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DATE News (chronologically)
06/05/09
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IndyCar drivers to test at Richmond
With the SunTrust Indy Challenge IndyCar Series race coming to Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, June 27, several open-wheel teams will be testing their open-wheel machines this Wednesday, June 10.  The grandstands will be open to the public at no charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Guests should enter the property at the main entrance, located at the corner of Laburnum Avenue and Richmond-Henrico Turnpike.  Parking and grandstand entry will be at Gate 70.

Drivers from Team Penske, Panther Racing and Luczo Dragon Racing will turn laps around Richmond’s ¾-mile surface—the shortest track the series visits—to prepare their cars for a 300-lap spectacle “under the lights” on Saturday, June 27.

Here is a rundown of the drivers expected to participate:

Helio Castroneves (Team Penske) – three-time Indianapolis 500 champion; 2005 SunTrust Indy Challenge champion; finished second at Richmond in 2003 and 2008; currently fifth in points; won ABC’s Dancing With the Stars competition in 2007.

Ryan Briscoe (Team Penske) – finished 15th last year in his second start at Richmond; finished fifth in points in 2008; currently second in points; engaged to NASCAR Now’s Nicole Manske.

Dan Wheldon (Panther Racing) – won the 2005 series championship; 2004 SunTrust Indy Challenge champion; has never finished worse than 10th at Richmond; currently sixth in points, with two top-five finishes.

Raphael Matos (Luczo Dragon Racing) – captured the 2008 Firestone Indy Lights series championship for Andretti Green Racing; currently 14th in points, with a best finish of sixth in his rookie campaign.

E.J. Viso (HVM Racing) – finished 10th in his rookie campaign last year at Richmond; recorded five top-10 finishes last year, including fourth at St. Petersburg; currently 19th in points.

Additionally, USAC drivers Jerry Coons Jr., Shane Hmiel, Dave Darland, Tracey Hines and Levi Jones will be testing this Monday, June 8 at Richmond International Raceway.  Grandstand entry and times are the same as those for the IndyCar Series test.

All of these drivers, along with Danica Patrick, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Graham Rahal and the rest of the IndyCar Series drivers will return to Richmond International Raceway Saturday, June 27, for the SunTrust Indy Challenge.  Tickets are $35 (reserved) and $30 (general admission) and can be purchased by logging on to www.rir.com or calling 866-455-RACE (7223).  Saturday’s ticket includes a seat for the James River Grounds 100 USAC Silver Crown Series race, preceding the SunTrust Indy Challenge.  Children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult in general admission sections.

The weekend begins on Friday, June 26, with NBC12 Pole Qualifying for the SunTrust Indy Challenge and the USAC Sprint Car Series Rotondo Weirich Showdown race “under the lights.”  Tickets are $15 and include an autograph session with all of the IndyCar Series drivers.  Children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult.  For tickets and information, log on to www.rir.com or call 866-455-RACE (7223).

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