INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- March 19, 2007 Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Manning hopes to return Foyt to front 2. Indy Pro Series Season Preview: Andretti Green Racing 3. Roth lands sponsor for Homestead 4. Howard...
INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- March 19, 2007
Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Manning hopes to return Foyt to front
2. Indy Pro Series Season Preview: Andretti Green Racing
3. Roth lands sponsor for Homestead
4. Howard joins SpeedWorks at Homestead, St. Pete
5. AGR drivers win class at Sebring
1. Manning hopes to return Foyt to front: As A.J. Foyt celebrates his 50th anniversary season in Indy car racing this season, he'd like nothing more than to see his team return to prominence The four-time Indianapolis 500 winner turned to his son Larry to help him lead his team's return, serving as team director. Under his leadership the team participated in all the preseason tests for the first time in several years and brought on veteran race engineer Len Paskus to oversee preparations for new driver Darren Manning Still, the younger Foyt knows that it will take baby steps to get back to team's championship-winning ways.
"I'd like to see us be a top-10 car every week," Foyt said. "I know that's hard to do, but when you can do that, then you can start looking at top fives and after that you're in position to win races. I know it won't be overnight that we're going to be winning races, but we're doing the things we need to do and be competitive." Manning, who last drove for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 2005, returns to the series optimistic that he can make the team a contender on road courses and on the ovals by season's end.
"I think top 10s are pretty realistic," Manning said. "Even on the superspeedways, once you're in the top 10, you can see how close it is. The lap times are so close, probably. It's just going to be closer than ever." Manning has already begun to develop a relationship with his car owner and engineer, spending much of the off-season with the team at its Waller, Texas-headquarters.
"Darren and A.J. and the engineer are already gelling pretty well," Larry Foyt said. "If we keep showing improvement, then that shows we're headed into the right direction."
A.J. FOYT RACING
Car number: 14
Drivers: Darren Manning, 31, of North Yorkshire, England
Team director: Larry Foyt
Race engineer: Len Paskus
Chief mechanic: Pat Jordan
2. Indy Pro Series Season Preview: Andretti Green Racing: Leading up to the season-opening Miami 100 on March 24, we'll preview the teams and drivers that will compete in 2007 for the Indy Pro Series' Firestone Firehawk Cup. Today, is Andretti Green Racing.
Owners: Michael Andretti, Kim Green, Kevin Savoree
Driver: Jaime Camara (No. 11)
Team Manager: TBA
Chief Mechanic: Andrew Koers
Overview: Andretti Green Racing returns to the Indy Pro Series for its second full season after finishing second in the driver championship in 2006. The team also competed in six events in 2005, winning three with driver Marco Andretti. Last year, Jaime Camara, who returns in 2007, drove to victory at The Milwaukee Mile while Jonathan Klein recorded 10 top-five finishes.
What's New--Partnership with AFS: Andretti Green Racing will continue to operate its Indy Pro Series team in partnership with an established Indy Pro Series team. After single seasons with Dave McMillan Racing (2005) and Sam Schmidt Motorsports (2006), AGR will partner with California-based AFS Racing in 2007. AFS won two races in 2006 with driver Alex Lloyd (Indianapolis road course and Infineon 2). The partnership will also include driver Wade Cunningham in the No. 27 car.
Watch For--Mentoring: During his last two seasons in the Indy Pro Series, Camara has developed a close relationship with AGR IndyCar Series driver Tony Kanaan. The two spend a lot of time together both at and away from the track. The ongoing tutoring from the 2004 IndyCar Series champion should continue to pay dividends for Camara.
Watch For--Bulging Biceps: Camara utilizes an intense workout regimen to stay in shape. The 26-year-old three-time winner has the biggest biceps in the paddock.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Kim Green, team co-owner: "We're very much looking forward to our second full season in the Indy Pro Series. We're excited to have Jaime back onboard and to welcome a new sponsor, oso*fresh. Jaime is a proven driver in the Indy Pro Series and did a great job last season picking up a win at Milwaukee. Additionally, he is a real asset in the car during the extra test days Andretti Green receives as a part of the Indy Pro Series package. He knows how to handle an IndyCar and was very valuable during those sessions.
"With a full Pro Series season under our belt, we plan to run up front and win more races in 2007. By combining Jaime's talent with the support of Gary Peterson and AFS Racing, we are hopeful we can contend for the Indy Pro Series championship.
Jaime Camara, driver: "I think that the best thing I could do is stay with Andretti Green Racing for another year. AGR's a great team, and they've given me opportunities to test the IndyCar Series car. That gave me a lot of experience. It was great. Now, we're partners with AFS Racing, and AFS is a great team as well. They're willing to work really hard for the championship this season. So far, everything has been great, and I hope we can start from the first race doing a great job and be there for the championship at the end."
3. Roth lands sponsor for Homestead: Fountain Powerboats will be the primary sponsor for the No. 25 driven by team owner Marty Roth in the season-opening XM Satellite Radio 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 24. "I'm really excited to have Fountain Powerboats on my car for the Homestead-Miami race," Roth said. "I can say based on first-hand experience that Fountain produces absolutely first-class performance boats that are spectacular to drive." Fountain Powerboats has been a leader in the performance power boat industry for more than 25 years.
4. Howard joins SpeedWorks at Homestead, St. Pete: Jay Howard, the 2006 Indy Pro Series champion, will return to the series for at least the first three races driving for SpeedWorks. The agreement puts Howard behind the wheel of the No. 44 car for the season-opening race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 24 and the doubleheader weekend on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., March 31 and April 1 with the possibility of extending the deal for the remainder of the season Howard's return, coupled with the recent announcement of Wade Cunningham's signing with AFS Racing, means that the past two champions will compete in the Indy Pro Series in 2007.
"I am very happy for the opportunity to be back in the Indy Pro Series with (co-owner) Peter (Parrott) and the rest of the SpeedWorks crew," said Howard, who earned the championship on the strength of two victories, eight top-five finishes and two pole positions. "The series has grown this year, both in participants and in events, and I think this will be the strongest year in the history of the series."
The signing marks a big step for SpeedWorks, a first-year team co-owned by racing veterans Hayden Harris and Peter Parrott.
"This is a real shot in the arm for our organization," Parrott said. "There isn't another driver that can do more for our team than Jay. He is an exciting, smart, and accomplished driver who expects to win, and winning races is something he knows quite well. Jay has won 40 percent of the races that he has competed in throughout his career, which is an astonishing accomplishment, and we want nothing more than to add to that statistic."
5. AGR drivers win class at Sebring: Andretti Green Racing's Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Bryan Herta topped the American Le Mans Series LMP2 field in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 17 The XM Satellite Radio entry, making its debut in the series, finished second overall.
"This is my most special victory for many reasons, one, because I got to share it with my friends Tony and Dario," Herta said. "I have to take my hat off to the group. I have never seen a group that has worked so hard and put in so much effort. You wouldn't believe how many problems we had in testing and it's a testament to bring it here and to bring us this result." Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves also competed in the LMP2 field and finished third in class, fifth overall in Penske Racing's entry. Franchitti and Kanaan return to their full-time assignments Saturday in the IndyCar Series' season-opening XM Satellite Radio Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
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 at 5 p.m. (EDT) on March 28 by ESPN2.