New era in American open-wheel racing begins March 29

UPDATE The familiar "i am INDY" marketing theme will have a fresh look in 2008 as it is being expanded to reflect the unification of open-wheel racing under the IndyCar Series banner: "One series. All the stars."

The IndyCar Series' i am INDY marketing theme has become familiar to thousands of race fans and included in promotional materials in race markets across the country and around the world since being adopted by the series in 2006.

"This is an historic year for the IndyCar Series and the countless fans of open-wheel racing," said John Lewis, vice president of Marketing and League Development. "Everyone involved in the sport is genuinely excited to be racing in a unified series, and we want to reflect that spirit of excitement and optimism in the marketing strategies that we are implementing. I think 'One series. All the stars' really captures that."

While the new phrase won't be immediately seen by fans on all IndyCar Series materials, it will be extensively incorporated into electronic signage at race venues. The phrase has already been incorporated into the new Indy Fan Zone that will be traveling to all U.S. races and on

03/24/08 A new era in American open-wheel racing begins March 29 when the 2008 season opens with a unified IndyCar Series.

The GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300, which will be contested under the lights at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will reunite former competitors such as Helio Castroneves and Bruno Junqueira as well renew family rivalries with next-generation drivers Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal.

“I’m extremely excited about having one series again," said Castroneves, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner who made 79 starts in CART before his 97 career starts in the IndyCar Series. “I have always been outspoken about that. One strong open-wheel series is going to be the best for everyone, not only for the drivers, not only for the teams, not only for the press, but especially for all the fans."

Fans will be rewarded when 26 cars take the starting grid for the 2008 season opener. The count represents 17 cars from teams that previously competed in the IndyCar Series and nine cars from five teams transitioning to the series.

The favorite in the 200-lap, 300-mile season opener – Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dan Wheldon will be looking for a record-setting fourth consecutive victory on the 1.5-mile, variable-banked oval. Last year, Wheldon, who recently got married, beat teammate Scott Dixon by more than six seconds at Homestead-Miami, but in 2006, he edged Castroneves by just 0.0147 of a second in the closest race in track history.

"One fan did tell me the more I keep winning the less likely each year I come back to be a repeat winner," Wheldon said. "I kind of ignored that one."

Following the Homestead-Miami race the unified series embarks on a schedule that is the most diverse in motorsports. The 2008 schedule will take the teams and drivers to short ovals, superspeedways, road and street courses, and of course the Indianapolis 500. IRL PR

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