Homestead Schedule Released

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Indy Racing League fans needing a race fix have to wait until the March 2 Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but at least they can envision the first weekend of action.

Track officials released the event’s tentative schedule this week. The three days of action kick off at 10 a.m. (ET) Feb. 28 with IRL practice. At 1:45 p.m. (ET) IRL drivers return to the track for a 90-minute practice session. The Rolex Sports Car Series practices before and after the IRL’s afternoon session.

On March 1, IRL drivers begin the day with an hourlong practice session beginning at 10 a.m. (ET). The first qualifying session of the year begins at 12:30 p.m. (ET). Final practice is at 4:30 p.m. (ET).

The Grand Prix of Miami begins its 20th anniversary prerace celebration at noon (ET) March 2. The 200-lap race on the 1.5-mile oval is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. (ET).

A Rolex Sports Car Series race takes place after the IRL race.

More Moves for Kelley
No, Kelley Racing isn’t hiring another driver, but the team did relocate recently.

The team moved into a 34,000-square-foot shop on the Northwest Side of Indianapolis this past week. It had spent four years in the suburb of Fishers, Ind., just north of Indianapolis.

Jim Freudenberg, Kelley’s general manager, said the move closer to Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway demonstrates owner Tom Kelley’s close ties to the IRL.

“Jim and Tom Kelley’s continuing commitment to the Indy Racing League has given us an incredible new facility to provide the best working environment for our team members,” Freudenberg said.

Scott Sharp and Greg Ray will drive Kelley’s two cars this season. Ray, who was hired in the offseason to replace Mark Dismore, visited the new facility this past week.

The team is preparing Sharp’s and Ray’s cars for the Test in the West on Feb. 5. Dallara’s 2002 update kits arrived recently, and the crew can put its new resources to work installing them.

Salazar Reveals his Plans
A.J. Foyt has made no official announcement, but Eliseo Salazar unveiled his 2002 IRL machine this past week in his home country of Chile.

Salazar will be driving a Bank of Chile-sponsored No. 11. Salazar drove Foyt’s legendary No. 14 last season, but he was outperformed by Donnie Beechler, who drove the No. 11, in the latter part of the season.

Foyt also hasn’t revealed his plans for the No. 14, except to say Harrah’s will sponsor it again.

Penske Chooses Dallara-Chevrolets
Roger Penske will use Chevrolet-powered Dallaras in his first full season in the IRL. Longtime Penske engine builder Ilmor will assemble the engines.

Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran used the same combination on their way to an Indy 500 win and CART title, respectively, last season.

“We’re looking forward to continuing our relationship with Dallara,” said Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing. “They’re a very professional organization that has responded well to this form of racing. Obviously our relationship with Chevrolet and Ilmor are well-documented and we are relying on their expertise to help put us in the position to challenge for the IRL championship this season.”

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