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Auto Racing

Doornbos Tries Ovals

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 24, 2013 at 03:21 AM

Quadriplegic To Make History

Travis Tollett plans to make history July 19 at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb when he becomes the first quadriplegic to compete in the annual "Race to the Clouds."

Tollett, who injured his spinal cord in a July 1, 2007, crash during the Gold Camp Hill Climb in Victor, Colo., will team with Steve Bennett in a specially equipped Mazda RX-7 TurboII.

He broke his C6 and C7 vertebrae when his car went off course and crashed at close to 90 mph.

"From the day they told me I'd never walk again or ride again, I knew I could prove everyone wrong," said Tollett, from Walters, Okla. "From Day One I've kept the best attitude about this that is humanly possible and continue to do that each day. I still believe I can come back from this and be better than ever as long as I believe in myself.

"The chance to be a part of this race again is just awesome and I will make it to the top."

Robert Doornbos made his IndyCar Series debut during a preseason test this week at Homestead-Miami Speedway, also getting his first taste of oval racing.

The 27-year-old Dutchman, who last raced in the U.S. in the now-defunct Champ Car Series two years ago, took part in a four-man rookie test Monday on the 1.5-mile Florida oval, completing 111 laps in his new Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing entry.

"Driving on an oval is definitely different than I expected," Doornbos said. "It felt like going to a new school on the first day. I didn't really know what to expect.

"I got a lot of information from the team, but you have to do it for yourself."

Doornbos said he was questioning his decision to drive in IndyCar after the first five laps. But, after that, things began to fall into place. "Once you reach that pace it's actually quite fun, so we ended the day on a good note and I can go to bed with a smile. I already got the bug and want to go faster and faster, so that's a good thing."

Doornbos also took part in the IndyCar open test at Homestead on Tuesday and Wednesday and will drive in his first series race April 5 in St. Petersburg.

FORMULA ONE TO CUT COSTS

Responding to the global economic crisis, Formula One's governing body is preparing a series of proposals that would slash racing costs and open the sport to smaller teams.

If adopted, the new rules would "enable a team to compete for a fraction of current budgets but nevertheless field cars which can match those of the established teams," FIA said Friday in a statement. It did not provide any details.

The proposals would not affect the established teams, the statement said, but would "enable new teams to fill the existing vacancies on the grid for 2010." The proposals are also aimed at reducing the chances that teams would be forced to leave the championship.

The proposals are to be submitted to the FIA's World Council in March for approval.

The sport's automakers are reeling from the global financial crisis. Honda announced in December that it is pulling out of F1. In January, Formula One teams unanimously agreed to a series of cost-cutting measures, including limits on expensive testing and a cheaper engine for smaller teams starting in 2010.

The Formula One Teams Association agreed to the proposals.


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