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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weekend Roundup: April 25, 2010

A collection of news clippings from around the IZOD IndyCar Series over the past few days:

- The team formerly known as Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing will return to its original team name, Newman/Haas Racing. Team officials have not commented on the reasons behind the name change.

Founded in 1983 by actor Paul Newman and businessman Carl Haas, Newman/Haas won eight CART/Champ Car championships, including four consecutive from 2004 to 2007. The team gained a new partner in 2007 when Illinois businessman Michael Lanigan bought into it. Lanigan owns Mi-Jack Construction, which sponsored open-wheel racecars from 1992 to 2006.

Newman/Haas has fallen on some tough times recently, losing top drivers like Graham Rahal, Justin Wilson, and Sebastien Bourdais in the past three years. It also lost sponsor McDonald's after last season, forcing the team to run a single car in 2010 for pay driver Hideki Mutoh, a huge step down from the three they had originally planned to campaign.

- Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will welcome Tomas Scheckter back into the fold for this year's Indianapolis 500. He will drive the No. 23 Dallara-Honda, which has not seen the track since Ana Beatriz drove it in Brazil. While the team claims it will make its sponsorship announcement on April 27, the sponsor is all but certain to be Mona Vie, an acai berry juice company for whom Scheckter does extensive promotion.

Scheckter first secured the Mona Vie sponsorship early last year, taking it to a second car for Dale Coyne Racing in last year's 500. There, he drove alongside former Coyne driver and current DRR leader Justin Wilson, qualifying 26th and finishing 12th. Based on his Indy performance and personal sponsorship contract, DRR signed Scheckter to run ten races for them, either in the No. 23 or No. 43 cars. Scheckter had three top-10 finishes, including a best finish of sixth at Iowa. He finished 20th in points, second best of all drivers running limited schedules.

DRR still has one seat open for Indianapolis, that of the No. 25 car. Beatriz could drive it; other ex-DRR drivers still looking for May employment include Buddy Lazier, Darren Manning, Buddy Rice, and Roger Yasukawa.

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