IRL: Pep Boys Indy Racing League Notebook 1997-07-22

PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE NOTEBOOK Two Indy Racing hopefuls pass rookie test at Atlanta INDIANAPOLIS, July 22, 1999 - Jon Herb and Bobby Regester each passed the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Rookie Orientation Program on July 19 at ...

PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE NOTEBOOK Two Indy Racing hopefuls pass rookie test at Atlanta

INDIANAPOLIS, July 22, 1999 - Jon Herb and Bobby Regester each passed the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Rookie Orientation Program on July 19 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Herb finished the test in a Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear owned and prepared by Tri Star Motorsports, which fields Indy Racing cars for Ronnie Johncox and Jack Miller. 1996-97 league champion Tony Stewart and noted team manager Larry Curry are two of the four co-owners of Tri Star. "Like so many other racers, I have had a lifelong goal to drive in the Indy 500," Herb said. "Thanks to Larry Curry, Tony George and the Pep Boys Indy Racing League, I am one step closer to living my dream. Hopefully, I can drive in several Pep Boys Indy Racing League races before next May, but I definitely plan to prepare for and compete next year at Indy." Herb, an Indianapolis native, has competed in USAC midget, U.S. F2000, ARCA Supercar and SCCA events during his career. Regester passed the test in a G Force/Aurora/Goodyear owned and prepared by Truscelli Team Racing, which fields Indy Racing cars for rookie Jaques Lazier. Regester is a veteran of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. He won his class at Pikes Peak in his open-wheel debut in 1985. Regester also has experience in the American IndyCar Series and in regional stock-car racing. Both Lazier and team owner Joe Truscelli competed in the AIS. Truscelli's team is based in Colorado Springs, Colo., Regester's hometown.

*** Knapp thankful: Steve Knapp offered thanks to many medical officials and Pep Boys Indy Racing League safety workers while recuperating from a fractured C-7 vertebra suffered during the Kobalt Mechanics Tools 500 presented by MCI WorldCom on July 17 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Knapp will be sidelined at least three months after undergoing successful surgery July 20 at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis to repair the fracture. He should be released from the hospital Friday. After the surgery, Knapp issued thanks to Dr. Terry Trammell, who performed the surgery and Dr. Henry Bock, director of medical services for the Pep Boys Indy Racing League, who removed him safely from the car. Knapp also thanked Dr. Steve Langston, trauma surgeon, Dr. Brad Jones, trauma resident, Dr. Mark Waterman and Dr. Thomas Dopson, orthopedic surgeon, all of the Atlanta Medical Center, who did the examinations on Knapp while he was in hospital. "I went by Dr. Bock's recommendation on what Dr. Trammell wanted to do," Knapp said. "My wife, Bobbi, and I want to thank everyone who helped me out after the crash. I feel very lucky that they were prompt in helping me and the other drivers involved in the wreck. It is very fortunate that we drivers in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League have some of the most talented and professional rescue personnel in racing today. "It is amazing the precision these people work with, and I would like to thank the league for placing all the drivers in their experienced hands. I would never want to be in such a violent crash, but the league has made such improvements to the safety of these cars, and with the seats and headrests designed by Mark One composites, it has made us grateful they are there to assist us. "We both thank them and are grateful they are with us." *** Panoz company buys G Force: The Elan Motorsport Technologies Group recently purchased Pep Boys Indy Racing League chassis constructor G Force and Van Diemen International, the world's largest volume manufacturer of single-seat racing cars. American sports car magnate Don Panoz is the chairman and major shareholder of Elan Motorsports Technologies Group, based in Georgia. "G Force and Van Diemen will remain as wholly owned operating groups, but there will be a realignment of the management and business structures," said Ralph Firman, chief executive officer of Elan Motorsport Technologies Group. "The founding members of G Force will continue to play key roles which will make the partnership extremely advantageous and exciting for all concerned." Founding G Force directors John Biddlecombe, Simon Kingdon-Butcher and James Morton take over three key areas of the company's business activity. Biddlecombe becomes director of Indy Racing League business development and customer relations. Kingdon-Butcher is appointed director of production, while Morton takes on the role of director of administration. A key addition to the company is Tim Wardrop, who will be responsible for the firm's Indy Racing League Technical Liaison program. Wardrop was the engineer for Arie Luyendyk's G Force that won the 1997 Indianapolis 500. A new G Force chassis for the Pep Boys Indy Racing League is already taking shape at the company's West Sussex, England, base. Initial wind tunnel testing has been completed. "Not only will we be delivering an improved car for 2000, but under the new group structure we will also be able to offer engine servicing and management assistance as part of a complete package," Panoz said. "We will be announcing to the teams in the following weeks a detailed description of the program and customer-service opportunities, but we can promise something innovative. Watch this space." Biddlecombe, Kingdon-Butcher and Morton founded G Force Precision Engineering in 1992. G Force is the second of the three Pep Boys Indy Racing League chassis manufacturers to be purchased in recent months. Formula 1 and Champ Car constructor Reynard recently announced its intention to buy Riley & Scott.

***

League to join racing festival in Kentucky: The Pep Boys Indy Racing League will participate in the new Kentucky Motor Speedway's "Race Day Festival '99" on July 31. The event to celebrate the under-construction superspeedway just across the Kentucky line from Cincinnati will take place at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

The 1.5-mile track is scheduled to open in 2000, and speedway officials have held preliminary discussions with officials of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League about the track playing host to an Indy Racing event in the future.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser will appear at the festival, along with former Indy 500 winner Danny Sullivan and three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip. An Indy Racing show car will be on hand along with NASCAR show cars and trucks.

In addition, country music artists Sawyer Brown, Brad Paisley, SheDaisy and Aaron Tippin will perform during the event. The festival will run from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is $10 per person, with children under 6 free.

***

Treadway seeks corporate partners: Treadway Racing, an Indianapolis 500-winning Pep Boys Indy Racing League team, is starting an initiative to join with new corporate partners for the 2000 racing season.

Title sponsorship of the team became available when Sprint PCS executives informed the team of a change in its corporate sports marketing program after the 1999 season.

Treadway Racing has produced more than $10 million in documented exposure value for its sponsors just halfway through this Pep Boys Indy Racing League season, according to independent research by Joyce Julius and Associates. Sprint PCS is ranked second among 58 Pep Boys Indy Racing League team sponsors in national TV exposure and sixth among 444 associate, series, event and team sponsors.

In each of the previous full-length Indy Racing seasons, Treadway sponsors have ranked in the top two among team sponsors in Indianapolis 500 national television exposure and in the top five in season-long TV coverage.

"Treadway Racing has a proven commitment to performance on and off the track," said Scott Cronk, Treadway vice president of business development. "Our record of success has clearly established us as one of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League's top teams. Of equal importance has been working closely with our business partners to create results-oriented marketing, publicity and corporate/customer entertainment programs.

"The Indianapolis 500 and the Pep Boys Indy Racing League are uniquely well-suited to these kinds of image-enhancing, sales-producing activities which Treadway Racing knows how to custom-tailor to each sponsor's individual needs."

*** Calling all fans: AutoWeek magazine is calling on all Indy Racing fans to visit the magazine's Web site to take a poll to determine which items will be available in the magazine's annual auction that benefits CARA Charities. The auction takes place in the fall. To participate in the poll, visit www.autoweek.com and enter the Issues section. Then select "ePoll" to log in a request for the most coveted items.

***

Going blond: Three Pagan Racing crew members, Brad Brewer, Jason Sheets and Rusty Shelden, have dyed their hair blond as a superstitious gesture to help team driver Jeff Ward earn a strong finish at the MBNA Mid-Atlantic 200 on Aug. 1 at Dover Downs International Speedway.

Ward drives the Yahoo!-MerchantOnline.com Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear fielded by Pagan Racing. He is third in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League standings with 153 points.

Source: IMS/IRL

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Tony Stewart , Jon Herb , Jeff Ward , Arie Luyendyk , Jaques Lazier  , Bobby Unser , Danny Sullivan , Steve Knapp , Ralph Firman , Don Panoz , Tony George , Brad Jones , Jack Miller