IRL: Weekly notebook 2002-11-05

Indy Racing League notebook Roth purchases Panther Pro Series equipment; IRL stars to compete in Brazilian go-kart festival. INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2003 -- Menards Infiniti Pro Series veteran Marty Roth has purchased the race cars and...

Indy Racing League notebook
Roth purchases Panther Pro Series equipment;
IRL stars to compete in Brazilian go-kart festival.

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2003 -- Menards Infiniti Pro Series veteran Marty Roth has purchased the race cars and equipment from Panther Racing's Infiniti Pro Series team, Roth announced Nov. 5.

Two-time IRL IndyCarâ Series Champions Panther Racing entered Pro Series competition in 2003 and won the championship with British rookie Mark Taylor.

"I was in the process of negotiating with (team co-owner) John Barnes to run their car for the 2004 season," Roth said. "John called me the other day and regrettably informed me that, due to their commitment to run a two-car IndyCar Series program for next season, they had decided to withdraw from the Infiniti Pro Series."

Taylor, who earned seven wins and four pole positions to claim the 2003 Menards Infiniti Pro Series title, will drive the No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville IndyCar Series entry for Panther Racing in 2004.

"Having recognized the value Panther Racing has created through their R&D over the past year, I jumped at the opportunity when their Infiniti Pro Series program went on the market," said Roth.

"Now that I have the equipment, the next phase is building the team. The equipment is just the first step; it's what you do with it that counts. I'm after the 2004 championship, and everything has to be right."

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Wheldon Up For Autosport Rookie of the Year Award: Andretti Green Racing driver Dan Wheldon, who earned Bombardier Rookie of the Year honors for his performance during the 2003 IRL IndyCarâ Series season, is in line for another prestigious award.

Wheldon is one of seven international drivers short-listed by British motorsports magazine Autosport for its 2003 Rookie Driver of the Year title. Fans can vote for Wheldon by visiting www.autosport.com.

Wheldon also is in contention for Autosport's British Competition Driver of the Year award. Readers can vote for Wheldon by completing the voting form in the October 23 issue of Autosport.

The winners of the 2003 Autosport Awards will be announced at a gala function in London on Sunday, Dec. 7.

IRL Stars to Participate in Brazilian Go-Kart Festival: IRL IndyCar Series drivers Felipe Giaffone and Tony Kanaan and Menards Infiniti Pro Series race winner Thiago Medeiros will participate in the Granja Viana 500-Mile (500 Milhas da Granja Viana) race, the largest go-kart festival in Brazil, on Nov. 8 outside Sao Paolo.

Numerous international racing stars are scheduled to join the IRL drivers, including 2000 Indianapolis 500 Champion Juan Pablo Montoya, 2002 United States Grand Prix Champion Rubens Barrichello, Alex Zanardi, Jimmy Vasser, Michel Jourdain Jr. and Oriol Servia.

More than 200 drivers are expected to compete in 70 go-karts for 12 non-stop hours of racing starting Saturday, Nov. 8 at 10:30 p.m. local time.

The 1,200-meter racetrack was designed by Giaffone and his brother, Zequinha, on their family property in the Granja Viana neighborhood of metropolitan Sao Paolo.

Giaffone will team with Formula 1 test driver Luciano Burti and Formula 3000 drivers Ricardo and Rodrigo Sperafico.

Kanaan, who drove the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone to a win and nine top-five finishes for Andretti Green Racing in the 2003 IndyCar Series championship, will team with Formula One drivers Barrichello and Felipe Massa and Marco Andretti, the 16-year-old son of Kanaan's team owner, Michael Andretti.

Kanaan, Barrichello and Massa are two-time defending champions of this weekend's event.

"This race is something I really look forward to every year. It's a lot of fun," said Kanaan. "This year will be very cool since we've added Marco to the team. It will be our first time as teammates, but I doubt it will be our last."

The youngest racing Andretti won eight events this year and notched 13 podium finishes en route to winning the 14-race Skip Barber 2.0-liter Formula Dodge Eastern Region title.

Hot Laps: Andretti Green Racing driver Tony Kanaan will marry fiancee Daniele Loiola on Nov. 7 in Sao Paolo, Brazil--Kentucky Speedway will host its "Drive The Track Sale" on Sat., Nov. 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Guests who purchase a minimum of $40 in merchandise at the speedway Fan Center Gift Shop in Turn 3 will be able to turn three paced laps in their own vehicle on the 1.5-mile tri-oval--Red Bull Cheever Racing teammates Eddie Cheever Jr. and Alex Barron will participate in the SCUSA Supernationals on Nov. 15 in Las Vegas. The celebrity go-kart event, held in the parking lot of the Rio Hotel and Casino, will feature the Red Bull Cheever Racing go-karts used by RBCR in various markets throughout the year. Former Red Bull Cheever Racing driver Buddy Rice will also participate--With two events remaining in national competition, Aaron Fike holds a 136-point lead over J.J. Yeley in the National Midget Driver of the Year point standings. If he can maintain the advantage, Fike will become the first repeat winner of the National Midget Driver of the Year Award presented by Arizona SportShirts.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Panther Racing