News

SCHWARTZ NAMED NEW YORK LIFE 2007 COUNCIL PRESIDENT

By Doug Winegardner
Thursday, March 15th 2008, 15:20 EST

INDIANAPOLIS – An extensive career based on creating strong bonds with clients has catapulted Richard A. Schwartz to the premier recognition of New York Life. The firm announced Schwartz to be the recipient of the 2007 Council President Award.

Personal tragedy has been a continual motivation behind the career of Schwartz, who lost a father and brother early in life. Growing up, he watched his mother “work her fingers to the bone” to maintain the family’s quality of life and vowed to never let that happen to his own family.

A career based on caring for people has led him to such a high recognition. “I’m not really concerned about the numbers…I concern myself with people. When you care about people, the numbers come,” said Schwartz.

John Blanks, New York Life Chairman’s Cabinet explains, “Becoming Council President is the most prestigious honor New York Life can bestow on somebody.”

Yet, during his efforts to earn this award, Schwartz continuously pushed for success out of those around him. “During what was probably the most important year of his career, Rich called me several time to encourage me to make my own Cabinet goals. I find that simply astonishing. But that’s who Rich is,” Blanks said.

Schwartz has just expanded his operation into Scottsdale, AZ and is looking forward to continuing to build his successful practice. “It surprises me how many financially successful families and businesses lack adequate financial safe-guards,” explained Schwartz, “But the best part about my business is when I can enable a family to retain their standard of living following the death of a breadwinner.”

IRL AND CHAMP CAR TEAMS PAIRED UP

By Glenn Freeman
Thursday, March 6th 2008, 16:16 GMT

The IndyCar Series has announced which teams will work together in an attempt to get the former Champ Car outfits up to speed before the start of the season.

The series has paired each Champ Car team with one of the existing IndyCar squads, and in the coming weeks the pairs will work together to prepare cars for the season opener at Homestead on March 29.

The pairings have been based on previous relationships, geographical proximity, and similar team size.

The IRL's vice president of competition Tony Cotman said: "The difficulty for any new team to come along at this point is a lack of information. We'd like to see the whole field within a second.

"If we can help them get to a point to do that by sharing information through partnering teams, that's what we'll do."

Multi-car teams have had to relinquish some of their spare cars for the early part of the season, and teams will share spares during the early races of the year.

Series organisers believe that they can have enough cars and spares for every team around the time of the Indianapolis 500 at the end of May.

Despite the existing IRL teams having to compromise their own preparations for the new season, they have apparently been happy to do it.

President of competition Brian Barnhart said: "Roger Penske, Chip Ganassi and Michael Andretti all said 'What can we do to help?' It shows their view on how important this is for the good of the sport."

Not all of the Champ Car teams that have been paired up have confirmed their participation in the unified series this year, but they have been assigned a partner team regardless.

AUSTRALIAN STOP STRIKES DEAL WITH IRL

The Associated Press
Wednesday, Mar. 05, 2008

The future of one former Champ Car World Series venue has been assured for at least another six years.

Officials in Queensland, Australia, announced this week that they agreed with the Indy Racing League on a six-year contract for the Gold Coast Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise, beginning this year and running through 2013.

With the unification of the two American open-wheel series – which resulted in the demise of Champ Car – it is expected that only the former Champ Car races in Australia, Edmonton, Alberta, and Long Beach, Calif., will be run this year as part of the IRL IndyCar Series schedule.

The Long Beach race, which was to be the Champ Car opener on April 20, will be run on that date by the former Champ Car teams while the IRL teams are in Japan for a race at Motegi the previous day. The dates of the races in Australia and Edmonton are to be determined.

“The Gold Coast Indy 300 has been a part of the Queensland major event landscape for 18 years and I am delighted that it will continue to feature Queensland for many years to come,” said Judy Spence, Queensland’s minister for police, corrective services and sport. “The event has overcome many hurdles in its history, but this latest development probably puts it in its best shape ever.”

DRIVERS EMBRACE UNIFIED SERIES

By Jeff Olson
Wednesday, February 27th 2008, 14:54 GMT

IndyCar drivers embraced the four-day-old concept of unification Tuesday as the series prepared for its annual pre-season test sessions and the newcomers scrambled to find cars.

The addition of as many as nine teams and as many as a dozen cars is expected later in the season after the Indy Racing League and Champ Car World Series agreed last week to bring Champ Car teams into the IRL's IndyCar Series.

The announcement ended a 12-year division in American open-wheel racing and elicited a positive reaction from drivers attending Tuesday's IndyCar Series media day activities at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"Finally I might be in the right place at the right time," said Foyt Enterprises' Darren Manning, whose career has encompassed parts in both series. "Now we have a single-seater series that's second only to Formula One.

"It's where a driver wants to be. There are only 18 spots on a Formula One grid, and they aren't giving any of them up. This is going to be another place where the best drivers in the world can compete."

Tony George, CEO of the Indy Racing League and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is scheduled to address the media during a press conference Wednesday at Homestead with Kevin Kalkhoven, former head of Champ Car.

The newly unified series then will take to the Homestead oval - although no former Champ Car teams are expected to be ready on short notice - for testing. The season opener is scheduled March 29 at Homestead.

Representatives from all nine former Champ Car teams attended a meeting Monday at Homestead with Brian Barnhart, IndyCar's president of competition and operations.

Most of those team officials are expected to attend the Wednesday and Thursday practice sessions at Homestead, as well as a three-day test next week at Sebring International Raceway.

While the new additions got a feel for the new equipment and the way things are done in the IndyCar Series, those already on board offered their ideas about the future of open-wheel racing and how it's presented.

"You've got to have some name continuity; it can't be musical chairs for drivers," said Ryan Hunter-Reay, who competed in Champ Car in 2003 and 2004 before landing at Rahal Letterman Racing in the IndyCar Series last year.

"You have to show personalities. That's the thing NASCAR does so well. I'm not saying we copy NASCAR, but people need to know what our drivers are like. I don't even watch NASCAR that much, but I know the personalities of their drivers."

Also of interest in Wednesday's press conference are future venues and car specs for the new generation of chassis and engines, set for implementation in 2010. Drivers and teams from both sides have expressed an interest in more road and street courses and fewer large ovals.

Future schedules could expand to 20 or more races a season from the current 16. Champ Car street races at Long Beach, Surfers Paradise and Edmonton are expected to be added to the 2008 IndyCar schedule, but drivers and teams are interested in what lies in 2009 and beyond.

"I firmly believe that open-wheel racing should be a mix of road courses, street courses and ovals," Hunter-Reay said. "That's what makes a true champion. You have to have a variety of skills to be successful with that format."

By the time the former Champ Car teams have acquired new Dallara chassis and Honda engines, the fields for races are expected to be somewhere around 24 to 26 cars. That won't happen consistently until after the Indianapolis 500 in May, insiders say.

Some of the top crossovers are expected to be Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal from Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, Paul Tracy from Forsythe Racing, and Will Power from Derrick Walker's Team Australia.

As many as a dozen new cars could be added to races outside the Indianapolis 500, which could draw 40 or more competitors for the 33-car field.

That depends, of course, on whether those teams can find cars. The IRL reportedly has begun the process of buying Dallara chassis from current teams and redistributing them to former Champ Car teams, but it's not clear how many new teams will be ready for a season opener that's less than a month away.

Still, the mood was upbeat Tuesday as drivers shuffled through routine preseason photo shoots. Franck Perera of Conquest Racing was the only former Champ Car driver to attend, but others are expected to be available during the next two days of testing.

"Now drivers can focus on racing and not on the overall picture," Manning said. "It's going to be great."

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