IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2006-12-15

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- Dec. 15, 2006 Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Andretti enjoys F1 test 2. Kanaan, Meira to compete in karting event 3. Kanaan featured in magazine 4. Sharp, Rice team up for Rolex 24 5. Of...


Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Andretti enjoys F1 test
2. Kanaan, Meira to compete in karting event
3. Kanaan featured in magazine
4. Sharp, Rice team up for Rolex 24
5. Of note

1. Andretti enjoys F1 test: Reigning Bombardier Rookie of the Year Marco Andretti turned his first laps behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car during a test for Honda on Dec. 15. Andretti turned 68 laps with a best lap of 1 minute, 21.88 seconds, though an early session transponder error credited him with quicker times set by Honda Racing F1 test driver Christian Klein. Andretti ended up 14th fastest among the drivers who tested, including two-time world champion Fernando Alonso and newcomer Lewis Hamilton for McLaren and Renault's race drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen.

"First of all, I couldn't have had more fun today and it's a shame that it was only a day," the 19-year-old son of IndyCar Series team co-owner Michael Andretti said. "It took me a little while to get used to the traction control and the brakes, but once I got to grips with them, the times were more and more consistent. I would like to say a big thank you to the Honda Racing F1 team on how professional and welcoming they have been this week, and I'm sure that they will have a good season next year."

Andretti's outing at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain was a reward for his stunning rookie season in the Honda-powered IndyCar Series car, in which he finished runner-up in the Indianapolis 500 in May and became the youngest winner of a major open-wheel event when he won at Infineon Raceway in August. "It's been great to have Marco with the team and in the car today," Honda Racing F1 sporting director and 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran said. "He did a good job and acclimatized himself well to the unfamiliar surroundings in the very short time that a one-day test provides. Marco looked comfortable straightaway with the car and the track, and overall it was a good first experience in a Formula 1 car. "

2. Kanaan, Meira to compete in karting event: IndyCar Series drivers Tony Kanaan and Vitor Meira have been invited to participate in the International Stars Challenge go-kart race in Brazil on Dec. 17. The race will pit 25 drivers from various racing series in karts with identical chassis, engines and tires at the 'Kartodromo Internacional dos Ingleses' in Florianopolis (700 km south of Sao Paolo). The karts will be drawn at random. Among the drivers participating are the race host Felipe Massa, Rubens Barrichello, Tiago Monteiro, Tonio Liuzzi, Ricardo Zonta, Nelsinho Piquet, Jean Alesi, Enrique Bernoldi, Antonio Pizzonia and Felipe Giaffone.

3. Kanaan featured in magazine: Tony Kanaan is driven. That's the storyline of a cover article in the current issue of Key Biscayne magazine featuring the 2004 IndyCar Series champion. The Andretti Green Racing driver calls Key Biscayne, Fla., home with his wife Daniele.

"For me, to be able to do what I love, have a talent to do what I love, and make money, it couldn't be a better scenario," Kanaan says in the article. "I see people that are not very happy with their jobs and they wake up every morning saying 'My God, I gotta go to work.' And if I can call what I do work, because I have a gift, a talent you either have or you don't have. I feel very fortunate in some ways, and very unfortunate in other ways. But that's how life is. Life will give you something and take something away from you."

4. Sharp, Rice team up for Rolex 24: IndyCar Series veterans Scott Sharp and Buddy Rice will join Brumos Racing teammates David Donohue and Darren Law for the Rolex 24 at Daytona Sharp, the 1996 IndyCar Series co-champion and Rice, the 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner, will co-drive the No. 59 Red Bull Porsche Riley in the twice around-the-clock sports car event on Jan. 28 "We are excited to have such eminent racers with such notable records join the Brumos Racing Team," said team owner Bob Snodgrass.

5. Of note: Danica Patrick remains one of the most-search athletes by users of the AOL Search and Lycos search engines. Patrick ranked sixth among all athletes -- and most-searched female athlete -- by AOL Search users and fifth among athletes by Lycos-- ESPN ranked Sam Hornish Jr.'s win in the 90th Indianapolis 500 as its No. 10 "Game of the Year" during its year-end "SportsCenter Games of the Year"special--Vision Racing co-owner Patrick Dempsey was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for lead TV actor for his role as Dr. Derek Shepherd on "Grey's Anatomy."

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Enrique Bernoldi , Rubens Barrichello , Jean Alesi , Ricardo Zonta , Felipe Giaffone , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Fernando Alonso , Tony Kanaan , Darren Law , David Donohue , Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa , Tiago Monteiro , Buddy Rice , Heikki Kovalainen , Marco Andretti , Bob Snodgrass , Patrick Dempsey , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira