IRL: Indy 500 Tyce Carlson fastest on short day of testing

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - Tyce Carlson was among the few who braved the elements at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today, leading the Open Test speed charts at 218.150 mph in the Hubbard-Immke Racing Flamingo-Las Vegas ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - Tyce Carlson was among the few who braved the elements at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today, leading the Open Test speed charts at 218.150 mph in the Hubbard-Immke Racing Flamingo-Las Vegas Dallara/Aurora/Firestone. Carlson was one of only 10 drivers who elected to test today at the 2.5-mile oval, as morning rain showers prevented testing until 1:45 p.m., and the air and track temperatures never climbed above the mid-50s and mid-60s, respectively. Testing ended at 4:05 p.m. - nearly 90 minutes early -- due to falling temperatures. "To be able to go 217 or 218 consistently on a cold track with cold tires, we're very happy with the balance of the car," said Carlson. "You never know what it's going to be like on qualification day. I've lived (in Indianapolis) my whole life, and it could be snowing. We went out there today and took it easy and built up to what we need to know. If the conditions are like this for qualifying or race day, we'll have a good race car." Second fastest was rookie Jason Leffler, who posted a lap of 215.662 in a Treadway Racing backup car, while veteran Stephan Gregoire was third at 215.352, rookie Ross Cheever was fourth at 214.194 and 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier was fifth at 213.023. Other drivers taking laps were 1998 Indianapolis 500 pole winner Billy Boat, Buzz Calkins, Doug Didero, Guy Smith and Casey Mears, son of two-time Indianapolis 500 competitor Roger Mears and nephew of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears.

"It's awesome," Casey Mears said of his first laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a Hemelgarn Racing car. "I'm lovin' it. The Hemelgarn guys have been real good with me and given me plenty of time to get up to speed. "I don't know what to say. It's totally a different place than I've been before, and it's very special. It feels good to be here."

Didero passed Phase 3 of the Rookie Orientation Program and will attempt to complete the fourth and final phase of ROP tomorrow. Leffler completed his Refresher Test and is eligible to practice and make a qualification attempt for the Indianapolis 500. Leffler didn't need to take the entire ROP due to his extensive testing miles at the Speedway and because he took a simulated rookie test in late 1998 at the Speedway while testing for Firestone. Leffler has won three consecutive USAC MCI WorldCom National Midget Car championships and now drives full time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Busch Series. Testing will continue for rookies and veterans Wednesday with the following schedule:
9 - 11 a.m.: Veteran testing
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.: Rookie Orientation Program
1:30 - 3:30 p.m.: Veteran testing
3:30 - 5:30 p.m.: Rookie Orientation Program

-IRLNS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jason Leffler , Guy Smith , Buzz Calkins , Casey Mears , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Billy Boat , Rick Mears , Tyce Carlson , Roger Mears , Ross Cheever
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing