IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League notebook 2004-06-17

Indy Racing League News And Notes -- June 17, 2004 Today's IRL headlines 1. Race At Milwaukee To Be Called Menards A.J. Foyt Indy 225 2. IndyCar® Series Drivers Thankful For Father's Support 3. Drivers, Showcars To Appear At Events 1. Race At...

Indy Racing League News And Notes -- June 17, 2004

Today's IRL headlines
1. Race At Milwaukee To Be Called Menards A.J. Foyt Indy 225
2. IndyCar® Series Drivers Thankful For Father's Support
3. Drivers, Showcars To Appear At Events

1. Race At Milwaukee To Be Called Menards A.J. Foyt Indy 225: The IRL IndyCar® Series race at the Milwaukee Mile will be called the Menards A.J. Foyt Indy 225, officials from Menards and the Milwaukee Mile announced on June 16.

The July 25 race will be the first visit for the Indy Racing League to the 1-mile oval.

"I'm glad to see us back here racing," said Foyt, a four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and owner of the IndyCar Series car driven by his grandson, A.J. Foyt IV. "I enjoyed running the stock cars here. I definitely enjoyed running the Indy(-style) cars here. This is one of the best places I've ever raced, and I'm glad to see us back."

Foyt, who won 10 times at Milwaukee in various racing cars, helped unveiled the logo for the race with Molly Menard, the director of Motorsports marketing for Menards.

Menard said sponsoring the race was a natural fit for the Wisconsin-based home improvement retailer, which sponsors Panther Racing's IndyCar Series entry driven by Mark Taylor and is the title sponsor of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, which will also race at Milwaukee on July 25.

"We have supported the IRL since its inception in 1996 because we share in its vision of open-wheel racing in the United States," Menard said. "By being partners in this event at the Milwaukee Mile, it allows us to make a commitment to the future of this sport.

"Menards also gets to establish a presence at a first-class motorsports facility that has a long and rich history. And it happens to be in our backyard."


2. IndyCar® Series Drivers Thankful For Father's Support: IndyCar Series driver Scott Sharp thinks the best way to honor his father is to emulate him in his relationship with his own children.

Sharp credits his father, Bob, with shaping his values, work ethic and dedication to family and racing over 36 years.

"He's one of my best friends and someone I hold dearest," said Sharp, who will celebrate Father's Day on June 20 with his own family in Florida. "I think I have that same relationship with my children (Briana and Jackson). I value my family highly. (I want) to be an affectionate father, a supportive father, an encouraging father, a loving father. I work hard to make sure they feel as good as they can."

Bob Sharp, a six-time national SCCA champion driver, always has been supportive of his son's racing career, which includes a record 87 IndyCar Series starts. Giving of his time and energy were important and appreciated, according to Scott Sharp.

"I am what I am because of my father," he said. "I remember the countless nights we sat around when I was young talking about racing from all different aspects. (I remember) the times we spent at the go-kart track on a Wednesday or Thursday night practicing for that weekend's race. All that is engrained in me much like a ballplayer's son growing up throwing the ball around in the backyard.

"Then to start racing for my father (1986) in a car that he had driven was like a storybook in a lot of ways. We just have an incredible relationship."

Two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. has a similar relationship with his father. Racing was a father-son activity and business that began when Sam Hornish gave his son a go kart for his 11th birthday. The elder Hornish was his son's mechanic until Sam Hornish Jr. entered the IndyCar Series in 2000.

"My dad was a big support in my career," Hornish said. "He always wanted me to be a race car driver. He never really told me this is what you have to do, pushed me or made me feel like that is absolutely what I had to do. But he was always very supportive. If that's what I wanted to do, he said he would try to help me any way that he could to get me to where I wanted to be."

Being involved in his son's career path has given the elder Sam Hornish the ability to attend all the races except one (the inaugural trip to Motegi, Japan, in 2003). Hornish also can rely on his father's experience and honest, straightforward opinions.

"No matter what happens on the racetrack, I know that I'll always get some words of advice," he said. "When he says that I've done a good job I appreciate it, because there are a lot of times when he critiques me and tells me how I could be a little better. So when I get the 'good job' it's even more satisfying.

"I enjoy having my dad and mom (at the races) because it's like a stress relief for me to be able to have somebody to talk to, to go out to dinner with when it's all over."

Being supportive was the goal of Tony Foyt, who attended the Open Test at The Milwaukee Mile June 16-17 with the Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing team. His son, A.J. Foyt IV, is in his second year in the IndyCar Series.

"I'm here as a father," said Tony Foyt, who had a hands-on involvement in his son's racing career until he entered the Menards Infiniti Pro Series in 2002. "I enjoy watching him run. I'm here for him to offer encouragement and keep pushing forward."


3. Drivers, Showcars To Appear At Events: Race fans can experience IndyCar Series racing first hand as the Indy Racing League Fan Experience starts its regional tour in support of the upcoming SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, June 26.

The tour begins this weekend and will appear in Hampton Va., Fredericksburg Va., Mechanicsville Va., and Ashland Va., before coming to Richmond International Raceway for race weekend.

In addition, three IndyCar Series showcars will be on display around the country throughout the weekend. A Meijer IndyCar Series car will be on display in the midway at the Kentucky Speedway during the NASCAR Busch Series event, a Purex IndyCar Series car will be on display at the Alexandria Waterfront Festival in Alexandria, Va., and beginning Saturday, a Delphi IndyCar Series car will be on display at the Joliet Car Show in Joliet, Ill.

Drivers will also be making appearances. IndyCar Series rookie Mark Taylor, who will drive in two Michelin Porsche Super Cup races in support of the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will sign autographs at the track on Saturday.


The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season continues with the SunTrust Indy Challenge at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) on June 26 at Richmond International Raceway. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and the IMS Radio Network. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series Aventis Racing for Kids 100 will take place July 3. The race will be broadcast by ESPN2 on a tape-delayed basis on July 4.


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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Mark Taylor , Scott Sharp , A.J. Foyt IV , A.J. Foyt , Bob Sharp , Sam Hornish Jr. , Sam Hornis