Danica Patrick being added to the lineup, and we're really looking forward to going racing."


Season Preview: Team KMA. Beginning today we'll preview the teams and drivers that will compete in 2007 for the Indy Pro Series' Firestone Firehawk Cup. Today, is series newcomer Team KMA.

CAPSULE LOOK: Owners: Jon Lewis and Ingo Strackerjan.  Driver: Robbie
Pecorari.  Team Manager: Jon Lewis.

Overview: Team KMA is one of more than a half-dozen new teams that will enter Indy Pro Series competition in 2007. A joint effort of Formula BMW teams Atlantic Racing and American Spirit Racing, owners Jon Lewis and Ingo Strackerjan bring a long history in motorsports to the effort. Both men have operated teams in numerous racing series and expect to make an immediate impact in the Indy Pro Series. The team will share a race shop with another Indy Pro Series team, Indianapolis-based SWE.

Watch For--Race Wins: Rookie driver Robbie Pecorari could compete for race victories from the start of the season. The 19-year-old won two races as a rookie in Star Mazda two years ago and captured one win last year in Champ Car Atlantic. Pecorari was seventh-quick at the preseason Open Test on the oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Watch For--Celebrity Sightings: The Team KMA car is co-owned by rock 'n' roll legend Sammy Hagar and will display sponsorship from Hagar's Cabo Wabo tequila. Team members have hinted that Hagar may perform a concert at a race venue during the 2007 season.

Watch For--No Superstitions Here: In a sport where even racetracks avoid the number 13 by labeling garages 12 and 12A, Team KMA will field Pecorari in the No. 13 car.


Jon Lewis, co-owner: "We're a new team in the Indy Pro Series, and we have significant competition with a lot of experience, so we know we have a good battle to be up front. But Robbie is a tremendous young driver with great dedication to being the best, and our crew has years of experience with these cars as well as the IndyCars, so I believe that we can put the Cabo Wabo car towards the front and even win races. It's definitely going to be an exciting season."

Robbie Pecorari, driver: "Right now the goal is to get comfortable with the car and to basically learn the car on the ovals, since it's pretty new to me. As long as we get a couple wins, I think that would be a good season. If we could win the championship, that would be great. Only one driver gets to do it. That's everyone's goal."


The 2007 IndyCar Series season begins under the lights with the XM Satellite Radio Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 24. The race will be telecast live by ESPN2 at 8 p.m. (EDT) 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 Miami 100 on March 24 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be telecast on at 5 p.m. (EDT) on March 28 by ESPN2.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Marco Andretti , Chip Ganassi , Robbie Pecorari , John Anderson , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing