Danica Entered in 500: Rahal Letterman Racing filed three entries for the 89th Indianapolis 500: Rookie Danica Patrick (formerly of Roscoe), Vitor Meira and 2004 race winner Buddy Rice. Danica will attempt to become just the fourth woman to qualify for the 500, following Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James and Sarah Fisher. Fernandez Racing also filed two entries: Scott Sharp and Kosuke Matsuura. The race is scheduled May 29.
ABC With Foyt: A.J. Foyt Enterprises, which won the 1999 Indianapolis 500 and 1998 IndyCar Series title with Kenny Brack, filed 500 entries for A.J. Foyt IV, Larry Foyt and Scott Mayer. Foyt IV is the grandson of team owner and four-time Indy winner A.J. Foyt. Larry Foyt is A.J.s son. Mayer will attempt to make his first 500 start in a car sponsored by ABC Supply Co. Inc., headquartered in Beloit, Wis., and owned by Ken Hendricks.
Second Vision Car: Vision Racing, owned by IRL IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway boss Tony George, says veteran Jeff Ward will drive the No. 22 Dallara/Toyota in the 500 May 29, teaming with full-time IndyCar Series competitor Ed Carpenter (Georges stepson). Ward has posted four top-10 finishes in six Indy starts. Roberto Moreno, 46, has been drafted to coach Carpenter. Vision was formed early this year when George and his wife Laura purchased assets of Kelley Racing from Tom Kelley. Vision also fields a full-time car in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series for Jay Drake. Larry Curry is team manager and Kevin Kukulewicz is the chief mechanic for both Vision 500 entries.
J. Lazier Gets Ride: Playa Del Racing filed an entry for the 89th Indianapolis 500, with IndyCar Series race winner Jaques Lazier as the driver. Lazier will drive the teams No. 21 Panoz/Toyota in an attempt to make his fifth 500 start. His best finish is 13th as a rookie in 2000. Last year, he substituted for Robby Gordon after the NASCAR ace had to leave during a rain delay for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.
Bubby Lazier in 500: Buddy Lazier, 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner and 2000 IndyCar Series champion, will drive the No. 95 Jonathan Byrds Cafeteria/Panther Racing/ESPN 950 Dallara/Chevrolet in this years Indy 500, supplementing the Panther Racing team of Tomas Scheckter and Tomas Enge.
Schmidt, Hearn Team: Sam Schmidt Motorsports has named IndyCar veteran Richie Hearn as driver of the No. 70 Meijer/Coca-Cola Special for the 89th Indianapolis 500. Schmidts entry will be a Chevrolet-powered Panoz, with major sponsorship from traditional Indy team sponsor Meijer stores and Coca-Cola. Hearn, 34, finished third in the 1996 Indy 500 and was sixth in 2002 in a Schmidt car. This will be his sixth Indy start.
Nunn, Fernandez Join: Adrian Fernandez confirmed the creation of Nunn Fernandez Racing to field a car for him in this years Indy 500. The IRLs only driver/owner at the end of last season, Fernandez chose to focus on the ownership side of his race team after losing his longtime Mexican sponsors and landing Scott Sharps Delphi backing. Toyota backing for driver Tora Takagi ended after last season, and so did Mo Nunn Racing. So Nunn Fernandez Racing will field a Panoz/Honda for Fernandez with backing from Investment Properties of America, an Indianapolis-based real state company which also will support another two Indy entries (Dreyer & Reinbold Racings two cars of team regular Roger Yasukawa and a one-off for Jeff Bucknum). Fernandez will be battling his own drivers of Sharp and Kosuke Matsuura.
Indy 500 Tickets: Ken Dull of Machesney Park has four 2005 Indy 500 tickets for sale for face value. He said they cost $327; hes asking $327 and one T-shirt. The seats are in the Northeast Vista (turn 3), Sec. 45, Row PP, Seats 1-4. Call Dull at (815) 520-5514 (cell), (815) 966-8177 (work) or (815) 877-0553 (home).
