To Infiniti An IRNLS Bond

Indy Racing Northern Light Series and Homestead-Miami Speedway officials announced Monday that the inaugural IRNLS event at the track will be known as the Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami.

The race will be the second on the IRNLS’s 13-race schedule.

"We are very excited to have Infiniti partner with us as the title sponsor for the Grand Prix of Miami," said Curtis Gray, president of Homestead-Miami Speedway. "Bringing together Infiniti and Indy Racing in South Florida assures us that Homestead-Miami Speedway is the place to be on April 6-8."

That wasn’t the only piece of news to come out of South Florida on Monday. Bob Reif, the IRNLS senior vice president of sales and marketing and chief marketing officer, revealed that the track would also host an IRNLS event in 2002.

"The Indy Racing League is all about stability and commitment. Infiniti's sponsorship of the Miami Grand Prix demonstrates their commitment to the series and Homestead-Miami Speedway," Reif said. "To reinforce the series' stability, we're also announcing today that the Indy Racing Northern Light Series will be coming back to Homestead-Miami Speedway in March of 2002."

Eddie Cheever Jr. and Robbie Buhl are the only drivers on the IRNLS circuit who run Nissan Infiniti engines. They drove their Infiniti-powered race cars to the announcement at Monte’s Stone Crab in Miami beach from Watson Island, crossing Miami’s MacArthur Causeway in the process.

"People here love their cars and love their racing, so we're really excited about getting the opportunity to showcase Indy Racing in South Florida," said Buhl, who just made an appearance in the Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago on Thanksgiving day.

Infiniti has been an engine supplier since 1997, the second year of the IRNLS. The 32-valve V8 Infiniti Indy is based on the engine in the company's flagship vehicle, the Infiniti Q45 performance luxury sedan.

"Indy Racing is the ideal showcase for Infiniti's performance and technology," said Tom Orbe, vice president and general manager of the Infiniti division. "That is why we are involved with the series as an engine supplier, and now our involvement as an event sponsor allows us even greater opportunities to tell the Infiniti story.

"The timing of the Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami coincides with the introduction of the new 2002 Q45, so you will see a lot of exciting activity around the race touting our all-new 340-horsepower global flagship."

Tickets for the April 8 Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami begin at $10 for the April 6 practice sessions and $20 for the April 7 qualifications, with reserved grandstand seats ranging from $25 to $45 for Sunday's race. Children 12 and under are admitted free Friday and Saturday and for $15 on Sunday.

Homestead-Miami Speedway in the past has hosted CART FedEx Championship Series events, but the venue is now part of the IRNLS.

Greg Ray tested at the speedway last week, posting a top speed of 197.6 mph on the 1.5-mile flat oval.

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