Power and Franchitti back Surfers race
Australian Will Power and Scotsman Dario Franchitti have thrown their support behind the Nikon Indy 300 continuing on the Gold Coast.
|Will Power after winning the pole last year in Surfers. Aussie Vineyards boss Craig Gore got well wishes from the team with the Get Well Gorey sign. Gore was suffering from a broken eardrum.|
With Indy Racing League heavyweights set to meet Queensland Government officials next week to thrash out the future of the event, the wildcard in the negotiations could prove to be the drivers and teams.
It is well known the competitors love the Gold Coast race, not only for the massive crowd but also because it gives team sponsors international exposure.
Power, who drives for Team Australia, is desperate for the event to continue.
"I am determined to win this race and for me this is the one I'm really chasing hard," he said from his parents' home in Toowoomba.
"Saying that, I know that there are a heap of really fast guys who all want to win. Surfers is one of the big events we visit so all the top guys want to win it." [Editor's Note: Kevin Kalkhoven has said he doubts his Team Australia can continue without the Surfers race. Surfers is very important to the team's sponsor Aussie Vineyards.]
He rates the Gold Coast second only to the Indianapolis 500 as the best race in the season.
Franchitti, who is married to Hollywood actress Ashley Judd, has been a long-time fan of the Australian race and has even been to the event when he was not competing.
"It is quite ironic that I will be making my return to open-wheel racing with Target Chip Ganassi Racing at one of my favorite events anywhere in the world on the streets of Surfers Paradise," said Franchitti, the 1999 Indy winner.
"Fans and fellow drivers continually ask me about the Surfers Paradise race and it really is hard to put how great the event is into words.
"You have to experience it to understand the amount of work that goes into making it one of the world's great sporting festivals."
Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2003 Gold Coast race winner, is another big fan of the event and is coming to the Coast early because he loves the glitter strip.
Hunter-Reay drives for Rahal Letterman Racing, which is co-owned by racing legend Bobby Rahal and late night talk show host David Letterman, and while he did not drive in it, he watched the 2006 event live.
Alex Tagliani is a big fan of the Australian race as he met his wife Bronte on the Gold Coast, while the race is also a favorite of 2004 IndyCar Series Champion Tony Kanaan.
Australian Ryan Briscoe, Brazilian Helio Castroneves, Bruno Junqueira (2004 winner) and Oriol Servia (2005 pole sitter) are other supporters of the race.
Power believes the lack of championship points up for grabs for the Gold Coast Indy will not affect the credibility of the event. Goldcoast.com.au