Dominquez Lands Backers: Adrian Fernandez, Mexicos biggest racing star, may have lost his Mexican sponsorships, but Mario Dominguez has found support. The Mexican driver will have lubricant company Roshrans as main sponsor of his Forsythe Racing Lola/Ford, with phone company Telcel and the Mifel financial group also on board. Fernandez had to halt his IRL driving career this year following the departure of longtime backers Tecate and Telmex, while in Champ Car, Michel Jourdain Jr. is gone to NASCAR after Gigante withdrew from the sport. Ditto for the Herdez Competition team, which morphed into HVM Inc. when the food giant terminated its sponsorship. Dominguez said his Forsythe contract allows him to leave for F1 next year in case the opportunity with Midland materializes.
More Champ Car Deals: PKV Racing said tech company Bell Micro will sponsor Cristiano da Mattas Champ Car for the entire 2005 season, while Newman/Haas has added Centrix Financialwhich was an IRL primary sponsor on Vitor Meiras Rahal Letterman car last yearas an associate backer on Sebastien Bourdais and Bruno Junqueiras machines.
Glock, Rocketsports Pair: German driver Timo Glock, 23, confirmed on his personal Web site that he will partner Ryan Hunter-Reay at Rocketsports in the upcoming Champ Car season, SpeedTV.com reported. Glocks deal with Paul Gentilozzis squad first emerged in March when his Deutsche Post backing unofficially was given as the reason for Alex Taglianis departure from Rocketsports after two seasons. But sponsorship dollars aside, the former Jordan F1 test driver has been consistently impressive in his testing with the Rocketsports Lola/Ford; he topped the charts on the second day of a Sebring group test of 17 cars.
Now Team Australia: Australian businessmen John Fish and Craig Gore have acquired a controlling interest in Derrick Walkers Champ Car operation, rebranding the squad as Team Australia. Wine company Aussie Vineyards will be the primary sponsor of the outfit, which already has announced Aussie Marcus Marshall and series veteran Alex Tagliani as its two drivers. In addition, Aussie Vineyards also has become one of Champ Cars official business partners. Walker will retain an equity interest in the newly-named squad, and will oversee its day-to-day operations.
Late Signing: Jensen MotorSport team owner Eric Jensen signed Italian driver Fabrizio Del Monte April 7, days before the Long Beach season opener. The 24-year-old Del Monte finished second in the Superfund Euro F3000 championship the last two years. Jensen, veteran Toyota Atlantic owner, plans to enter one car (a Lola) in all 14 Champ Car races this year. Initially expected to contest just the four Canadian races, Jensen has been able to step up his program thanks to newfound sponsorships, including backing from photo company Konica Minolta. The Ontario-based operation will become the first major-league Canadian team in U.S. racing in two decades.
Second Coyne Driver: Another last-minute deal put Ricardo Sperafico, 2003 FIA F3000 runnerup, in the second Dale Coyne Racing seat, alongside Spaniard Oriol Servia. Sperafico, 25-year-old Brazilian, said his deal is good for the full 2005 Champ Car season. Sperafico is cousin to 2004 Conquest Racing driver Alex Sperafico, and also has a twin racing brother, Rodrigo Sperafico. DCR is an Illinois team, based in Plainfield.
HVM Lineup Set: Champ Car definitely will have an array of talent this season, from former Formula One drivers and testers to F3000 and Toyota Atlantics. Keith Wiggins HVM team completed its transformation following the departure of longtime title sponsor, Mexican company Herdez, by announcing two Scandinavian drivers: Former FIA F3000 champion Bjorn Wirdheim of Sweden and Toyota Atlantics standout Ronnie Bremer of Denmark.
