The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on August 9, 2002 · Page 40
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 40

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Friday, August 9, 2002
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D8 FRIDAY, AUGUST 9, 2002 Sports THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR - WWW.INDYSTAR.COM AUTO RACING NASCAR Next green flag: Sirius Satel-liate Radio at the Glen, Watkins Glen, N.Y.; qualifying, 2 p.m. to-' day; race, noon Sunday Points leaders Sterling Marlin 2,866 Jimmie Johnson.................... 2,773 Mark Martin 2,757 Jeff Gordon 2,741 Rusty Wallace . .2,695 CART Next green flag: Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, at Lexington, Ohio; qualifying, 4 p.m. today and 12:30 p.m. Saturday; race, 11:30 a.m. Sunday Points leaders Cristiano da Matta 122 Dario Franchitti M Bruno Junqueira........ . ...74 Michel Jourdain Jr .74 Patrick Carpentier .72 IHDY RACING LEAGUE Next green flag: Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Sparta, Ky.; qualifying, 4:30 p.m. Saturday; race, 12:30 p.m. Sunday Points leaders Gil de Ferran 377 Helio Castroneves.... . 365 Sam Hornish Jr. 359 Felipe Giaffone 330 Alex Barron 261 FORMULA ONE Next green flag: Hungarian Grand Prix at Budapest, Aug. 18 Points leaders Michael Schumacher 106 Juan Pablo Montoya.. ..... 40 Ralf Schumacher 36 Rubens Barrichello .. . 35 David Coulthard .. 32 NHRA Next green flag: Rugged Liner Nationals, Aug. 16-18, Brainerd, Minn. Points leaders Top Fuel Larry Dixon 1,320 Kenny Bernstein 1,222 Cory McClenathan 942 Darrell Russell 915 Tony Schumacher 878 Funny Car John Force 1,086 Tony Pedregon .. .. 987 Gary Densham 961 Del Worsham 932 Whit Bazemore 862 Pro Stock Jim Yates 940 Greg Anderson . . ... 926 Jeg Coughlin Jr 874 Warren Johnson 832 Ron Krisher 749 TONIGHT 7PM HaulmarkMayes Trailer "Night at the Races" Modified, Legend, Bandolero, Baby Grand, Roadrunners, Bomber Figure 8's SATURDAY, AUGUST 3 7PM Stock, Late Model 50 lap Figure 8, Roarjrumer, Pepsi Kids Bike Races 14-15 Hi U1 TISlilTEiiraS flO.il 1111 Kill SEISI Bengals October 6 Cowboys-November Giants-December 22 1MEIEM BBQSEISU Dolphins-September Ravens-October 13 Titans-November 3 Texans-December 1 Jaguars-December Bengals-August 17 Bills-August 24 Dolphins-September Bengals-October 6 Ravens-October 13 Titans-November 3 Cowboys-November Texans-December 1 Giants-December 22 Jaguars-December 29 1(101 Renna quickly makes mark in By Curt Cavln curt.cavinindystar.com Unheralded race car driver Tony Renna wanted to work for Kelley Racing as a possible driver coach. Now he's on the team's payroll, but is doing more driving than coaching. Soon he could be winning, too. It's been a whirlwind ride for the 25-year-old from De Land, Fla., who joined the Indy Racing League team in May. His first assignment was spotting on the radi for one of his idols, Al Unser Jr., in the Indianapolis 500. Then, he settled into his role as driving Tony Renna Tason in the new Infiniti Pro Series. For a tune-up, Renna tested Priestley's Pro Series car last month at Nashville (Tenn.) Super-speedway. It was fortuitous. Unser was arrested that week, entered an alcohol rehabilitation center in Connecticut and team officials needed a substitute driver for two races. There was Renna. "I hired him because he was so enthusiastic to do whatever it took," team owner Tom Kelley said. "Other drivers just wanted to jump in the car and go. Not Tony. He wanted to be part of our team." Because he was in the right place at the right time and delivered, Renna is now a full-fledged member of the Indianapolis-based operation, one of three drivers entered for Sunday's race Teen-ager concentrates on ARCA ride Compared to Shelby Howard, who is sixth in the ARCA points standings heading into tonight's race at Nashville, Term., Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman and the other so-called young guns of stock-car racing are downright ancient. Howard, a high school junior from Greenwood, Ind., turned 17 two weeks ago. He became the youngest driver in ARCA history last September when he qualified fourth and finished sixth in his first start. At a time when many of his friends are