IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2006-01-26

Indy Racing League News and Notes, January 26, 2006 Today's IRL headlines 1. Wallace, Reid Join ESPN, ABC Sports Broadcast Team For IndyCar Series in 2006 2. Phoenix test draws rave reviews 3. IRL Night with Pacers 1. Wallace, Reid Join ESPN,...

Indy Racing League News and Notes, January 26, 2006

Today's IRL headlines
1. Wallace, Reid Join ESPN, ABC Sports Broadcast Team For IndyCar Series in 2006
2. Phoenix test draws rave reviews
3. IRL Night with Pacers

1. Wallace, Reid Join ESPN, ABC Sports Broadcast Team For IndyCar Series in 2006: ESPN and ABC Sports have added two new but familiar faces to the broadcast team which will cover the 2006 IRL IndyCar® Series season.

Former NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace and veteran auto racing announcer Marty Reid will join returning analyst Scott Goodyear in the IndyCar Series' broadcast booth. Reid will anchor the series' broadcast, while Wallace will provide analysis with Goodyear.

Brent Musburger will host of the first three live IRL races, including the 90th Indianapolis 500 in May, while Jack Arute, Dr. Jerry Punch and Jamie Little again will provide coverage from the pits.

"This new team gives us the ability to thoroughly cover the Indy Racing League in an entertaining and informative way," said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president of studio and remote production. "The addition of Rusty and Marty will give our coverage a fresh approach; one which I believe racing fans will appreciate and enjoy. And Scott's experience, expertise and insights, based on his success as a driver and an analyst, will be invaluable to our viewers."

Wallace retired from NASCAR competition after the 2005 season with 55 career victories in 22 full-time seasons. The 1989 NASCAR champion made 12 starts at Indianapolis for Roger Penske, the winningest owner in Indy 500 history with 13 victories.

Wallace also will work as a NASCAR analyst for ESPN in 2006. "My goal is to help NASCAR and the IndyCar Series grow, so I'm looking forward to calling the Indy 500 and the IndyCar Series races," Wallace said. "This will certainly diversify my knowledge of racing, so I consider it a great opportunity. And while I'll be new to it, it will be great."

Reid has covered virtually every form of motorsports on ESPN since 1982, including NASCAR, Formula One, NHRA Drag Racing, the Pikes Peak Hillclimb, the Le Mans 24 Hours and Sprint and Midget car racing. He served as a pit reporter on several IRL races and Indy 500 Time Trials beginning in 1991 Reid moved to the booth as the voice of ESPN's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1999-2000 and has been the host of ESPN2's coverage of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series since 2001 Goodyear has been the primary analyst for ESPN and ABC Sports' coverage of the IndyCar Series since 2001. He earned three IndyCar Series victories during his career and is a two-time runner-up in the Indianapolis 500, in 1992 and 1997

"We look forward to Marty and Rusty joining the IndyCar Series and bringing to life our telecast with Scott, Jack, Jerry and Jamie," said Brian Barnhart, president and COO of the Indy Racing League. "Having Brent Musburger join us for select races will bring an enhanced "big event" atmosphere to our telecasts. Rusty has been a fan of our sport and is very familiar with the IndyCar Series due to his long-time partnership with Roger Penske and Penske Racing. I think he will be a valuable asset in telling the story of the Indy Racing League, our drivers and teams to the fans watching on television."

2. Phoenix test draws rave reviews: The first official test of the 2006 IndyCar Series season was nothing short of a success according to IRL officials, and the IndyCar Series drivers and teams who participated in the two-day test at Phoenix International Raceway.

"It ran like clockwork and there no complaints from anyone," said Brian Barnhart, president and COO of the Indy Racing League. "The methanol-ethanol blend debuted in flawless fashion. We had 3,100 miles of testing over the two days and the chassis were great and ran as we expected them to. Honda's performance was flawless as well.

Four drivers, led by defending IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon, eclipsed the 2005 pole speed of 176.612 mph set by Bryan Herta. Wheldon's new teammate, 2003 IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, and Marlboro Team Penske teammates Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves also bettered Herta's pole speed.

"It's apparent that Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Marlboro Team Penske will be among the contenders for race wins each weekend, which makes the IndyCar Series that much more competitive," Barnhart said. "Having two of the most recognized and successful organizations in IndyCar racing back on level ground makes the field all the more deeper in terms of competition."

Barnhart said he was pleasantly surprised by the performance each of the 16 car/driver combinations to turn laps during the test, but added the performance of Vision Racing's Ed Carpenter and Tomas Scheckter showed that 2006 could be the most competitive season in IRL history.

"Vision was a perfect example of how the sole engine supplier has leveled the playing field for everyone," he said. "With equal accessibility to equipment, Vision Racing jumped to seventh and eighth on the speed charts."

3. IRL Night with Pacers: Vision Racing driver Ed Carpenter, defending Indy Pro Series champion Wade Cunningham and Indy Pro Series drivers Travis Gregg and Nick Bussell will serve as honorary captains for the Indiana Pacers game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 27 at Conseco Fieldhouse.

The group will also greet fans and sign autographs with members of the Indiana Pacemates dance team from 5:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway pavilion at Conseco Fieldhouse.

The first 10,000 fans will receive a special IndyCar Series schedule banner.

***

The IRL IndyCar Series opens the 2006 season with the Toyota Indy 300 on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network. The IMS Radio Network broadcast is also carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152, "XM Extreme" and www.indycar.com. The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition also opens on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Tomas Scheckter , Scott Goodyear , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Chip Ganassi , Nick Bussell , Travis Gregg , Wade Cunningham , Roger Penske , Jamie Little , Brian Barnhart , Sam Hornish Jr. , Ed Carpenter
Teams Williams , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Team Penske