IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2007-03-20

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- March 20, 2007 Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. XM Satellite Radio Offering Expanded Coverage of IndyCar Series in 2007 2. Tennis anyone? 3. IndyCar Series magazine adds new twist for...


Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. XM Satellite Radio Offering Expanded Coverage of IndyCar Series in 2007
2. Tennis anyone?
3. IndyCar Series magazine adds new twist for 2007
4. Patrick's New York blitz
5. Insurance company to reward top Indy Pro Series winner
6. Indy Pro Series Season Preview: Sam Schmidt Motorsports

1. XM Satellite Radio Offering Expanded Coverage of IndyCar Series in 2007: XM Satellite Radio, the nation's leading satellite radio service, will kick off its third year as the official satellite radio network of the IndyCar Series with its broadcast of the 2007 IndyCar Series season opener, the XM Satellite Radio Indy 300. The race will be broadcast live on XM's IndyCar Series Racing channel (XM 145) and simulcast on XM Sports Nation (144) from the Homestead-Miami Speedway, Saturday, March 24. Additionally, a special edition of the XM motorsports show "Powershift" with Joe Castello will air from the track 6-7 p.m. ET on XM Sports Nation (XM 144) March 24, featuring IndyCar Series drivers Danica Patrick, Tony Kanaan, Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon. The entire 2007 IndyCar Series season, including the 91st Indianapolis 500 on May 27, will be broadcast live on both XM 145 and 144. Motorsports fans will be able to hear pre-race programming, including interviews and commentary, as well as live wheel-to-wheel action on the track. New for 2007 is complete coverage of IndyCar Series qualifying.

"Motorsports and music deliver a powerful adrenaline rush, and we are excited to bring the best of both to open-wheel race fans around the country," said Howard Jacobs, senior vice president, strategic partnership marketing for XM Satellite Radio. "Whether fans are tuning in live at the track, at home, or on the road, they will not miss a second of the action."

XM will also return to the IndyCar Series as a major associate sponsor of the Andretti Green Racing's (AGR) No. 7 Honda-powered Dallara to be driven by Danica Patrick, the 2005 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year. 2007 will be Patrick's first season running for Andretti Green Racing. The Andretti Green team will host "The Andretti Green Racing Hour," a one-hour show featuring the Andretti Green drivers as well as team co-owner and Indy car racing legend Michael Andretti, to air exclusively on XM Satellite Radio beginning March 23 at 7 p.m. ET on XM Sports Nation (144). The show will run weekly, co-hosted by Mike King, the voice of the IMS Radio Network.

"When it comes to world-class talent, performance and technology, nothing compares to the IndyCar Series and XM Satellite Radio," said Mike Ringham, vice president for marketing, Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series. "In addition to guaranteed great racing, we are also tremendously excited to introduce new generations of fans to the IndyCar Series, thanks to XM's free concert series." XM is also sponsoring the "XM Satellite Radio XM Speed Jam," a one-day festival to kick off the IndyCar Series season on Saturday, March 24. The festival will feature a pre-race concert from the explosive Australian rock band Jet beginning at 5:30 p.m. The festival fee is included in the Indy 300 admission ticket.

"The XM Satellite Radio Indy 300 promises to draw an enormous crowd of IndyCar Series fans to the Homestead-Miami Speedway in South Florida. For those that can't make it to the track, we're pleased that they will be able to enjoy the action wherever they might be through their XM radios," said Curtis Gray, president, Homestead-Miami Speedway. "IndyCar series fans can expect an action-packed season of racing on the track and on-air."


2. Tennis anyone?: Helio Castroneves got a little more than he expected as he joined top women's tennis player Kim Clijsters for an exhibition match at Crandon Park in Miami. The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner is a amateur tennis player but had enough game to compete against the former U.S. Open champion, taking a few points from Clijsters in a 12-point tiebreaker. But he quickly turned the tables on her as the two also "raced" IndyCar Series simulators, claiming victory with a friendly taunt to Clijsters: "This is my world."

"I really enjoyed the event a lot," Castroneves said. "Obviously, Kim is an incredible athlete and she was obviously toying with me in tennis. I'm always impressed with the pro tennis player's ability to focus with 40,000 fans looking at them. In racing, you have the engine noise and a helmet, so it's just you." Clijsters, who is ranked fifth in the latest WTA rankings, said she enjoyed being a fish out of water in the race car and meeting Castroneves.

"They told me I was going to play an Xbox game, but that is a different kind of controller than what I was used to," said Clijsters, who handed Castroneves her steering wheel as a trophy. "I enjoy meeting other athletes and seeing how they prepare for their sports."


3. IndyCar Series magazine adds new twist for 2007: IndyCar Series magazine enters its fourth year of publication with a technological twist. In additional to the four glossy print issues, two digital issues of the feature-based publication have been scheduled. All six issues of the magazine will be available in digital format on www.indycar.com, the official Web site of the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series. Subscribers to IndyCar Series magazine will have access to all six digital issues free. IndyCar Series magazine reports on every aspect of the world's most dynamic racing championship. The high-quality publication, which features scintillating photography, provides in-depth coverage of the faces, places and races that make the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series a 200 mph thrill ride. The first digital-only magazine will be an up-to-the-minute preview of the 91st Indianapolis 500 and the second is a mid-winter warmer to keep fans up to date and relive the 17-race 2007 season. Both will look exactly like a glossy copy of IndyCar Series magazine, but in digital format.

