Indy Racing League News and Notes - August 18, 2006 Today's IRL headlines 1. Wilson aiming for championship 2. Taking orders, making fans 1. Wilson aiming for championship: Bobby Wilson isn't lowering his sights. After being knocked out of ...
Indy Racing League News and Notes - August 18, 2006
Today's IRL headlines
1. Wilson aiming for championship
2. Taking orders, making fans
1. Wilson aiming for championship: Bobby Wilson isn't lowering his sights. After being knocked out of second place in the Indy Pro Series point standings at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 13, Wilson's goal isn't only to regain the position. He wants to win the Indy Pro Series championship.
Wilson held a one-point edge over Jonathan Klein entering the Kentucky 100, but a seventh-place finish by Wilson and a second by Klein led to a reversal of positions. Wilson trails Klein by 14 points and leader Jay Howard by 39 points with three races remaining.
"I'm a little upset with what happened at Kentucky, but there's nothing much I could do," said Wilson, an Oconomowoc, Wis. native who lives in Ocala, Fla. "I was flat out all the way around, and you're pretty much stuck with what you have."
While that may be true on a high-banked, 1.5-mile oval like Kentucky, the two races at Infineon Raceway (Aug. 26 and 27) should require much more driver skill.
"I feel really confident that our team is going to be strong there," said Wilson, who made his Indy Pro Series debut on the 12-turn, 2.26-mile course last year. "It's not a 1.5-mile dyno run. I'm confident that I'm going to work well with the engineer and get to the front."
In fact, Infineon will be the first track on the 2006 schedule that Wilson has competed on previously in an Indy Pro Series car. He qualified second to Marco Andretti a year ago in a Brian Stewart Racing car. Neither Klein nor Howard has raced at Infineon in the Indy Pro Series.
The other advantage for Wilson -- he's the only one of the top three competitors who has won on a road course this season. The 24-year-old drove the No. 24 Kenn Hardley Racing entry to Victory Circle at Watkins Glen in June. Howard's best road-course finish is second at St. Petersburg, while Klein's best effort was a third at Indianapolis.
The doubleheader weekend at Infineon offers the possibility of 105 points.
"I know going into a road course I'm going to be strong and really going to try and claw back that gap and maybe even jump ahead," Wilson said. "I'm going for the championship. I'm going to go there with the intentions of winning, and wherever that puts me, that's all I can do. Hopefully, things will go my way."
2. Taking orders, making friends: The banter began with the first phone call, and Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon entertained people placing phone ticket orders for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma for the next 30 minutes.
"Danica Patrick's love line," the reigning IndyCar Series champion startled the first phone caller to the Infineon Raceway ticket office.
"You're not bringing your boyfriend, are you?" Wheldon joked with another caller, according to the Napa Valley Register. "Oh, your brother? That's allowed. Now for security purposes only, you're over 18, right? 21? OK, even better."
Wheldon then asked the caller her favorite driver.
"If you say Hornish, I'm hanging up!"
The caller acknowledged a crush on Helio Castroneves, Hornish's Marlboro Team Penske teammate.
"You're making me sick," Wheldon replied. "You can't see through his act?"
Another caller was seeking seats in Turn 9.
"They'll be great seats -- guaranteed," Wheldon told the caller. "You can wave to me."
Jim Chen and his 12-year-old son Brandon drove from San Francisco to buy tickets. They were rewarded with autographs from both drivers, including Wheldon's signature on the program from the 89th Indianapolis 500 that the British driver won.
"He's a really nice guy," Chen said, "and really, really funny. It was just great."
Said Dixon after accepting the final phone call: "Now I know what we'd do if we weren't drivers."
The next IndyCar Series event is the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 13 at Infineon Raceway. 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 Sonoma 100 doubleheader on Aug. 26-27 at Infineon Raceway. ESPN2's coverage of the doubleheader races will be televised at 2 p.m. on Aug. 31.