New Format For Dayton Indy Lights Championship Awards Banquet

DETROIT (Oct. 3, 2000) - The 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Championship Awards Banquet will feature a new format at a familiar venue when the top performers of this year's season will be honored at the annual season-ending celebration at the Ontario ...

DETROIT (Oct. 3, 2000) - The 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Championship Awards Banquet will feature a new format at a familiar venue when the top performers of this year's season will be honored at the annual season-ending celebration at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 29.

The banquet, which will culminate with the crowning of the 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Championship winning driver and team, will be held in conjunction with the season-ending Dayton Indy Lights 100 Presented by The Los Angeles Times that will be run at California Speedway that morning. It is the third consecutive year that the season-ending awards has been scheduled to be held at the Ontario facility, but the 2000 edition will be the first in the 15-year history of Indy Lights to feature a theater-style format and program.

Dinner at 6:30 p.m. will be followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. that will offer guests theater-style rows of seating, similar to entertainment industry awards banquets. The evening also features an afterglow party that will be held immediately following the awards program.

"A theater-style program is something we have discussed in the past and we look forward to debuting this new format at the 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Championship Banquet," said Indy Lights President and CEO Roger Bailey. "The revised show now allows guests to socialize and enjoy dinner before the awards ceremony that can run without interruptions for food service. We are confident that this new approach will offer a timely and entertaining evening."

This year's "Night of Champions" theme will pay tribute to the 2000 Dayton Indy Lights champion and past series titleists. Didier Theys (1987), Jon Beekhuis (1988), Paul Tracy (1990) Eric Bachelart (1991), Robbie Buhl (1992), Bryan Herta (1993), Tony Kanaan (1997), Cristiano da Matta (1998) and Oriol Servia (1999) are among the former series champs scheduled to be in attendance in addition to1994 Indy Lights Rookie of the Year Andre Ribeiro.

The 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Championship will culminate with a record battle between Scott Dixon (Invensys/Powerware/PacWest Lights Lola), Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola) and Casey Mears (Dorricott Racing/Sooner Trailer Lola) that is the closest three-way points race in series history. Dixon leads with 134 points while Bell and Mears trail closely with 130 and 129 points, respectively.

Official Dayton Indy Lights Championship announcer and CART Radio Network team member Tom Michaels will once again host the banquet. The evening's dress is cocktail attire. The Ontario Convention Center is located at 2000 Convention Center Way near the Ontario Airport.

Tickets for the Dayton Indy Lights Championship Awards Banquet are $75 apiece and can be ordered from series headquarters at (248) 362-6200. Media interested in attending the event can contact Adam Saal at (321) 868-3428. A complete list of the awards that will be presented at the Dayton Indy Lights Championship Awards Banquet follows.

Championship Awards - Nearly $400,000 in Dayton Indy Lights Championship point fund bonuses will be paid to the top-12 finishers in the series. The highlight will be the $75,000 bonus paid to the Dayton Indy Lights Championship winning driver. Second-place earns $50,000 with $40,000 going to the third-place driver.

Heading into the Fontana finale, Scott Dixon (Invensys/Powerware/PacWest Lights Lola), Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola) and Casey Mears (Dorricott Racing/Sooner Trailer Lola) are locked in a record three-way title fight. Dixon leads with 134 points, but Bell (130 points) and Mears (129 points) are within five points.

Team Owner Trophy - A special trophy will be presented to the championship-winning team owner.

Top Team Player Award - A special trophy will be presented to a member of the championship team, selected by the owner and team manager, that played a key role in the championship-winning effort. An evolution of the traditional champion chief mechanic award, the Top Team Player Award broadens the list of eligible recipients to include all crewmembers, not just chief mechanics.

Rookie of the Year - A special trophy will be presented to Bell who clinched the rookie award one race ago in Houston.

Nation's Cup - The Dayton Indy Lights Nation's Cup will be presented to the United States which saw its drivers clinch the award for the second-straight year one race ago in Houston.

Bosch Platinum+4 Speedway Challenge - A $10,000 winner-take-all bonus, the Bosch Platinum+4 Speedway Challenge is awarded to the driver earning the most points in the year's five oval track races. Bell currently leads the Platinum+4 standings over 1999 Bosch winner Casey Mears (Dorricott Racing/Sooner Trailer Lola), 58 - 45. Dixon is third with 43 points. The driver with the most circle-track points at the conclusion of the final race in California will win the Bosch award.

PPG Color & Design Award - A $5,000 bonus that is paid to the team that displays the best design and use of a PPG paint scheme. The winner is determined through season-long voting by PPG guests and VIPs.

WorldCom Fast Pace Award - A custom crafted Steuben glass trophy will be presented to the driver earning the most WorldCom Fast Pace Awards during the season. The $1,000 WorldCom awards are presented at each Dayton Indy Lights race and Dixon has already clinched the year-end trophy with five fastest laps in the 11 races run to date.

Racing For Kids Driver Performance Award - Another season-long competition, the driver accumulating the most points in the Racing For Kids program will earn $1,000 with an additional $5,000 presented to a children's hospital in his name. Racing for Kids (RFK) is a non-profit organization that employs auto racing to build funding and awareness for children's hospitals. With two races remaining, championship leaders Dixon (134 points), Bell (130 points) and Mears (129 points) also lead the RFK standings.

Fred Rhue Meritorious Service Award - Named after the late PPG executive who played a key role in the establishment of Indy Lights, the Fred Rhue award will be presented to an individual from within the Indy Lights community who made a significant contribution to the betterment of the series in 2000.

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Didier Theys , Casey Mears , Robbie Buhl , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Oriol Servia , Bryan Herta , Townsend Bell , Roger Bailey , Cristiano da Matta