IRL: Indy Racing League notebook 2003-04-16

Indy Racing League Notebook Firestone, Chevy hook up for sweepstakes; Motegi purse largest outside of Indy. INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, April 16, 2003 -- Firestone tires and Chevrolet engines helped Sam Hornish Jr. become the first driver to ...

Indy Racing League Notebook
Firestone, Chevy hook up for sweepstakes; Motegi purse largest outside of Indy.

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, April 16, 2003 -- Firestone tires and Chevrolet engines helped Sam Hornish Jr. become the first driver to record consecutive IRL IndyCarTM Series championships in 2001 and 2002. To celebrate this accomplishment, the tire and auto manufacturers are partnering with the Indy Racing League to give away vehicles, automotive equipment and other prizes in the Firehawk Indy 500/Chevrolet Race 2 Win Sweepstakes.

Starting May 1, 2003, licensed drivers in the United States will have two months to register for prizes. Registration forms will be available at participating Firestone retail outlets, at the 87th Indianapolis 500, and at IRL IndyCar Series events at Texas Motor Speedway, Pikes Peak International Raceway and Richmond International Raceway. Drivers may also register online at or by printing his/her name, address, phone and date of birth on a 3" x 5" paper and mailing it to: Firestone Race2Win Sweepstakes, P.O. Box 7485, Melville, NY 11775-7485. Official rules are available at the above outlets or online.

Prizes include a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 four-wheel drive Fleetside extended-cab truck equipped with Firestone tires (valued at $34,405); a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu four-door LS sedan fitted with Firestone tires (valued at $21,248); three Pioneer Touch Screen Navigation Systems ($2,000 each); ten sets of Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 tires ($400 each), and two framed 2003 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race posters, signed by every driver in this year's event ($250 each).

Winners will be selected by random drawing in early July, with five finalists identified for a free trip to the Michigan Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway, where they will draw keys to determine who wins the new Chevrolets. The four-day, three-night race weekend package for the five finalists includes VIP treatment at the Michigan Indy 400, air travel, hotel accommodations, ground transportation, meals and opportunities to meet IndyCar Series drivers.

Motegi purse biggest outside of Indy: The total payout for the Indy Japan 300 on April 13 at Twin Ring Motegi was $1,591,000, the largest purse in Indy Racing League history outside of the Indianapolis 500. The previous record excluding Indianapolis was $1,247,000, awarded on Sept. 20, 1998 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Firestone officials happy with Motegi: Firestone officials were pleased with the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi, Japan, which was somewhat of a "home" race for the company, which is owned by Japan-based Bridgestone Corp. Scott Sharp won the event, the first Indy Racing League event to take place outside the United States.

"We congratulate Scott and the Kelley Racing team for winning the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi," said Joe Barbieri, Firestone Racing Project Supervisor. "Hundreds of Bridgestone Corporation associates and special guests were here for the race, and no one enjoyed the day more than Mr. Shigeo Watanabe, president of Bridgestone Corp.

"Watanabe-san was involved in the race ceremonies, including issuing the famous 'Drivers, start your engines' command. He's been a tremendous supporter of the Firestone Racing program, and we're pleased he and other members of our parent company could see the Firehawk racing radials perform in Japan."

While Firestone officials were happy with the race, Sharp was equally enthusiastic about the performance of the Firestone tires, the exclusive tire of the Indy Racing League.

"The tires were absolutely perfect, lap after lap," Sharp said. "They were great on the restarts and with many laps on them as well. Just absolutely perfect!"

Borg-Warner Trophy in good company: The Borg-Warner Trophy, which is presented to the winner of the Indianapolis 500 in Victory Lane, recently was featured in an ABC Sports photo session in New York City with some of the most famous trophies in sports. The Borg-Warner Trophy joined the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup, the National Basketball Association's Larry O'Brien Trophy, the Major League Soccer Cup, the FIFA Women's World Cup and college football's Bowl Championship Series national championship trophy.

The photos will be seen in several ABC Sports television commercials and also be featured in print and outdoor advertisements. The promotional spots support the ABC Sports "Championship Television" motto.

Hot laps: The first shipment of equipment returning from the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi arrived in Indianapolis on April 15, while the rest will arrive on the night of April 16--Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves is featured in the "Trade Secrets" section of the May issue of Men's Journal, giving pointers on driving through traffic on the highway.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Sam Hornish Jr.