INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana– The Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series™ will feature a series-high 14 races in 2005, including three events on road courses and one street course, league officials announced.
The Menards Infiniti Pro Series will become the first series to race twice in the same season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The third Futaba Freedom 100 is scheduled for the 2.5-mile oval on May 27 (Carb Day), while the series will race the road course during the United States Grand Prix weekend.
With the exception of the second race at Indianapolis, the Menards Infiniti Pro Series runs in conjunction with the IRL IndyCar® Series. Ten of the 14 Menards Infiniti Pro Series races will be held on the same day as IndyCar Series races.
The 2005 season will mark the first time the Menards Infiniti Pro Series races on tracks other than ovals. The series will hold a street-circuit event at St. Petersburg, Fla. on April 3, and will race on road courses at Indianapolis, Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. on Aug. 28, and Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. on Sept. 25.
“This is an historic moment for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series,” said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. “By lengthening the schedule and adding road races, we will increase our ability to attract the top young driving talent from around the United States and the world. To be able to showcase the series, our drivers, teams and sponsors twice at Indianapolis in the same year is extraordinary.” For the second consecutive season, Homestead-Miami Speedway will play host to the opening race on March 6. The season will conclude at California Speedway on Oct. 16. The 10 oval races will be 100-mile “sprints.”
Formed in July 2002, the Menards Infiniti Pro Series is an essential stepping stone for drivers and teams striving to reach the pinnacle of open-wheel racing in America, the IndyCar Series. The previous two champions, A.J. Foyt IV (2002) and Mark Taylor (2003), along with Ed Carpenter, are full-time drivers in the IndyCar Series.
Infiniti Q45 engines power Dallara Automobili chassis built for the series, with Firestone Firehawk tires used exclusively on all cars. The V8 engines produce approximately 450 horsepower for the single-seat winged chassis, providing an ideal training ground for the 600-horsepower, single-seat winged cars of the IndyCar Series.
All Menards Infiniti Pro Series events are televised on ESPN2 and distributed worldwide through ESPN International.
2005 IRL MENARDS INFINITI PRO SERIES SCHEDULE
Date Track March 6* Homestead-Miami Speedway March 19* Phoenix International Raceway April 3* St. Petersburg Grand Prix May 27 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Oval) June 10 Texas Motor Speedway USGP weekend Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road course – date subject to confirmation) July 16* Nashville Superspeedway July 24* The Milwaukee Mile Aug. 13 Kentucky Speedway Aug. 21* Pikes Peak International Raceway Aug. 28* Infineon Raceway Sept. 11* Chicagoland Speedway Sept. 25* Watkins Glen International Oct. 16* California Speedway * Denotes races held on the same day as IRL IndyCar Series races