In Case You Missed It: Enrique Bernoldi, Franck Perera, Sean Guthrie teleconference HPD delivers Indy 500 package for charity Wilson welcomes first child
1. In Case You Missed It: Enrique Bernoldi, Franck Perera, Sean Guthrie teleconference: IndyCar Series drivers Enrique Bernoldi and Franck Perera, and Firestone Indy Lights driver Sean Guthrie were guests on today’s Indy Racing League teleconference. Background on Enrique Bernoldi: Enrique Bernoldi is competing in his first season in the IndyCar Series, driving for Conquest Racing. · Age: 29 (Birthday is Oct. 19, 1978) · Career Starts / 2008: 2 / 2 · Career Victories/2008: 0 · Career Top-Five Finishes/2008: 1 / 1 · Career Top-10 Finishes/2008: 1 / 1 · Career Poles/2008: 0 / 0 · Career Highlights: Competed in Formula One for two seasons following success in European Formula Renault, British F3 and F3000. · 2008 Highlights: Finished fifth at St. Petersburg, leading three laps. Ranks 10th in points after two races. Background on Franck Perera: Franck Perera is competing in his first season in the IndyCar Series, driving for Conquest Racing. · Age: 24 (Birthday is March 21, 1984) · Career Starts / 2008: 2 / 2 · Career Victories/2008: 0 · Career Top-Five Finishes/2008: 0 / 0 · Career Top-10 Finishes/2008: 0 / 0 · Career Poles/2008: 0 / 0 · Career Highlights: Finished second in Champ Car Atlantics in 2007, his first year racing in the United States. Won the Formula Renault Italian title in 2003 and the F3 Euro Series rookie title in 2004. · 2008 Highlights: Qualified 13th in his oval debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway and finished 14th. Qualified 10th at St. Petersburg and ran as high as second before contact ended his race. Background on Sean Guthrie: Sean Guthrie is competing in his second full season in Firestone Indy Lights, driving for Guthrie Racing. · Age: 19 (Birthday is April 18, 1988) · Career Starts / 2008: 24 / 3 · Career Victories/2008: 0 / 0 · Career Top-Five Finishes/2008: 3 / 1 · Career Top-10 Finishes/2008: 6 / 1 · Career Poles/2008: 0 / 0 · Career Highlights: Finished 14th overall in Firestone Indy Lights in 2007, recording a career-best fourth-place finish at Milwaukee. Won national karting championships in 2002 and 2003. · 2008 Highlights: Qualified third on the 1.5-mile-oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Moved up 10 spots during St. Petersburg 2 to finish fifth. · Off the track: Son of 1997 IndyCar Series rookie of the year Jim Guthrie. Enjoys racing remote-control cars. They said what...? Listed below are select quotes from today’s teleconference, with the approximate time code from the audio MP3 in parentheses. Q: Enrique, your team owner, Eric Bachelart, he made two Indianapolis 500 starts as a driver. Has he started talking about the month of May and passed along any advice or is that too far down the road still?
ENRIQUE BERNOLDI (11:00): We spoke a bit about Indy. I know that it's also an experience that will be very new for me. I heard I'm going to be testing there for almost the whole month. I have the rookie orientation. It's a different format of qualifying. We qualify maybe some weeks before the race. I think we are going step by step at the moment. At the moment we are focused on doing a good race here at Long Beach. Then to get really experienced at Kansas, that will help us at Indianapolis. I know Indianapolis is a different way of oval where we don't have limitations for downforce. And it is faster, it is bigger. I hope to race this race. Even when I was racing in Formula One, I wanted to do the Indy 500. It has been always in my mind. And now I have the chance to race a second time at Indianapolis. First I raced 2001 with Formula One there. Now I'm going to go the opposite direction, so I'm looking forward to that. Q: After Long Beach, we go back to the oval at Kansas. Can you talk a little bit about some of the things you learned at Homestead and maybe do you have a little bit more confidence now heading into Kansas than maybe you did going into Homestead.
FRANCK PERERA (8:30): Yeah, I have a different point of view of ovals now. I was really taking it slowly before Homestead. But everything came so good for no experience for both the drivers and the team, too. We had a perfect qualifying and a good race. I was keeping good lap times and everything. I was doing things good. I could finish in a good position for the first race. So, yeah, I'm looking for more confidence, especially for next time. But for sure it will be, again, very difficult because we are still in the back compared to IndyCar drivers. I think now we can come close to the top 10 even in ovals, so that will be the target for us. Q: Does it help at all that you and your teammate Logan Gomez are so close in age? I think Logan now is 19, as well, compared to other teammates you may have had in the past that maybe the age difference was bigger. Is it a help that you are almost the same age?
SEAN GUTHRIE (21:30): I'm sure that is a little bit of a benefit. I think the biggest difference is that just our overall racing experience is very similar. You know, he's in his second year in (Indy Lights) and he did the Mazdas before that, just as I did, a lot of go-karting before that. So really the way we've been brought up in racing is very similar. That kind of gives us an idea of where each other is coming from, kind of be able to help each other. I think he has a little bit more road course experience and I have a little bit more oval experience. Just kind of a little bit bouncing ideas off of each other and helping each other out. So definitely a big help. There’s more: The complete transcript and complete audio recording in MP3 format are available at indycar.com/media. Please contact IRL Public Relations for log-in information if necessary.
*** 2. HPD delivers Indy 500 package for charity: Honda Performance Development has donated two suite tickets for the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 and a three-night hotel stay as part of an auction that will benefit American Honda Supported Charities and Clothes Off Our Back’s charities. The Indy 500 package also includes two Pace Car ride tickets, two paddock tickets for Carb Day and $15,000 toward Express Jet’s private charter flight. The package is one of many IndyCar Series auction items on the Clothes Off Our Back Web site through April 21. Other items include Helio Castroneves' autographed racing shoes, a Nomex undershirt autographed and personalized by Danica Patrick, a helmet worn by Buddy Rice, Darren Manning's autographed racing gloves, Will Power's autographed race helmet visor and more. Among the charities that will benefit are America's Second Harvest, The Art of Elysium, World Education and autism research.
*** 3. Wilson welcomes first child: Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver Justin Wilson and his wife Julia welcomed their first child, a daughter named Jane Louise Wilson, on April 12 at Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette, Colo. Initially expected on June 1, Jane weighed 4.4 pounds and measured 17-1/4 inches long. Both mother and daughter are doing well.
*** 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.