TV Team Set: Rick Benjamin will be the play-by-play man, Derek Daly will be the in-booth analyst and Calvin Fish and Jon Beekhuis will be the pit reporters for Champ Car World Series telecasts this season (eight races will be on SPEED, four on CBS and two on NBC). Additionally, Ralph Shaheen will join the lineup for the CBS races (Milwaukee, Portland, Cleveland and Toronto) and Chris McClure will replace Fish when he has prior commitments.
< p> Milwaukee Off TA Tour: Toyota Atlantic officials have taken Milwaukee off the schedule and added a second event in Cleveland, maintaining a 12-race championship. The June 3-4 Milwaukee Mile was to be the only oval on the 05 tour. Concerns over costs associated with equipment changes to an oval setup were cited. Milwaukee said it will offer Formula Drifting competition instead. A doubleheader will be run at Cleveland June 25-26. Portland also will have a doubleheader June 18-19. The Atlantics still will make a Wisconsin appearance, Aug. 21 at Road America.
Red Bull Changes: Red Bull Racing confirmed it will give test driver Vitantonio Liuzzi the opportunity to make his Formula One race debut at the next round, the San Marino GP at Imola on April 24. He also will partner David Coulthard in Barcelona and Monte Carlo. Italian Liuzzi, reigning F3000 champion, replaces Austrian Christian Klien for the three races. Klien contested the first three GPs, producing points finishes in Australia and Malaysia. Klien is ineligible to be the Friday tester because he competed in too many GPs last season, so American Scott Speed could get the call. The Californian, wholl make a full-season campaign in the new GP2 series this year with Red Bull backing, has been fast in every GP2 testing session so far and also was fast during his first F1 outing at Barcelona last month in one of Red Bulls âold Jaguar R5s.
New Track Gets Go-Ahead: Developer Randy Hellyer was assigned the exclusive option of buying 632 acres of land near Minonk for a multimillion-dollar racing facility, the Peoria Journal Star reported. The Minonk City Council bought the $25,000, two-year option on the property north of Minonk off Interstate 39 from owner Waste Management of Illinois. The city then assigned that option to Hellyer, which essentially buys time until he gets the financing for his $15 million I-39 Raceway Park. Construction is expected to begin this summer and the checkered flag should be waving by next year on the quarter-mile drag strip, a four-tenths mile asphalt oval track and 2.5- to 3-mile road course. Hellyer said he does not expect any road blocks with getting financing and plans to pay the city back the $25,000 it fronted for the land option. The city still must approve annexing the land, although City Administrator Trent Smith said he does not anticipate any annexation opposition. The city offered to provide water and sewer hook-up to the property, and about half the development would be located in a tax-increment financing district. Although the development is located on farmland, city officials said it qualifies to be a TIF district because it was a former mine.
Iowa Track on Move: The Iowa Senate Ways and Means Committee voted to allow the Newton Motor Speedway to keep the first $12.5 million in state sales tax it will collect on tickets, concessions and merchandise. Construction is slated to begin this spring on the $70 million speedway, designed by NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace. It will be built just south of Newton along Interstate 80. Officials expect racing to begin in the summer of 2006. The speedway is expected to generate $1.1 million in sales tax revenue each year with the total dollar impact of annual operations reaching $67 million, according to its developer, U.S. Motorsport Entertainment Corp.
Car Show Change: The well-known Pork Chop Run Car Show put on by Unique Street Rods of Rockford will undergo a major change for its June 5 event. Lou Bachrodt Chevrolet at CherryVale is sponsoring this years event and the show will be held in the Lou Bachrodt new and used car areas. Bachrodt will move out its new and used cars for the show, said Frank Manzullo, one of the show organizers. We have been looking for a sponsor, and Bachrodt will do the advertising and we will put on the show, said Manzullo. We are one of the longest running car shows in the Midwest and have drawn some of the finest street rods and customs around. Some are national winners. Proceeds again will benefit St. Judes. Call Ken McGrew at (815) 398-4260 for entry info.
