SEAN GUTHRIE AND TOM WIERINGA HEAD TO HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY FOR IRL INDY PRO SERIES SEASON OPENER - Guthrie one of only two IRL drivers to do IRL Indy Pro Series / Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series "double duty" - (ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico /...
SEAN GUTHRIE AND TOM WIERINGA HEAD TO HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY FOR IRL INDY PRO SERIES SEASON OPENER
- Guthrie one of only two IRL drivers to do IRL Indy Pro Series / Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series "double duty" -
(ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico / March 19, 2007) -- Guthrie Racing's Indy Racing League (IRL) Indy Pro Series team, with drivers Sean Guthrie and Tom Wieringa, is headed to the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS) for the "Miami 100" race this Saturday, the first of 16 races in 2007 for that series.
"Sean got five races under his belt last year," Jim Guthrie said of his 18-year-old son, who recorded a fifth-place finish at Kentucky last year. "He has been working very hard during the off season. He's got a tough workout regimen, and he's driving all the time. I think he's got a great shot at the championship.
"Tom is a wily veteran," Jim continued. "After starting last due to an engine change last year at Chicagoland, he made it up to sixth and right into the thick of things. He seems to be a really good fit for our team. We have similar goals, personalities and drives."
On racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Jim said, "Homestead is a pretty unique oval. It's different than the rest of the ovals we race on because we experience the highest "g loads" there. But we think we have a pretty good race car. One of our main goals in 2007 is to qualify more consistently, so we'll see how everything plays out and just how well we have prepared once we get to the track."
Sean Guthrie is equally excited about the start to the new season: "We are going to compete in all 16 races. Hopefully we're going to record a few victories. We'd like to do well with Tom, and I plan to run for the championship. I think there are probably four or five guys who have a viable chance at it, and I think we're one of them. After a few victories and a couple of top-five finishes, I think we've got a really good shot at it."
"I'm looking forward to running with Jim Guthrie and his team this season," Tom Wieringa said. "I ran for the team at the season finale at Chicago last year and was pleased with the caliber and quality of the team. The history and background in Indy cars of the team owner, engineer, mechanics and spotter is awesome. We gelled very well at our last outing, so I'm sure that the continuity of the season will bring great results."
Sean Guthrie will be one of two IRL drivers doing double duty on March 24th as he also competes in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series endurance race on HMS' road course, the first sports car race of his career. Guthrie will race a highly competitive BMW M3 in the GT class for Matt Connolly Motorsports.
"I'm really looking forward to racing with the Matt Connolly Motorsports team in the upcoming Grand-Am series this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway," Sean said. "I know they'll give me a great car, and if we accomplish all of our goals, I'm hoping this could lead to more endurance races this year, and possibly a ride in next January's 'Rolex 24 at Daytona.' I have done a lot of road course racing in the past in karting, the Star Mazda series and in a Miata and Mustang, and have tested on Homestead's road course in the Indy Pro Series car, but I have not done any endurance racing. My longest races to date have been 45 minutes. My stint in the M3 will be about 75 minutes, so that will be a challenge I'm look forward to conquering.
"I've always conserved my equipment well, and that, combined with my driving style, should fit well with racing sports cars. I'm excited to not only get this opportunity in a GT car, but an M3 -- my dad has owned a few of them in the past. Plus Grand-Am races tend to be populated with a lot of drivers with Indy 500 wins, as well as other top racers, and that will be a great experience for me as I develop my racing resume. I hope I can be as successful and established in my racing career as they have been, and racing with them is a good place to start."
After conquering the "Miami 100," the Indy Pro Series warriors head north to the streets St. Petersburg, Fla., for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first road course event of 2007, with two separate races scheduled on March 31st and April 1st.
GUTHRIE RACING TEAM NOTES
* Guthrie Racing intended on competing in 2007 as U.S. Pro Racing after owner Jim Guthrie formed a partnership with Mike Lee during the off season. However, the team recently reverted back to a single owner -- Jim Guthrie -- and will run the full season as Guthrie Racing. Jim Guthrie states: "Guthrie Racing elected to form a partnership with my friend, Mike Lee, in order to increase the business opportunities for our organization throughout the year. Although we have officially separated for the start of the season, we remain friends and I sincerely hope that we will be able to work together in the future. Mark has expressed interest in continuing to support our efforts, which we will gladly welcome."
* Last year, nine drivers combined to make 18 starts for the team. This year, the team plans to campaign Guthrie and Wieringa for the full season. That continuity should breed familiarity among the team and lead to stronger results on the track on a more consistent basis.
* Watch For A Young Winner: Jim Guthrie hoisted an IndyCar Series trophy at Phoenix International Raceway in 1997, and he was also named IRL "Rookie of the Year" during that season. This year, the team hopes Sean Guthrie will hoist an Indy Pro Series trophy. While the series has had younger winners, such as Marco Andretti, a win by Guthrie would make him one of the youngest in series history.
* The Guthrie Racing team can not only claim one of the youngest racers in the IRL Indy Pro Series, but also the oldest competitor in Tom Wieringa, who will be 55 years old in June.