Series news and notes 2010-05-04

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines: 1. Kentucky Open Test washed out by weepers 2. Inside the numbers: Kansas 3. Dixon closes in on another record 1. Kentucky Open Test washed out by weepers: Competition ...

Series news and notes 2010-05-04

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. Kentucky Open Test washed out by weepers
2. Inside the numbers: Kansas
3. Dixon closes in on another record

1. Kentucky Open Test washed out by weepers: Competition is so close in the IZOD IndyCar Series through five races - five drivers representing four teams separated by 38 points in the top five of the standings -- that 14 drivers assembled at Kentucky Speedway May 4 to get a jump on the five remaining 1.5-mile ovals on the schedule (including Kentucky on Sept. 4) even though the next race on the 2010 schedule is the Indianapolis 500 at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway

"Most importantly for all of us it's track time," said Scott Dixon, who extended his IZOD IndyCar Series record to 22 victories May 1 in the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway. "We get so little of it so any time you get a free session on a track that is very useful."

Persistent weepers, however, at Kentucky Speedway, caused in part by more than 6 inches of rain over the weekend and overnight May 4, forced cancellation of the IZOD IndyCar Series test the 1.5-mile oval.

"It's a difficult decision to cancel the test," Indy Racing League president of competition and racing operations Brian Barnhart said. "You have a beautiful day and it's a shame we can't be on track. It's not worth the risk right now. There's no upside to it at all. The (track) conditions aren't what they need to be to go out and run the race cars and learn what the teams here need to learn."

Seven Firestone Indy Lights rookies were on the track May 3 for an oval orientation/test, but that session was delayed more than five hours because of track conditions.

"It's disappointing to not be able to drive the Verizon Team Penske car, but if you can't run safely it's not worth running," IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Will Power said. "I don't think the running we would have done here would have translated to Indy, but it would have been more experience for me and it would have been good to get some oval testing in."

Added Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti, the reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion: "It is disappointing, but you have to think safety first. The track is wet in a lot of places and you can't run the normal line, so you're not going to learn much. Hopefully (the IRL) will give us an alternative, either some tires to get private testing some place or another chance to come back here before the race."

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway opens May 15 for practice, with the run for the PEAK Performance Pole Award and the first 24 starting positions in the Indianapolis 500 on May 22.

***

2. Inside the numbers: Kansas: Numbers to note following the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300, the fifth of 17 races in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season.

1 - Driver - Helio Castroneves - to finish in the top-10 in every race this season.

4 - Consecutive wins by Target Chip Ganassi Racing at Kansas Speedway (Dan Wheldon 2007-08, Scott Dixon (2009-2010).

6 - Different teams represented in the top 10 at Kansas Speedway.

9 - Different teams represented in the top-15 in IZOD IndyCar Series point standings.

9 - Drivers representing five different teams that have finished on the podium in the first five races this season.

12 -Drivers from seven different teams have recorded at least one top-five finish

17 - Positions improved by fifth-place finisher Ryan Hunter-Reay, the highest number of positions gained by any driver.

18 - Drivers from 10 different teams have recorded at least one top-10 finish.

21 - Consecutive races that Danica Patrick has without a DNF. The IZOD IndyCar Series record is 28 by Scott Dixon.

22 - IZOD IndyCar Series wins by Scott Dixon - extending his series record.

37 - Consecutive top-10 starts for Scott Dixon - extending his IZOD IndyCar Series record.

38 - Points separating the top five in the IZOD IndyCar Series point standings. Will Power is the overall championship points leader and road championship leader. Scott Dixon leads the oval championship.

48 - Total positions gained by the five Andretti Autosport drivers in the race, including Hunter-Reay's 17, Marco Andretti's 13 positions gained and Tony Kanaan's 12 positions gained.

740 - Laps led by Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the last five races at Kansas (74 percent of the 1,000 laps).

***

3. Dixon closes in on another record:Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti combined to lead more laps (169) in the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 than they had in the first four races (Dixon 23 and Franchitti 32). Dixon, who led a field-high 167 laps, is 223 laps behind Sam Hornish Jr. (3,428) to become the series' all-time lap leader.

"Having a 'perfect car' doesn't happen too often, and it's a great feeling," Dixon said. "For 150 laps or so I was just waiting for something to go wrong with the car. I had to hand it to my crew they made the right calls all day and the pit stops were impeccable. All I can hope is that we keep this momentum rolling through the month of May. I can't wait for the 500."

***

The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues May 30 with the 2010 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at noon (ET) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway The race will air live on VERSUS.

-source: irl

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