IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2005-03-11

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- March 11, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. Indy Racing League and Featherlite Trailers renew Official Trailer Partnership 2. Panther Racing launches Fan Tour 3. IndyCar.com sees increase in traffic for ...

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- March 11, 2005

Today's IRL headlines
1. Indy Racing League and Featherlite Trailers renew Official Trailer Partnership
2. Panther Racing launches Fan Tour
3. IndyCar.com sees increase in traffic for season-opener
4. Wheldon drives Ft. Worth Mayor to work

1. Indy Racing League and Featherlite Trailers renew Official Trailer Partnership: The Indy Racing League and Featherlite Trailers, manufacturers of custom mobile trailers, announced a renewal of its long-time partnership that continues Featherlite's role as the Official Trailer of the IRL IndyCar® Series.

As part of its partnership with the league, Featherlite provides the IndyCar Series with state-of-the-art trailers for use as office space and data-collection areas at all races.

Featherlite's motorsports involvement has been in the manufacturing of customized team transporters, which can house two race cars during travel and also function as a garage, vehicle-repair area, storage facility, office area or lounge at events.

Featherlite also specializes in custom mobile marketing trailers, including vending, show, office, media and command center trailers, in addition to corporate luxury coaches.

"We are proud of our long-standing partnership with Featherlite Trailers," said Ken Ungar, senior vice president, business affairs for the Indy Racing League. "Featherlite's innovative products allow us and many of our teams to move efficiently from race-to-race throughout the season."

The IndyCar Series family of partnerships includes Bombardier (official business aircraft solutions provider), Firestone (official tire), Chevrolet (official safety car and truck), Delphi (official safety technology supplier), Featherlite (official trailer), Holmatro official supplier of rescue tools), K&N Filters (official air filter), Klein Tools (official airshow), Lincoln Welders (official welder), Marathon (official coach), MBNA (official affinity card), Perkin Elmer (official instrument supplier and fuel certification), TAG Heuer (official timekeeper and watch) and XM Satellite Radio (official satellite radio partner).

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2. Panther Racing launches Fan Tour: Panther Racing has proclaimed the 2005 IndyCar Series season as the "Year of the Fan" and will be commencing a "2005 Fan Tour" to salute racing fans across the country. Like a summer-long concert tour, the "Fan Tour" will be complete with events, giveaways, tour T-shirts and prizes for fans of the IndyCar Series.

Fans will be encouraged to register for the Fan Tour on www.pantherracing.com, where they could win a limited edition 2005 Panther Chevrolet Cobalt, a special-edition Segway, a Panther Edition MasterCraft wakeboard - designed by pro wakeboarder Zane Schwenk - and other great prizes at the conclusion of the IndyCar Series season.

Starting at the first IndyCar Series road course race in St. Petersburg, fans will also have the opportunity to become "Fan of the Race" for each event on the 2005 schedule, and be eligible for additional prizes all season long. Two lucky fans will be selected to "ride along" with Tomas Scheckter or Tomas Enge during each event and will have a decal of their name put on the #2 or #4 Chevrolet racecars, and will be eligible for prizes based on the performance of the Panther team and its drivers.

"The Panther Pack wants to reach out and say thank you to all the fans that support the IndyCar Series," Panther Racing co-owner John Barnes said. "We want to salute the fans that come to races, to autograph sessions, to FanFests and the die-hard fans that watch our races on television or listen to them on the radio across America and around the world."

If Scheckter or Enge wins the race, the "Fan of the Race" for that event will receive roundtrip airfare for two, hotel accommodations and pit passes for the IRL season finale at California Speedway. If the driver finishes second, they will receive an autographed 1:18-scale die-cast race car, and a third place finish rewards the fan with a $100 gift certificate for Panther Racing's brand new line of merchandise - which will be available by the Phoenix race weekend.

"Watching the way (Panther owner and former NFL quarterback) Jim Harbaugh interacted with the fans and carried himself off the football field taught us something," Panther co-owner Gary Pedigo added. "Jim loved his fans and they came back to watch him play. We want race fans to understand we appreciate what they do for our sport."

"We race for the fans," Barnes concluded. "Now it's time to say, 'Thank You.'"

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3. IndyCar.com sees increase in traffic for season-opener: The Indy Racing League website, indycar.com, saw a 98.39 percent increase in traffic over last year's visits to indycar.com for the same three-day period was recorded for the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

More than 62.8 million hits were recorded for Timing and Scoring and 27 million hits for other indycar.com sections.

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4. Wheldon drives Ft. Worth Mayor to work: Fort Worth mayor Mike Moncrief arrived at City Hall in plenty of time for his first appointment on March 11 thanks to IndyCar Series driver Dan Wheldon.

Wheldon, accustomed to darting between traffic -- though at 200-plus mph -- chauffeured the mayor to work from the Fort Worth Club in the Jim Beam "drink smart" gas-powered two-seater being used to promote The Road to Indy tour.

"It's always fun to catch people's reaction when they see one of these cars driving on the road," said Wheldon, winner of the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 on March 6 in the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

The tour began at Homestead-Miami Speedway last weekend and continues until May 29 -- race day for the 89th "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Wheldon also appeared on a number of local TV morning shows, taped a segment with FOX Sports Southwest and was the guest of honor at a luncheon. The Jim Beam two-seater also was on display at four establishments at the Stockyards in Fort Worth.

The car also will be a part of the Fort Worth St. Patrick's Day parade on March 12 and the Dallas St. Patrick's Day parade on March 13.

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The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the XM Satellite Radio Indy 200 Presented by Argent Mortgage on Saturday, March 19 at Phoenix International Raceway. The race will be broadcast live by ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network at 3 p.m. The race also will be available on XM Satellite Radio channel "XM Extreme" (Channel 152). ESPN2's coverage of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Miami 100 will be shown at 3 p.m. (EST) on March 14. The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Phoenix 100 on March 19 at Phoenix International Raceway. The race will be broadcast March 24 at 3 p.m. (EDT).

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Tomas Enge , Dan Wheldon , John Barnes , Jim Beam
Teams Panther Racing