Newman/Haas/Lanigan Aim for IRL Title in 2009

Expect Newman/Haas/Lanigan to challenge for the IndyCar Series title in 2009! At least that's how co-owner Mike Lanigan warns us ahead of the team's second campaign in the unified IRL IndyCar Series this year. Following a quite successful outing in the 2009 season – with one win from each of its drivers – the team will now focus all their efforts in challenging for the series' title, especially since they are now more accustomed to the series' cars and oval racing.

“Our expectation is to win the championship. That is what (co-owners) Paul (Newman) and Carl (Haas) taught me - don't settle for second. I think it's remarkable that in 2008 with the circumstances we were in - to be 30 days from one league to another, new cars, new equipment, new race tracks, the tremendous hours we put in - just to show up every weekend. Our team has had a lot of turnover because of the changes but every week we learned,” said Lanigan in an interview for IndyCar's official site.

“We certainly understood how the budgets have changed. Oval racing is super exciting, but when you crash it's a lot more expensive and a lot more work on our people to put the cars back together. But it's really quite simple that it comes down to drivers, engineering and crew members that make this happen,” added Lanigan.

However, the team is unlikely to field two cars for the 2009 season. Only Graham Rahal was picked up from last year's lineup for the team's 2009 campaign, as the Columbus-born driver became the youngest driver to win a race in the IndyCar Series last year, at St. Petersburg. Justin Wilson was left looking for racing seat this year, as NHL are still looking for enough sponsorship money to begin 2009 on a 2-car effort.

Lanigan admitted he has decided to take a more active role with his team ever since team co-owner Paul Newman passed away in September 2008.

“I got to watch three of the last four races of the season with Paul Newman at his house. Both Paul and Carl (Haas) wanted me to get more involved with the race team. I'm ready to get more involved and participate more,” concluded Lanigan.
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