Indy Racing League Notebook Rice, Luyendyk visit troops at Arizona Air Force base INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, March 12, 2004 -- IRL IndyCarÂ® Series driver Buddy Rice and IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series' driver Arie Luyendyk Jr. visited Luke Air Force...
Indy Racing League Notebook
Rice, Luyendyk visit troops at Arizona Air Force base
INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, March 12, 2004 -- IRL IndyCar® Series driver Buddy Rice and IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series' driver Arie Luyendyk Jr. visited Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Ariz., on March 11 to meet Air Force personnel and their families.
Both drivers talked with fans and signed Copper World Indy 200 posters before presenting an autographed helmet to Lt. Col. Pete Costello, 56th Fighter Wing vice commander, in recognition of Luke's support of the IRL. The IRL Fan Experience also visited the base.
"This is pretty cool," said Rice, a native of Phoenix and driver of the No. 15 Pioneer/Argent Mortgage Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone. "The IRL Fan Experience is a blast for everyone, but it's really neat to see all the enlisted men and officers and their families here. These people are the best, and it's a privilege to come out here and meet them."
After accepting the helmet, which was autographed by every driver who participated in the IRL Test in the West in February at Phoenix International Raceway, Costello gave Rice and Luyendyk commemorative 56th Fighter Wing coins.
"When you look at what they do, it's pretty amazing," Costello said. "They take high-speed, high-tech machines and run them pretty fast, which is pretty comparable to what we do in terms of pilots and flying high speed fighters. But the bigger part is they don't do it by themselves, they're part of a team. It's a perfect fit between what they do and what we do in the Air Force. We appreciate them coming out and supporting us.
Hearn tries team ownership: Richie Hearn, who made four IndyCar Series starts with three teams in 2003, has announced the first of what should be three Pro Formula Mazda Series drivers.
Hearn Motorsports will campaign 23-year-old Raphael Matos of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, starting with the second round of the 2004 season, which will be run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Hearn Motorsports is Hearn's first foray into team ownership.
McGehee to help rookie Taylor: IndyCar Series veteran Robby McGehee will serve as spotter for Panther Racing rookie Mark Taylor at the Copper World Indy 200 on March 21 at Phoenix International Raceway.
"He's driven the cars, and he'll know what he's doing, and he'll know he has someone in his ear who knows what he's talking about," Taylor said. "It should be a good fit. It will be interesting to see. It's the first time he's been up there, and it's always a different view."
Andretti Green Racing names financial chief: Andretti Green Racing's board of directors has elected Michael Morrisey to serve as controller and director of finance for the Indianapolis-based race team, which fields four cars in the IndyCar Series.
Morrisey, who also works as the spotter for Andretti Green Racing driver Dan Wheldon during IndyCar Series races, has been the team's accountant since joining AGR in 1996.
The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season continues with the Copper World Indy 200 at 4 p.m. (EST) on March 21 at Phoenix International Raceway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series Phoenix 100 will take place at 2:45 p.m. on March 20. The race will be broadcast by ESPN2 on a tape-delayed basis on March 25.