MENARDS INFINITI PRO SERIES RETURNS TO INDY Series to contest second race at IMS in 22 days INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, June 13, 2005 -- The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be the next battleground for Wade Cunningham and Travis Gregg when the Indy...
MENARDS INFINITI PRO SERIES RETURNS TO INDY
Series to contest second race at IMS in 22 days
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, June 13, 2005 -- The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be the next battleground for Wade Cunningham and Travis Gregg when the Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series^Ù drivers compete for the series points lead in the Liberty Challenge June 18 on the facility's 2.605-mile road course.
The Menards Infiniti Pro Series will become the first racing series in the world to compete on both the Indianapolis oval and road course when it returns to the facility 22 days after competing on the oval.
The Menards Infiniti Pro Series, the top ladder series for the Indy Racing League IndyCar® Series, also will be the first series to compete at Indianapolis twice in the same year since 1916.
Gregg leads Cunningham by four points after five of 14 rounds, with the two having swapped the points lead in the past two races. Gregg, 27, regained the points lead for the third time this season with a victory June 11 in the Firestone 100 at Texas Motor Speedway, a 1.5-mile oval.
"The Indy road course is a first-class track," Gregg said. "Since we are racing the same weekend as F1, it will be very exciting, especially with all the international fans watching the event.
"At the (March 24) Open Test for the road course, things went well, and hopefully we will be stronger for the race. There are many drivers in the series with more road course experience than I have, so it's my goal to steer clear of trouble and get a top-five finish."
The advantage at Indianapolis, however, may lie with Cunningham, a former world karting champion with much more road-racing experience than Gregg, who has competed primarily on ovals.
Cunningham, 20, has recorded three consecutive second-place finishes including St. Petersburg, the series' first-ever non-oval event; Indianapolis, where he took over the series points lead; and Texas.
"It's going to be great," Cunningham said. "It's not going to be a big oval, so it's going to give some of us other drivers an opportunity to do well over there. I think it will be a good race for sure.
"Some more drivers will come back. (Marco) Andretti and some others will be there, so it should be a good race."
Andretti, 18, and Jaime Camara, 24, also hope to be front-runners in the Liberty Challenge. Andretti won his series debut on the streets of St. Petersburg and was third quick at the Open Test. He is the grandson of 1978 Formula One World Champion Mario Andretti.
Camara, who won the Futaba Freedom 100 on the oval at IMS, previously competed in South American Formula 3.
"I'll do my best to win there again because if I do, that's going to be a really good win, two times in the same year," Camara said. "But it's going to be very competitive. If I can do a good job there, it's going to be perfect."
IndyCar Series regular Ed Carpenter also will compete in the Liberty Challenge. Carpenter, who competed in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series in 2002 and 2003, winning the inaugural Futaba Freedom 100 at Indianapolis in 2003, will miss the practice/qualifying sessions due to a manufacturer's test in Richmond, Va.
Drivers in the Liberty Challenge will participate in two 45-minute practice/qualifying sessions on June 17. The fastest driver in the combined sessions will earn the SWE Race Car Parts Pole Award and one point.
The 2005 Menards Infiniti Pro Series season continues with the Liberty Challenge at 5:45 EDT on June 18. The race will be telecast on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. EDT on June 21.