Kenseth, Edwards at WIR: NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth, Roush Racing teammates, will compete in the Factory Motor Parts/AC Delco All-Star Challenge event June 21 at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna, said Roy Kenseth, promoter of RK Race Promotions. They will run the 100-lap Wisconsin Challenge Series race that will pay $500 to start and $5,000 to win. Advance ticket prices are $17 for ages 16+, $8 for ages 6-15 and free for 5 and under. A VIP package is available for $100, including reserved seating and parking, unlimited food and drinks, autographed item, exclusive Q&A session and other benefits. A mail order form is available at http://www.mattkenseth.com/RKRP/WIRTickets.htm
Miller Wins in Mid-Am: Jeremy Miller of Rockton pulled off a last-lap pass to win the Mid-American Stock Car Series 2005 opener at Rockford Speedway April 3 during the 28th annual Spring Classic weekend. Jon Reynolds Jr. of Roscoe claimed victory in the 58-lap Northern Series race and Mike Beyer of Machesney Park won the opener of the Big 8 Late Model Series. Seventeen cars showed for the Mid-Am race. Twenty-four cars out of 33 that timed in started the Big 8 race April 2. But only 11 cars took the green 24 hours later for the Northern Series races even though the rules are fairly close. .
Seven-Race Series: The NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series has lost the Aug. 2 race at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna, making it a seven-race series, six less than last season. Too bad its still not the ARTGO Challenge Series; losing races wouldnt be happening.
Big 8 Adds Race: The Big 8 Limited Late Model Series said Jefferson (Wis.) Speedway has added the series to the 25th annual Wisconsin State Championships slated for Sept. 16-17. The event will feature twin 50-lap features. Series information is available at www.big8series.com.
Trickle To Race: The next Big 8 race will be Sunday afternoon, May 1, at Madison (Wis.) International Speedway, joining the Wisconsin Challenge Series, Rich Bickle, Todd Kluever and the legendary Dick Trickle. Trickle won MIS track championships in 1971 and 1972 and collected a record 72 feature victories there. Qualifying begins at 1:30 p.m. with racing at 3.
Big 8 Series: The new Big 8 Limited Late Model Series will compete in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin this season. The top 16 qualifiers will automatically advance to the 24-car starting field that pays $1,000 to win and $150 to start. We feel this format along with our inversion process of five plus the roll of the die will provide both drivers and fans with great racing action, said series race director Tom Powell. Cars will be allowed a 10.8:1 engine with a Holley 4412 carburetor at a minimum 2,800 pounds (42 percent right side). All races will be run on Goodyear D2562 and D2563 tires. Big 8 technical director Greg Folk added, âOur goal is to unify limited late model rules and provide these drivers an opportunity to travel to some of the best area tracks. Twenty-eight teams competed during the inaugural Big 8 event last fall at Rockford. Madison International Speedway will host the second stop on the series May 1, along with a second visit to be announced. Other races will be Sept. 23 at Rockford and Oct. 6-9 at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway. Additional dates are being confirmed.
Melanie Troxel Signed: Don Prudhommes Snake Racing said it has signed a development contract with driver Melanie Troxel in an effort to secure sponsorship of a Top Fuel dragster team to compete in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. The deal marks the first time an NHRA team owner has reached such an agreement with a driver prior to having secured a primary sponsor.
New Route 66 Sponsor: Ameriquest Mortgage Co. will be the title sponsor of the NHRA POWERade Series event at Route 66 Raceway near Joliet Sept. 29-Oct. 2. It is the first NHRA national event title sponsorship for Ameriquest Mortgage, which last month was
named an official marketing partner of NHRA. The CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals will be at Route 66 June 9-12. Route 66 Raceway, which opened in 1998, is a multimillion-dollar complex that includes a 1/4-mile, stadium-style drag strip and 1/2-mile dirt oval trackright next door to Chicagoland Speedway. And it is one more thing that has slipped through Rockfords fingers.
