INDYCAR NEWS AND NOTES – April 4, 2013By Official Release
Today’s IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:
1. Allmendinger tries to manage expectations for debut
2. Coyne to field Beatriz through Indianapolis
3. Garcia hopes to build on strong start at Barber
1. Allmendinger tries to manage expectations for debut: Team Penske has won all three of the IZOD IndyCar Series races at Barber Motorsports Park (Will Power in 2011 and ’12; Helio Castroneves in 2010).
That provides AJ Allmendinger with the knowledge that the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske car he’ll drive in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 7 is capable of winning on the road course.
“I have high expectations of myself and I don’t want to go out there and waste anyone’s time and (team owner) Roger (Penske’s) money. I want to go out there and be up front from the start,” he said. “There’s a fine line, though, of having lofty expectations and realistic expectations.”
Allmendinger, who won five races in Champ Car from 2004-06, has tested in the Chevrolet-powered car three times in the past seven weeks.
Last week, he went through the paces of a rookie oval orientation at Texas Motor Speedway as a prelude to the Rookie Orientation Program on April 11 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 97th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 26.
No other IZOD IndyCar Series races are scheduled beyond Indianapolis, but “I’ve told Roger I’d love to do as many races as possible.”
“To go to Barber and think I’m going to win the race – that’s what I hope to do and what I want to do – but it’s about having realistic expectations, get all the laps in, get better as the weekend goes on. If I feel like I’m competitive at the end of the weekend – where ever that puts me in the finishing order — and I feel like I’m a lot better than when I started I’ll be happy.”
2. Coyne to field Beatriz through Indianapolis: Dale Coyne Racing announced that Ana Beatriz will be in the driver’s seat of the No. 18 Honda-powered car this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park and through the 97th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
“I am very excited to be back and race at Barber and Long Beach,” said Beatriz, who will mark her 25th IZOD IndyCar Series start in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. “I didn’t think I would be back in a car until Brazil, but I want to thank Ipiranga and Dale (Coyne) for making it possible for me to drive full time through Indianapolis.
“We didn’t have the finish we would have liked to in St. Petersburg, but I am confident that we can get a better finish for the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda at Barber this weekend.”
The team also announced that Justin Wilson’s No. 19 car will carry the color and markings of the Boy Scouts of America for the rest of the season. Wilson, who finished ninth in the season opener, is looking forward to carry on the tradition Dale and Gail Coyne started four years ago with the Boy Scouts of America partnership.
“This is a real honor for me to be representing the Boy Scouts of America,” said Wilson, who is in his second consecutive season with Dale Coyne Racing. “I was never a Boy Scout, but the scouts did have their start back in England where I am originally from. I’m looking forward to working with the local scouts at the races and hopefully bringing them a win this year.”
3. Garcia hopes to build on strong start at Barber: Juan Pablo Garcia hopes his first top-five finish is a sign of things to come in Firestone Indy Lights.
The Mexican driver, who joined Team Moore Racing, finished fourth in the season-opening St. Petersburg 100 and hopes to build on that finish in the Legacy Indy Lights 100 at Barber Motorsports Park on April 7.
“The chemistry with all the people involved in the team is very important and right now everybody is very happy working with me and I’m happy with them, too,” Garcia said. “Everybody has the same goal to get good results and podiums and try to be each time faster. Everybody is making a big effort to achieve that.”
Garcia has a pair of top-10 finishes in as many starts on the 2.38-mile road course, including what was a career-best eighth last season. He said the track is one of his favorites on the schedule.
“It’s a fast track, very hard to pass,” Garcia said. “There are really two good passing points on the heavy braking point between Turns 5-6 and the rest of the track really gets you into a flow corner by corner. It’s important to not lose the rhythm all over the track. If you do, you’ll see the difference on your lap time. You need to keep pushing at all corners.”
Team Moore Racing scored a win at Barber in 2011, and Garcia said that adds to the confidence that he has the tools to achieve his goals of running up front and potentially adding to the team’s trophy case.
“I would like to score top-fives and podiums,” he said. “The times are very close, which means everybody has a big chance to make it big on every race. You just need to take advantage of others’ mistakes and try to have a perfect race.
It’s a small field, but very competitive. Cars are within half of a second of difference or so and that makes vying for the podium harder. Also, cars with the top teams have very good drivers. I’m enjoying driving for TMR and in Firestone Indy Lights this year.”
The 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues with the Honda Indy Grand Prix Alabama on April 7 at Barber Motorsports Park. The race will be televised live at 3 p.m. (ET) by the NBC Sports Network (Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 211 andwww.indycar.com. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Legacy Indy Lights 100 on April 7 at Barber Motorsport Park. The race will be broadcast by NBC Sports Network at 2 p.m. (ET) on April 7, immediately preceding the IZOD IndyCar Series race broadcast.