INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- July 5, 2006 Today's IRL headlines 1. Drudge helps Panther Pack stay in top shape 2. Carolina Rain to perform pre-race in Nashville 3. Of note 1. Drudge helps Panther Pack stay in top shape: IRL IndyCar ...
INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- July 5, 2006
Today's IRL headlines
1. Drudge helps Panther Pack stay in top shape
2. Carolina Rain to perform pre-race in Nashville
3. Of note
1. Drudge helps Panther Pack stay in top shape: IRL IndyCar Series races are often decided by fractions of a second, with the winner decided on pit road as easily as it can be on the track. That's why crews often spend almost as much time preparing for pit stops as they do preparing their cars. Panther Racing has taken it a step further, hiring Tim Drudge, a certified athletic trainer, to serve as the team's human performance specialist.
Drudge took a few minutes to describe his role with the team.
Q: What did you study to get where you are today in the sport?
DRUDGE: "I graduated from Indiana University in 1991 with a Bachelor's Degree in Athletic Training. I then went on to get my master's degree from Illinois State in 1993. In 1998, strength and conditioning training became increasingly popular and important to those in the athletic training field. I'm able to apply that when I work with teams, which is very beneficial to their pit stops. It brings everything full circle."
Q: What are your main responsibilities with Panther Racing?
DRUDGE: "My main responsibilities are to evaluate the team as they make pit stops. I evaluate them as I watch pit stop practice, but also evaluate the crew on film. We search for ways to make them better and quicker. I build performance-enhancing workouts for them, and aid the team in regards to nutrition improvement and help them make positive life style changes that will help them become healthier individuals and better athletes."
Q: What kind of things do you focus on to prepare the crew each week?
DRUDGE: "We work mainly on the technique of the crew. This includes the technique on how they change the tires on the car and the balance and hand-eye coordination of the crew which is vitally important to the success of an IndyCar pit-stop. Something like removing the lug nut with the air gun is a big deal when you're on pit road in a live pit stop, so the hand-eye coordination of the crew becomes extremely important in a situation like that."
Q: How do you define success in your position as you train the crew?
DRUDGE: "Success in my position is seeing these guys (the team) going out there and winning races. I also try to make sure the people on the team are staying healthy so that they can make it through a full season without injury. I just want to prevent that as much as possible."
2. Carolina Rain to perform pre-race in Nashville: Emerging country music group Carolina Rain will perform in a pre-race concert before the Firestone Indy 200 on July 15 at Nashville Superspeedway. The group will take the stage near the 1.33-mile concrete oval at 5:30 p.m. (CDT).
Over the last six years, Nashville Superspeedway has brought various country music artists to perform alongside the stars of the Indy Racing League. Among the artists who've performed in conjunction with race weekend are: Brad Paisley, Wynonna, Trace Adkins and Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band.
3. Of note: Marty Roth continued preparations for IndyCar Series events later this year by testing at Kansas Speedway on July 3. -- The first 10,000 fans through the gates for the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt 225 IRL Indy Car Series race at The Milwaukee Mile on July 23, will receive a limited-edition Danica Patrick bobblehead.
The next IndyCar Series event is the Firestone Indy 200 at 9 p.m. on July 15 at Nashville Superspeedway. The race will be telecast live by ESPN and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPN Deportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 145 "IndyCar Racing" and www.indycar.com. The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Sunbelt Rentals 100 on July 15 at Nashville Superspeedway. The race will be telecast by ESPN2 at 2 p.m. on July 20. ESPN2's coverage of the Liberty Challenge will be telecast at 2 p.m. on July 6.