Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines * Foyt, Team 3G make driver changes for Texas; Tagliani, Conquest return * Danica riding hot streak * Carpenter, Lloyd welcome new arrivals * Shaq to be Grand Marshal at Texas 1. Foyt,...
Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
* Foyt, Team 3G make driver changes for Texas; Tagliani, Conquest return
* Danica riding hot streak
* Carpenter, Lloyd welcome new arrivals
* Shaq to be Grand Marshal at Texas
1. Foyt, Team 3G make driver changes for Texas; Tagliani, Conquest return: A.J. Foyt Racing and Team 3G are changing drivers for the June 6 Bombardier Learjet 550k at Texas Motor Speedway, bringing on A.J. Foyt IV and Jaques Lazier, respectively. Both changes are only for one race at this point. Also at Texas, Conquest Racing will return to the grid with driver Alex Tagliani after missing the race at Milwaukee.
Foyt IV returns as driver of the No. 14 ABC Supply entry for A.J. Foyt Racing. He began his IndyCar Series career with 47 starts with the team from 2003-05 and recently competed in the Indianapolis 500 with the team.
"I'm excited to get the opportunity to run another race," said Foyt IV. "I really like the track, and not just because it's in Texas. It suits my style, it's fast and the racing is close. Hopefully we get the result we're looking for."
Foyt IV is the second driver to replace injured Vitor Meira in the No. 14 car. Paul Tracy drove the car at Milwaukee.
Team 3G is bringing in Jaques Lazier, a veteran of 50 IndyCar Series races, to replace Stanton Barrett in the No. 98 machine.
"As we continue to lay the foundation and improve as a team, we believe Jaques' experience with these cars will help our team tremendously," team co-owner Steve Sudler said. "Now is the time to start building toward 2010 for programs and sponsorship, and we look forward to giving Stanton a competitive car later this season for Japan and some other events."
Lazier competed in partial seasons from 1999-2005, running a high of 10 races in 2001. During that season, he captured poles at Richmond and Chicagoland and earned a victory at Chicagoland.
"I am really looking forward to rejoining the IndyCar Series" Lazier said. "I have been talking with Greg (Beck) and Steve since Indy, and I feel really comfortable with where the team is headed and how we can work to grow the program on ovals and with my sponsors, as well."
Tagliani will contest his fourth race of the season with Conquest Racing. He finished 10th at St. Petersburg and Long Beach and 11th at Indianapolis. This will be his first start at Texas Motor Speedway.
2. Danica riding hot streak: Danica Patrick heads to Texas Motor Speedway as the only IndyCar Series driver riding a streak of four consecutive top-five finishes. The streak has come on a diverse set of circuits that makes the IndyCar Series so challenging.
Patrick finished fourth on the streets of Long Beach (after starting 22nd), fifth on the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway, third on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway and fifth on the short 1-mile oval at Milwaukee.
She ranks fourth in points, just 22 behind series leader Scott Dixon, and one spot behind her career-best points position of third, which she reached after her victory at Twin Ring Motegi last year.
"I had a strong car all weekend, so I'm happy with the top-five finish," Patrick said after the race at Milwaukee. "We have been really consistent so far this year, and that's what's important when you are working towards the championship."
Her fellow competitors concede that she is a championship contender in 2009.
"I think she could definitely be a factor, especially with a lot of ovals that we have left on the schedule," Dixon said. "There are a good six, seven, eight people that could win this championship, and she is one of them."
Added Castroneves: "I always said and have been outspoken about Danica in terms that she is a good driver. So if she is in the top five in points, no question she is doing a fantastic job. I think everybody in the top five is a contender."
The Bombardier Learjet 550k at Texas could provide the opportunity for Patrick to continue her climb in the standings. Patrick has three top-10 starts in four races at Texas, and two consecutive top-10 finishes, including a third in 2007.
"I'm looking forward to Texas and hope to keep the momentum going," she said. "I've had some good races there, and I think my race craft is getting better and better, so I'm excited to go there and run side-by-side for awhile and put on a good show."
3. Carpenter, Lloyd welcome new arrivals: The IndyCar Series paddock expanded this week with the births of Ryder Everette Carpenter (8 pounds, 1 ounce) to Ed and Heather Carpenter on June 1 and Bethany Amelia Lloyd (6 pounds, 12 ounces) to Alex and Samantha Lloyd on June 2.
All are doing well.
Interestingly, the newborns have siblings born four days apart in 2007 (Ava Lloyd on Oct. 5, and Makenna Carpenter born Oct. 9). When Heather Carpenter was admitted to the hospital, she was taken to the same birthing room in which Samantha Lloyd delivered. It was the same nursing staff, too.
4. Shaq to be Grand Marshal at Texas: Shaquille O'Neal, who recently joined Luczo Dragon Racing's charity team of champions, will be the Grand Marshal and will ride in the pace car with three-time Indy 500 champion Johnny Rutherford to start the Bombardier Learjet 550k.
"I am excited about being the Grand Marshal and coming to my first IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend," O'Neal said. "Since they won't let me enter the race, I'll do the next best thing and start the race in the pace car. I'm sure Johnny Rutherford can teach me a few things during the ride so when the day comes and I do get to race an IndyCar, I'll be ready."
The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues June 6 with the Bombardier Learjet 550k at Texas Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 9 p.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. 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 Iowa 100 on June 20 at Iowa Speedway. The race will be telecast at 4 p.m. on June 22 by VERSUS.