IRL: Notebook 20002-01-17

Indy Racing League Notebook McLaren to build Chevy engines for Blair; Penske unveils 2002 package INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2002 - McLaren Performance Technologies announced Jan. 16 that its McLaren Engines group will build ...

Indy Racing League Notebook
McLaren to build Chevy engines for Blair; Penske unveils 2002 package

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2002 - McLaren Performance Technologies announced Jan. 16 that its McLaren Engines group will build Chevrolet engines for new Indy Racing League team Blair Racing for the 2002 season.

Alex Barron will drive a Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone combination for the team, which competed in CART last season.

"As the original engine development company for Bruce McLaren Motor Racing, McLaren Engines has enjoyed a long heritage of racing success with General Motors' powertrains -- beginning with our multiple Chevrolet-based, Canadian American Challenge (Can-Am) championships, through the front row (pole position) performance of the stock-block Buick V6 at the Indianapolis 500," said Steven Rossi, president and chief executive officer, McLaren Performance Technologies. "Most recently, our continued involvement with GM Racing led us to Le Mans, where we continue to accelerate as the engine development partner for the Cadillac Northstar Prototype (LMP) racer."

Said Hayden Harris, chairman, McLaren Performance Technologies and co-owner of Blair Racing: "Considering what Tony George and the Indy Racing League have already contributed to the well-being of the sport, it's only natural that McLaren Engines now accelerate its return to Indy as an engine source -- particularly, with a team with such capability as Blair Racing. We very much look to McLaren Engines and Blair Racing as a winning combination."

The Chevrolet Indy V8 engine is a 3.5-liter, 32-valve V8 with dual-overhead camshafts (DOHC). The normally aspirated, fuel-injected (methanol) racing engine generates approximately 650 horsepower, with a maximum engine speed of 10,700 rpm controlled by a rev limiter.

"McLaren Performance Technologies is a strategic partner for Blair Racing, and its long-standing, winning tradition will no doubt fortify our position," said Blair Racing Co-Owner Larry Blair. "Our team is not only proud to be 'Powered by McLaren,' but sees the relationship as a true competitive advantage."

Wiley McCoy, executive vice president and chief operating officer, McLaren Performance Technologies, will serve as Indy Racing League project leader for McLaren, based in Livonia, Mich. McCoy will work with Tom Gloy and John Dick of Blair Racing, who have been named president and team engineer, respectively.

McLaren-built engines have appeared at Indianapolis since the late 1960s and powered Johnny Rutherford's Indianapolis 500 victories in 1974 and 1976. In addition, a McLaren-made Buick engine powered Pancho Carter to the pole for the 1985 Indianapolis 500.

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Penske unveils combination: Marlboro Team Penske will use identical Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone cars for drivers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves this season in the Indy Racing League, team officials announced Jan. 16.

De Ferran will drive the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, while Castroneves will drive the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.

This is the first year of full-time Indy Racing League competition for Marlboro Team Penske. de Ferran and Castroneves each drove Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone cars at Phoenix and the Indianapolis 500 in 2001, with Castroneves winning at Indy.

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Indy Racing to participate in 'Texas Tour': There will be a strong Indy Racing League presence during the "Texas Tour 2002" on Jan. 22 at Texas Motor Speedway, a media day for journalists who cover the various events at the 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth, Texas.

Representing Indy Racing during the tour will be Indy Racing League Vice President of Operations Brian Barnhart, 2000 Indy Racing champion Buddy Lazier, and Marlboro Team Penske teammates Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves. All four will participate in a presentation and question-and-answer session with the media from 10:45 a.m.-noon (CST) Jan. 22 at The Speedway Club at TMS.

Two Indy Racing League events will take place this year at TMS, on June 8 and Sept. 15.

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Indy Racing in Contact Book: The Texas Motor Speedway Industry Contact Book was released this week at the Lowe's Motor Speedway Media Tour, and the book included the Indy Racing League for the first time.

The 261-page book is a well-respected directory of key motorsports contacts and has traditionally included only NASCAR's top-three series - Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck.

Eddie Gossage, executive vice president and general manager of Texas Motor Speedway, started producing the book when he worked as the vice president of public relations at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

"Charlotte always took a leadership position with the media tour and then the contact book," Gossage said.

Texas Motor Speedway took over publishing the book in 2002 and decided to add team listings, media contacts and other information for the Indy Racing League.

"I don't know how you do an industry contact book and not include the Indy Racing League," said Gossage, whose track plays host to two Indy Racing League events each year. "By including the Indy Racing League in this book, we allow a motorsports professional to do their job more easily."

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Hot laps: 1999 Indy Racing champion Greg Ray will sign autographs at the KOI Cavalcade of Customs Car Show from 1-3 p.m. (EST) Jan. 26 at the Cincinnati Convention Center ... 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr. is among the featured speakers for a Jackson (Mich.) RaceWeek Festival 2002 Kickoff/Greater Jackson Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting event Jan. 24. Indy Racing League Vice President of Operations Brian Barnhart and Indy Racing League Vice President of Business Affairs Ken Ungar will join Cheever at the event. The inaugural Indy Racing event at Michigan Speedway takes place July 28 ... Rising Indy Racing star Sarah Fisher will appear on Indiana's PBS channel, WFYI Channel 20, at 4 p.m. (EST) Jan. 25 as a guest on the children's show "The Friday Zone" as a designated reader. Fisher will read one of her favorite children's books, "The Little Engine that Could," to a group of 4- and 5-year-old girls and also talk about racing ... Kentucky Speedway will broadcast six one-hour special programs on Fox Sports Net Ohio in 2002, providing information about the track and race events in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. The first special will preview the 2002 season and air in February. Additional air dates will be announced later. An Indy Racing event will take place Aug. 11 at Kentucky Speedway.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Buddy Lazier , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Alex Barron , Bruce McLaren , Steven Ross , Tom Gloy , Tony George , Pancho Carter , Brian Barnhart , Johnny Rutherford
Teams Team Penske