IRL: Indy Racing League news and notes 2004-11-01

Today's IRL headlines 1. Manning, Dixon Combine For Third-Place Finish 2. Sharp, Castroneves, Dixon Complete IROC Competition 3. Giaffone Has Successful Surgery, To Host Go-Kart Event 4. Lucky Fan Can Compete Against Hornish 1. Manning, Dixon ...

Today's IRL headlines
1. Manning, Dixon Combine For Third-Place Finish
2. Sharp, Castroneves, Dixon Complete IROC Competition
3. Giaffone Has Successful Surgery, To Host Go-Kart Event
4. Lucky Fan Can Compete Against Hornish

1. Manning, Dixon Combine For Third-Place Finish: Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Darren Manning and Scott Dixon negotiated the curves of the California Speedway layout Oct. 31 and wound up on the podium in the Rolex Grand American 400k.

Manning, making his debut in the Rolex Sports Car Series, teamed with Dixon, the 2003 IRL IndyCar® Series champion, to finish third in the Daytona Prototype season finale. Manning qualified the No. 8 CompUSA Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley on the front row next to the No. 1 entry of teammates Scott Pruett and Max Papis.

"It's really something to be able to come in here and be so competitive so quickly," said Manning, who recently completed his first year driving the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone in the IndyCar Series. "I'm happy to be able to contribute to the team as a fresh set of eyes."

Pruett and Papis, who led 81 of 89 laps, won the Daytona Prototype race and the series championship. Their pictures will be added to the "Wall of Champions" at the Ganassi shop in Indianapolis.

"We showed determination and a lot of hard work," said Pruett, who teamed with Papis to collect four victories, eight podiums and seven pole positions. "We had teamwork all season long. It's nice to win, even sweeter to have a championship."

The championship came in the first year of Rolex Sports Car Series competition for CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing.

"That's the way you want to win a championship," Ganassi said. "Winning the race in order to win a championship that isn't decided until the last race of the season makes it even more gratifying."

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2. Sharp, Castroneves, Dixon Complete IROC Competition: IndyCar Series drivers Scott Sharp, Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon each received $80,000 for their participation in the four Crown Royal International Race of Champions events.

In the series finale Oct. 30 at the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway quad-oval, Dixon finished eighth, Sharp 10th and Castroneves 11th. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Matt Kenseth made it a clean sweep by winning the race and championship.

The only incident of the race occurred on Lap 25 when USAC champion J. J. Yeley's car made contact with the wall exiting Turn 4, collecting two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Castroneves. Neither driver was injured.

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3. Giaffone Has Successful Surgery, To Host Go-Kart Event: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Felipe Giaffone is back at home in Sao Paulo, Brazil, after undergoing surgery last week to remove the steel plate and screws in his right leg.

Giaffone suffered fractures to his leg and right pelvis in an accident during the Kansas Indy 300 on July 6, 2003, at Kansas Speedway while driving for Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing. He had three top-10 finishes in 13 starts this season after taking over for the retired Robbie Buhl in the No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.

Giaffone will host a go-kart event Nov. 13 at his family-owned track that will draw competitors such as 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan and runner-up Dan Wheldon, and Formula 1 driver Rubens Barrichello.

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4. Lucky Fan Can Compete Against Hornish: One IndyCar Series fan will receive the opportunity to race against two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. in the IndyCar Series 2005 over Xbox Live^Ù and win a TAG Heuer Chronograph.

IndyCar Series 2005 by Codemasters offers 220-plus mph online game play via Xbox Live, where drivers can compete head-to-head with up to 12 persons simultaneously. The game consists of 15 IndyCar Series tracks and is the only title to feature "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Players can race individual tracks or re-create a full racing season as a leading IndyCar Series driver, including newly crowned champion Tony Kanaan, 88th Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and Hornish.

Realistic rear-view mirrors and steering wheel support, which has in-game adjustment, are two of the additions that set IndyCar Series 2005 apart from other games.

To register for the chance to compete against Hornish, log on to www.codemasters.com/indycar2005/comp/?territory=EnglishUSA by Nov. 7.

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The IRL Championship Celebration will be broadcast at 4 p.m. (EST) Nov. 9 on ESPN2.

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The IRL IndyCar Series opens its 10th season of competition with the Toyota Indy 300 on March 6, 2005, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The 2005 Menards Infiniti Pro Series season also opens on March 6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Darren Manning , Felipe Giaffone , Robbie Buhl , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Max Papis , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Scott Pruett , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mo Nunn
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing