Series news and notes 2009-05-26

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines * Tracy to replace Meira at Milwaukee * Franchitti leaves Indy as points leader * Wheldon, Patrick gain momentum with top-three finishes at Indy 1. Tracy to replace Meira at ...

Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
* Tracy to replace Meira at Milwaukee
* Franchitti leaves Indy as points leader
* Wheldon, Patrick gain momentum with top-three finishes at Indy

1. Tracy to replace Meira at Milwaukee:A.J. Foyt has hired veteran driver Paul Tracy to replace injured Vitor Meira in the No. 14 ABC Supply Co. car in the May 31 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 at The Milwaukee Mile.

"I'm excited to get an opportunity to drive albeit as a fill-in for Vitor as I know it's a short-term thing," said Tracy, who has won 31 Indy car races. "When I started my career (1991), I competed against A.J. He was one of my idols growing up. I haven't told too many people this, but he was one of the guys I modeled myself after. I'm a little rough around the edges like him, and I say what I feel, and that's one of the things I've always admired about him."

Tracy has made 14 starts at The Milwaukee Mile, recording victories in 1995, 1999, 2002 and 2005. Foyt also won four times as a driver at The Mile - in 1962, 1964, 1975 and 1979.

"Paul Tracy is a hard charger and our type of driver, much like Vitor," Foyt said. "I believe we can put the right equipment under Paul, and we've both had success there, so I think we can put our heads together and have a good race. It's a very important race for us because it's sponsored by our team sponsor ABC Supply, which is based in Wisconsin. Milwaukee is their home track, and it is the AJ Foyt 225."

Meira suffered a lower back injury in the closing laps of the Indianapolis 500 and has been treated at Methodist Hospital since May 24. Dr. Michael Olinger, medical director for the Indy Racing League, evaluated Meira again on May 26 and expects Meira to be released from the hospital on May 27. Meira will meet with Dr. Terry Trammell on May 29 and expects to receive clearance to return to his home in Florida.

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2. Franchitti leaves Indy as points leader: Dario Franchitti didn't win the Indianapolis 500, but he finds himself atop the IndyCar Series standings as the series heads to The Milwaukee Mile for the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 on May 31.

Franchitti took over the points lead with his seventh-place finish in the "500." He holds a five-point advantage over race winner Helio Castroneves. Two years ago, when Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500, he left Indy third in points - just three points behind current teammate Scott Dixon and two points behind Dan Wheldon.

In 2007, Franchitti took over the points lead at Milwaukee and held onto to it for all but one week en route to winning the series championship.

***

3. Wheldon, Patrick gain momentum with top-three finishes at Indy: Before the 2009 season started, Dan Wheldon felt confident that his move to Panther Racing would allow him compete for race wins. Similarly, Danica Patrick, in her third season with Andretti Green Racing, was confident that she could follow up on last year's win at Twin Ring Motegi with additional victories in 2009.

Neither driver walked home with the Borg-Warner Trophy following the Indianapolis 500 on May 24, but both drivers showed that their pre-season confidence was not misguided.

Wheldon finished a spirited drive from the 18th starting position in second place - his highest finish on the 2.5-mile oval since winning in 2005. Patrick finished third, bettering her fourth-place finish from that same season.

"I'm incredibly proud of the Panther Racing National Guard Team," Wheldon said. "In my IndyCar Series career there's not many races where I've honestly left the track feeling that we've executed everything perfectly. And I have to say, I thought they did an absolute phenomenal job. The pit stops were just first class. I didn't have to do too much work on track because they kept making me spots up."

The finish was the third consecutive top-10 for Wheldon and moved him into seventh in points as the series heads to Milwaukee for the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 on May 31.

Patrick's third consecutive top-five finish has her in sixth in the points, identical to her career-best points position last year. She is 13 points behind leader Dario Franchitti.

"I think it was a good day," Patrick said. "I'm really happy. I wish it would have ended up a little bit better than what it did, but that's the way it goes here.

"I'm doing my job. My job is to finish as high as possible and get as many wins as possible. So I'm actually glad about that shift. I'm paid to do this job, so I wish it could have been a little bit better, like I said, but it was a good day overall."

Both drivers hope to continue their momentum at Milwaukee. Wheldon has four consecutive top-10 finishes at the track, and Patrick has three consecutive top-10s.

***

The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues May 31 with the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 at The Milwaukee Mile. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The radio broadcast also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Husar's House of Fine Diamonds 100 on May 31 at The Milwaukee Mile. The race will be telecast at 4 p.m. on June 1 by VERSUS.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Dan Wheldon , A.J. Foyt , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing