IRL: Indy Racing Northern Light Series notebook 2001-03-22

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, March 22, 2001 - Former McLaren engineer Gordon Cuppock will join Galles Racing starting with the Indy Racing Northern Light Series event April 28 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The hiring comes after a tough season debut for...

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, March 22, 2001 - Former McLaren engineer Gordon Cuppock will join Galles Racing starting with the Indy Racing Northern Light Series event April 28 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The hiring comes after a tough season debut for Galles Racing at the Pennzoil Copper World Indy 200 on March 18 at Phoenix. Al Unser Jr. finished 23rd, while rookies Casey Mears and Didier Andre finished 20th and 27th, respectively.

"Our race last weekend at Phoenix was a very difficult time for the team, and even though we did not get the results we wanted, I was extremely proud of our guys," team owner Rick Galles said. "We have a lot of new people, and although they are experienced, we need time to work together. We feel that we needed more depth in our engineering department, so we have hired Gordon and are in the process of hiring another race engineer and two more data acquisition engineers."

Cuppock's engineering background includes stints with McLaren and March, and most recently he was the technical director for Cal Wells Racing in CART. Galles Racing Engineer Alan Mertens worked with Gordon Cuppock at March in the early 1980s.

"Alan and Gordon have worked together in the past, and I think they will make a good team," Galles said. "We had a tough weekend in Phoenix, and we have taken a step back to look at what we need to do to get better. The competition in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series is extremely strong, and in order to be competitive, we know that we must continue to make improvements with our program."

*** Easy ridin' Hornish: Sam Hornish Jr. celebrated his dominating victory in the season-opening Pennzoil Copper World Indy 200 on March 18 by participating in a charity motorcycle ride March 21 in the Phoenix area on a Harley-Davidson. Hornish kept exclusive company during the ride. Other participants included 2000 American League Most Valuable Player Jason Giambi of the Oakland Athletics and 2000 National League Most Valuable Player Jeff Kent of the San Francisco Giants. Both the A's and Giants conduct spring training in Arizona.

***

Honorary starter named for Miami: Don Francisco, celebrated host of the popular show "Sabado Gigante" and spokesperson for 123.com, has been named honorary starter of the Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami presented by 123.com Americatel on April 8 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"As a Hispanic who lives in South Florida, it is an honor to have been asked to perform this important symbolic act for the race," Francisco said. "I am proud to be a part of the different cultures living in Miami and of this sport and will personally be cheering for my Chilean compatriot and friend, Eliseo Salazar."

One of the most popular shows in the history of television, "Sabado Gigante" began airing in 1962 in Chile. As the years passed, Francisco became a very popular personality, not only in Chile, but in all of Latin America. In 1986, the show aired for the first time on WLTV-Channel 23, owned by Univision in Miami, and it was transmitted by Univision to the United States and Latin America. In addition, Galavision transmits the show to the rest of the world.

In 1992, "Sabado Gigante" was recognized as the oldest show in the history of television by the Guinness Book of World Records. The show has never had a repeat of any of its programs, and it continues today with its original format.

During his 38 years as a television host, Francisco has received many awards from private and public enterprises in the United States and Latin America. Additionally, he has presided over the "Teleton" in Chile since 1978, a march that has collected contributions exceeding $130 million and built six hospitals for the care of more than 50,000 handicapped children. For his efforts, Francisco was recognized by the United Nations and received the title of UNICEF Ambassador.

*** Hot laps: ABC-ESPN commentator Bob Jenkins, anchor of the networks' Indy Racing telecasts, recently was named the recipient of the Henry T. McLemore Motorsports Press Award. The award is presented in recognition of continued outstanding motorsports journalism in the field of writing, broadcasting or photography. The award will be presented April 19 during the annual International Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Talladega, Ala.

... 1996 Indy Racing co-champion Scott Sharp will drop the puck for the ceremonial faceoff in the Fort Wayne Komets' United Hockey League game March 24, Kelley Automotive Night. Sharp drives for Kelley Racing, co-owned by Jim and Tom Kelley of Fort Wayne. Sharp will sign autographs next to his #8 Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone during the first intermission at the game.

*** On the road: Upcoming appearances by Indy Racing drivers and cars:

*March 22-25: A Purex Indy Racing car will be on display in the Texas Motor Speedway booth at the Dallas Auto Show in the Dallas Convention Center.

*March 23-25: An Indy Racing simulator gamepod will be on display in the Alton Square Mall in St. Louis.

*March 24: A Delphi Indy Racing car will be on display at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis, as part of the track's Open House, which is open to the public. 1999 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Robby McGehee is scheduled to appear at the Open House.

*March 24: An Excite@Home Indy Racing car will be on display for "Indy Racing Day" at Fort Lauderdale Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Baltimore Orioles will play the Los Angeles Dodgers in an exhibition game, and 2000 Indy Racing Northern Light Series Rookie of the Year Airton Dare will throw out the first pitch.

*March 25: An Excite@Home Indy Racing car will be on display from 1-10 p.m. in the Homestead-Miami Speedway booth at "Taste of the Bay - A Preview To The Volvo Ocean Race" at American Airlines Arena-Waterfront in Miami. 2000 Indy Racing Northern Light Series Rookie of the Year Airton Dare will sign autographs in the afternoon.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Casey Mears , Eliseo Salazar , Didier André , Scott Sharp , Airton Daré , Sam Hornish Jr.