Indy Racing League News Notes

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis 500 veteran and USAC open-wheel standout J.J. Yeley will return to the Indy Racing Northern Light Series with Jonathan Byrd-McCormack Motorsports starting at the Open Test on July 1-2 at Kentucky Speedway.

Yeley, 23, competed in five Indy Racing events for Sinden Racing Services as a rookie in 1998. His best career finish was ninth in the 1998 Indianapolis 500.

Yeley, a Phoenix resident living in Greenwood, Ind., will work with Jonathan Byrd-McCormack Motorsports on the development of its Riley & Scott/Oldsmobile/Firestone car. Robby Unser drove for the team at the Casino Magic 500 and Radisson Indy 200 in June.

Panther aiming for two-car team in 2001: Pennzoil Panther will try to field two cars full time in the 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series season, team manager John Barnes said. Panther is fielding the Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone this season for driver Scott Goodyear. Panther and Goodyear announced June 29 that they would part company after this season.

The team will test Indy Racing Northern Light Series rookie Sam Hornish Jr. and CART veteran Alex Barron this weekend during the Open Test at Kentucky Speedway. Hornish and Barron are among the contenders for what Barnes hopes will be two seats within the team next season.

"We have had some tremendous discussions over the past month, and I believe we are rapidly closing in on a deal to run a second Panther car," Barnes said. "That said, I am hopeful that this search is not just for one driver, but rather for two."

Special deal at Atlanta: To celebrate the first appearance of rising Indy Racing Northern Light Series star Sarah Fisher at Atlanta Motor Speedway, event sponsor Midas has made it possible to offer special ticket prices to women and children for the Midas 500 Classic on July 15 at AMS. Tickets for the event may be purchased for women and for children under 12 for half price, with the offer applying to all ticket prices in effect for
the Midas 500 Classic. Fisher, a 19-year-old rookie with Walker Racing, is the only woman competing full time in the series.

The half-price ticket offer for women and children is available only on tickets purchased through the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office. The ticket number is (770) 946-4211.

Kite on parade: Indy Racing standout Jimmy Kite will be an honorary grand marshal of the WSB-TV "Salute To America" parade July 4 in downtown Atlanta. Kite, from Stockbridge, Ga., is the only Georgia driver competing in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series. Big Daddy's BBQ/Blueprint Racing driver Kite will ride in a convertible during the parade and will be followed by a float carrying the car of Scott Sharp, who won last year's Indy Racing event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Midas 500 Classic will be run on Saturday night, July 15.

The "Salute To America" parade is one of the nation's largest Independence Day celebrations, attended by some 300,000 people and watched by many more on a live WSB-TV telecast. Before the parade, Kite will attend a special VIP party that will include some ABC celebrities, and he will sign autographs later in the day at a celebration in Atlanta's Centennial Park.

"I used to go to this parade when I was a kid," said Kite. "It's a real honor to be in it." Indy Racing driver Robby McGehee will appear at the "Gwinnett Glows" celebration July 4 in Lawrenceville, Ga., a large festival in the populous North Atlanta area. McGehee will sign autographs from 6-8 p.m. at an Indy Racing/Atlanta Motor Speedway display.

Ray takes wheel of Legend: Defending Indy Racing Northern Light Series champion Greg Ray quickly adapted to a new type of race car and beat fellow Indy Racing driver Tyce Carlson in a Legends car match race June 27 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The race took place on the quarter-mile oval in front of the main grandstand at AMS as part of Media Day activities for the Midas 500 Classic on July 15. Ray and Carlson tested on the 1.54-mile oval June 26-27.

Hot laps: Rick Treadway, son of Treadway Racing owner Fred Treadway, won the USAC Regional Midget Car feature June 28 at the Indianapolis Speedrome. It was the second victory of the season for Rick Treadway, fourth in the series point standings.

Debra Coulson, wife of Team Coulson owner Corey Coulson, died June 27 at her Minnesota farm in an accident. Debra Coulson was 46. She is survived by her husband, Corey; her daughter, Angela Lee; her mother, June Taylor; and seven sisters and five brothers. Team Coulson made its Indy Racing debut in the 2000 Indianapolis 500, as driver Davy Jones qualified and then was bumped from the field on MBNA Bump Day. Funeral services for Debra Coulson will take place July 1 in Houston, Minn.

A memorial service took place June 21 in Indianapolis for veteran auto racing broadcaster Larry Nuber, who died June 5. Nuber, 51, had teamed with Bob Jenkins, the television voice for ABC on all Indy Racing Northern Light Series races including the Indianapolis 500, to present the first auto racing telecasts on ESPN 20 years ago. Nuber was buried in his native Ohio.

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