Notebook: Champ Gets Ring

Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon is fond of greeting Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and COO Joie Chitwood.

"Every time I do, he seems to have some great gift for me," said Wheldon, whose image on the Borg-Warner Trophy was unveiled in January at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.

On Tuesday, March 7, Chitwood presented Wheldon his Indianapolis 500 Champion of Champions Ring during a public event to celebrate the 90th running of the 500-Mile Race at the U.S. Navy Memorial & Naval Heritage Center in Washington, D.C. The ring, designed by Herff Jones, contains a one-carat diamond.

"Obviously it’s something I’ve been very anxious to get hold of," said Wheldon, who won from the 16th starting position. "It’s like Christmas has come early again. It’s something I’m very proud of and will wear with a great deal of pride.

"I’m not sure if I’m going to wear it all the time, but it will certainly be featured strongly in my trophy cabinet next to my Baby Borg and on special occasions it will be brought out and put on my finger."

An all-star driver lineup -- three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford; two-time winner Helio Castroneves; Janet Guthrie, the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500; and Michael and Marco Andretti – attended the event and answered questions from the overflow audience.

Wheldon goes through the Bristol car wash
On Wednesday, March 8, reigning IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon was a guest at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. He appeared on the popular "Mike & Mike in the Morning" show on ESPN Radio, was a guest on ESPN2’s "Cold Pizza," participated in an chat and appeared on the "Hot List."

Wheldon also was featured in the Sports section of the Wednesday, March 8, USA Today.

Castroneves will heat up "Cold Pizza"
Helio Castroneves, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner who topped the speed chart on both days of the recent road-course test at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will be featured on ESPN2’s "Cold Pizza" on Thursday, March 9. The Marlboro Team Penske driver will discuss the IndyCar Series season, which kicks off March 26 with the Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Hamilton joins IMS Radio Network team
Former IndyCar Series driver Davey Hamilton will join the IMS Radio Network as driver analyst for the 2006 IndyCar Series season.

Hamilton, who had 22 top-10 finishes in 48 IndyCar Series starts, will be in the broadcast booth with host and lead announcer Mike King and color analyst Dave Wilson. All IndyCar Series qualifying sessions, races and pre-race and post-race shows are broadcast to IMS Radio Network affiliates nationwide, short-wave outlets, and on the American Forces Radio and Television Service.

"Hopefully, I can help bring to the fans listening on the radio how exciting the racing is," Hamilton said. "I like to say it the way it is and bring a little humor to the show and information of what a driver feels when they’re in the race car. I’ll try to relate to the fans listening on the radio what the drivers are going through at certain times."

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Auto Club 500

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