IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2005-08-03

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Aug. 3, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. IndyCar Series stars to attend X Games 2. Andretti to compete at Kentucky 3. Kanaan competes in triathlon 4. Unser to serve as grand marshal of Infineon event 1....


Today's IRL headlines
1. IndyCar Series stars to attend X Games
2. Andretti to compete at Kentucky
3. Kanaan competes in triathlon
4. Unser to serve as grand marshal of Infineon event

1. IndyCar Series stars to attend X Games: 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice is taking advantage of the IndyCar Series' off-weekend to visit X Games 11 in Los Angeles.

Rice, who also attended the X Games in 2004, said the trip gives him the chance to watch several of his friends compete in their sports. Among the events Rice is planning on attending are SuperMoto, Step-up and wakeboarding.

"We always have a good time at the X Games," Rice said. "It will be good to relax and regroup for the next three IndyCar Series races too."

Supermoto, a motorcycle race that combines elements of road racing and motocross, features Rice's close friends Eric Bostrom, the 2004 X Games gold medalist, and Jeremy McGrath as well as IndyCar Series veteran Jeff Ward, who competed at the Indianapolis 500. McGrath also won the gold medal in 2004 Step-up, the equivalent of a high-jump competition on a motorcycle.

Rice also is friends with wakeboarder Parks Bonifay, who won the gold medal at the first X Games at the age of 14.

"I always enjoy watching my friends in competition at the X Games," Rice said. "Through my sponsor Red Bull, I have met many athletes who compete in a variety of extreme sports, and they are very cool people. Of course, they think IndyCar (Series) racing is pretty extreme for them."

Panther Racing driver Tomas Scheckter is also expected to attend the X Games this weekend.

2. Andretti to compete at Kentucky: Marco Andretti will look for his third victory in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 13.

Andretti, the 18-year-old son of IndyCar Series co-owner Michael Andretti and grandson of Mario Andretti, made his debut in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series with a victory from the pole on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., in April. He also won from the pole in the Liberty Challenge on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in June.

The Courier-Journal 100 at Kentucky will be Andretti's second career race on an oval. He qualified 10th and finished 16th in the Futaba Freedom 100 at Indianapolis in May.

"I'm looking forward to the Kentucky race," said Andretti, who drives the No. 26 Vonage Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. "Our test down there last week went pretty good. It's pretty bumpy so it took me a while to go 'flat,' but I got there eventually. I'm just looking forward to running a Pro Series race again and getting another shot on an oval. It'll be something new, which is always pretty exciting."

3. Kanaan competes in triathlon: Reigning IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan doesn't have an IndyCar Series race to compete in this weekend, but he still will be racing.

Kanaan, driver of the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone car, will compete in the 14th Annual Huntington's Disease 2005 Triathlon on Aug. 7 at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne, Fla.

"I have not been able to compete in a triathlon for quite a while because of my schedule with Team 7-Eleven," Kanaan said. "But I am excited to have the opportunity to compete in another sport away from the race track, and I'm looking forward to seeing how well I do against my competition."

The event is comprised of a quarter-mile swim in the Atlantic Ocean, a 13-mile bicycle ride along the Rickenbacker Causeway and a 3-mile run through Crandon Park.

4. Unser to serve as grand marshal of Infineon event: Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser will serve as Grand Marshal of the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway on Aug. 28.

Unser, who currently serves as driver coach and consultant for Indy Racing League, placed third in the last major open-wheel race held at the Sonoma, Calif., road course, the USAC IndyCar 150 in 1970.

The New Mexico resident is looking forward to returning to the twisting road course as grand marshal of the first event on a permanent road course in the 10-year history of the IRL.

"I've always liked running in Sonoma," Unser said. "Boy, I remember that race back in 1970 pretty well. There were things on the car that didn't go right that day and it showed because we were out-run by Gurney. He was strong."

Unser will be honored during the race weekend Aug. 26 at the IRL Grand Marshal's Banquet at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. All proceeds from the banquet will benefit El Nido Teen Center in Sonoma through Speedway Children's Charities, the charitable arm of Infineon Raceway. Unser also will participate in pre-race ceremonies on Aug. 28.

"That's a heck of a racetrack, and I know all the drivers are looking forward to coming out there," Unser said. "I'm real honored to be there, and I think the people of Northern California are really going to enjoy the show."


The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the Amber Alert Portal Indy 300 Presented by GPS Industries on Aug. 14 at Kentucky Speedway. The race will be broadcast by ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The race broadcast will also be carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme). The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Courier-Journal 100 on Aug. 13 at Kentucky Speedway. The race will be telecast on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 18.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Jeff Ward , Michael Andretti , Tony Kanaan , Mario Andretti , Jeremy McGrath , Buddy Rice , Eric Bostrom , Marco Andretti , Al Unser
Teams Panther Racing