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Australia to witness new partnerships.


For many of the 24 IndyCar Series drivers competing in this weekend's Nikon Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise, the race presents more than one unique opportunity.

With no points at stake toward a championship, it's a chance to end 2008 on a high note by chasing victory, but, for many, it is also a chance to get some early preparation in for the beginning of the 2009 season, which will open with street course races at St Petersburg and Long Beach.

Four drivers in particular are looking at the Nikon Indy 300 as an opportunity to acclimatise themselves to new teams ahead of next season, with Dario Franchitti making his first start with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Vitor Meira debuting with AJ Foyt Racing, Dan Wheldon moving back to Panther Racing and Alex Tagliani attempting to secure a seat with Conquest Racing after driving for the team in the final two events of 2008.

“There's two things [we want to accomplish],” confirmed Wheldon, the 2005 champion who returns to Panther after winning 15 races with Andretti Green Racing and Target Chip Ganassi Racing over the past six seasons, “It's a good time for us to get a feel for one another under race conditions.

"When you test, that's great, but it's always a bit more laid back. I think it's good to see how people perform under pressure. We'll definitely utilise that time to get to know one another and, hopefully, for them to get a good feel for what I need on a road course and vice versa.

“And, then, you want to go for the win. You don't have anything to worry about. There's no points up for grabs, it's just kind of bragging rights and, to some degree, you might be able to put an exclamation point on the season that just finished. That's the intention.

"Australia is a race that I've heard a lot of good things about, but one I've yet to complete, so I'm very much looking forward to running here in the #4 car. We'll be at a little bit of a disadvantage in the fact that I don't have any track knowledge here, but that is something we'll be able to overcome during practice.

"We're looking for an impressive debut with the Delphi National Guard and Panther crew. We had a great test on the oval at Indy and at Sebring as well. Whenever you join a new team with new personnel it always takes time to adapt but, because of the testing, we were able to get through some of that learning process. I can tell all our guys are excited about this weekend.”

Meira, who takes over the #14 AJ Foyt Racing entry from Darren Manning, will be racing for the first time with the team and at the Gold Coast circuit in his eight-year career.



Related Pictures

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Indy Racing League.  29-31 August 2008, Detroit Grand Prix. Belle Isle.  Detroit, Michigan. Alex Tagliani.
Scott Dixon is congratulated by Dario Franchitti after winning the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Conor Daly leads at the 2014 Dan Wheldon Memorial kart event   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
James Davison chats with Dario Franchitti on pit lane prior to practice for the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Johnny Rutherford speaks with official pace car driver Dario Franchitti (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe, Graham Rahal and Alex Tagliani (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan on Monday at practice for the Indianapolis 500. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Alex Tagliani at IMS (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media.)
Chevrolet Racing introduces the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Indianapolis 500 pace car Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will drive the Camaro Z/28 to pace the 98th running of the race on May 25. It’s the eighth time a Camaro has been the pace car, starting in 1967 – and the 25th time a Chevrolet has paced the race. The 2014 Camaro Z/28 is the most track-capable model in its history, building on the legacy of the original SCCA Trans Am-series contender introduced in 1967. (Photo Courtesy of IMS Photography for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet Racing introduces the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Indianapolis 500 pace car Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will drive the Camaro Z/28 to pace the 98th running of the race on May 25. It’s the eighth time a Camaro has been the pace car, starting in 1967 – and the 25th time a Chevrolet has paced the race. The 2014 Camaro Z/28 is the most track-capable model in its history, building on the legacy of the original SCCA Trans Am-series contender introduced in 1967. (Photo Courtesy of IMS Photography for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet Racing announces Tuesday, March 25, 2014 that three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will drive a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 to pace the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25. It’s the eighth time a Camaro has been the pace car, starting in 1967 – and the 25th time a Chevrolet has paced the race. The 2014 Camaro Z/28 is the most track-capable model in its history, building on the legacy of the original SCCA Trans Am-series contender introduced in 1967. (Photo Courtesy of IMS Photography for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet Racing announces Tuesday, March 25, 2014 that three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will drive a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 to pace the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25. It’s the eighth time a Camaro has been the pace car, starting in 1967 – and the 25th time a Chevrolet has paced the race. The 2014 Camaro Z/28 is the most track-capable model in its history, building on the legacy of the original SCCA Trans Am-series contender introduced in 1967. (Photo Courtesy of IMS Photography for Chevy Racing)
Dario Franchitti reviews data in the Target Chip Ganassi pit stand at the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday March 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Dario Franchitti during the press conference at the Target Chip Ganassi Racing shop. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Dario Franchitti jokes with Tony Kanaan during his press conference at the Target Chip Ganassi Racing offices. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Dario Franchitti poses with the Borg-Warner Trophy and the Astor Cup following his retirement press conference at the Target Chip Ganassi Racing offices. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Dario Franchitti arrives for his retirement press conference at the Target Chip Ganassi Racing offices. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe (second left) is announced as the fourth driver for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2014 where he will join (L-R) Charlie Kimball, Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon. Kanaan will drive the #10 previously piloted by Dario Franchitti. Briscoe will drive the new #8 car in a multi-year contract. (Photo Credit: Lynne Huntting, presssnoop.com)

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Hector Garza - Unregistered

October 22, 2008 6:30 PM

IRL Suck big time. Australians will feel sorry to find out what IRL is. Ugly cars, ugly engine sound.........Nothing compare to the Champ Car Worls Series!!!!! IRL the most dissapointment series in the World



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