SEMA eNews Vol. 12, No. 16, April 23, 2009

Racing News: Paul Tracy Returns to Indy, Helio Beats the Tax Rap

HE’S BACK: IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves was acquitted on five of the six charges facing him in his highly publicized tax- evasion case. The sixth charge (conspiracy) ended in a hung jury. Thus Castroneves was back in a Team Penske Indy car at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. He finished seventh. Dario Franchitti claimed the victory.

GOING BACK: Paul Tracy will return to the Indianapolis 500 for the first time since his near victory in 2007. Tracy will drive a car entered by KV Racing Technology, which is co-owned by Jimmy Vasser and Kevin Kalkhoven.

MOVING UP: Lesa France Kennedy will take over for her uncle, Jim France, as CEO of International Speedway Corp. when France steps down June 1. The son of Bill France Sr. will remain as chairman of the ISC Board of Directors.

NEW TROPHY: The trophy given to the Southern 500 winner at Darlington (South Carolina) Raceway has been named the Johnny Mantz Southern 500 trophy after the first (1950) winner of the event.

MOVING ON: Ron Dennis has stepped down as CEO of the McLaren Group Formula One team for which he has worked since 1980. Richard Lapthorne will replace Dennis.

NEW NO. 1: With the struggles of other contenders this week, Formula One points-leader Jensen Button, who finished third in the Chinese Grand Prix, moved to the top spot in the weekly National Speed Sport News Power Rankings, which rates drivers from all auto-racing disciplines. The rankings appear weekly in America’s Motorsports Authority.

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