IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League notebook 2003-04-24

Indy Racing League Notebook Snyder joins Dreyer & Reinbold; Freedom 100 qualifying format unveiled. INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, April 24, 2003 -- Veteran IRL IndyCarTM Series mechanic and engineer Owen Snyder III has joined Dreyer & Reinbold Racing...

Indy Racing League Notebook
Snyder joins Dreyer & Reinbold; Freedom 100 qualifying format unveiled.

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, April 24, 2003 -- Veteran IRL IndyCarTM Series mechanic and engineer Owen Snyder III has joined Dreyer & Reinbold Racing as the chief engineer for Robbie Buhl's entry.

Snyder worked on the Indianapolis 500-winning cars of Eddie Cheever Jr. in 1998 and Al Unser Jr. in 1992, serving as engineer for Cheever and chief mechanic for Unser. Snyder's mechanical roots were planted in sprint-car racing before moving to Indy-style cars in 1980. He has worked on cars driven by Indy legends Johnny Rutherford, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti and Gordon Johncock.

"The proudest thing is that I've been able to make a living in racing," Snyder said. "It's all I've done all my life, and I know not everyone gets to making a living at what they like to do. Overall, I've had pretty good success, but I've still got a long way to go. There's always more races to win."

Snyder will serve as engineer for the No. 24 Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone driven by team co-owner Buhl. The team also fields a car driven by Sarah Fisher.

"Dreyer & Reinbold is definitely a growing team," Snyder said. "They have a nice long-term plan, growing bigger and better, and I hope to help them get back in the winner's circle and grow with them. A two-car team is definitely the way to go to compete with the top teams and to have a better setup on race day. You're not going to do with one driver. If we can get our two working together to go faster and better, we'll have achieved something.

"It's kind of the mentality of American racers, to take what you have and make the best of it. Right now, there's a lot to be gained because Robbie isn't happy with car's handling. Until we've got both of our cars at least competing as the fastest Chevy's, we've got some work to do."

Said team co-owner Dennis Reinbold: "We always look to get better and improve as a team, and we believe Owen's abilities are a great match for Dreyer & Reinbold. We're working hard to get ready for Indy, and so we're excited to get testing to get him acclimated to our way of doing things and to benefit from his experience."

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Freedom 100 qualifying format: Qualifying for the inaugural Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will differ from other IRL Infiniti Pro Series events, as grid positions will be determined by the average speed of the two combined qualifying laps instead of taking the best speed of the two laps.

A similar procedure is used for Indianapolis 500 qualifying, as grid positions are determined by the driver's four-lap average speed.

Qualifying for the Freedom 100 is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. (EST) Friday, May 16. The race is scheduled for 2 p.m. (EST) Saturday, May 17.

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Testing, testing: Infiniti Pro Series teams and drivers will participate in an Open Test from 1-8 p.m. (CDT) Friday, April 25 at Nashville Superspeedway.

An Infiniti Pro Series race is scheduled for Friday, July 18 at the 1.33-mile concrete oval.

The IRL IndyCar Series Open Test scheduled for April 26 at Nashville has been rescheduled for Wednesday, July 9. The test was delayed to give teams more time to prepare for the 87th Indianapolis 500.

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Dana joins effort to help kids: IRL Infiniti Pro Series driver Paul Dana joined Indianapolis Sheriff Frank Anderson, Fire Chief Louis Dezelan and representatives from local government and law enforcement to announce the second annual "Play it Safe, Life Awaits" Kids' Free Bike Helmet Giveaway Program on April 24 in Indianapolis.

Dana, who drives the No. 24 Ethanol/Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, brought his race helmet to stress the importance of children wearing bicycle safety helmets. Bike helmet use can reduce the risk of serious head injury by as much as 85 percent.

The helmet giveaway program, sponsored by Flanner and Buchanan Funeral Centers, Washington Park Cemetery Association, Inc. and the Catholic Cemeteries Association, will provide 5,000 helmets to children on a first-come, first-served basis.

Helmets will be available at 17 central Indiana locations from 1-4 p.m. (EST) April 27. For more information, call (317) 899-7125, ext. 4545.

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Vegas sets Indianapolis 500 odds: Sports betting is legal in Nevada, and a Las Vegas casino has wasted no time in setting odds for the 87th Indianapolis 500 on May 25.

According to a report in the Las Vegas Sun, Station Casinos has set Michael Andretti as the race favorite at 7-1 odds. Tony Kanaan and 1999 Indy winner Kenny Brack are next at 8-1.

Two-time defending Indy champion Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon and series points leader Scott Sharp are at 10-1. Two-time Indy winner Al Unser Jr., Felipe Giaffone and Gil de Ferran are at 15-1, while Tomas Scheckter is alone at 18-1.

Two-time defending IndyCar Series points leader Sam Hornish Jr. is at 25-1 along with Indy rookies Buddy Rice and Dan Wheldon, while Tony Renna and Jaques Lazier are at 30-1.

Two-time Indy winner Arie Luyendyk and 1996 winner Buddy Lazier are each at 35-1, with Billy Boat and Vitor Meira at 40-1. Robbie Buhl and 1999 series champion Greg Ray are at 45-1, with Sarah Fisher at 50-1, A.J. Foyt IV at 55-1 and Scott Mayer at 75-1.

Shigeaki Hattori, Tora Takagi and Roger Yasukawa round out the odds at 100-1 each.

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Hot laps: Texas Motor Speedway and Sonic Drive-In restaurants are teaming up for a ticket promotion for the Bombardier 500 on June 7 at TMS. Sonic diners who purchase the Sonic Route 44 Special will receive coupons to redeem discount tickets for the race and Indy Racing League hats. The promotion is being offered in 210 Sonic locations from May 5-23 -- A few slots remain open for the CARA Charities Bowl-A-Thon charity bowling event May 3 at Raceway Lanes on 16th Street across from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Contact Bill Powers at (765) 342-7477 or powers13@scican.net.

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Greg Ray , Felipe Giaffone , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Robbie Buhl , Shigeaki Hattori , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jaques Lazier  , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Tora Takagi , Kenny Brack , Dan Wheldon , Mario Andretti , Roger Yasukawa , Buddy Rice , Scott Mayer , Paul Dana , Gordon Johncock , Sam Hornish Jr. , Johnny Rutherford , Vitor Meira