IRL: Indy Racing Northern Light Series notes 2000-10-20

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Oct. 20, 2000 - So much for the offseason. Four Indy Racing Northern Light Series teams will continue their preparation for the 2001 Indianapolis 500 during Firestone tire testing Oct. 22-23 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway,...

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Oct. 20, 2000 - So much for the offseason. Four Indy Racing Northern Light Series teams will continue their preparation for the 2001 Indianapolis 500 during Firestone tire testing Oct. 22-23 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, just one week after the season-ending Excite 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. These drivers and teams will test on the 2.5-mile oval: newly crowned Northern Light Series champion Hemelgarn Racing with Northern Light Cup winner Buddy Lazier, Kelley Racing with drivers Scott Sharp and Mark Dismore, Treadway/Hubbard Racing with drivers Davey Hamilton and Shigeaki Hattori, and Team Menard with driver Greg Ray. That powerful group will be joined by Team Penske, which will test Indy Racing Northern Light Series equipment in anticipation of a possible return to the Indianapolis 500 in May 2001. CART points leader Gil de Ferran will test for Penske, which has won 10 Indianapolis 500 races.

Bingham eyes full-time ride in 2001: Chris Bingham wants to drive in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series full time in 2001 after passing his rookie test Oct. 18 at Texas Motor Speedway. Bingham, 28, from Bellevue, Wash., completed the test in the 1999 No. 40 BigWig.com/Team Coulson Racing G-Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone car. "I plan to try and run the full series in 2001," Bingham said. "(Indy Racing League Vice President of Operations) Brian Barnhart recommended a lot of miles in practice and testing over the winter, and I plan to take his advice. "With my background and experience, I was pretty comfortable right from the start. But it's clear there's a lot to be learned about being consistent and fast. I want to do this right and be in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series for a long time." Bingham started his racing career in motocross at age 10. His auto racing experience includes stints in Porsche club racing, IMSA, American Le Mans Series and Indy Lights.

Hot laps: Indy Racing Northern Light Series veteran Stephan Gregoire and his wife, Virginie, welcomed the birth of their first child, a 5-pound, 9-ounce girl named Eliza Virginie, on Oct. 16 in Indianapolis.

... Northern Light Series veteran Buzz Calkins is running in the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 22. Calkins is a veteran of the 26.2-mile endurance tests, having completed marathons in New York and Chicago.

... A memorial fund has been set up for the children of Dodie Ford, who died Oct. 4 in Colorado Springs, Colo., after being stabbed in her home by an assailant earlier that day. Ford, 43, owned All Racing Accommodations, which booked travel for some Indy Racing teams. Contributions can be made to the Dodie, Aaron and Stephanie Ford Memorial Fund in care of Ent Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 15819, Colorado Springs, CO 80915.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Chris Bingham , Buzz Calkins , Greg Ray , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Gil de Ferran , Brian Barnhart
Teams Team Penske