INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2000 - Brandon Erwin and Chris Bingham passed the Indy Racing League rookie test Oct. 18 at Texas Motor Speedway. Under the observation of three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and Indy Racing driver coach Johnny ...
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2000 - Brandon Erwin and Chris Bingham passed the Indy Racing League rookie test Oct. 18 at Texas Motor Speedway. Under the observation of three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and Indy Racing driver coach Johnny Rutherford, Bingham and Erwin completed the four speed phases of the test. At Texas, a rookie driver is required to run 10 consistent laps at each of four speed levels: 190-195 mph, 195-200 mph, 200-205 mph and at 205 mph or faster.
Erwin, 24, from Denton, Texas, drove the 2000 No. 88T Uproar.com/TeamXtreme Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone car, which was used this season as a backup for Airton Dare, the 2000 RaceSearch.com Rookie of the Year. "Brandon took right to it," Rutherford said. "He is ready. He could do really well in the League if he gets the right opportunity. He was impressive in that he got right to his program and clicked it right off. He ran a minimum of laps to get his test done, and he was through. "I think he is going to be a credit to the League when he gets a program together."
Erwin ran 56 laps, with five of his last 10 laps at speeds faster than 210 mph, Rutherford said.
"Wow, I just can't believe it," said Erwin, a senior at the University of North Texas. "I can't wait to focus on racing. I was driving around the turns just looking at the wall and thinking, 'This is really it -- I have passed and now will be considered an IRL driver.'
"It's such an honor, really, to be put in a class of drivers so talented. I look forward to the opportunity to race beside them all." Erwin began racing at age 12. After 10 years and numerous regional, state and national titles, Erwin turned his focus from karts to dirt racing. In the past three years, he competed in more than 25 dirt late model events across the country and is racing sprint cars at Devil's Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas.
Bingham, 28, from Bellevue, Wash., drove the 1999 No. 40 BigWig.com/Team Coulson Racing G-Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone car, which Roberto Guerrero drove in The Belterra Resort Indy 300 in August at Kentucky Speedway. Bingham completed 74 laps with his fastest laps in the 207-mph range, Rutherford said.
Starting in motocross at age 10, Bingham has a diversified resume, including experience racing in Porsche clubs, IMSA, American Le Mans and Indy Lights. "I can't state enough how impressive both of them were," Rutherford said. "They both just got right out there and did the test. They had a grasp on it. They had control."