DAY 1 NOTEBOOK: Roland Beauregard was flashing a double "thumbs up" to the Indy Racing Experience crew before the two-seat IndyCar Series car coasted to a stop on pit lane at Chicagoland Speedway. "Can we do it again?" the 82-year-old Maine ...
DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:
Roland Beauregard was flashing a double "thumbs up" to the Indy Racing Experience crew before the two-seat IndyCar Series car coasted to a stop on pit lane at Chicagoland Speedway.
"Can we do it again?" the 82-year-old Maine resident said as he leaned forward to thank Stephan Gregoire for a few thrilling laps on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval.
The ride was only the beginning of a fast-paced and exciting weekend for Beauregard and his guest, longtime friend Eldon Campbell. Beauregard, of Saint Albans, Maine, was the winner of the PEAK Antifreeze 300 for the 300 Sweepstakes, which has a grand prize of $300,000 if Danica Patrick can guide the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Argent Dallara/Honda/Firestone to the checkered flag in the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean on Sept. 10. He was picked from more than 30,000 entries.
"I liked it," an out-of-breath Beauregard said after exiting the car to a phalanx of video and still cameras. "The G forces were a lot more than I expected in the turns. I'll tell you, she's got guts."
A minute later, Patrick greeted the one-time midget car ("for a short time after the war") driver and U.S. Naval aviator.
"So, how was it?" inquired the 2005 Bombardier Rookie of the Year who has served as spokesperson for the PEAK brand since mid-2005.
"I don't think I'd do what you do," he said.
Beauregard and Campbell will watch the IndyCar Series season finale from a suite at Chicagoland Speedway, cheering on Patrick.
"I've been an (IndyCar) fan for more than 40 years," said Beauregard, who noted he piloted charter flights to the Indianapolis for the 500 from North Carolina. "And I've been a fan of hers for a long time. She's courageous in a male-dominated sport. She told me she's going to try hard to win."
And what would Beauregard do if Patrick's performance pays off?
"I'd probably take a world cruise," he said.
With change to spare.
Dario Franchitti's weekend at Chicagoland Speedway isn't going as planned. The Scot, who made his 50th IndyCar Series start and was runner-up in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma two weeks ago, will watch the season-ending PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean instead of participating.
Franchitti sustained a concussion Sept. 1 during a qualifying session for the Goodwood Revival at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in England. A.J. Foyt IV will replace him in the seat of the No. 27 Klein Tools/Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/Firestone.
"I'm a little bit tired, but I'm OK," said Franchitti, 33, who is eighth in the standings with seven top-10 finishes in 13 races. "I got some interesting bruising from the seat belts, but otherwise I'm fine. The knock on the head was a pretty good one.
"It's the first time I've really followed doctor's orders and I think they are the right thing. It's just frustrating that had it happened a couple days before I could have raced. I'll be here to support the team this weekend, but it's always difficult to watch a race when you're supposed to be in it.
"You want to be out there racing. I want to be in the car. That's what I love about it."
Franchitti said he doesn't have recollection of events leading up to the incident in which the left-front of the Jaguar E-Type vintage car made contact with a set of tire barriers.
"I don't really have any memory of the accident or about an hour leading up to the accident, so obviously it was a hard hit to the head," said Franchitti, who missed most of the 2003 IndyCar Series season because of injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident in Scotland.
"They'll be able to fix the car, which is good. And I'll be OK, so that's good. The sad thing is with cars like that it's not just a case that it's an old car. It's a historic, very important car."
Sarah Fisher will make her 50th career IndyCar Series start and second of the season with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Fisher, who turns 26 on Oct. 4, has a best finish of 18th in four appearances at Chicagoland Speedway.
The final IndyCar Series event of the 2006 season is the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean at 1:30 (ET) p.m. on Sept. 10 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will be telecast live by ABC and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPN Deportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 145 "IndyCar Racing" and www.indycar.com. The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition concludes with the Chicagoland 100 on Sept. 9 at Chicagoland Speedway. ESPN2's coverage of the Chicagoland 100 will be televised at 2 p.m. (ET) on Sept. 14. Live streaming video coverage of the weekend's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series practice and qualifying sessions and the Chicagoland 100 will be available at www.indycar.com.