Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines: 1. Beatriz to race in Miami with DRR 2. Healing Conway looks forward to return to car 3. Hinchcliffe to host karting shootout 1. Beatriz to race in Miami with DRR: Dreyer &...
Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. Beatriz to race in Miami with DRR
2. Healing Conway looks forward to return to car
3. Hinchcliffe to host karting shootout
1. Beatriz to race in Miami with DRR: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced today that Brazilian Ana Beatriz will drive the team's No. 24 Roll Coater entry for the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Beatriz will fill in for the injured Mike Conway, who will be in Miami to support the team.
"First of all, we are happy that Mike is back in the U.S. and will be with us in Miami," said Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner Dennis Reinbold. "We wish that he could be racing, but his recovery process is the most important thing right now. With it being the final race of the season, we felt that Ana was the perfect choice. It will be good to have her in our car again for the last race. Ana has really shown us her talent and motivation."
Beatriz will be one of five women competing in the season finale, joining Danica Patrick, Simona de Silvestro, Sarah Fisher and Milka Duno. The 23-year-old native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, made her IZOD IndyCar debut at her home race in Brazil and competed with DRR at the Indianapolis 500 and Chicagoland.
"I am very excited to get back in the car and race at Homestead," said Beatriz, the first female driver to win a Firestone Indy Lights race. "The only time that I've raced there was in 2008, when I debuted in Firestone Indy Lights. It is a tough and very challenging oval. I would like to thank Robbie (Buhl), Dennis and Larry (Curry) for the confidence and our partners, Roll Coater, OX and Bardahl in making this happen. Also, after not being able to sign up for the entire season, (my managers) Andre Ribeiro, Augusto Cesario and I planned on running four races this season and I am very happy and proud that we have achieved that. This is very important in growing my experience in the IZOD IndyCar Series and it will help me a lot for next year."
2. Healing Conway looks forward to return to car: Seven months ago, Mike Conway was fielding questions about a promising IZOD IndyCar Series season at the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing shop as team principals announced their drivers and sponsors. This week, Conway was sifting through mail at the Indianapolis facility - cards, letters, even a painting, wishing him a speedy and full recovery.
"It's amazing the reception I've gotten from so many people sending well-wishes," said Conway, whose second season with the team was cut short when he suffered serious back and leg injuries in last-lap crash in the Indianapolis 500. "It's all going in the right direction."
Conway returned from the UK to be evaluated by Indy Racing League medical personnel. The MRI on his back showed the compression fracture has healed. The cast has been off his left leg for weeks, and he's been full bore into training. In other words, the 27-year-old is physically progressing for a full return to the race car.
"It's all healing and everything is still where it should be," Conway said. "They expected me still to be on crutches at this point, so I've kind of exceeded their expectations, which is good. I've been working hard at training non-stop the past two months, trying to do everything I can to get back. It's been an interesting journey, an experience definitely.
"The rehabilitation has been good because it keeps you focused on where you want to be at the end of it. The first six weeks of just sitting around doing nothing was annoying."
Conway never has been one to be inactive for long, so the recovery in the hospital and then back home in England was challenging mentally and physically. When cleared, he initiated rehabilitation with swimming and light weight lifting. Cycling was added when the leg cast was removed, and he was behind the wheel of a racing simulator about seven weeks after the incident "to keep sharp and busy."
"There are up and down days," he said. "The training is the same, too. You try to push as much as you can and then you step back a bit. You see some good changes one week and nothing the next, and then the next two weeks you see some really good steps. The more days of rest you have you feel better and the legs feel stronger.
"I've never had a big injury like that before so there are lots of people telling you what to expect and you have to go through it and live it to know what it's about."
Conway said he's watched the accident "about 100 times and explained how it happened" during interviews, but it's something that occurred in the past. He's been tracking the season, looking to the future.
"I've forgotten about it now," he said. "I'm on the road to getting back in the car, not think about what happened before. I've been watching (the races) on my laptop and on TV. The first couple to watch were a bit strange because there was someone else in my car and I wanted to be out there. You just have to focus on what you need to do."
That includes fully regaining his strength, stamina and mobility.
"I want to be 100 percent when I get back in; to not have any setbacks by getting in too early," said Conway, who will attend the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "I'm looking forward to seeing the cars go round."
He has a lot of catching up with fellow competitors and friends, and with the well-wishers.
"I have to catch up on thank yous," he said.
3. Hinchcliffe to host karting shootout: For the second consecutive year, Canadian Firestone Indy Lights standout James Hinchcliffe will host the "Hinchtown.com Canadian Karting Award" shootout at Mosport International Raceway.
Hinchcliffe will again select selected eight lucky participants to take part in the "Thrill of a Lifetime 3+" racing school, held at the Bridgestone Racing Academy Track at Mosport. Last year, seven drivers took part in the Bridgestone Racing School event at Mosport, with Rotax DD2 pilot Enrico Menotti being judged the winner.
"We are really excited about our second edition of the Hinchtown.com Canadian Karting Award," noted Hinchcliffe. "Last year was such a success and to be able to offer this opportunity to eight more young Canadian racers is fantastic."
Brett Goodman of the Bridgestone Racing Academy and Tony Ventresca of Autosports Media Group will be on hand to assist Hinchcliffe in judging the activity at Mosport, monitoring each of the drivers' on-track actions including track control, respect and speed. Hinchcliffe will also monitor the drivers off track presentation.
"In teaming up with the Bridgestone Racing Academy again this year, these drivers are going to get to experience what I truly believe is one of the best training grounds in North America for young karters who want to make that transition to cars," continued Hinchcliffe.
Following the completion of the one-day Bridgestone Racing School, the panel will select one driver to participate in a fully paid three-day "Wheel to Wheel" race licensing course at the Bridgestone Racing Academy during the 2011 season. The is the same course Hinchcliffe attended to obtain his racing license and is something he feels many Canadian karters deserve, as sometimes karters need a little push to take their motorsports career to the next level.
"Last year it was really tough to pick one winner, but Enrico really shone that day, and I imagine with the group we have selected that this year will be just as difficult," Hinchcliffe said.
This year's eight drivers will be announced Sept. 27. The shootout will be held Oct. 20.
The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season concludes with the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 on Oct. 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race, which will decide the IZOD IndyCar Series championship, will be telecast live in High Definition at 6 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 212. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season concludes with the Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka 100 on Oct. 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.