IRL: Drivers ready to race at Kansas Speedway

KANSAS CITY, Kan., Tuesday, June 19, 2001 - Even though they never turned a lap at Kansas Speedway today due to rain, Indy Racing drivers Robbie Buhl, Eddie Cheever Jr., Felipe Giaffone and Sam Hornish Jr. can't wait to race on the new track next...

KANSAS CITY, Kan., Tuesday, June 19, 2001 - Even though they never turned a lap at Kansas Speedway today due to rain, Indy Racing drivers Robbie Buhl, Eddie Cheever Jr., Felipe Giaffone and Sam Hornish Jr. can't wait to race on the new track next month.

The Indy Racing Northern Light Series will race for the first time on the new 1.5-mile oval at Kansas Speedway on July 8. Buhl, Cheever, Giaffone and Hornish were at the track June 19 for testing, which was rained out, and a press conference. Buhl, Giaffone, Hornish and Greg Ray will test June 20 at the track, weather permitting.

Kansas Speedway is one of six new venues for the Indy Racing Northern Light Series this year. Three of those facilities, including Kansas, are new.

"We're very lucky to be in a point in time when good facilities are being built in this country," said 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Cheever, driver of the #51 Cheever Indy Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. "This is certainly a good facility. Racing here is part of the Midwest push for the Indy Racing League. We are disappointed we're not out there running today. "I truly believe there are two great forms of oval racing today, and they are NASCAR racing and the IRL. This facility will showcase both."

Fast speeds also will be showcased on the 1.5-mile oval at Kansas, which includes 15-degree banking in the turns. Speeds should exceed 210 mph. "It's a beautiful facility," said Buhl, driver of the No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone. "Racing on the 1.5-mile tracks is still a whole new type of open-wheel racing. You can run side by side all the way around these tracks. It makes for exciting racing. "We'll probably run about 40 mph quicker than the NASCAR cars here. That's a whole bunch of speed."

Both Hornish and Treadway-Hubbard Racing team manager Skip Faul think Kansas Speedway resembles Kentucky Speedway, a 1.5-mile oval that made its Northern Light Series debut last year. The MBNA Pole-winning speed was 219.191 mph last year at Kentucky, so similar speeds could occur at Kansas. "It's an awesome facility," said Faul, who helps prepare the No. 21 Hollywood G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone driven by Giaffone. "They obviously spent a lot of time planning this track before building it. The whole place is user-friendly.

"We'll be starting out with a modified Kentucky (Speedway) setup when we get on the track. We actually have two setups in mind, but we'll start with the one that is similar to Kentucky."

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Felipe Giaffone , Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Dreyer & Reinbold Racing