IRL: Jeff Ward Pikes Peak 2 Preview

Yahoo! MerchantOnline Pagan Racing Team Colorado Indy 200 presented by Deloitte & Touche Who: Driver - Jeff Ward Sponsors - Yahoo! / MerchantOnline Car - Dallara Oldsmobile Goodyear What: Colorado Indy 200 ...

Yahoo! MerchantOnline Pagan Racing Team

Colorado Indy 200 presented by Deloitte & Touche

Who: Driver - Jeff Ward Sponsors - Yahoo! / MerchantOnline Car - Dallara Oldsmobile Goodyear What: Colorado Indy 200 Presented by Deloitte & Touche Round 8 of the ten event Indy Racing League 1999 season

Where: Pikes Peak International Raceway, Fountain, Colo. 1-mile tri-oval superspeedway 200 miles / 200 laps

When: 2:00 p.m. (MDT) Sunday, August 29, 1999

Jeff Ward and the entire Yahoo! Pagan Racing team eagerly await the second race of the season at Pikes Peak International Raceway this weekend. The team tested for Goodyear at the one mile oval earlier this month. On day one of the test, Jeff Ward set the second fastest lap of the day. On the final day of Goodyear testing, Ward's lap of 20.37 seconds was the fastest of the two day test.

"We came back from the Pikes Peak test pretty high on our horses," said Pagan Racing crew chief, Mitch Davis. "We ran for two days and Goodyear really stepped up and brought us a really good tire there, that we were very happy with."

After the successful test at Pikes Peak, the team looks forward to putting the Yahoo! car on the pole for this weekend's race. "Ward ran times as quick as the pole times," Davis said. "The rest of the Goodyear cars that were there ran basically the same times that they ran at the race before. We gained six-tenths of a second from when we were there."

Except for the open test at Indianapolis, this is the first time the Pagan Racing team has had an opportunity to test prior to a race. A test scheduled for the Atlanta Motor Speedway was canceled due to the arrival of the Ward family's newest addition, a beautiful baby girl named Siena.

"Testing is everything now in the IRL," said Davis. "There are a lot of teams with a lot of money budgeted for testing and that's who we're racing against in this championship. We're planning on going to Dallas after the Colorado race to test for Goodyear. We'll be down there for two days a week after the Colorado race."

Jeff Ward, driver of the Yahoo! Pagan Racing Indy car, is fired up after setting the fastest lap while testing at Pikes Peak recently. "This is the first time we've tested at any track, except for Indy," said Ward, who finished second at the Speedway in May. "This is a big boost for my confidence. This is a big gain because we know that the car will be quick right out of the box. We'll be right up to speed and we can worry about other things."

"At the last race at PPIR, we had never been there before with a Dallara. We ran two cars on that weekend, the backup car and the race car. We tried different settings and with a 45-minute practice session, you only get thirty laps. When you're there testing, you get 150 laps a day. So it's a giant difference going back there knowing what the car is going to do compared to the last time we were there. It's a night and day difference."

"Now that we've tested at PPIR, we know the car a lot better. We were really quick when we were there testing. We seem to have more of a grasp of what we need to do to run up front at Pike Peak. We turned the quickest time of everyone that's been there so far. I did a 20.3 but I was in traffic behind (Kenny) Brack, but that's still a pretty quick lap. We did some qualifying runs and we ran a 20.4, which was the pole at the last race. We did some long runs too. The track just keeps getting more and more grip."

Although Jeff Ward and the Yahoo! Pagan Racing team slipped to fourth place in the Indy Racing League championship standings after Dover, the team still managed to gain ground on the points leader. Jeff is just 23 points behind the current points leader with three races remaining. With several drivers still contending for the championship this late in the season, Jeff summed it up best when he calmly stated, "We need to be a little less conservative."

Television:

(Race) FOX Sports Net (live), 4:00 p.m. (EDT), August 29

(Qualifying) SpeedVision (live), 2:30 p.m. (EDT), August 28

Radio:

(Race) Indy Racing Radio Network (live), 4:00 p.m. (EDT) August 29 Pre-race show starts at 3:30 p.m. Area Affiliates are KRDO-AM 1240, Colorado Springs, Colo., and KKFN-AM 950, Denver, Colo.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jeff Ward