enjoying the final days of summer by hanging out during the day and taking their girlfriends to the movies at night, Howard is hanging out at his team's race shop learning all he can about making a car go fast. Once the school year begins, instead of going to classes during the week and playing football on Friday nights, he'll be spending his mornings with a private tutor, his afternoons at the shop and his weekends at racetracks from DuQuoin, 111., to Chicago to Talladega, Ala. Not many of his classmates were followed around for a week this summer by a camera crew from ABC's "2020." But then, not many of his classmates know 17 15 . 29 15 17 , m-i Mr ?-mi nrnrrr J.liuiw3l.i iUmL...ii in i mm Greg Giiffo staff photo From replacement to regular: Tony Renna subbed for Al Unser Jr., but performed so well that Kelley Racing has gotten him a car for the rest of the Indy Racing League season. at Kentucky Speedway. He joins Unser, who was released from the treatment center Monday, and Scott Sharp. Renna, a race winner in 1998 in Indy Lights, parlayed his Nashville testing experience into a lOth-place finish in the IRL race July 20. The debut could have been grander had he not spun the car exiting his first Indy-car pit stop. He had led 35 consecutive laps to that point. Renna backed up the steady Nashville showing by finishing fourth at Michigan International PIT PASS Curt Cavin & Steve Ballard exactly what they want to do with their lives and are well on the way to doing it. "Maybe I don't get to hang out with my friends like I used to, but it's going to pay off in the long run," Howard said. "I'm enjoying what I'm doing. It's just a totally different lifestyle than most people my age, that's all. "It's the same as having a regular job, only there's a lot more work involved." His parents, Shelby III and Tonya, insist that 8 a.m. to noon each weekday during the school year be spent with his tutor. On the racetrack, although winless, he is proving to be a quick study while competing against men twice his age. Three-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel has said several times this season that Howard has the talent to soon follow the likes of Johnson, 26, and Newman, 24, to Winston Cup. When he first arrived, Howard said, a few of the veterans bristled at running against a 16-year-old. "But after a few races, everybody was OK with it," he said. uii?r.iuw.jMiLi,o "V nfiriiiir-"iniflniit Ti nmmnitrw. - Speedway on July 28. With Unser returning this week, Kelley felt obligated to keep Renna in a car. Therefore, a new crew was assembled from the employees at the shop the leader is veteran Glenn Scott, who led Mark Dismore's program last year and a new entry was filed with the IRL. For the rest of the season Renna will drive the No. 78 Kruse Special, representing the Dean V. Kruse Foundation, which has an auto museum north of Fort Wayne. Kelley wants Renna on Howard's father allowed Shelby to start in junior sprints in 1996. "I never would have dreamed we'd be here," he said. Howard had a deal to run five Busch Series races late this season until NASCAR decided last winter to raise its minimum age to 18. The ARCA series followed suit, but Howard was grandfathered in. To get to Winston Cup, Howard said, takes "money and brains." He's hoping that if he can show he has the latter, someone else will come along to provide the former. Stewart keeps eye on TV Tony Stewart has a strong message for the Indianapolis media that he describes as too wrapped up in NASCAR's negative side to cover the Brickyard 400 properly. "I'm done giving (local journalists) the time of day," he said two days after hitting an Indianapolis Star freelance photographer after Sunday's race. "All anyone wants to do is seek out the negative in my life. "People say I don't watch TV, but I do. I watched all three stations (Monday night) and took notes. I was the lead story on each one of them No one talked about Bill Elliott winning the iir'irTi 'frrrnw -ri t-i)ucrivttmtrfr-,T'rr- ttbi in t h-- t r board for next year, too, if a sponsor can be secured. "We need young guys like him in this series," Kelley said. "And now this team has three guys who can legitimately win races." Not even Renna can