Drivers Say Yes To New Format

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, April 29 2010

Danica Patrick says the new IndyCar rules are good rules.

By Nick Bromberg | Senior Correspondent

Kansas City, Kan. – The IndyCar Series’ new sub-championships have been met with some disdain by those outside the series, but when asked about the two new championships at Kansas Speedway Thursday, Danica Patrick and Will Power said that they were fans of the idea.

“It’s a good idea because there are certain drivers who are very good on ovals but not so good on road courses and vice versa. I think ultimately everyone wants to win the overall championship but I think this makes it a little more interesting,” Power said.

The 17 race IndyCar series schedule has nine road and street races and eight oval races, so in addition to awarding the season champion, a road and street and oval champion will be crowned as well. Power, who leads the points standings, is one of the favorites for the road and street title, if not the overall title, while Patrick, who is 16th in the standings, thinks her best shot is for the oval championship.

“I was excited when I heard that. I think it adds another dimension for the series. I think it will – I hate to say that it will make the competition tighter but there’s more up for grabs all the time now so it was definitely something good for me to hear and something for me to shoot for,” Patrick said.

However, the series finale at Homestead will not count towards the oval championship to keep the overall championship separate The oval champion will be crowned September 19th at Twin Ring Motegi.

“I like that the series is adding interesting things like that to the competition. It doesn’t take away from the series championship. Everyone is striving for everything they can every weekend, but now if you have one stronger than the other you get rewarded in some way,” Patrick said.

Happy Guy: John Andretti has driven a lot of Indycars in his life. These days mostly a NASCAR driver, Andetti has driven Indycars in a lot of races for several different teams.

But this weekend, he is performing a first as he is driving a car owned by another Andretti – his cousin, Michael.

And what a car, John said from the garages at Kansas Speedway, site of Saturday’s Road Runner Turbo Indy 300.

He was asked if it was good enough to win on Saturday and he just smiled and said, “We’ll see.”

He will also drive the car in next month’s Indy 500.

Cousin Michael’s cars have won championships and Indy 500s. They are among the fastest best-prepped in the garages. Hence the smile.

John got the car out on the track on Wednesday. He turned quickest lap of the day on a day which was primarily to be used for oval rookies.

The car is being sponsored by Window Worlds and co-fielded by John Andretti’s friend and former NASCAR owner, Richard Petty. It carries the famous No. 43 of Petty and is painted in Petty blue.

More Andretti: Andretti Autosport has signed 2009 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport champion Adam Carroll to drive a limited schedule of IZOD IndyCar Series events in the second half of the season.

Carroll, a native of Portadown, Northern Ireland, had victories, six poles and eight podiums in seven rounds on his way to winning the 2008-2009 A1GP World title for Team Ireland.

Andretti Autosport has yet to determine Carroll’s schedule or car assignment.

“We’re very excited that Adam is on board,” Andretti Autosport chairman, president and CEO Michael Andretti said. “He is a special talent and someone who we believe will have a bright future with us at Andretti Autosport. It was important for us to give him an opportunity this year and start building for the years to come. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do later this year.”

Carroll has 41 victories, 83 podium finishes and 24 pole starts in Formula Renault Campus, Formula Ford, Formula 3, GP2 and A1GP.

Furthermore: Like at Barber Motorsports Park, Suave is the primary sponsor of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car for Dario Franchitti this weekend. … A.J. Foyt will miss the afternoon race to make his annual trip to the Kentucky Derby. “It has two sides but the good side is that he feels comfortable – and that’s normally not the kind of gamble A.J. would do –but he feels comfortable with the quality of people that he and (team director) Larry (Foyt) put together on this ABC team,” driver Vitor Meira said. … In 2002, the Foyt team won the doubleheader at Kansas Speedway with Airton Dare winning the IndyCar Series race and A.J. Foyt IV winning the Indy Lights race. … Sharon Lindenbaum, senior director of finance for Time Warner Cable, will give the command to start engines. … Andretti Autosport’s Tony Kanaan and Indy Racing League CEO Randy Bernard are featured in the May 11 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

– Nick Bromberg is a former sports writer at the Kansas City Star

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, April 29 2010