IRL headlines

Bryan Herta Autosport to debut in Firestone Indy Lights Dale Coyne Racing hires Bill Pappas as engineer

1. Bryan Herta Autosport to debut in Firestone Indy Lights: Former IndyCar Series star Bryan Herta has partnered with motorsports veteran Steve Newey to form Bryan Herta Autosport. The team will campaign driver Daniel Herrington in Firestone Indy Lights in 2009.

“Steve Newey approached me with the concept of starting our own Indy Lights team back in December,” said Herta, who won two IndyCar Series races in 58 starts from 2003-06. “In just six weeks we are almost ready to hit the road for our first test. I’m very excited about the opportunity to take on a new challenge in open-wheel racing as a team owner, and am confident that we have assembled a formidable program.”

Herrington, a 22-year-old from North Carolina, will compete in his first full season in Firestone Indy Lights after making 13 starts in 2007-08.

“Daniel has shown great potential in the last couple seasons in sporadic outings,” Herta said. “We are happy to give him his first real home in Firestone Indy Lights with a full winter test program and a team that is 100 percent committed to giving him the tools to succeed.”

“I’m really excited about this opportunity with Bryan Herta Autosport,” said Herrington, who has posted seven top-10 finishes. “The past couple years I’ve been working towards a full season of racing in Firestone Indy Lights but I either didn’t have full sponsorship support or I didn’t have the right opportunity come my way. This time I was lucky enough to have everything come together at the right time, and now I have the perfect opportunity to learn and grow as a driver.”

Bryan Herta Autosport expects to test Feb. 11-12 at Firebird East in Arizona and is actively pursuing plans to field a second car.

The team has formed a technical alliance with Vision Racing, basing themselves in the IndyCar Series team’s 32,000 square foot Indianapolis facility to take full advantage of Vision’s resources and expertise. Herta will also continue his role with Vision Racing as the team’s road course consultant.


2. Dale Coyne Racing hires Bill Pappas as engineer: Dale Coyne Racing has hired Bill Pappas as engineer.

Pappas earned multiple race wins with Target Chip Ganassi Racing and has worked with drivers such as Jimmy Vasser, Gil de Ferran, Juan Pablo Montoya and Bruno Junqueira.

"I cannot say how excited we are to have someone the caliber of Bill Pappas join our efforts this year," team owner Dale Coyne said. "Last year was an important learning curve for us, but with the addition of Bill we look to move strongly up the ladder into podium and winning positions."

Pappas graduated from Purdue University in 1983 with a degree in mechanical engineering and has spent the past 25 years in professional motorsports.

"Dale is committed to winning, and that has been my entire mission in racing," Pappas said. "We have a lot to do, but everyone on the team is committed to success in 2009 and beyond."


           The 2009 IndyCar Series season opens April 5 with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. The race will be telecast live at 2 p.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. The 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season begins with a doubleheader race weekend April 4-5 at St. Petersburg.