Series news and notes 2011-01-20

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:
1. Indianapolis 500 Centennial Tour enters its final stages
2. Power's family touched by Australian floods:
3. Karam to appear at Motorsports 2011 Show

1. Indianapolis 500 Centennial Tour enters its final stages: For the past week, heroes from past Indianapolis 500 have toured military installations from Germany to Bahrain to Iraq to Turkey and finally Britain to visit troops at military bases and an aircraft carrier at sea.

The reason behind the trip is summed up in a home-made sign in the corner of a window of the ICU at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany "Two small words mean a lot. Thank you."

"This medicine is better than the pharmacy,"Air Force Lt. Col. Rich Ciao of San Francisco says about tour participants meeting of the wounded warriors at the facility near Ramstein Air Base in Germany. "This pharmacy doesn't cost anything and isn't dependent on chemicals. It comes from the heart."

Davey Hamilton, who along with fellow Indianapolis 500 drivers Mario Andretti, Al Unser Jr., Sarah Fisher, Larry Foyt, Firestone Indy Lights race winner Martin Plowman and INDYCAR Commercial division President Terry Angstadt are part of the delegation on the 10-day tour of Europe and the Middle East, took the time to talk to an Airman whose ankle was shattered while deploying a robot to investigate a potential roadside explosive device.

Hamilton can relate after an accident in 2001 at Texas Motor Speedway nearly cost him both legs. With surgeons' skills and 21 operations later, Hamilton is not only walking but competing in the IZODIndyCar Series.

"It takes your breath away at first," Hamilton says. "I could relate to the young man with the ankle injury. I was in my prime and hada lot of great things going at that time, and to have it taken away in an instant is definitely a life-changing experience. I know what it takes to come back and I see that in them -- the willpower and dedication.

"The reason the Indy 500 continues is because of the freedom we have, and these men and women are making sacrifices for us to continue to be free. Thank you doesn't seem enough."

As part of the Goodwill Tour, a 2-seat IZOD IndyCar Series car with a patriotic livery and driven by Andretti gives some of the servicemen and women a chance to experience the sport. Some of the riders are nominated by their squadron commanders as "unsung heroes," while others were selected through a drawing in December.

"I want to give them all rides they'll remember," said Andretti, who manages to drive the bus that takes the servicemen to the car. "I'm having fun. We can give a taste of Indy."


2. Power's family touched by Australian floods: It's been an emotional last week for Will Power.

Power's hometown of Toowoomba, Australia, a city located in Northeastern part of the country 80 miles west of Brisbane, and it, has been hit with torrential rains, a rare inland tsunami and destructive floods over the last week, causing wide spread property damage and killing as many as 15 people.

The international headlines surrounding the natural disaster near his family home area has drawn the attention of the IZOD IndyCar Series driver, who now lives near Team Penske's headquarters in North Carolina. Power kept track of his family's statusthrough Facebook and with his Verizon phone. Power's parents own a canvas-making business in Toowoomba that was damaged. Fortunately, no one in the family was injured.

"The family business did suffer some damage due to the floods, but compared with many we got off pretty easy," said Power, who finished second in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car. "My family has been very fortunate in that their house is situated on high ground and their home escaped the ravages of the floods."

All three Team Penske drivers - Power, Sydney, Australia native Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves - have donated signed memorabilia to be auctioned off to raise funds to be given to flood victims.

A large area of Queensland, Australia has been affected by the floods in and around Toowoomba and towards the southeast in Brisbane, Australia. The clean-up efforts have really just begun in the region. Those wishing to contribute to the cause can do so by visiting a site set up by the Queensland government to aid flood victims.


3. Karam to appear at Motorsports 2011 Show: Andretti Autosport driver Sage Karam will meet race fans at the 2011 Motorsports Show at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa., on Saturday, Jan. 22.

Karam, the 2010 USF2000 National Championship champion, will sign autographs from 1-3 p.m. on the show floor. He will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Star Mazda Championship in 2011, after scoring scoring nine victories in 12 starts during the 2010 season.

-source: indycar

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Al Unser Jr. , Davey Hamilton , Helio Castroneves , Larry Foyt , Will Power , Martin Plowman , Sage Karam
Teams Andretti Autosport , Team Penske