Great NASCAR Stockers: Two NASCAR stock cars from the past will be in the April 16-17 Keith Classics & Chrome Indoor Car Show in the Indoor Sports Center, 8800 Riverside Blvd., Loves Park. One is the 1988 Goodwrench Chevrolet driven by the late Dale Earnhardt as a tribute to his father, Ralph Earnhardt. It carried No. 8 (Ralph Earnhardts number) instead of Dales famous No. 3. The other one is the No. 12 Budweiser Chevrolet owned by Junior Johnson and driven by the late Neil Bonnett in 1986. Dale Earnhardt and Bonnett were great friends who fished and hunted together. Bonnetts teammate in 1986 was Darrell Waltrip in the No. 11 Johnson car. Show hours will be 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. More info from (815) 399-8823 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All-Star May 21: The 21st NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge returns May 21 to Lowes Motor Speedway, with the winner collecting more than $1 million. The all-star event showcases race winners from the previous and current Nextel Cup seasons, plus the winner of the Nextel All-Star Challenge Open, a preliminary event for teams not qualified for the all-star event, and another Open driver who wins a fan vote into the all-star event. Currently, 21 drivers have qualified.
Pepsi Adding 5th Can: Pepsi has added a new Jeff Gordon can to the Wal-Mart Sport Series lineup. The new can, The Drive for Five Pepsi Can, will be produced in a limited quantity (one million cans) for one time only. The four current championship cans that already are in-market celebrate the past success of Gordon. The new one will support his drive for five NASCAR Nextel Cup championships. The cans should be out in mid-March; the Pepsi Sports Series cans are exclusive to Wal-Mart.
Milwaukee Busch Sponsor: Telecommunications giant SBC will be the title sponsor for The Milwaukee Mile NASCAR Busch race June 25. The deal covers two years with an option for a third, but specific terms were not disclosed.
Chicagoland Sponsor: Chicagoland Speedway and SK Hand Tool Corp. signed a multi-year sponsorship agreement for the ARCA RE/MAX Series race. This years SK Hand Tool 200 will be Sept. 10; the race will be televised live on SPEED Channel to kickoff a weekend schedule that includes the IRL IndyCar Series and Menards Infiniti Pro Series races on Sept. 11. Ticket info from (815) 727-RACE (7223) or online at www.chicagolandspeedway.com.
Jenkins Joins SPEED: SPEED Channel has signed veteran motor sports broadcaster Bob Jenkins to co-anchor the networks signature weekend racing news program, SPEED News. Jenkins spent nearly 30 years as a motor sports announcer for ESPN and ABC.
Race Series on eBay: Want to own your own racing series? One is for sale on eBay. The iPower Dash Series has returned to the Items for Sale marketplace and bidding is under way to go the highest bidder. The series suspended operations in January as adequate resources and sponsorship did not materialize for the 2005 season. For a brief period, the series was listed on eBay, however a technical error removed the listing as bidding started. The item number: 4368080686. For more info or sales info, contact the series at BPDaytona@aol.com or (386) 299-3614.
ASA Late Models Add Sponsor: Torco Racing Fuels will be the official race fuel for the ASA Late Model Series. The company will provide the spec fuel for the series, as well as have a presence at events with an on-site distributor for fuel and other Torco Racing products.
Scott Pruett Wins: Defending Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype co-champion Scott Pruett held off current Daytona Prototype co-points leader Max Angelelli by a series-record 0.096 seconds to take his first victory of 2005 at California Speedway April 3. Pruett drove the CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley with Luis Diaz, who won his first career pole. Angelelli drove the SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley with car owner Wayne Taylor.
Hydroplane Movie: Distributed by MGM Pictures, a movie Madison will release in select cities nationwide on April 22. Starring Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ, The Count of Monte Cristo), the film is a father-son action/drama based on the true story of the tiny, dying river town of Madison, Ind., on the Ohio River and its legendary 1971 race for the Gold cup of hydroplane boat racing. For more information about the film, visit www.madisonthemovie.com.
From the April 13-19, 2005, issue