IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2006-07-25

Today's IRL headlines 1. Patrick to join Andretti Green Racing in 2007 2. PEAK announces promotion for Chicagoland event 3. Castroneves forms friendship with Detroit Tigers' star 4. Of note 1. Patrick to join Andretti Green Racing in 2007: ...

Today's IRL headlines
1. Patrick to join Andretti Green Racing in 2007
2. PEAK announces promotion for Chicagoland event
3. Castroneves forms friendship with Detroit Tigers' star
4. Of note

1. Patrick to join Andretti Green Racing in 2007: Andretti Green Racing announced it signed Danica Patrick to drive one of the team's IndyCar Series cars beginning in 2007.

Patrick, the 2005 Bombardier Rookie of the Year, is the third driver under contract to Andretti Green Racing for next season. She joins 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan, who won the July 23 race at The Milwaukee Mile, and Marco Andretti, who was named the JPMorgan Chase Rookie of the Year after finishing second in the 90th Indianapolis 500 in May.

"I've said all along that I just want to win races," Patrick said during an interview with ESPNews. "Andretti Green has won more races than anyone in the series. I've said all along that my passion, my heart; my soul has always been in Indy Car Racing. If there was a team that was going to give me a chance to win in the Indy Racing League, that's where I'm going to be."

Andretti Green currently fields four full-time entries in the IndyCar Series and intends to do so again in 2007. The team fielded a fifth car in the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 for team co-owner Michael Andretti, who drove to a third-place finish.

"Today is an exciting day for everyone at Andretti Green Racing," team co-owner Michael Andretti said. "Danica has shown great talent during her first two seasons in the IndyCar Series and has impressed Kim (Green), Kevin (Savoree) and myself with her development as a driver.

"Our focus has been and always will be on winning races and winning championships. We certainly believe Danica will do that. She has made it very clear that one of her goals as a driver is to win the Indianapolis 500 and we are looking forward to giving her a great opportunity to do that."

Andretti Green Racing, which has won IndyCar Series driver and team championships the past two years, is the winningest team in series history with 22 victories. It also fields two cars in the Indy Pro Series.

Patrick, coming off her second consecutive fourth-place finish, was in the final year of her contract with Rahal Letterman Racing. The team also fields cars for Buddy Rice and Jeff Simmons.

"I obviously informed them recently that I wasn't going to be coming back to the team, and thanked (Bobby) for every thing he's done," Patrick said. "Nobody stepped up four and five years ago. He did and gave me a chance and brought me to the Indy Racing League. I wouldn't be here without him. I will be forever grateful for what he's done for me."

2. PEAK announces promotion for Chicagoland event: PEAK Antifreeze announced a promotion that will reward one lucky fan should Danica Patrick win the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean on Sept. 10.

One fan, who registers online at www.300forthe300.com, will win $300,000 courtesy of PEAK and Mr. Clean if Patrick wins the race.

"PEAK is pleased to be part of the thrills and excitement that IndyCar Series racing brings to Chicagoland Speedway," said Jeff Stauffer, vice president of marketing at Old World Industries. "This year, we're hoping to make our race even more exciting for fans by offering them the chance to enter the PEAK 300 for the 300 Sweepstakes. If Danica wins the PEAK-sponsored race, so does one lucky consumer."

Patrick has served as spokesperson for the PEAK brand since mid-2005 and is featured in the PEAK national advertising campaign. PEAK Antifreeze announced earlier this year that the brand signed an agreement with the Rahal Letterman Racing Team to feature the PEAK logo on Patrick's No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Argent Honda-powered Dallara. The logo debuted at the Indianapolis 500 and will be featured on her car during the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean.

"I'm thrilled to be returning home for the Chicago race and to be part of the PEAK 300 for the 300 Sweepstakes," Patrick said. "It offers one of my fans the chance to feel like they are a part of the race and adds a fun and unique element to the racing experience. Not only am I able to compete for my team and for PEAK and Mr. Clean, but also my fans that have been so supportive of me over the years."

3. Castroneves forms friendship with Detroit Tigers' star: IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves has formed a friendship with All-Star catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez of the Detroit Tigers.

The two met when Rodriguez played for the Florida Marlins and continued their friendship even though they participate in different sports.

"I hope I get to see him while I'm up there," Castroneves said. "I know the Tigers have been doing very well. I wish the team was in town (for race weekend). It would be really great to have my friend at the track."

4. Of note: The IndyCar Series has turned exactly 26,000 laps during its 130 race events. Scott Sharp has the most of any driver with 21,625 laps completed (83.17 percent) -- Buddy Rice will make his 60th IndyCar Series start this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Rice made his series debut at the track in 2002.

***

The next IndyCar Series event is the Firestone Indy 400 at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on July 30 at Michigan International Speedway. The race will be telecast live by ABC Sports 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 Kentucky 100 on August 13 at Kentucky Speedway. ESPN2's coverage of the Milwaukee 100 will be telecast by ESPN2 at 2 p.m. (EDT) on July 27.

-irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Michael Andretti , Tony Kanaan , Buddy Rice , Marco Andretti , Jeff Simmons , Danica Patrick