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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

This Week in IndyCar: September 1, 2010

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

- Graham Rahal and Paul Tracy, viewed by many as the best available IndyCar drivers without full-time rides, have both landed rides for this weekend's Kentucky Indy 300.

Rahal will return to Sarah Fisher Racing and pilot the No. 66 Service Central Dallara-Honda, while Tracy will drive the No. 24 Motegi Wheels Dallara-Honda for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. They replace a pair of British drivers in Jay Howard (who has struggled all season for SFR) and Mike Conway (who is still recovering from injuries sustained in an Indianapolis 500 crash).

Rahal drove three races earlier this year for SFR in the No. 67 Dollar General Dallara-Honda, with a top-ten finish at St. Petersburg, before running the Indianapolis 500 for his father's Rahal Letterman Racing team and returning to 2009 employer Newman/Haas Racing for the latter part of this season. Kentucky was the only race he was due to miss for the rest of the year. Rahal has responded by scoring more points thus far than full-timers Takuma Sato, Bertrand Baguette, and Milka Duno.

Meanwhile, Tracy ran one race earlier this year for DRR at Watkins Glen, finishing 14th, before posting solid runs at Toronto and Edmonton for KV Racing Technology. Tracy hasn't run on an oval in an open-wheel car since Champ Car ran at Las Vegas in 2005, but he led 107 of the first 128 laps in that event before an accident eliminated him from contention. Tracy will also drive for the team at Motegi, Japan in a couple of weeks and is a candidate to return to the car at Homestead.

- New Hampshire Motor Speedway saw the teams of Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon appear at the track this week, testing Firestone tires in preparation for the track's August 14 race date next year.

Kanaan tweeted earlier today that he had already done the full race distance before lunchtime and called the tires "great."

The teams used an aerodynamic package similar to the one run at the Milwaukee Mile, which did not make the schedule of any sanctioning body in 2010 due to concerns about outstanding promoters' fees owed to many parties. Milwaukee and New Hampshire are both flat ovals a hair over a mile in distance, making them ideal for IndyCar events. New Hampshire also allows the series to better establish itself in the northeastern market, serving New England, eastern Canada, and New York reasonably well.

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