Among the many exciting aspects of the digital issues is that not only do subscribers receive the entire magazine with high-resolution images, but the pages have "smart" elements embedded. For instance, click on a picture of a driver and a video might begin playing, or click on a truncated set of race results and it will open a page with the full results from indycar.com. Additionally, the digital issues will have search ability, page turning, zooming in/out, and the ability to click on contents and go right to the relevant page. With a username and password, subscribers can access the magazines anywhere in the world.


4. Patrick's New York blitz: After being a guest on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on March 20 (check local listings), Danica Patrick will make a live appearance on "The Today Show" at 9 a.m. (EDT) March 21 with host Matt Lauer. The Andretti Green Racing driver also will tape a segment for MTV's "Big Ten" and tape an in-studio interview at CNN.


5. Insurance company to reward top Indy Pro Series winner: Gregory & Appel Insurance, an Indianapolis-based insurance agency with a nationally recognized professional racing practice, has announced its sponsorship of the second annual Gregory & Appel Insurance "Securing Tomorrow" Award for the 2007 Indy Pro Series. A $5,000 cash prize will be given to the Indy Pro Series driver who wins the most races in 2007. In 2006, Wade Cunningham was the winner of the first Gregory & Appel Insurance "Securing Tomorrow" Award. The Indy Pro Series season begins on March 24 at the 1.5-mile oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Miami, and will feature a series-record 16 races with almost $4 million in prize money at stake. The schedule includes seven races on ovals, seven on road courses and two on street courses. The series will compete at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway three times.

"We are based in the world's racing capitol of Indianapolis and are excited to help develop the future stars of Indy racing from the Indy Pro Series," said Darren Hickey, Vice President and Head of the Motor Sports Practice at Gregory & Appel. Gregory & Appel Insurance has developed one of the most thorough programs for motor racing teams in the nation. Its unique risk management policies insure everything from drivers and team coverage to ownership and sponsorship liability issues.

"Our office headquarters is located in the original manufacturing plant of HCS Motor Car Company, the second car manufacturing company of famed Indiana automaker Henry Stutz. This is a natural fit for us and we are very proud to partner with the Indy Pro Series to continue this award" said Steve Appel, Vice President of Corporate Development for Gregory & Appel.


6. Indy Pro Series Season Preview: Sam Schmidt Motorsports: 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 Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

Owner: Sam Schmidt
Drivers: Logan Gomez (No. 23), Alex Lloyd (No. 7), Ryan Justice (No. 38)
Team Manager: Chris Griffis
Chief Mechanic: Chris Griffis, Mark Sampson, John Roof

Overview: One of the strongest teams in the Indy Pro Series, Sam Schmidt Motorsports plans to deliver another title run in 2007. The team has recorded 13 victories during the last three seasons and has sent drivers Thiago Medeiros (2004) and Jay Howard (2006) to the championship. This year, two-time race winner Alex Lloyd figures to be a title contender while rookies Logan Gomez and Ryan Justice should also be strong. At February's Open Test at Homestead-Miami Speedway, all three drivers ranked in the top 10 on the oval, and two of the three were in the top five on the road course.

What's New--Flying Solo: Sam Schmidt Motorsports will go it alone again in 2007. Last year, the team prepared three cars, however, two of those were in conjunction with Andretti Green Racing and competed under the AGR banner. This year, SSM will campaign three cars of its own -- a return to its 2005 form when it finished third, fourth and fifth in the championship.

What's New--Driver Lineup: Three new drivers join SSM for 2007. Lloyd, who won two races for AFS Racing last year, should be a title contender. Lloyd was second-quick on both the oval and the road course at the Open Test. Gomez, an 18-year-old rookie, and Justice, 21, should also be strong.


Sam Schmidt, owner: "It's an honor for our team to have been involved with the Indy Pro Series from the beginning and to have won two championships. Now to see the series reach its potential is fantastic. 2007 will be the most competitive season yet by far, and thus will make the championship all that much more valuable for the winning driver and team. Not only is the car count dramatically increased, but the caliber and the talent of the drivers is so much better than ever before. I'm very anxious and excited to see if our team can meet the challenge and be successful with the high level of competition. We have a super group of team members and drivers, so I'm looking forward to this season more than any in the past."

Logan Gomez, driver: "Starting off, I get the benefit of doing all the preseason testing like everybody that I competed against last year had, so I think it's going to be a lot better for me. I'm getting a lot more seat time and experience in the car. Being able to find the limits of the car without pushing it too hard and trying to learn at too steep of a learning curve. I'm looking forward to the first race of the season."

Alex Lloyd, driver: "Things have been going great. Over the winter, we've made improvements. We started off pretty strong to be honest, and we've just been gradually getting better and better. We've got a really good package. We've got a strong car on the ovals, and we've got a strong car on the road courses too. With the split in the schedule, that's going to be important. I'm just looking forward to getting things going."

Ryan Justice, driver: "I am just really excited about being part of such a great team with SSM. Testing has gone very well, and I am coming up to speed more and more each time I am in the car. The schedule is amazing with the Indianapolis 500 and Formula One weekends, and I look forward to performing at all of the venues. I am looking forward to an amazing year with such a great team and can't wait to get to Homestead for the season opener."


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.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Michael Andretti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Sam Schmidt , Alex Lloyd , Ryan Justice , Wade Cunningham , Jay Howard , Logan Gomez , Danica Patrick , Thiago Medeiros