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26-car grid limit; Beatriz in at D&R; Rahal/Schmidt Indy deal

IndyCar limits grid to 26 cars; Ana Beatriz gets Dreyer & Reinbold seat; Bobby Rahal and Sam Schmidt team up to boost Jay Howard's Indy 500 challenge; testing news; and more.
26-car grid limit introduced

IndyCar has announced that the grid size will be capped at 26 cars for 2011, with the exception of the Indianapolis 500 (which will still have its traditional 33 runners) and the season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway which will be extended to 30 to allow for the additional guest drivers tempted by the $5m challenge.

For the other 15 races of the season, 24 starting positions will be decided by times set in qualifying, with two provisional spots then available to non-qualifiers in a similar fashion as happens in NASCAR. In the majority of the races the provisionals will go (in order) to the 2010 champion, the 2009 champion, the 2010 Indy 500 winner, the leading driver in the points standing not already qualified, the best practice laptime at the current event of the next best qualifying time, until the positions are filled.

IndyCar is reserving the right to vary the procedure at Sao Paulo and Twin Ring Motegi and will announce arrangements closer to the races themselves.

“This new procedure will ensure that our fans see the best drivers and teams in every race we stage, while adding more drama to the qualifying process,” said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and racing operations for IndyCar.

Beatriz in at Dreyer & Reinbold

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has announced that Ana Beatriz will return to the team to compete for the full 2011 IndyCar season.

Beatriz, who won two races in two seasons in the Firestone Indy Lights in 2008 and 2009, ran a very limited 2010 campaign with the team, but this year will have a full run of 7 races thanks to sponsorship from Brazilian petroleum company Ipiranga.

"I'm definitely thrilled to have my deal done with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Ipiranga," said Beatriz. "It's a dream come true that this has all come together. It's great to be back at D&RR; they know me already and what it takes to make me grow as a driver."

Beatriz will have Britain's Justin Wilson as her team mate for the season.

D&RR also announced this week that it has renewed a multi-year partnership with Charter Communications, the fourth-largest cable operator in the US, which will serve as the primary sponsor of Wilson's #22.

Rahal/Schmidt team-up to back Howard Indy 500 bid

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Sam Schmidt Motorsports have announced a partnership for the Indianapolis 500 to give 2006 Firestone Indy Lights champion Jay Howard a real shot at the victory.




Related Pictures

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15-21 MAY, 2010, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA #25 Ipiranga Deryer & Reinbold Racing`s Ana Beatriz
A special message for James Hinchcliffe during the Indianapolis 500 Victory Banquet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Oriol Servia accident during the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Mike Young for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
James Davison on track on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Friday May 22 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe at IMS (Photo by: Walter Kuhn)
James Hinchcliffe during practice prior to Qualifying for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (Photo by: Leigh Spargur)
James Hinchcliffe at IMS (Photo by: Mike Harding)
James Hinchcliffe at IMS (Photo by: Jim Haines)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start on the outside of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pagenaud will be joined in the front row by by polestar Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest for the May 24 race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies second-fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start in the middle of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Power will be joined in the front row by pole sitter Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates after qualifying fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon after winning P1 at IMS for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis Mile Race on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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