Indy Racing League News and Notes -- Feb. 2, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. Eight IndyCar Series Stars To Race Around The Clock 2. IndyCar Series Machines On Display 1. Eight IndyCar Series Stars To Race Around The Clock: Two IRL IndyCarÂ®...
Indy Racing League News and Notes -- Feb. 2, 2005
Today's IRL headlines
1. Eight IndyCar Series Stars To Race Around The Clock
2. IndyCar Series Machines On Display
1. Eight IndyCar Series Stars To Race Around The Clock: Two IRL IndyCar® Series champions and the reigning Indianapolis 500 champion will be among the star-studded field of drivers in the 43rd Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend.
"It's my ninth or 10th 24 Hours, and it's one of the fullest fields I've ever seen," said Scott Sharp, who kicked off his 1996 IRL IndyCar Series co-championship by winning the Rolex 24 with Jim Pace and Wayne Taylor. "There's NASCAR drivers and several champions from other forms of racing, including from our series."
Joining Sharp in the twice around the clock endurance event are seven other IndyCar Series stars: Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Bryan Herta, Darren Manning, Buddy Rice, and Dan Wheldon.
Rice, the first reigning Indianapolis 500 winner to compete in the event since Arie Luyendyk won the race in 1998 said the race is a chance to add a win at Daytona to his racing resume.
"I have never run the 24 Hours of Daytona, and it is such a legendary race," said Rice, who will share the No. 67 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley with Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Boris Said. "I know that Bobby (Rahal) won it in the 1980s (1981), so that would be a thrill to win. Our team has won the race overall and in class so they know what it takes to win it. To be honest, I'm pretty pumped up for this race, and for the IROC race too at Daytona. Just like Indy, Daytona is a famous track, and I think every driver wants to race there, so it will be cool for me to compete this year."
Dixon and Manning have the most experience driving in the Daytona Prototype class which all of the IndyCar Series drivers will compete in. The Target Chip Ganassi Racing duo, who will share the No. 03 Target Lexus-Riley with NASCAR driver Casey Mears, drove in the Grand Am season-finale at California Speedway last October.
"It's a great way to start the season, especially as soon as we are road course racing this year," Manning said. "It's 24 hours of testing for us, turning left and right. With the limited time, it's getting a bit of adrenaline pumping through your veins early on has got to be good for coming to Homestead."
Dixon, who joined Max Papis and Scott Pruett for last year's race, echoed his teammate's excitement for the race.
"It's a great way to start the year," the 2003 IndyCar Series champion said. "I was lucky enough to be able to do it last year as well with Papis and Pruett. It was a lot of fun. It's a great experience. It's a different kind of thing over there. It's a little more laid back. I don't know, all we want to do is go and win, I guess."
Briscoe, who will drive the No. 33 Toyota-powered Panoz in the IndyCar Series, will drive with Pruett and Luis Diaz in the No. 01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley.
"It's such a prestigious race to be doing. It's something new, different. I've never done a race that's more than probably an hour and a quarter. So something different. Scott Pruett has been great, a lot of advice. He's an amazing driver. I'm learning a lot from him, for sure."
For Herta, the race will be the first chance to run in the only major endurance race he has never competed in.
"I've had a chance to race in Le Mans and Sebring, and Daytona is really the other major endurance race to take part in," said Herta, who will join his former ALMS teammate Jan Magnussen and NASCAR stars Bobby and Terry Labonte in the No. 44 Pontiac Doran. "The most challenging thing with those races is always not making mistakes. The fastest car doesn't always win those races. The car that makes the fewest mistakes and has the fewest mechanical problems is usually the one to come out on top. So, trying to stay out of trouble on the track and hoping the car will hold together for the whole 24 hours is the main focus."
Practice and qualifying are Feb. 3, with additional practice Feb. 4. The race begins at noon (EST) Feb. 5. SPEED Channel will broadcast the race from noon-7 p.m. (EST) and 8-11 p.m. (EST) Feb. 5 and 8 a.m.-123:30 p.m. (EST) Feb. 6.
INDYCAR SERIES DRIVER FAST FACTS:
Ryan Briscoe: Driving No. 01 CompUSA Lexus Riley for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates with defending Rolex Series co-champion Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz. Briscoe's only previous sports car racing experience came in a Ferarri support race at the Australian Grand Prix. This will be the longest race he has ever driven in.
Scott Dixon: Driving No. 03 Target Lexus Riley for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates with Darren Manning and Casey Mears. Finished 10th in 2004 Rolex 24 with Scott Pruett, Jimmy Morales and Max Papis. Finished third at 2004 season finale at California with Darren Manning.
Dario Franchitti: Driving No. 2 Citgo Pontiac Crawford for Howard-Boss Motorsports with Milka Duno, Dan Wheldon and his younger brother Marino Franchitti. It will be the Franchitti brothers' first race as teammates.
Bryan Herta: Driving No. 44 Pontiac Doran for Doran Racing with Jan Magnussen, Bobby Labonte and Terry Labonte. Herta raced as a teammate to Magnessen with the Panoz factory team in American Le Mans Series. Herta has previously raced at Le Mans and Sebring and says Daytona is the last great endurance race he has to race.
Darren Manning: Driving No. 03 Target Lexus Riley for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates with Scott Dixon and Casey Mears. Finished third at 2004 season finale at California with Scott Dixon
Buddy Rice: Driving No. 67 The Racers Group Pontiac Riley for Krohn Racing/TRG with Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Boris Said. First reigning Indianapolis 500 winner to compete at Rolex 24 since Arie Luyendyk won the event in 1998.
Scott Sharp: Driving No. 39 Orbit/JMR Pontiac Riley for Orbit Racing with Jim Matthews, Marc Goosens and Guy Smith. Competing in 10th Rolex 24 and won the event in 1996 with Wayne Taylor and Jim Pace.
Dan Wheldon: Driving No. 2 Citgo Pontiac Crawford for Howard-Boss Motorsports with Milka Duno, Dario Franchitti and Marino Franchitti. It will be the first sports car race for Wheldon.
2. IndyCar Series Machines On Display: Three IndyCar Series machines will be displayed around the country at a variety of events.
A Toyota Indy 300-decaled IndyCar Series car will be on display Thursday during the Cleveland Cavaliers-Miami Heat NBA basketball game at American Airlines Arena in Miami, while a Team Penske IndyCar Series car will be on display Saturday for "Indy Racing League Night" during the Indiana Ice-Des Moines Buccaneers USHL hockey game at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
A specially decaled Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg IndyCar Series car will be on display Saturday and Sunday in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg booth at "Performance Expo 2005" in The Harborview Center in Clearwater, Fla.
The IRL IndyCar Series opens its 10th season of competition with the Toyota Indy 300 at 2 p.m. (EST) on March 6, 2005 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be televised live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The 2005 Menards Infiniti Pro Series season also opens on March 6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be televised by ESPN2 at 4 p.m. (EST) on March 17.