For Immediate Release
New Rookie Schedule, Open Test Added to Indianapolis 500 Format
INDIANAPOLIS, November 5, 1997 - A structured week of testing April 14-18 will be part of the schedule for the 1998 Indianapolis 500, including a new rookie orientation format, an open test for Indy Racing League teams and a limit on pre-May private sessions, it was announced Tuesday. The package was announced by Brian Barnhart, director of racing operations of the IRL, to League team representatives at a meeting at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort and Inn. Under the new format, rookies will run April 14-15 to take driver's tests, veterans will be on the track April 16-17 and tire companies will test with veterans and rookies of their choosing April 18. Also as part of the new package, teams and drivers are limited to a maximum of three additional tire test days and three additional days of private testing, limiting total pre-May testing to nine days. In addition to the Indianapolis open test, the IRL will have four other open tests - December 9-11 at Orlando, February 25-27 at Phoenix, June 15-17 at Dover, and July 6-8 at Atlanta. The format for these tests will be two days of open practice with the final day set for tire testing. "We were pleased with the success of our open test policies in 1997," Barnhart said. "We'll have five open tests for 1998 and the format will remain the same. We feel it's a good mix, going to our new tracks at Atlanta and Dover and including Indianapolis, which has never been done= before." "Hopefully, that will reduce the total testing budget for everyone and it gives our smaller teams the opportunity to test at five race tracks at a reasonable rate where we replicate Race Day conditions." Barnhart said rookies would be required to complete a minimum of three phases of their driver's test over the two days of April testing in Indianapolis. He added that time would be set aside on Sunday, May 10 for those who don't complete the test in April and other time may be added while veterans are running. The May 10 date is now opening day of practice for the Indianapolis 500 under the new tightly-packaged format announced previously. Practice continues through Friday, May 15 with qualifying sessions scheduled Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17. Final practice (Carburetion Day) is scheduled for Thursday, May 21 with the 82nd running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 24.
Media Contacts: Mai Lindstrom, IMS/IRL Public Relations Director,= 317/484-6780 Nancy Doan, IMS Public Relations Manager, 317/484-6780
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