Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Little guys mix it up with heavyweights in 2007 2. Patrick, Lloyd honored by INDY DownForce 1. Little guys mix it up with heavyweights in 2007: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Vision Racing...
Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Little guys mix it up with heavyweights in 2007
2. Patrick, Lloyd honored by INDY DownForce
1. Little guys mix it up with heavyweights in 2007: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Vision Racing may not have the resources to compete with the heavyweight teams in the IndyCar Series, but on the track they more than held their own during 2007.
Led by a resurgent Buddy Rice, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's No. 15 Honda-powered Dallara finished ninth in the championship -- its highest finish in the point standings since team co-owner Robbie Buhl finished eighth in 2000.
"Buddy did a great job and put us in ninth place in the points for the season," team co-owner Dennis Reinbold said. "The off-season has started so we will begin to work on those things we can improve on."
Rice, one of 16 drivers to record a top-five finish, had three top-five finishes during in 2007, matching Buhl's 2001 performance. He also earned more than $1 million this season, one of 12 drivers to earn more than $1 million in race winnings.
"We finished ninth in the points which is good compared to where I finished the last couple of years," Rice said. "We just hope to improve for next year."
Vision Racing, which expanded to a three-car effort, also had a solid season with driver Tomas Scheckter finishing 10th in points, matching his 2002 performance, while teammate A.J. Foyt IV recorded his first top-five finish. Ed Carpenter nearly joined the pair in the top five with a best finish of sixth. Combined, the three regular drivers plus Davey Hamilton recorded 21 top-10 finishes in 52 starts.
A.J. Foyt Racing's Darren Manning recorded the best finish for the famed No. 14 car since 2002 with a 13th-place finish in the points. Manning also had more top-five finishes (two) than the team did from 2003-2006 (one).
"I'm really looking forward to next year when we can capitalize on all the work Darren and our ABC Supply team has done this past season," Foyt wrote in his USA Today column. "There were frustrating times but there were a lot of good times, too. We knew this would be a building year and it has been. Now I understand his English (most of it) and he understands my Texan, so I believe we can come out swinging in 2008."
2. Patrick, Lloyd honored by INDY DownForce: Danica Patrick and Alex Lloyd were honored as the Most Popular Driver in the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series, respectively, during the INDY DownForce Banquet Sept. 12 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It was the third-straight Most Popular Driver Award for Patrick, who joined Sarah Fisher as the only three-time winners of the honor.
"I'm very flattered that I've received this award once, let alone three times," Patrick said. "Every person has the ability to pick their favorite driver, and it can change so it's a real honor to receive an award from the fans. I hope I can keep giving the fans something to be excited about and they enjoy watching IndyCar Series races as much I enjoy being in them."
Previous winners for the IndyCar Series include Sam Hornish Jr. (2004), Fisher (2001-2003), Al Unser Jr. (2000), Scott Goodyear (1999) and Arie Luyendyk (1997-1998).
Lloyd, who captured the Indy Pro Series title, was honored by the fans for the first time and became the first driver other than Arie Luyendyk Jr. to win the award. Luyendyk won the Indy Pro Series award four consecutive times.
"It means a lot, especially since I'm a new driver over here and I'm from England, so not many people knew me," Lloyd said. "To win an award from the fans, the people who make my job possible, is a pleasure. It's been a great year for me. This just tops it off."
The awards were determined by the vote of the fans at all IndyCar Series events throughout the season. INDY DownForce, the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series' official fan club, facilitates the balloting.
IndyCar Series drivers Vitor Meira and Sarah Fisher and Indy Pro Series driver CR Crews joined 350 Indy DownForce members and their guests at the banquet.