IRL: Indy Racing League notebook 2003-02-20

Indy Racing League Notebook Indy Racing League stars to be featured at Toyota IndyFest in Miami INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2003 -- Many IRL IndyCar Series and Infiniti Pro Series stars will help kick off Toyota Indy 300 race weekend during...

Indy Racing League Notebook
Indy Racing League stars to be featured at Toyota IndyFest in Miami

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2003 -- Many IRL IndyCar Series and Infiniti Pro Series stars will help kick off Toyota Indy 300 race weekend during the inaugural Toyota IndyFest presented by Homestead-Miami Speedway on Feb. 27 in South Miami, Fla.

The street festival, free to the public, will take place from 4-11 p.m. (EST) at the Shops of Sunset Place on 5701 Sunset Drive in South Miami. Among the features at the Toyota IndyFest will be driver autograph sessions, IndyCar Series race cars on display, the third annual SunTrust Media Challenge, interactive racing displays, live entertainment, food and beverages and more.

All of the activity will serve as a gateway to the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 on March 2 at Homestead-Miami. Practice for the IndyCar Series and Infiniti Pro Series starts Feb. 28 at the 1.5-mile oval.

"We invite all of South Florida to experience the excitement of the IndyCar Series at the inaugural Toyota IndyFest at the Shops of Sunset Place in the city of South Miami," said Curtis Gray, Homestead-Miami Speedway president. "This free-to-the-public street festival for all ages will be the ideal place to get fired up for the big race weekend."

A look at the Toyota IndyFest activities:

4 p.m.: Toyota IndyFest opens.

5:30-6:30 p.m.: Autograph session with Helio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran, Scott Sharp.

6:30 p.m.: SunTrust Media Challenge, in which South Florida media personalities will compete in a pit-crew competition. A $5,000 donation will be made to charity in the name of the winning team.

7:30 p.m.: Autograph session with Scott Dixon, Tomas Scheckter.

9-11 p.m.: Live entertainment.

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Photo shoot: Marlboro Team Penske was at California Speedway recently for its annual "closed track" photo shoot in which the racing images for the team's 2003 marketing and public relations campaigns are created and captured.

Vic Huber, renowned automotive and racing photographer, chose the 2-mile oval as the location for the shoot as it is close to his studio in Irvine, Calif.

The intense, three-day shoot involves five days of pre- and post-production planning, more than 60 hours of track and studio time and more than 15 crew members (not including race team and crew) all working together to produce more than 10,000 images.

Huber incorporates some complicated shooting techniques to bring out the intensity of the action in the photos. The cars are photographed on the track from a specially-fitted vehicle built with booms and platforms that allow the cameras to hang literally inches from the cars wheels. Cameras also are mounted on the race car and are controlled remotely by Huber.

Marlboro Team Penske drivers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves and crew were on site to take the cars into action. At speeds of about 40-50 mph, quite a difference from their normal 200-plus speeds, the end result is shots that appear as if the car is moving three times as fast. Overhead "cherry pickers" also are assembled for catching pit stop action.

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Firestone committed: Firestone tires have been on IndyCar Series cars in all 71 events in the series history since 1996, and Firestone now is the exclusive tire supplier for the IndyCar Series and Infiniti Pro Series.

But the tire company's commitment to the Indy Racing League goes much deeper than supplying reliable, safe, fast tires to teams.

"Beyond supplying tires and technical support to all teams, we're a partner with the Indy Racing League, promoting its distinctive style of racing," said Al Speyer, Firestone Racing executive director. "You'll see Firestone commercials in all television race broadcasts, along with a mixture of print and other advertising emphasizing our involvement. We're also planning some regional promotions with increased involvement by Firestone retail outlets. These campaigns provide enhanced visibility for the IRL and emphasize the importance of our tires to each and every competition.

"We're confident these efforts will provide many benefits for us and for the league."

Firestone is the Official Tire of the Indy Racing League.

***

Hot laps: IndyCar Series drivers Eddie Cheever Jr. and George Mack will appear at the Indianapolis Metro District's 2003 MDA Muscle Team Gala on Feb. 22 at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis, a fund-raising dinner and auction that benefits those suffering from muscular dystrophy -- 1999 Indianapolis 500 BankOne Rookie of the Year Robby McGehee will sign autographs from 1-4 p.m. (CST) Feb. 22 at the All Sport Show at The Center in Springfield, Ill.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Robby McGehee , Eddie Cheever , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , George Mack
Teams Team Penske