$5m prize for Vegas winner
The IZOD IndyCar Series is hoping to create additional interest in this year’s championship by offering a US$5 million bonus to any driver from outside the series who enters and wins the Las Vegas Motor Speedway season finale.
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard hopes to attract NASCAR, Formula 1 or other leading drivers to the October 16 race. So far both Juan Pablo Montoya and Tony Stewart have said they would be unable to take on the challenge because of the logistical difficulties in flying back and forth across America from that weekend’s NASCAR race at Charlotte.
Three-time Indycar champion Sam Hornish has been tipped by many as a possibility as he isn’t currently contesting the full Nationwide schedule. However, when Motor Sport spoke to him he was unsure about whether he would be allowed to race. “It’s not something I’ll say I’m going to do,” he said. “Also, I think there’s going to be a clause which means you can’t compete in the race if you’re doing a full season in another championship.”
IndyCar has changed the 550km race at the Texas Motor Speedway on June 11 into two 275km sprint races. Both will pay half points and half the usual prize money — $17,500 to the winner down to $5000 for fifth. Starting positions for the second race, run only one hour after completion of the first, will be randomly determined by a blind draw. The teams will be required to use the same pits for both races, determined by Indy 500-style qualifying. They will also be permitted to use a different engine in the spare car for the second race.
De Ferran shuts his team
Two-time Champ Car title winner Gil de Ferran has been forced to close his team after only one season in the IndyCar Series.
De Ferran Dragon Racing had looked set to remain in IndyCars this year with Tony Kanaan driving, but the necessary sponsorship failed to materialise. De Ferran said he had no choice but to shut the doors on the Indianapolisbased team he set up in 2009.
De Ferran said: “It was looking good, but a couple of opportunities fell through, and that was that. We looked at all sorts of possibilities, but none made business sense.”