Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines: 1.Road to Indy ladder on display together 2.Hometown heroes return to Hawkeye State 3.Racing For Kids representatives bring cheer to patients 4.Fisher's engineer gets feel for ...
Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1.Road to Indy ladder on display together
2.Hometown heroes return to Hawkeye State
3.Racing For Kids representatives bring cheer to patients
4.Fisher's engineer gets feel for racing
1. Road to Indy ladder on display together: The Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer race weekend will mark the final time in 2010 that the Road to Indy developmental ladder series will run together.
The system provides a natural career progression from the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda to the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear to Firestone Indy Lights and finally the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Iowa Speedway's start/finish line provided a backdrop for a photo opportunity that included Dario Franchitti's Indianapolis 500-winning car, the two cars that won races at the "Night Before the 500" and Charlie Kimball's Firestone Indy Lights car.
"It was a pretty special experience to get to sit in my car next to the Indianapolis 500 winner's car," said Kimball, who finished second in the Firestone Freedom 100. "It's the goal of all four of us here, even though Dario has won the race a couple of times now. It's pretty neat to be in that group. Having a clear-defined path that the Road to Indy provides makes everyone's life easier."
Star Mazda points leader Conor Daly, who is aiming for his fourth consecutive win, represented his series in the photo while Patrick McKenna, who won the "Night Before the 500's" USF2000 event in his first oval race, represented his series. The Irishman enjoyed spending time with the other drivers and meeting Franchitti, a driver he looked up to when he raced in British Formula Ford.
"The photo shoot with all the cars lined up was pretty impressive," McKenna said. "To meet Dario was a very nice thing. He's a cool guy. I've met quite a few (IZOD) IndyCar Series drivers at the Road to Indy Summit and the Road to Indy is great. It's so high profile and we get to run on these weekends with other series where you want to be running. Those are the people you are trying to impress, so it's important to have a chance to do that."
Franchitti was impressed by the young drivers who participated in photo and wished them the best for the rest of the season.
"The drivers who were with me got to where they are because they are doing a great job and there's obviously a lot talent in the ladder system," said Franchitti, the IZOD IndyCar Series reigning champion and championship points leader entering the June 20 race. "I think they are all in the positions that they are in because they worked hard and they are talented and they have the right people behind them. They are the future of the IZOD IndyCar Series, and I hope they can make their way up the ladder."
2. Hometown heroes return to Hawkeye State: De Ferran Dragon Racing mechanics and pit crew members Josh Junge and Rick Campbell lived and raced in Iowa for a number of years before joining the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Junge grew up in Keystone and is a Benton Community High School graduate, while Campbell spent six years in Ames. Junge raced modifieds at Benton County Speedway for three years before joining IZOD IndyCar Series entrant Cahill Racing in Indianapolis in 1998. Campbell raced modifieds and stock cars for CCC Racing at Boone Speedway, Hamilton County Speedway and Greenbelt Speedway before leaving to join Shelby Howard's team in the ARCA Series in 2000.
Two Team Penske pit crew members and an HVM Racing also are Iowa natives. Corey Odenbrett, the inside rear tire changer on the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, is from Renwick. Travis Law, the inside front tire changer on the No. 6 Team Penske car, is from Maquoketa. Brett Snyder, the inside rear tire changer on the No. 78 Team Stargate Worlds car is from Muscatine.
3. Racing For Kids representatives bring cheer to patients: For the first time in its 21-year history, two drivers from the same family visited with patients at a local children's hospital.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Justin Wilson and Bryan Herta Autosport's Stefan Wilson joined AFS Racing Andretti Autosport driver Charlie Kimball and Racing For Kids national spokesman Robbie Buhl in visiting patients at Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines on June 18.
Kimball was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2007 and monitors his blood sugar during Firestone Indy Lights races through a device on his steering wheel.
They all signed autographs, posed for photos with patients and distributed Racing for Kids baseball caps throughout the hospital. Racing For Kids draws on the popularity of motorsports to bring attention and funding to the health care needs of children and child health institutions. Racing For Kids representatives have visited more than 20,000 children in more than 450 hospitals around the world.
4. Fisher's engineer gets feel for racing: IZOD IndyCar Series team owner/driver Sarah Fisher gave Tom Brown, engineer of her No. 67 Dollar General car, a taste of racing on a short oval at Iowa Speedway.
Fisher was the driver and Brown the passenger in an Indy Racing Experience two-seater.
"From my point of view, you put them through it but at times you don't realize what you put them through," Brown said. "We look at data all the time and to actually feel what you're looking at is good. It was a blast."
The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues June 20 with the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer at Iowa Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 1:30 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the AvoidTheStork.com 100 on June 19 at the Iowa Speedway.