Vegas Indy 300 FAST FACTS WHAT: Vegas Indy 300; third of nine races in 2000 Indy Racing Northern Light Series season WHERE: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 1.5-mile paved superspeedway WHEN: 12:30 p.m. (PDT) Saturday, April 22...
Vegas Indy 300 FAST FACTS
Vegas Indy 300; third of nine races in 2000 Indy Racing Northern Light Series season
Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 1.5-mile paved superspeedway
12:30 p.m. (PDT) Saturday, April 22 DISTANCE:
500 kilometers (312 miles)/208 laps POSTED AWARDS:
More than $1 million CARS:
Dallara, G Force and Riley & Scott chassis; Oldsmobile V8 and Infiniti Indy V8 engines; Firestone tires
1999 RACE WINNER:
Sam Schmidt 1999 NORTHERN LIGHT SERIES CHAMPION:
Greg Ray TV:
(Pre-Race) Indy Racing 2Day ESPN2 (live), 3 p.m. (EDT), April 22.
ABC (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT), April 22. Announcers: Bob Jenkins, Tom Sneva Pit reporters: Vince Welch, Jack Arute
ESPN2 (tape delay), 5:30 p.m. (EDT) April 21. Announcers: Bob Jenkins, Tom Sneva Pit reporter: Vince Welch, Jack Arute
Indy Racing Radio Network (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT) April 22
Pre-race show starts at 3 p.m.
Area affiliate: KRLV AM 1340, Las Vegas
Host: Mike King; Analyst: Larry Rice
Pit reporters: Mark Jaynes, Doug Rice
Backstretch reporter: Jerry Baker
SCHEDULE (all times local):
(Thursday, April 20)
7 a.m.: Indy Racing garage opens 10 - noon: Practice (two groups) 1 - 2:30 p.m.: Practice (two groups)
(Friday, April 21)
7 a.m.: Indy Racing garage opens 9 - 10:30 a.m.: Practice (two groups) 1 - 2:15 p.m.: MBNA Pole qualifying 4:45 - 5:15 p.m.: Indy Racing final practice (all starters)
(Saturday, April 22)
7 a.m.: Indy Racing garage opens 11:30 p.m.: Cars to grid 12:30 p.m.: Vegas Indy 300 (500 kilometers/312 miles/208 laps)
Arie Luyendyk, Reynard/Ford Cosworth/Firestone, 23.842 sec., 226.491 mph, Sept. 14, 1996
Eliseo Salazar, Dallara/Oldsmobile/Goodyear, 208 laps/312 miles, 2:11:07.915, Oct. 11, 1997
Las Vegas Motor Speedway: 1.5-mile paved superspeedway Front straightaway: 2,657 feet Back straightaway: 2,187 feet Turns: 1,610 feet Width: Backstraight, 54 feet; Tri-oval, 65 feet; Turns, 70 feet Banking: Backstraight, 3 degrees; Frontstraight, 9 degrees; Turns, 12 degrees
Las Vegas Motor Speedway, completed in 1996, is owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. The facility boasts 3/8-mile paved oval, 1.3- and 2.25-mile road courses, a 1/4-mile drag strip, 1/2-mile dirt oval and a BMX bicycle facility. In addition to the Indy Racing Northern Light Series, LVMS plays host to events sanctioned by NASCAR, the National Hot Rod Association, the World of Outlaws and the American Le Mans road course series.
The Vegas Indy 300 marks the fifth consecutive year the Indy Racing Northern Light Series has visited Las Vegas Motor Speedway. There has not been a repeat winner at Las Vegas in the history of the series. Former Northern Light Series winners include Richie Hearn (1996), Eliseo Salazar (1997), Arie Luyendyk (1998) and Sam Schmidt (1999).
Twenty-nine cars are entered for the Vegas Indy 300, the most entrants for an Indy Racing Northern Light Series event this season.
