IRL: Indy Racing League notebook 2003-03-26

Indy Racing League Notebook Menard-Cheever group buys TWR Engines; Target team tests at Las Vegas. INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, March 26, 2003 -- Menard Cheever Technologies (MCT) has acquired the independent United Kingdom engine design...

Indy Racing League Notebook
Menard-Cheever group buys TWR Engines; Target team tests at Las Vegas.

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, March 26, 2003 -- Menard Cheever Technologies (MCT) has acquired the independent United Kingdom engine design company, TWR Engines, MCT owners John Menard and Eddie Cheever Jr. announced March 26.

The move reinforces the company's intention to become a worldwide leader in the design and supply of engines, vehicles and associated technology.

"This is a big step for the technical company Eddie and I formed last year," Menard said. "The resources and knowledge of the workforce at TWR Engines open the door to a great number of new business opportunities. We look forward to continuing, and building upon, the excellence they have achieved in the motorsports and automotive industries."

TWR Engines will now be named MCT, U.K. and will be based out of its existing facility in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, England. Service to current and future customers will be provided from this U.K. facility and the expanded MCT facility in Indianapolis.

Charlie Bamber will continue to lead the group as general manager of MCT, U.K. Bamber worked closely with Cheever when Red Bull Cheever Racing used TWR-built Infiniti engines in the IRL IndyCarTM Series.

"The passion for success and forward vision of John Menard and Eddie Cheever will provide the perfect leadership to the technical expertise of this group," Bamber said. "MCT is positioning itself as an independent vendor able to provide a complete, and confidential, in-house solution to its customers. The company will be backed by an experienced staff that has a 25-year history in this specialist field."

TWR Engines specializes in the accelerated development of race-winning components, systems, and engines through the use of leading-edge technologies and a full-service, in-house facility. In its 25-year history, the company has designed engines that have won multiple championships in open-wheel, sports car and touring car racing.

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Ganassi team on target at Vegas: Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Tomas Scheckter tested March 25 at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway in preparation for the Indy Japan 300 on April 13 at Twin Ring Motegi.

Dixon, driver of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, won the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 on March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"We had a good day," Dixon said. "This was a test mostly in preparation for the Motegi race next month. They're both 1.5-mile tracks, and you can use a lot of the stuff there that we learned here today. This was the first time on Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and it's a great track. It's too bad that we don't race here."

After winning at Homestead-Miami, Dixon experienced gearbox problems in the second race of the season, the Purex Dial Indy 200 on March 23 at Phoenix International Raceway. He finished 20th but is third in the series standings with 60 points.

"It's been a good start to the season so far for us," Dixon said. "The win in Homestead was great, and we had a good car in Phoenix last week. The confidence in the team keeps growing, and that's a good sign for us."

Scheckter, driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, is 12th in the point standings.

"We learned a lot (at LVMS) as we get ready for Japan next month," Scheckter said. "We tried a lot of different stuff on the car, and it was a good test for the team. Scott (Dixon) and I really worked a lot today to get the Target cars up to speed. He was able to relay a lot of information to me that helped me out.

"Hopefully, this will help us out when we head to Japan next month."

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Honda happy with Access Motorsports: The new Access Motorsports team will debut at the Indy Japan 300 on April 13 at Twin Ring Motegi with 1999 IndyCar Series champion Greg Ray behind the wheel.

The car will be a Panoz G Force chassis equipped with a Honda engine. Robert Clarke, general manager of Honda Performance Development, is excited about Ray joining the group of drivers using Honda engines.

"We are very pleased to have Greg Ray join the Honda IRL 'family,'" Clarke said. "As a previous race winner, series champion and Indy 500 pole qualifier, Greg will be a valuable addition to our driver lineup. And by selecting a Panoz G Force chassis, the Access Motorsports program brings additional depth to our IRL IndyCar Series effort."

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Scheckter a Superstar: Tomas Scheckter, driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, recently competed in the 2003 Met-Rx Superstars competition in Jamaica, a multi-event competition among athletes from various sports.

He competed against the likes of NFL players Ahman Green of the Green Bay Packers, Jason Taylor of the Miami Dolphins and Charlie Garner of the Oakland Raiders. Scheckter missed winning the competition by one point.

"I probably should have won it, but it was a blast," Scheckter said. "I met a lot of great people. Some of those NFL guys are a lot of fun. It was cool to see how you compare with those guys. I was able to compete against some of the best athletes in the world, and it was an experience that I'll never forget."

The event will be broadcast April 5-6 on CBS.

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Hot laps: Richmond International Raceway President Doug Fritz announced March 24 that tickets are now available online at www.rir.com, including reserved and general admission seats for the SunTrust Indy Challenge IRL IndyCar Series event on Saturday, June 28. -- The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will play host to "IMS Night with the Pacers" on March 28 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis as the Indiana Pacers play the Chicago Bulls in an NBA game. The first 12,500 fans will receive an Indianapolis 500 schedule magnet. Sarah Fisher will sign autographs at the IMS Pavilion at the arena from 6-6:45 p.m., and an IndyCar Series car will be on display at the entry pavilion -- Russell Clayton Edrington, a fabricator and manager for Sinden Racing Services on Gasoline Alley for 15 years, died March 18 after a long illness. Edrington also worked for several other racing entities during his career.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Sarah Fisher , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Scott Dixon , Chip Ganassi , Robert Clark
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing