IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes - 2005-09-08

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Sept. 8, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. IRL community supports Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort 2. Six remain alive in IndyCar Series title chase 3. Rahal Letterman Racing, Procter & Gamble announce ...

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Sept. 8, 2005

Today's IRL headlines
1. IRL community supports Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort
2. Six remain alive in IndyCar Series title chase
3. Rahal Letterman Racing, Procter & Gamble announce partnership
4. Vision Racing lands sponsorship for Chicagoland
5. Dodge ready for test at Chicagoland

1. IRL community supports Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort: Members of the Indy Racing League community are lending support to various Hurricane Katrina relief efforts as the series heads into the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 Presented by Mr. Clean at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend.

The efforts are being led by the Hulman-George Family and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation, which has committed $100,000 to an employee matching fund program. Any donation made to the American Red Cross by an employee of the Indy Racing League, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or Clabber Girl Baking Powder will be matched two-for-one. So, a $25 employee contribution will generate a $50 IMSC contribution for a total of $75 going to the Red Cross.

"All of us are aware of the tremendous suffering of the hundreds of thousands of people as a result of Hurricane Katrina," said Tony George, Founder and CEO of the Indy Racing League. "The racing community always responds generously to people in need, and we are happy to be part of that response."

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing League also have partnered with Rahal Letterman Racing and Sinden Racing Services to auction off an Indy Racing Experience two-seater ride around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with 2005 Indianapolis 500 JP Morgan Chase Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick during next May's 90th Running of the Indianapolis 500 activities.

The auction, which will be posted on Internet auction site EBay, will benefit the American Red Cross. More details of the Danica Patrick auction will be announced at a later date.

"It has been difficult to grasp the magnitude of what happened to the Gulf Coast last week with Hurricane Katrina," Patrick said. "It has been an opportunity for Americans to help Americans. I am glad that in this small way we can reach out to help the thousands of people who have had their lives turned upside down."

The IRL's DownForce Fan Club will be collecting donations for Lafayette Parish Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund during its Chicago pre-race party this weekend.

The fund will pay for the needs of the more than 1,300 school children who have enrolled in schools in the parish since Hurricane Katrina. The league also will donate funds generated at its annual Chili Cookoff slated for Sept. 25 at Watkins Glen. This money will go to displaced families currently staying in Indianapolis.

Among the IRL IndyCar® Series drivers and teams helping out are two-time series champion Sam Hornish Jr., his wife Crystal and his parents Sam and JoEllen, who have donated $50,000 to The Church of the Brethren Disaster Fund in order to offer their assistance with the relief efforts.

"There are so many things that can happen in life that are completely out of your control," Hornish said. "A lot of people in the New Orleans area are without homes and they've experienced a tremendously traumatic event. My family and I wanted to help provide relief so that those affected can begin to put their lives back together. I'm happy that we can help with a cause as important as this one as I know that if we were in the same position, people would come to our aid as well."

The Penske Companies created the Penske Corporation Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. The Fund is a matching gift program to help provide financial relief to the areas affected by the recent Hurricane. The Penske Companies will match employee contributions to the American Red Cross, up to the first $50,000 collected.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing held a donation drive among its Indianapolis-based employees for items to be given to displaced hurricane victims while two other teams are organizing fundraising efforts for this weekend.

Panther Racing will feature the American Red Cross and the 1-800-HELP-NOW number on the No. 95 Chevrolet-powered Dallara driven by Buddy Lazier. The cars of Tomas Scheckter and Tomas Enge also will feature decals supporting the relief effort.

The team also will donate 100 percent of this weekend's merchandise sales or $10,000, whichever is greater, to the American Red Cross. Panther also will give $1 to the Red Cross for each fan who signs up for the Panther Racing Fan Tour.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will support Ochsner Clinic and Foundation in New Orleans through its relationship with Racing for Kids and its founder, Dr. William Pinsky.

Dr. Pinsky is executive vice president and chief academic officer at Ochsner Clinic and Foundation. The hospital was the only hospital in New Orleans to stay open through Katrina, and remains the only hospital open in New Orleans.

The No. 24 Dreyer and Reinbold Racing Honda-powered Dallara will carry a decal with a toll-free number for donations that will be sent to the Ochsner Pediatric Clinic to underwrite costs associated with caring for the child victims of Katrina. These costs include funding for treatments and therapies as well for drugs and immunizations to protect against hepatitis, influenza, meningitis and other serious childhood diseases.

Chicagoland Speedway will have The United Way and Red Cross on site to take donations.

2. Six remain alive in IndyCar Series title chase: With three races remaining in the 10th IRL IndyCar Series season, six drivers remain in the hunt for the championship. Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon leads the pack with a 79-point advantage over Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan. Others in the hunt are: Sam Hornish Jr. (-96), Dario Franchitti (-122), Scott Sharp (-151) and Helio Castroneves (-157).

With only 159 points available in the final three events, Sharp and Castroneves will be eliminated from title contention when Wheldon takes the track at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend for the Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean.

