DAY 1 -- Wednesday, October 8, 1997
Second IRL Practice Notes:
Track temperature was 73 degrees, according to Goodyear tire engineers. 8:30 p.m. -- GREEN for first group. 8:32 p.m. -- YELLOW, #28 Dismore smoking, stopped between Turns 1 and 2. Dismore said a rod broke and the engine failed. 8:43 p.m. -- GREEN. 8:46 p.m. -- #40 Miller turned a lap at 198.223, fastest of group. 8:47 p.m. -- YELLOW, debris. 8:50 p.m. -- GREEN. 8:51 p.m. -- #97 Ray turned a lap at 199.100, fastest of group. 8:55 p.m. -- #40 Miller turned a lap at 199.446, fastest of group. 9:02 p.m. -- #51 Cheever turned a lap at 199.505, fastest of group. 9:06 p.m. -- #99 Schmidt turned a lap at 199.793, fastest of group. 9:07 p.m. -- #99 Schmidt turned a lap at 200.826, fastest of group. 9:10 p.m. -- End of Group.
9:15 p.m. -- GREEN for second group. 9:18 p.m. -- #3 Buhl turned a lap at 201.651, fastest of session. #91 Lazier turned a lap at 201.764, fastest of session. #2 Stewart turned a lap at 202.141, fastest of session. #3 Buhl turned a lap at 202.217, fastest of session. #2 Stewart turned a lap at 202.764, fastest of session. 9:23 p.m. -- #14 Hamilton turned a lap at 204.105, fastest of session. 9:27 p.m. -- #3 Buhl turned a lap at 203.966, second fastest of session. 9:30 p.m. -- Track temperature was 79 degrees, according to Goodyear tire engineers. 9:50 p.m. -- #2 Stewart turned a lap at 203.927, third fastest of session. 9:53 p.m. -- #6 Goodyear turned a lap at 204.313, fastest of session. 9:55 p.m. -- End of session. Track temperature was 70 degrees, according to Goodyear tire engineers.
DR. JACK MILLER: "Had a good test at the open test at Vegas but it was cut short when a screw got loose in the engine. We changed a few things on the car, specifically the suspension and that helped us a lot. The car ran real comfortable." (about the Infiniti): "The Infiniti engine is now producing 20 more horsepower. It definitely made a difference. Cheever only passed me because he got a tow from me."
ARIE LUYENDYK: "Things are going pretty smooth. We're not looking for much more speed. We're concentrating on race setup." (about how he's feeling): "I'm feeling pretty good. My shoulder's still bothering me a little. I can't put weight on it. It's kind of hard to get out of the car. But I'm comfortable when sitting in the car." (about Mi-Jack): "It's a one-race deal."
JEFF WARD: (about being back for the first time since Indy): "It felt really great. I missed being in the car. I ran Indy Lights with Stefan Johansson...not exactly the same. I'm running 25-gallon fuel loads but there's a lot more left in the car. I'm pleased with the speed so far." (about working with Owen Snyder, crew chief, who he worked with at Disney with Galles): "Owen and I have a greap rapport. I think it'll give us a distinct advantage."
SAM SCHMIDT: "It feels great being from here. I think we should've been here an hour ago. I ran 202 last week. There's a mid-corner push that's affecting our speed. We should be able to pick up a couple more miles an hour. I feel we're a half session behind." (The team changed an engine from testing last week to tonight.)
SCOTT GOODYEAR: "We didn't run that much this afternoon. We made a few adjustments, very minor. This is a fast track and you're in the turn for a long time. There is another couple miles an hour...not much more. We'll probably see 205, possibly 206. It takes momentum at this track to get going. There are a couple of shallow spots -- Turns 3 and 4. Pit lane exit and entrance definitely need more lighting. There's gonna be a full field. You have to be there at the end to win. This is my first time here. Because you're in the turns for so long, you really have to guide this thing. You really have to thread the needle to get the speed up. The track is pretty dusty." (about a late-draw for qualifying): "It's the luck of the draw. The issue will be a clean track. I don't think the cooler (weather) will make a difference. These cars are much harder to pass. You can really see how much downforce has been taken away over the past two years. You really have to be well-planned to pass. It's still fun to drive but not as comfortable."
DAVEY HAMILTON: "We ran the car hard. The session wasn't absolutely perfect but we decided it was close enough and we went with a long run setup. We ran 201 and 202 for a 20-lap run until we broke a motor. We've got the speed. We just have to have a little luck to go with it. We're going to go back to the garage and have a fresh one put in the car. It's one of these deals. It's an important race and I'm going for it. A.J. gave me a great car and now I've got to keep the motor in it. It started vibrating going into Turn 1. And a lot of times, they will lock up, so I just put the clutch in quickly and coasted around. I'm sure we broke a camshaft."
ROBBIE BUHL: "The car feels good. It's just a matter of the conditions changing. It's a lot cooler than when we ran here before. We just need to keep the car with a comfortable balance and I think we're going to be able to do that now. The trick to a race is making sure you have a comfortable car from start to finish. I'm happy and I'm now just thinking about the race and what I need to do to have a good car the whole race."
TONY STEWART: "Well, we didn't hit anything. Our series is getting tighter every race." (about the temperature): "It's really irrelevant. It's just like anywhere else."
Savannah Nicole Schmidt, daughter of Sam and Sheila, came into the world on Aug. 29, passing through tech at 7 pounds, 2 ounces and 19.5 inches in height. Her birth announcement is in the form of a "hero card" with the headline "Racing into the world." And along with other racing-oriented sponsors on the back is the logo of "Huggies."