IRL: Indy500: Indy Racing Northern Light Series weekly notebook

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, April 19, 2001 - Joe Truscelli announced today that Johnny Unser will pilot his No. 18 Truscelli Team Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone entry in the 85th Indianapolis 500. "Truscelli Team Racing is very excited to work...

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, April 19, 2001 - Joe Truscelli announced today that Johnny Unser will pilot his No. 18 Truscelli Team Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone entry in the 85th Indianapolis 500.

"Truscelli Team Racing is very excited to work with Johnny Unser as its driver for this year's Indy 500," said Truscelli, who has fielded drivers Roberto Moreno and Jaques Lazier in past Indy Racing Northern Light Series events. "We believe in Johnny and intend to give him a competitive opportunity. It's a great feeling to know that we have the same crew that we have had for the last two Indy 500s, and these guys are good."

Unser, the son of the late Jerry Unser, has competed in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing five times, with a best finish of 18th in 1997. He has claimed championships in the American IndyCar series and has won the 12 Hours of Sebring.

"Truscelli Team Racing demonstrates an impressive history and a quest for excellence at the Speedway," said Unser. "It is a focused, capable group that is providing me with a first-class opportunity to successfully compete in this event."

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Atlanta 500 Classic to feature fireworks: Fireworks will light up the Atlanta sky before and after the Atlanta 500 Classic Saturday, April 28 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Indy Racing event is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. (EDT).

In addition to the fireworks, fans will witness skydivers, a balloon release and an F-18 flyover. Lauren "Bubba" McDonald, the Georgia public service commissioner, will sing the national anthem.

Tickets for the Atlanta 500 Classic are available by calling (770) 946-4211, at Ticketmaster Ticket Centers or online at www.ticketmaster.com.

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Indy Racing drivers prepare for IROC: Eddie Cheever Jr., Mark Dismore, Scott Goodyear and Buddy Lazier will join seven other racing professionals Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (EDT) at Talladega Superspeedway for the second race of the 2001 True Value IROC series. The race will be broadcast on ABC Sunday, May 27 at 4:30 p.m. (EDT).

The series pairs drivers from the Northern Light Series, CART, NASCAR Winston Cup and NASCAR Busch Series in equally-prepared stock cars. The schedule consists of four events - Daytona, Talladega, Michigan and Indianapolis.

"It's (Talladega) a fun track and the cars are handling extremely well," said Goodyear, who tested at the 2.66-mile high-bank oval Wednesday. "I learn something new each time I do this."

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Tickets now on sale for Schmidt benefit: Tickets are now on sale for The Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation's Benefit at Morton's of Chicago in Indianapolis. The event will take place Sunday, May 6 from 6-10 p.m. The red-carpet event features gourmet food presented in a lavish strolling buffet fashion, a silent auction of one-of-a-kind memorabilia and the chance to meet a long list of who's who in Indy Racing, including a large number of the drivers competing in the Indianapolis 500. The proceeds go to The Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 foundation focused on helping individuals overcome spinal cord injuries by facilitating scientific research, medical treatment, rehabilitation and advances in medical technology. Sam Schmidt started the organization after being paralyzed in a January 2000 Indy Racing accident. To sponsor the event, contact Scott Cronk at (317) 387-0888. To order tickets, which are $99 each, contact Linda Mansfield at (317) 639-0729.

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Dismore joins STAR Alliance: Kelley Racing's Mark Dismore is the official spokesperson for STAR Alliance for Drug-Free Youth. Dismore, driver of the No. 28 Delphi Automotive Systems/Bryant Heating & Cooling Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone, will be featured in public service announcements and other promotional activities to raise funds for the organization.

"It's an honor to be involved with STAR Alliance," said Dismore. "The organization has done so many things for children in central Indiana, and I'm proud to be a part of that. The teachers, parents, and other community leaders have put together some great programs to help our youth. Their accomplishments should be commended along with the students who have made the commitment to be drug free."

STAR Alliance for Drug-Free Youth is a not-for-profit organization that serves schools and communities, providing comprehensive community-based substance prevention programs.

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Hot laps: Track Side Live, a service provided by Oval Track News, will donate $10 of each $25 subscription from now until the end of May to the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation. The service provides live updates throughout the day from Indy Racing Northern Light Series events ... Thomas Knapp, former engineer for Team Menard, has assumed the position of team president for Vertex-Cunningham Racing, which fields the No. 55 EPSON Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone driven by Shigeaki Hattori.

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On the road: Upcoming appearances by Indy Racing drivers and cars (all times local):

*April 19: An Indy Racing simulator and Johns Manville, Delphi and Purex Indy Racing cars will be on display from 6-10 p.m. at the ESPN Zone in Atlanta. Race fans can compete in the simulator inside the ESPN Zone from 6-7 p.m. for the chance to compete in the Media Pit Stop contest, which is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. Indy Racing Northern Light Series rookie Casey Mears will sign autographs.

*April 20: A Tae-Bo/Coors Light Indy Racing car will be on display at Richmond International Raceway during the Indy Racing Northern Light Series Open Test.

*April 20: A Johns Manville Indy Racing car will be on display in the main lobby of the CNN Center in downtown Atlanta.

*April 21: A Tae-Bo/Coors Light Indy Racing car and an Indy Racing simulator will be on display at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, Va.

*April 21: A Kroger Indy Racing car will be on display from 4-10 p.m. at Attica Raceway Park in Attica, Ohio. Indy Racing Northern Light Series standout Sarah Fisher will sign autographs.

*April 23: A Johns Manville Indy Racing car will be on display at the 9th Annual Rhubarb Jones Celebrity Golf Classic at the Country Club of the South in Alpharetta, Ga.

*April 25: Al Unser Jr. will sign autographs from 5:30-7 p.m. at Andretti Speed Lab in Roswell, Ga. Unser's Galles Racing Starz SuperPak Indy Racing car will be on display.

*April 25: A Coors Light Indy Racing car will be on display at the Colorado Springs Sports Council luncheon in the Antlers Adams Mark Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo.

-IRL

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Shigeaki Hattori , Buddy Lazier , Mark Dismore , Scott Goodyear , Jaques Lazier  , Roberto Moreno , Sam Schmidt , Johnny Unser