With a rare summer weekend off before heading to Kentucky Speedway for the Belterra Casino Indy 300 on August 15th, Yorkshire's Darren Manning will have anything but time on his hands.

Following the Michigan Indy 400 this past weekend, Manning remained in Michigan for a Firestone tyre test on Monday and put in an additional 580 miles after Sunday's Michigan Indy 400 aboard his Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force-Toyota. That doesn't count the 650-mile drive from Indianapolis to Brooklyn, Michigan for the race and then back to Indianapolis where the team is based.

Upon his return to Indy, Manning spent some time with the team engineers Tuesday morning before heading to IMS productions in the afternoon. He was on television live, via satellite, with ESPN to talk about the IndyCar 2005 schedule, which was just released by the IRL and will include two road races.

On Wednesday, Manning flies with the team to Nazareth, Pennsylvania where he will participate in an engine test for Toyota on Thursday. Following the full day test, he returns to Indianapolis so that he can take part in a golf outing on the morning of Friday August 6th in connection with the Brickyard 400.

Manning will be joined by three other IndyCar representatives and four NASCAR Nextel Cup series drivers as well as eight members of the media in the inaugural Brickyard 400 Golf Challenge, playing in a scramble format. They'll be playing on Holes 7-10 of the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in Indianapolis, unique in the world of golf because they are located in the infield of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.

Each golfer will also have one opportunity to win $1 million by scoring a hole-in-one on the 193-yard, par-3 No. 7 hole. A fan in attendance also will be randomly selected to get one shot at hitting a hole-in-one and winning the $1 million prize.

Next on Darren Manning's agenda?... Catch a plane Friday afternoon for a quick trip to the west coast for the weekend to check out the 2004 Summer X-Games in Los Angeles (August 5th-9th) with a "buddy"; fellow IndyCar driver Buddy Rice to be exact.

From Los Angeles, Manning will drive to San Diego on Monday morning to get some custom fitted Taylor Made golf clubs. (Did we mention that Darren loves to play golf?) In San Diego he'll hop back on a plane for Kentucky to meet members of the Toyota Motorsports family who will give him a tour of the Erlanger, Kentucky facilities.

That afternoon, Manning will head back to Indianapolis where the next morning he and teammate Scott Dixon will be guests on an Indianapolis radio morning talk show to promote the boxes of cereal that feature the Target drivers on the front and back covers.

Dixon is the first Indy Racing League driver to adorn the cover of the Wheaties cereal box, available exclusively in Target stores nationwide. Mr. Manning's likeness joins that of his teammate on the front and back of Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal boxes with information on the team and the IndyCar series.

Later that morning, he'll sit down with the Target engineers to prepare for the upcoming Kentucky race and if everything gets done, Manning might just have time to get in a round of golf on Thursday morning with team manager Mike Hull to test out his new golf clubs.

Come Friday, it's time to hit the road for Kentucky. That evening, he and Scott Dixon will sign autographs for fans at the "Kentucky Speedway 2nd Annual Festival of Speed" in conjunction with the "Great Inland Seafood Festival" at Newport Festival Park in Newport, Kentucky as a kick off to a full schedule of race weekend activities.

Related Articles

Following that... Manning will have to get a good night of sleep since the Target team hits the track the next day for IndyCar practice at 10 am.

And if all that isn't enough, Manning will be documenting all his activities with a small video camera for IMS Productions so that fans can see first hand from his point of view, what he's up to when he isn't at a racetrack near you. Look for the highlights on an ABC race broadcast sometime soon.

Ah! The life of an IRL IndyCar Series driver... they move just as fast off the track as they do on the track!