IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League Notebook 2004-04-06

Indy Racing League News and Notes -- April 6, 2004 Today's IRL headlines 1. IRL officials pleased with first test of Indianapolis package 2. Kanaan completes half-Ironman event 3. Sanders joins Luyendyk Racing 4. Ride around Indy with Indy...

Indy Racing League News and Notes -- April 6, 2004

Today's IRL headlines
1. IRL officials pleased with first test of Indianapolis package
2. Kanaan completes half-Ironman event
3. Sanders joins Luyendyk Racing
4. Ride around Indy with Indy Racing Experience

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1. IRL officials pleased with first test of Indianapolis package

Indy Racing League officials were encouraged by the first on-track performance of the aerodynamic package to be used by the IRL IndyCar® Series in the Indianapolis 500.

Twelve IndyCar Series teams used the new aero package, which consists of a quarter-inch center-line vertical wicker, a reverse quarter-inch wicker on the bottom side of the rear wing and curved skid plate, for the first time in an April 3 private test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

IRL Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Brian Barnhart said the results of the test show the League is headed in the right direction with the aerodynamic changes in seeking to reduce speeds on the 2.5-mile oval.

"We're very pleased," Barnhart said. "We think (the test) was great validation and verification of the countless hours and months of hard work needed to come up with a package for the month of May. Speeds were exactly what we anticipated. The on-track stuff very much validated the wind tunnel stuff, which had done the same for our computer simulation work."

The test also marked the first on-track use of the 3.0-liter engine, which will be used by all teams beginning at Indianapolis. The results showed speeds had decreased significantly from Helio Castroneves' 2003 pole-winning speed of 231.725 mph.

"I think all three of the (engine) manufacturers have done an excellent job in making the change," Barnhart said. "We ran in excess of 3,100 miles, and I think with the reliability factor and quality of the manufacturers we have with Chevrolet, Honda and Toyota, it's the type of debut we're all very proud of and happy with. I think it's going to be a good product."

Barnhart said IRL officials will continue to evaluate the data from teams until the IndyCar Series Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 27-28. Still, he said the League was on schedule with its plans.

"Conditions were a little windy in the afternoon, and the cars were very stable," he said. "Most of the comments from the drivers have been very positive. We have a little tweaking to do, here and there. I'm very excited about the direction and the success of our debut with a new product."

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2. Kanaan completes half-Ironman event

IRL IndyCar Series points leader Tony Kanaan competed in an event of a different kind on April 3.

The Brazilian, who resides in Miami, Fla., completed the Ralph's California Half-Ironman Triathlon in Oceanside, Calif. The half-Ironman triathlon consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run.

Kanaan finished the event, his first attempt at the half-Ironman distance, in five hours, 56 minutes and 13 seconds.

"It was a good effort," Kanaan said. "I managed to achieve my goal of doing it in under six hours, so that's good. Now, I've set a standard, so I have something to shoot at for next year."

Kanaan, who won the Copper World Indy 200 on March 21, has competed in several "sprint-distance" triathlon events as part of his fitness program. He said he's not ready to give up race driving to compete in triathlons full time.

"I can tell you I'm definitely paying the price today. I am really sore," he said. "Tomorrow I will start my normal training again. But today, I am learning to walk again -- literally."

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3. Sanders joins Luyendyk Racing

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk announced on April 1 that Ron Sanders has joined Luyendyk Racing as Director of Partnership Marketing.

Sanders will lead Luyendyk Racing's efforts to secure sponsorship to provide Arie Luyendyk Jr. with the opportunity to compete in the 2004 Indianapolis 500.

"We look forward to the opportunity of bringing a third Indy 500 ring into the family, and we hope that working with Ron will start making that dream a reality in 2004," said Luyendyk, whose relationship with Sanders dates back to 1997 when Luyendyk won his second Indy 500.

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4. Ride around Indy with Indy Racing Experience

The Indy Racing Experience again will offer fans the chance to experience the thrill of IndyCar Series racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

IndyCar Series veterans Sarah Fisher and Davey Hamilton will be giving rides in the Drink Smart and Menards/JohnManville two-seaters on April 10.

Three- and four-lap rides are available at 888-357-5002 or www.sindenracing.com

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The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season continues with the Indy Japan 300 at 11:30 p.m. (EDT) on April 16 at Twin Ring Motegi. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and the IMS Radio Network. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series Futaba Freedom 100 will take place at 2 p.m. (EDT) on May 22 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast live by ESPN2.

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Davey Hamilton , Arie Luyendyk , Helio Castroneves , Tony Kanaan , Brian Barnhart , Arie Luyendyk Jr.