IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League notebook 2004-09-03

Indy Racing League News and Notes -- Sept. 3, 2004 Today's IRL headlines 1. Wheldon Nominated For Third-Quarter Award 2. Fernandez Crew Members Work At U.S. Nationals 3. Andretti Foundation raises $6,000 for hometown charity 4. IRL Miami Road...

Indy Racing League News and Notes -- Sept. 3, 2004

Today's IRL headlines
1. Wheldon Nominated For Third-Quarter Award
2. Fernandez Crew Members Work At U.S. Nationals
3. Andretti Foundation raises $6,000 for hometown charity
4. IRL Miami Road Test Re-Scheduled

1. Wheldon Nominated For Third-Quarter Award: IRL IndyCar® Series driver Dan Wheldon is one of eight drivers nominated for the Speed Channel Driver of the Year for the third quarter of 2004.

Wheldon, who is second in IndyCar Series points, recorded four consecutive top-three finishes in the month of August capped by his win in the Firestone Indy 225 on Aug. 29.

Wheldon is nominated on the fan's online ballot with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points leader Jeff Gordon, NHRA drag-racer Greg Anderson, Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car), Carl Edwards (NASCAR), Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), Tommy Kendall (Trans-Am) and Steve Kinser (World of Outlaws). The ballot, however, is not limited to the drivers nominated for the fan's ballot.

"It's an incredible honor to be nominated alongside such an experienced group of drivers; a group that I respect a great deal," Wheldon said. "It really validates what the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew has been doing all season. An IndyCar Series driver has never won the award, so for me to be included among the third quarter nominations really means a lot to me."

An 18-member panel will select the winner of the award. Fans can participate in voting via an online ballot, located at Speed Channel's web site, www.speedtv.com, through Sept. 15.

At the end of the year, a special separate vote will be held for the Speed Channel 2004 Driver Of The Year.

***

2. Fernandez Crew Members Work U.S. Nationals: Mick Austin and Mike Guger, members of the Fernandez Racing IndyCar Series team, will work as nitro interns on Bob Gilbertson's Trick Tank Funny Car team at the 50th Anniversary Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park Sept. 3-6.

Austin, a native of Bathgate, Scotland, has worked on World Rally cars for the McLaren Formula 1 team and on Dick Simon's CART team. He currently is the gearbox mechanic for both Adrian Fernandez and rookie Kosuke Matsuura.

"I've never been to a drag race in my life, and it will be a hoot to be able to help these blokes out," Austin told nhra.com. "From what I understand, this will be a special race, being the 50th anniversary of their premier event. When I was selected I told my mates about it, and they're all envious. Little did I know that our front-end mechanic, Mike Guger, had such a history in the sport. When I recommended they pick Michael as the second intern, they jumped at the chance."

Guger, who serves as fueler on Fernandez's car, worked with some of the top names in drag racing from 1973 until 1998, including Dale Armstrong, Kenny Bernstein, Billy Meyer, Joe Gibbs, and Alan Johnson. He said he is looking forward to returning to his roots.

"I've been involved with the open-wheel series since I left drag racing six years ago," he said. "I'm looking forward to having a good time, learning what has changed since I was last at Indy, and seeing a lot of old friends."

***

3. Andretti Foundation raises $6,000 for hometown charity: The Michael Andretti Foundation donated $6,000 to The Fund to Benefit Children and Youth, Inc. as part of the "Breakfast with Michael Andretti" program that was held at Nazareth Speedway on Aug. 27.

The sold-out event offered fans the opportunity to be a VIP for the morning and get an inside look at the activities that take place at IRL events with Andretti Green Racing. The program is currently in its second year and takes place at various tracks each season. The funds raised from these events go to charities that are involved with the Michael Andretti Foundation.

"It's nice to be able to use and expose our racing program to raise money for a great charity like the Fund to Benefit Children and Youth," Andretti said. "I'm especially grateful that we were able to sell out our breakfast and raise $6,000 which will help many children and families here in my hometown area."

Guests were treated to a full-service breakfast at the AGR hospitality unit, which was followed by a meet and greet with Andretti and the four Andretti Green Racing IndyCar Series drivers: Dario Franchitti, Bryan Herta, Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon. The day also included speakers from Honda Performance Development and Firestone Racing.

The Fund to Benefit Children and Youth, Inc., is a Lehigh Valley non-profit organization that promotes the welfare of children and youth subject to or at risk of abuse or neglect, as well as the families of such children and youth. The funds donated by the Michael Andretti Foundation will go toward the following items for local children: clothing for school, school supplies, single beds and mattresses, educational day camps and other health and family needs.

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4. IRL Road Test Re-Scheduled: Indy Racing League teams will get their first chance to test mechanical parts for use with a road-course package on Sept. 21-23 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Two Menards Infiniti Pro Series teams and five IndyCar Series teams will participate in the three-day private test. The test is closed to the media and the public.

A session scheduled for this weekend was postponed because of Hurricane Frances.

***

The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season continues with the Delphi Indy 300 at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 12 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series event is the Chicagoland 100 at 5 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 11 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will be broadcast by ESPN2 at 3 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 16.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Kenny Bernstein , Bob Gilbertson , Greg Anderson , Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Jimmie Johnson , Dan Wheldon , Sébastien Bourdais , Steve Kinser , Carl Edwards , Kosuke Matsuura , Dick Simon , Jim Beam , Tommy Kendall