1. In Case You Missed It:
Mike Hull, Marc Williams and Townsend Bell teleconference:
IndyCar Series driver Townsend Bell, Target Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull and Firestone Indy Lights driver Marc Williams were guests on yesterday’s Indy Racing League teleconference.
Background on Townsend Bell: Townsend Bell is competing in selected IndyCar Series events for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
· Age: 32 (Birthday is April 19, 1975)
· Career Starts / 2008: 13 / 1
· Career Victories/2008: 0
· Career Top-Five Finishes/2008: 1 /0
· Career Top-10 Finishes/2008: 5 / 0
· Career Poles/2008: 1 / 0
· Career Highlights: Made 12 IndyCar Series starts with Panther Racing and Vision Racing with a career-best finish of fifth at Nashville in his second start in the series. Won the final CART Dayton Indy Lights championship in 2001.
· Off the track: Bell also is a former Skip Barber Racing School instructor who enjoys motorcycles and karting.
Background on Marc Williams: Marc Williams is competing in his first full season in Firestone Indy Lights, driving for Integra Motorsports through its affiliation with Chip Ganassi Racing.
· Age: 19 (Birthday is Sept. 11, 1988)
· Career Starts / 2007: 8 / 6
· Career Victories/2007: 0
· Career Top-Five Finishes/2007: 0 / 0
· Career Top-10 Finishes/2007: 3 / 2
· Career Poles/2007: 0
· 2007 Highlights: Competed in six Firestone Indy Lights events with a best finish of eighth at Iowa.
· Off the track: Enjoys playing squash and tennis.
MIKE HULL Sometimes what happens in these kinds of situations, what's going on in the Indy Pro Series is with the formation now or the branding of Firestone Indy Lights, a lot of the drivers that we have today in IndyCar racing came from the Firestone Indy Lights Series that was so successful in the '90s. I think what Al Speyer, Joe (Barbieri), some of the other people at Firestone have done, is they've raised the bar again with what this series will be able to do for us on the Indy team side. They're creating now a true place for young kids to race that can be one series of racing, just like what we've done in IndyCar racing. I think that's a big step forward.
I think over the next few years we'll look back on that, just this branding change, and say that was a big deal. So we're very proud to be part of this program. That's it for me. I'm going to sign off and go to the next event.
*** Q: You're sharing the 23 car with Milka Duno, who I believe is going to drive the car at Kansas. So this is kind of your final tune-up for the month of May. Is it difficult to know that this is your one chance to kind of dial it in on an oval before the month of May?
TOWNSEND BELL Well, frankly, the amount of racing I've done the last few years has been pretty limited. It's been limited to just the occasional one-off. So I feel like I've had more seat time than I can remember, even though it's been pretty limited. So to have a chance to go and run Japan and then hit the month of May with that experience and two races under my belt, to me that's a huge advantage given where I was the last time I raced at Indy in 2006.
So I feel good about it. I'm really thankful for the team, Dreyer & Reinbold, to give me the chance. I know they're committed to giving me the best opportunity to succeed, not only at Indy but the races I'll do the rest of the season. Frankly, it's just about finding the starting point and looking to what we can build for the future.
Q: Now this week, you get to test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I know you raced there last year. Are you looking forward to coming back to the Speedway and getting in a car?
MARC WILLIAMS : Yeah, I just can't wait. It's a prestigious track. It's such an awesome race to be involved with. And, you know, that was my first ever oval last year. It was my first chance at getting on an oval, was coming and starting at the Freedom 100 last year. I feel as though, you know, I was trying to build confidence then and just picked up the laps then. Now I can't wait to have a test there and get myself prepared for this event. It will just be great to do it properly, I suppose you can say, have a good go at it. It's such a fast open oval, so flat out, I can't wait.
The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with a unique weekend - two races on two continents - the Indy Japan 300 on April 19 at Twin Ring Motegi and the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 20 on the streets of Long Beach, Calif.
Points will be awarded for both races with IndyCar Series drivers participating in Japan and Champ Car World Series competitors in Long Beach.
The Motegi race will be telecast in High Definition at 11:59 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN2 on April 18 and re-aired at 3 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN.
The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, April 18 at 11:30 p.m. (EDT).
A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and indycar.com.
The Long Beach race will air on April 20 at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues April 27 with the Kansas Lottery 100 at Kansas Speedway. The St. Pete 100 doubleheader will be telecast at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) on April 10 by ESPN2.