IRL: Indy Racing League Notebook 2004-03-17

Indy Racing League Notebook Rahal To Be Inducted into Sebring Hall Of Fame INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, March 18, 2004 --Team Rahal co-owner Bobby Rahal, the three-time series champion and 1986 Indy 500 winner, will miss the March 21 Copper World...

Indy Racing League Notebook
Rahal To Be Inducted into Sebring Hall Of Fame

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, March 18, 2004 --Team Rahal co-owner Bobby Rahal, the three-time series champion and 1986 Indy 500 winner, will miss the March 21 Copper World Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway due to an important matter -- he will be inducted into the 12 Hours of Sebring Hall of Fame.

Rahal, 51, went to Sebring as a child to watch his father Mike race in the legendary sports car event and he drove his first 12 Hours in 1976 with Jim Trueman. In 1982, Rahal won the pole position for the race. But his biggest Sebring thrill came in 1987 when he co-drove Jochen Mass to victory in Bruce Leven's Porsche 962.

He and Mass ran down leaders Derek Bell and Chip Robinson in the Holbert Porsche in the last hour of competition. Rahal will be honored with many other inductees on Friday in a luncheon at the Chateau Elan Hotel near the Sebring Raceway.

Rahal also will be inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame on April 22 in Talladega, Ala., and the American Racing Hall of Fame in Novi, Mich., on July 29.

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Foyt celebrates anniversary: A.J. Foyt won the first Indy car race at Phoenix International Raceway on March 22, 1964 nearly 40 years to the day of the Copper World Indy 200 at PRI.

Foyt qualified second in an Offy-powered Watson roadster and beat Roger McCluskey in the 100-lapper. That victory was the first of seven straight for Foyt in Indy cars, a record that still holds today. Foyt won 10 out of 13 races that year including his second Indy 500.

"The facility has been improved quite a bit," said Foyt, a four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. "They replaced the wooden grandstands and added more seating, added the suites and the garages. They built a new road and bridge over the river because it used to wash out when it rained real bad or when they opened the dam up above. The best improvement by far was adding the tunnel in turn four. You don't get stuck in the infield anymore. The biggest change though is how much the area around the track has been developed. When I first came out, it was just cotton fields and the track was the only thing out there. I can't believe all the houses, hotels and restaurants that have been built."

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The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season continues with the Copper World Indy 200 at 4 p.m. (EST) on March 21 at Phoenix International Raceway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series Phoenix 100 will take place at 2:45 p.m. on March 20. The race will be broadcast by ESPN2 on a tape-delayed basis on March 25.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Derek Bell , Jochen Mass , Chip Robinson , Bruce Leven , A.J. Foyt