Following are some additional scenarios for this weekend:

If Wheldon wins the race...Hornish and Franchitti also are eliminated. Kanaan remains alive if he finishes eighth or better (or sixth or better if Wheldon leads the most laps).

If Wheldon finishes second, Franchitti is eliminated. Hornish remains alive if he finishes fourth or better (third or better if Wheldon leads the most laps). Kanaan remains alive if he finishes 16th or better (13th or better if Wheldon leads the most laps).

Kanaan and Hornish both remain in title contention if Wheldon finishes third or worse.

The battle is a bit more difficult for Franchitti.

If Wheldon finishes fourth through eighth, Franchitti must win the race to remain in contention for the title. If Wheldon is ninth, 10th or 11th, Franchitti must finish at least second. Franchitti must finish third or better if Wheldon is 12th, 13th or 14th, fourth or better if Wheldon is 15th or 16th and fifth or better if Wheldon is 17th-23rd.

3. Rahal Letterman Racing, Procter & Gamble announce partnership: Rahal Letterman Racing and Procter & Gamble announced a partnership, which will promote Procter & Gamble's Secret® Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant and Body Spray Collection by utilizing 2005 Indianapolis 500 JP Morgan Chase Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick.

The cornerstone of the partnership will place the logo of Secret® Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant and Body Spray Collection on Rahal Letterman Racing's No. 16 Argent Mortgage Pioneer Honda-powered Panoz driven by Patrick and on her race uniform. In addition, Patrick will appear in Secret's marketing campaign.

"We are pleased to join in this marketing partnership with Procter & Gamble to promote its Secret® Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant and Body Spray Collection," said Bobby Rahal, who co-owns Rahal Letterman Racing. "We pride ourselves at Rahal Letterman Racing on partnering with like-minded companies that are leaders in their respective fields. To partner Danica, who has become a household name, with an established brand like Secret is an example of the non-traditional marketing opportunities that exist not only with Rahal Letterman, but throughout the entire IRL IndyCar Series."

Patrick, 23, captured worldwide attention at this year's Indianapolis 500 by leading 19 laps and becoming the highest finishing female (fourth) in the race's history.

"I have been fortunate throughout my career to be associated with some outstanding companies as sponsors," said Danica Patrick. "For an established brand like Secret to expand their marketing efforts into the IndyCar Series, because of what I represent as an athlete, is extremely flattering."

4. Vision Racing lands sponsorship for Chicagoland: Vision Racing announced Sept. 7 that it has secured primary sponsorship from United Auto Insurance for the Sept. 11 PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 Presented by Mr. Clean at Chicagoland Speedway.

The Vision Racing No. 20 Dallara/Toyota/Firestone will feature the United Auto Insurance logo, and driver Ed Carpenter will be showcase the company's logo on his firesuit.

"I am very excited to finally have a sponsor on the car," Carpenter said. "Even though it is only a one-race deal at this point, it is a good feeling. We are looking forward to doing a great job for United Auto Insurance. We have been working very hard on sponsorship programs, and it feels good to finally get something. It's a good reward for our hard work, and we will reward UAI for their support by giving them a strong finish."

5. Dodge ready for test at Chicagoland: Knoxville Nationals "Fast Track To Indy Rookie of the Year" Geoff Dodge is ready for his test in an Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series^Ù car Sept. 12 at Chicagoland Speedway.

In fact, he still has trouble sleeping.

"I was laying in bed the other night and I couldn't sleep," the Colorado Springs, Colo., native said. "I kept thinking, 'Friday you fly out to Chicago, and Monday you'll be in a Menards Infiniti Pro Series car.' I'm really excited."

The 22-year-old earned the test in August by scoring the most points, by a rookie 18 or older, during the prestigious Knoxville Nationals sprint car event. He will test a car owned by Brian Stewart Racing.

"Really, my expectations are to do a good enough job that they're looking forward to having me in the car next year," said Dodge, who is guaranteed at least six races in the series in 2006. "I've never driven anything like that in my life, so I really don't want to say that my expectation is to go out and run a such and such lap time or go break the track record or anything. I just want to go out and leave them confident that I can do a good job.

"I understand the test is pretty structured, so I just want to do exactly what I'm told, show that I can follow instructions, that I'm willing to learn."

Dodge's test will be monitored by Indy Racing League officials, including four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears.

Brian Stewart Racing also will test Daniel Gaunt on Sept. 12. Gaunt is a 21-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand who has competed in Formula Ford in New Zealand and the Toyota Racing Series in Australia.

***

The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 Presented by Mr. Clean at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 11 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will be broadcast by ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network. The race broadcast also will be carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme). The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Chicagoland 100 on Sept. 11 at Chicagoland Speedway. It will be telecast at 3 p.m. (EDT) on Sept.15 by ESPN2.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Tomas Enge , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Bobby Rahal , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Rick Mears , Chip Ganassi , Tony George , Daniel Gaunt , Geoff Dodge , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick , Ed Carpenter
Teams Panther Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing , Toyota Racing