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Team news in brief: New sponsors for Penske

"AFS Racing's partnership with Andretti Autosport has certainly been a successful one, but it's time for both organisations to try some new things," added Peterson.

TEAM funding system cut back
IZOD IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard has announced changes to the series' Team Enhancement and Allocation Matrix for the 2011 season that will see the financial guarantee program limited to the top 22 entrants rather than the top 24, as determined by the 2010 championship points.

"When our fans show up at an event, we want to guarantee they're seeing the fastest, most versatile drivers on the track. We never want to have someone uncompetitive who can buy their way into a series," said Bernard, explaining the change. "Even with these changes, we anticipate 25 to 28 cars per race, when factoring in full-time non-Leaders Circle teams and one-off entries."

The change means that Dale Coyne Racing's #18 (driven by Milka Duno) and Conquest Racing's #36 would no longer receive funding. The #36 has been driven by a revolving door of drivers in 2010, including Baguette, Francesco Dracone, Tomas Scheckter, Roger Yasukawa and Sebastian Saavedra.

The TEAM program, introduced in 2008, assures each entrant of $1.2m if they run the whole season. The Indy 500 winner benefits by $2.2m, with a $25,000 bonus for the top non-TEAM funded entrant in the race. Additional funds will be used to enhance the prize fund at each event for IZOD IndyCar Series entrants that do not qualify for the TEAM program.

Edmonton dropped from 2011 calendar
The popular Canadian IndyCar event at Edmonton has been dropped from the 2011 following problems over funding between the event promoter, Octane Management, and the city authorities.

The city is said to have refused to supply funds to reconfigure the airfield track to allow one of the runways to remain operational during the event.

"We are disappointed that the city and the promoter were unable to reach an agreement on the venue changes," said a statement from the IZOD IndyCar Series. "It's unfortunate that in a time when IndyCar is experiencing momentum and growth, the city would want to miss out on the opportunity to be part of it.

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