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IPS: Crawford signs Abbott for Homestead.

Mishael Abbott, the first woman to have competed in the IRL Indy Pro Series, will return to the championship for the opening round of the 2006 series at her home track in Florida.

Abbott will drive for new team owner Michael Crawford in the March 26th race at Homestead-Miami Speedway and will be trying to emulate her fourth place starting position from 2005.

“I'm so excited to race for the local Florida fans in the Indy Pro Series at Homestead-Miami, especially under the successful leadership of Michael Crawford Motorsports,” said Mishael, who hails from South Florida and ran a partial IPS schedule with Hemelgarn Johnson Motorsports in 2005, earning her best finish of eighth at Homestead.

Abbott will prepare for her return to the series by completing both the oval and road course portions of the Homestead open tests this weekend.

“I'm really excited to work with Mishael. She brings a lot to the programme,” said Crawford, who is branching out on his own after serving as the general manager for championship winning team Sam Schmidt Motorsports. “She qualified fourth at Homestead last year. We want to live up to that…in fact, do better than that! It's an added bonus that she's from South Florida.”

As in 2005, budget will restrict Abbott in 2006 although she remains unbowed in her view that, if sponsorship can be secured, she can make it to the top of North American single seater racing

“I feel like this can really be a breakout season for me,” she added. “If I can secure funding for the full season, I know I can get closer to my goal of someday winning the Indianapolis 500.”

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