Media day focuses on new season

Chip Ganassi Racing, who has joined the series with confident young speedster Chris Festa. Chris is returning for his third season in the series. He has an eye-popping 19 top-10 finishes in 23 starts. He's also just returned from the Daytona 24 hour endurance race where he partnered with Tomas Enge, Roger Yasukawa and Darren Manning a Daytona Prototype sportscar.

A newborn fitness freak, Chris is eager to grow into the big shoes around him at TCGR. "It absolutely makes me feel good, that Ganassi does everything 100%, and that's what it takes to win. It makes me feel very good because I know I'm going to have great cars underneath me and great personnel looking after me to give me the best opportunity to put it down on the racetrack. Somebody like me coming into their third season without a win, coming into it with somebody like Chip Ganassi Racing who is going to do it properly from their side really is a great feeling for me going into the season."

The Atlanta, Georgia native lists college football (he's a Florida State Seminole and wears Chief Osceola proudly on his helmet) as a favorite pastime, but has put tailgating on hold to strengthen himself mentally and physically for the coming IPS year.

"I'm working myself a lot harder in the gym to prepare myself physically for the car as well. Because with the competition getting better, I'm just going to have to work a whole lot harder within the car on the track as well as have my mind in the more proper state to compete against these guys."

There have been only a few technical modifications for either series; the most publicized the move of the IndyCar series to the ethanol fuel and Honda 3.5 Liter V-8. There's also been a reduction by one third in the size of the fuel tank on the IndyCars, to compensate for the better fuel mileage of ethanol, and maintain fuel windows and tire life expectations, and pitstop requirements, the same as they have been in the past.

What the drivers are talking about, though, are not the power plant of fuel- related changes but the aerodynamic changes coming this year. The new rules call for a front wing angle of negative five to positive five degrees angle of incidence. This subtly written phrase on a piece of paper promises to pack the field together into an even-more competitive atmosphere as teams manipulate the wing angle to compensate for lack of mechanical grip on the road course portions of the schedule or enhance the flow of air around the car and over the rear wing on the oval speedway courses. It's another equalizer that the IRL rules makers have thrown in to spread the competitive advantage over a larger number of drivers and teams this year.

The 2007 IndyCar Series season begins under the lights with the XM Satellite Radio Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 24. The race will be telecast live by ESPN2 at 8 p.m. (EDT) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPN Deportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and on the IndyCar website. The sixth season of Indy Pro Series competition begins with the Miami 100 on March 24 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be telecast at 5 p.m. (EDT) on March 28 by ESPN2.