IRL: Menninga Texas preview

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (August 24, 2001) - Indy Racing rookie Chris Menninga has just 300 laps of experience in an IRL car. However, the Austin, Texas, native is hopeful of being on the starting grid for the September 16 Indy Racing Northern Light...

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (August 24, 2001) - Indy Racing rookie Chris Menninga has just 300 laps of experience in an IRL car. However, the Austin, Texas, native is hopeful of being on the starting grid for the September 16 Indy Racing Northern Light Series Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. But, without sponsorship dollars to fund the effort, there's a possibility the season finale event may not happen for Menninga and Hemelgarn Racing.

"We will try to continue to be a full blown second car effort through next season," said Menninga. "But, we are still on the hunt for sponsors to fund the effort. There will be several people at the Texas race that could potentially fund us for next year."

Although his appearance at the Texas race has not been confirmed, Menninga is looking forward to his rookie introduction to the track despite a new paved surface and no testing.

"The new surface doesn't concern me since I've never raced at Texas before," said Menninga. "It's new to me either way. All the information our team has is based on the old track surface, so everyone will be on an even playing field."

After passing his Indy Racing rookie test on July 27, Menninga drove the No.92 Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone car during the Kentucky race and is entered in this weekend's race in St. Louis.

Open-wheel racing is nothing new to Menninga. He competed in the Dayton Indy Lights in the 1999 and 2000 seasons for Conquest Racing, where he was a teammate to current Indy Racing Rookie of the Year leader Felipe Giaffone.

"There's a lot of learning I have yet to do," said Menninga. "I've only completed 300 laps, and I hope to have the cobwebs cleared out before Texas."

Menninga and Hemelgarn Racing are hoping to have the sponsorship support in place that will give the young driver one more test this year in live race conditions.

Race tickets for all RPM Week - Texas events at Texas Motor Speedway are available by contacting the speedway ticket hotline at (817) 215-8500, online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com, or at all participating Ticketmaster outlets.

-TMS

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Series IndyCar
Teams Conquest Racing