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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
Scott Dixon rolls out of pitlane during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay leads James Hinchcliffe during the early stages of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchliffe (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe in the hairpin during practice at Long Beach -- Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media
Graham Rahal in car (Photo Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Charlie Kimball, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, Takuma Sato, Mike Conway, Will Power, Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan, Takuma Sato, Mike Conway, Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe (Photo Credit: John Hendrick for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal (Photo Credit: John Hendrick for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe on course during the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens)
James Hinchcliffe on course during the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones)
Oriol Servia sits in his car on pit lane during the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday March 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
The 2014 Chevrolet engine of Scott Dixon. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon prepares to take to the track during the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday March 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon on course during the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday March 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon locks up his brakes during the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Monday, March 17. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power has the fastest time of the day in his #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 Monday, March 17, 2014 during Day One of the Verizon IndyCar Series Open Test in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo Credit: LAT/ Scott R. LePage for Chevy Racing)

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