Current Indy Racing Northern Light Series points leader Buddy Lazier is entered in the event. After winning the MCI WorldCom Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 19, Lazier will try for his second consecutive win in the Hemelgarn Racing Delta Faucet Riley & Scott/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Lazier leads the series standings by 12 points over Robbie Buhl, who won the first race of the year at Orlando, Fla., and was the season's first points leader until Lazier took over the lead after Phoenix.
Defending Northern Light Indy Racing Series champion Greg Ray has started the season the same way he did in 1999 - with two disappointing finishes. Ray finished 19th on March 19 at Phoenix due to an accident on Lap 104 and finished 17th on Jan. 29 at Orlando. He started on the pole at both events. But Ray proved strong at the Las Vegas portion of the "Test in the West," topping the speed chart with a 205.558-mph lap. In 1999, Ray finished 21st at the first three events (Orlando, Phoenix and Indianapolis) but then rallied with three wins during the summer to capture the series championship.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. is making his first competitive appearance at the LVMS oval, driving the Galles ECR Racing Tickets.com Starz Encore Superpak G Force/Aurora/Firestone. Unser led for 22 laps in March at Phoenix before finishing ninth.
Three Indianapolis 500 winners are entered in this event: 1998 champion Eddie Cheever Jr., 1996 champion Buddy Lazier and 1992 and 1994 champion Al Unser Jr.
Treadway Racing, which has won the previous two Northern Light Series events at LVMS, returns with a new driver for 2000. Robby McGehee, the 1999 Bank One Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, is Treadway's full-time driver for this season, driving the Mall.com-Energizer Advanced Formula G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Arie Luyendyk won for Treadway Racing in 1998 at Vegas, and Las Vegas resident Sam Schmidt won in 1999 for the team. Schmidt was paralyzed during a practice crash in January at Walt Disney World Speedway.
Scott Harrington, the 1999 Northern Light Series Rookie of the Year, will make his first Northern Light Series appearance of the year at Las Vegas, driving the Nienhouse Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone, with American Hotel Register Company sponsorship. Jack Miller also will make his first start of the year in a Tri Star Motorsports entry, and Andy Michner will make his season debut with a new team, Logan Racing.
Jaques Lazier, the brother of points leader Buddy Lazier, will be back in the seat of the Truscelli Team Racing Miles of Hope G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone at this event. Lazier, of Vail, Colo., sustained a lower-back fracture in a crash during the Delphi Indy 200 in Orlando and was forced to miss the MCI WorldCom Indy 200 at Phoenix. Bobby Regester substituted in the Truscelli entry at Phoenix while Lazier healed, finishing 20th.
Five Northern Light Series rookies are confirmed to participate in the Vegas Indy 300: Airton Dare (TeamXtreme), Doug Didero (Mid America Motorsports), Sarah Fisher (Walker Racing), Sam Hornish Jr. (PDM Racing) and Jeret Schroeder (Tri Star Motorsports).
Jeret Schroeder leads the Northern Light Series Rookie of the Year standings by two points over Airton Dare. Schroeder was the highest-finishing rookie at Phoenix, placing 12th.
Rookie Sarah Fisher, 19, also finished well at Phoenix in her first race with Walker Racing. Fisher finished the MCI WorldCom Indy 200 in 13th. She has one other Northern Light Series start to date, which came with Team Pelfrey at the Mall.com 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in October 1999. Fisher finished 25th at that event due to a mechanical problem that sidelined her after 66 laps.
Scott Sharp will become the all-time victory leader in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series if he wins the Vegas Indy 300. Sharp is tied with the retired Arie Luyendyk and Kenny Brack with four career victories. Sharp's most recent win was the Kobalt Mechanics Tools 500 presented by MCI WorldCom in Atlanta on July 17, 1999. Brack now competes in CART.
Davey Hamilton, the only driver to compete in every Indy Racing Northern Light Series event to date, has signed a contract to drive for TeamXtreme for the remainder of the season. Hamilton, of Las Vegas, made his first drive in the #16 Lycos G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone at Phoenix, finishing 18th.