believe how fast and how well things have come together for him. He remembers like it was yesterday how his father, Joe, led his quarter-midget and mini-sprint programs in the Daytona Beach area, where NASCAR rules. "I've said from the get-go, and I've promoted myself this way, This weekend's auto B NASCAR Winston Cup: Qualifying, 2 p.m. today, Speed; race, noon Sunday, WTHR-13 NASCAR trucks: Federated Auto Parts 200, 8 p.m. Saturday, ESPN race. Stewart vowed to give no interviews before next year's race. "Why should I?" he asked. Drag bikes roar into town The world's fastest two-wheeled competition comes to Indianapolis Raceway Park this weekend with the AMAProstar Motorcycle Drag Racing Series. The three-day event runs through Sunday and features Top Fuel drag bikes capable of speeds in excess of 230 mph. More than 500 racers are entered in 13 classes. Gates open at 7 a.m. and racing starts at 9 a.m. daily. Notes Unable to qualify an A.T. Foyt Racing car for the Brickyard 400, PJ Jones is getting another chance this weekend at Watkins Glen. N.Y. His road-racing experience earned him the nod over 0 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17 Indians vs. Toledo Mud Hens The first 4,000 fans receive a bobblehead figurine of former Tribe pitcher Ben Sheets. The winning pitcher for the U.S. in the 2000 Olympic Gold Medal Game, Sheets represented the Milwaukee Brewers in last year's Major League All-Star Game. Look for the $2-discount coupon in The Indianapolis Star Aug. 11, 14 and IS. Indians Baseball at Victory Field - Affordable Family Fun www.lndylndians.com Presented by: (money, Station) inwanapoiis' The Indmnapolis Star m.i.vwmhmim INDYSTARCOM Tickets available at the Victory Field Box Office or charge by phone at 317.239.5151. IRL that my career is almost tailor-made for the IRL," Renna said. "Oval tracks have always come very naturally to me because that's my background. Even in Lights, I always could get the oval tracks figured out." In fact, his only Indy Lights victory came at Michigan, one of the largest oval tracks in the world. Two years ago he was introduced to Kelley and his team's general manager, Jim Freuden-berg. They all became friends and Renna politely hounded them for any kind of work. He was sincere and not pushy. One day his business manager floated the idea of being the driving coach for Priestley. "They loved that idea," Renna said, "and they let me into their family." Renna said the down side to driving the team's race car is not being on the radio with Unser during race weekends. Renna said he's learned more from the two-time Indy-car champion than he was able to give in advice to Priestley. "He's a crafty vet, that guy," Renna said of Unser. "I've seen how well he communicates with his engineers and his crew so they can give him the car he needs in the race. And I've seen how patient he is." Unser might be the loser in this. He no longer has his spotter and he has to race against Renna, who seems to be a rising star in the IRL. "Renna's now another guy Al and Scott have to beat," Kelley said. Call Curt Cavin at 1-317-444-6409. racing on TV CART: Qualifying, 4 p.m. today, Speed; 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Speed; race, 11:30 a.m. Sunday, WISH-8 IRL Race, 12:30 p.m. Sunday, WRTV-6 Mike Wallace, who got a Foyt car into the Brickyard but was the first driver out. . . . U.S. Auto Club points leaders Tracy Ilines (sprints) and Dave Dar-land (midgets) are the defending champions of Saturday's races at Salem, Ind. Hines is trying to become the first repeat sprint-car winner of this event since 1980. . . . Two weeks after being hospitalized following a crash in Mechanicsburg, Pa., World of Outlaws sprint-car champion Danny Lasoski is back for the biggest event on the schedule. Just in case he can't make it through the entire five days of the Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals, Johnny Herrera remains on call as a replacement. Contact Steve Ballard at 1-317-444-6184 or by e-mail at steve.ballardindystar.com. Contact Curt Cavin at 1-317-444-6409 or by e-mail at curt.cavinindystar.com. mmmmm w A mt niwr"tiiiifit -t mm LJ H -,u " - i t- -

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