2000 RACING NEWS

April - June

APRIL

ROOKIES TRYING TO QUALIFY FOR THIS YEAR'S 500
  • ANDY HILLENBURG - Fast Track Racing Enterprises
  • SAM HORNISH JR. - PDM Racing
  • DAN DINAN - Hemelgarn Racing
  • SARAH FISHER - Walker Racing
  • JUAN MONTOYA - Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
  • GUY SMITH - March Racing (Sinden)
  • DOUG DIDERO - Mid America Motorsports
  • MEMO GIDLEY - Team Pelfrey
  • AIRTON DARE - Team Xtreme
  • RONNIE JOHNCOX - Jonathan Byrd/McCormack Motorsports
  • JAQUES LAZIER - Trucelli Team Racing

I don't know why Jaques Lazier is listed as a rookie, he was in last year's Indy 500.

Andy Hillenburg, an Indy native who now lives in Charlotte, has raced ARCA, Winston Cup and sprints. His dream since he was a kid has been to be in the Indy 500. Lots of hard work, patience and persistence has finally paid off! Andy is not only and excellent driver, he's a Hoosier! Go Andy!!

I'm not sure yet what happened with rookies Casey Mears. I know Casey passed his rookie orientation, but I never heard about him getting a ride. Treadway picked up Shigeaki Hattori and his Epson sponsorship. The Shigster passed the 4-phase 500 rookie orientation according to Treadway, however they will not be starting him in the Indy 500. Shiggy will start in the IRL at Texas in June.
Treadway Racing is going to run 24 y/o Jason Leffler in the 2000 Indy 500. They ran him at Vegas last month and at WDW last year. (He also races for Joe Gibbs over in Nascar and is a midget champion.) The most intriguing part of this story is that his sponsor is United Auto Group, whose C.E.O. happens to be Roger Penske!

Several other teams have car seats to fill: Menards, Walker, Cheever, Dick Simon, Nienhouse, Coulson, and Foyt/Brack. Kenny Brack won the Indy 500 last year while driving for A.J. Foyt. Brack moved to the CART series in 2000. He had an agreement with team owner Bobby Rahal that he could defend his championship at Indy. Brack and Foyt bought the cars and equipment for an Indy 500 run, but Rahal has backed out of the deal and isn't allowing Kenny to compete. Meanwhile, Kenny's talent is shining brightly in Cart, although only briefly as his Team Rahal cars experience mechanical difficulties. A lot of Indy fans will miss having Kenny Brack in the 500, but thats the way it goes when you deal with dorks like Rahal.

Niclas Jonsson, Bobby Regester, Jon Herb and Russ Gamester are rookies that have signed for some teams, but I haven't heard of them passing rookie tests or being entered in the 500.

Robby Unser has shown up at the track testing. Looks like he might be driving for McCormack/Byrd. If he gets in, we will have the first Indy 500 with 3 Unsers competing!

Stan Wattles has signed up with Hemelgarn Racing and the new March racing organization! English rookie, Guy Smith, will also be racing for March.

Where is Marco Greco, Steve Knapp, John Paul Jr., and Mike Groff this year? Probably looking for money like Andy Michner and J.J. Yeley.

Other racers who are not IRL regulars who will be trying to qualify May 20th.
Raul Boesel is back!! Treadway Racing has signed him to drive Shiggy's car in this year's 500 mile race!! Way to go Fred! Boesel has 11 Indianapolis 500 starts under his belt with a total of two top five finishes, four top ten finishes and a career total at Indy of $2,060,634.

Robby Gordon, a man who has raced successfully off-road and with CART, who has almost won the Indy 500 and who currently races for Menards in Nascar's Winston Cup series, is again running a car for Team Menard with sponsorship from Conseco.

Jimmy Vasser has also ran in the Indy 500 before, but not since 1995. He races in the CART series and won that championship in 1996.

Vasser will be accompanied by his Target/Ganassi teammate, Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya is a 25 y/o Columbian with amazing driving skills. He won the CART championship last year in his rookie year, with 7 wins!

Memo Gidley is another American joining us from the CART series. He will be driving for Team Pelfrey at the Indy 500. (If Michael Andretti could race in the 500, we would have all 3 of the Americans in CART.)

(Also, don't forget, the Nazareth race got snowed out and these CART guys will be running the re-scheduled race the day before the Indy 500!)

Richie Hearn will be driving for Pagan Racing. Richie drove in the IRL in 96 and 97 and then he switched to the CART series for 98 and 99.

Wym Eyckmans, from Belgium, is returning again to the 500 and driving for Dick Simon. Likewise, Hideshi Matsuda returns with Beck Motorsports.







Racing News - April 2000

Racing News - May 2000




Racing News - June 2000

  • Sam Schmidt returned home to Las Vegas. He will continue his rehabilitation there.
  • Panther Racing announced that Scott Goodyear will not be driving for them after this season. They will be testing two replacement drivers this weekend at Kentucky - Sam Hornish, Jr., a young IRL driver; and Alex Barron, a CART driver.
  • Eddie Cheever, Jr. gave Infinity Engines its first win in Indy Racing when he won Pikes Peak June 18th.
  • CART pit crews look to be the most dangerous job around. Although CART has started punishing drivers for hitting pit crewmen with a Stop-and-Go penalty, another crewman got hit this week. This time it was Paul Tracy's sloppy entrance during the Detroit race.
  • New 2001 IRL schedule announced! There will be 12 races over a 7 month span next year. The IRL will be adding the following venues next year: Miami; Richmond, Va.; Nashville, Tenn.; St. Louis, Chicago and Kansas City, Kan.
  • Dorkboy Bobby Rahal has replaced Andrew Craig as the CEO of CART. Directors cited declining interest and attendance at races as the primary reason for the shake-up. Since Booby hates Tony and the IRL, we'll probably see another smear campaign soon. However, I do not see the other team owners in CART putting up with him for long.
  • More fan injuries at Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte. This time they were blowing something up as a side-show and debris flew into the crowd. A month ago, a walk-way collapsed injuring over 100 people. Last year, three fans were killed there. The place seems cursed.
  • Scott Sharp beat Robby McGehee to the finish line by a fraction of a second in the Casino Magic 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway. THIS RACE WAS COMPETITIVE!!! Side by side racing the whole way with 31 Lead changes!
  • The IRL's Texas night race was rained out and will be ran Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. on ESPN2
  • Eddie Cheever, Jr. won the 3rd IROC race of the year. Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt, Mark Martin and Dale Jarrett filled out the Top 5.
  • IRL drivers, Greg Ray, Eddie Cheever, Jr., and Mark Dismore will also race in the IROC race at Michigan before flying to the Texas race today.
  • Rain cancels qualifying for Texas race, Buddy Lazier to start from pole since he is first in the point standings. Race begin at 7:00 Indiana time on ESPN.
  • Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is switching to Infinity power for Robbie Buhl's Indy Car at Texas this weekend.




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