IRL: Indy Racing League news and notes 2004-11-18

Indy Racing League News and Notes Nov. 18, 2004 Today's IRL headlines 1. Indy Racing League Partners With Licensing Leader 2. Franchitti Completes Test At Infineon 3. On the road 1. Indy Racing League Partners With Licensing Leader: In an...

Indy Racing League News and Notes
Nov. 18, 2004

Today's IRL headlines
1. Indy Racing League Partners With Licensing Leader
2. Franchitti Completes Test At Infineon
3. On the road

1. Indy Racing League Partners With Licensing Leader: In an effort to broaden and enhance its licensing reach, the Indy Racing League has signed an agreement with Licensing Partners International, a leading sports and entertainment licensing agency.

Licensing Partners International, which has offices in Florida, Atlanta, Toronto and the New York metropolitan area, will assist the league's current licensing staff in the oversight of the IRL's licensing program.

"We are excited to launch our new partnership with LPI," said Bill Long, vice president of marketing for the Indy Racing League. "Their success with other sports leagues, coupled with their integration with the Collegiate Licensing Company, will provide the resources and relationships needed to take the IRL's licensing program to a new level of success."

Licensing Partners International counts the PGA Tour and Canadian Football League among its clients. Licensing Partners International's sister company, Collegiate Licensing Company, is the world's leading collegiate licensing agency, and represents more than 200 colleges, universities, bowl games, athletic conferences, The Heisman Trophy and the NCAA.

"The Indy Racing League is a tremendous addition to the LPI/CLC family," said Pat Battle, President and CEO of Licensing Partners International and Collegiate Licensing Company. "With its reputation as an elite sport of speed and skill, the cutting edge technology used in the cars and by the race teams, and the international appeal of the drivers, the IRL is poised for good things in the marketplace."

As a member of the LPI/CLC team, the IRL will have access to the staff and services of the nation's leading licensing agency, which employs more than 75 licensing professionals and coordinates more than 2,400 licensees.

"One of our primary objectives is to build our brand attributes via retail," said Molly Palmatier, director of licensing for the IRL. "We will work closely with LPI and our teams to grow the demand for league, driver and team merchandise both at and away from the track."

Palmatier will continue to serve as primary point of contact for all existing and new licensees. Fred Scalera will manage the IRL relationship at LPI.

Scalera has more than 20 years experience in the sports licensing, product development, and sales promotions industries, managing properties such as the National Hockey League, the CFL and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

"While protecting the IRL brand will be a foundation of our licensing program, we will use our new partnership to increase marketing efforts aimed at expanding the presence of Indy Racing League product available to national and international consumers," Long said.

Entering its 10th season of competition in 2005, the Indy Racing League features wheel-to-wheel excitement in two separate racing series, the IRL IndyCar® Series, the premier open-wheel oval-based series which debuted in 1996 and the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series, a development series which began in 2002.

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2. Franchitti Completes Test At Infineon: Dario Franchitti became the first IRL IndyCar® Series driver to test the Infineon Raceway road course during a one-day compatibility test Nov. 17.

Franchitti, driver of the No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Andretti Green Racing, tested the course behind the wheel of the Andretti Green Racing road-racing test car. Franchitti completed approximately 70 laps on the 12-turn, 2.2-mile circuit, running at approximately 90 percent of the car's capacity.

He said fans can expect to see the IRL cars reach top speeds near 160 mph during the IndyCar Series event at Infineon Raceway, Aug. 26-28.

"I think this is going to be a very physical race for the drivers," said Franchitti, who finished sixth in IndyCar Series points in 2004. "I've never been on a track like this. You're really compromising on every turn."

The tight turns and drastic elevation changes at Infineon Raceway will put increased demand on the cars' brakes and transmissions, necessitating changes to prepare the oval-ready cars for road courses. The compatibility test at Infineon Raceway, which also allowed IRL officials to evaluate the facility, was originally scheduled for Nov. 11, but was rescheduled due to rain.

"This course is really challenging and I was quite taken aback at first," said Franchitti. "The corners are very quick, which makes it difficult. These cars accelerate very quickly, so you're coming into the corners very fast and you have to be prepared."

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3. On the road: A specially decaled IndyCar Series car will be on display Nov. 18-21 on the midway at Homestead-Miami Speedway during the NASCAR event weekend at the track.

The car features the IndyCar Series season-opening Toyota Indy 300 logos and will be used by the track to promote the March 6 event throughout the winter in South Florida.

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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 Dario Franchitti