For Immediate Release
STEWART, OTHER IRL DRIVERS START TESTING FOR IRL SEASON WINDUP AT LAS VEGAS
LAS VEGAS, September 4, 1997 -- Tony Stewart, the 1996-97 Indy Racing League point leader and a huge turnout of others went on the track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway tonight to start a two-day IRL open test in preparation for the season-closing Las Vegas 500k Oct. 8-11.
Stewart who leads Davey Hamilton in driver pints, 254-244 going into the season finale, and tahe others got a late start because of a Wednesday night rainout. The leader comes to the test after a busy weekend of other racing activity. Last Saturday, he won both midget and Legends features at Beaver Dam, Wis. Then he traveled to DuQuoin, Ill., on Monday for a United States Auto Club Silver crown event, started 22nd and finished third. From there, he took a private flight to North Vernon, Ind., where he set the fastest qualifying time and finished sixth in a late- model stock car feature.
Last September at Las Vegas, Stewart started second but was sidelined by an accident. It was the only race of the campaign that he didn't lead until he failed to lead a lap in the Pennzoil 100 last month in Loudon, N.H.
Even at that, Stewart said, "this is probably one of the best race tracks we run on."
Eliseo Salazar was first on the track at 7:45 p.m. (EDT) when the track opened for testing. Fifteen other drivers quickly followed. Teams were scheduled to test until 1 a.m. (EDT) as they prepare for the IRL's third evening race.
Paul Durant got on the track for the first time since drawing a last-minute assignment from AJ Foyt Enterprises for the Indianapolis 500, taking his first laps in the #10 Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria/Bryant Heating & Cooling entry. Durant turned the fastest lap to that point at 197.224 miles an hour.
Johnny Unser, who has driven three of the last four races in the #10 car, is serving as the test driver in the #91 Delta Faucet Cinergy Hemelgarn Racing entry normally assigned to Buddy Lazier.
Jeff Ward, who drive to third as the highest finishing rookie in the Indianapolis 500 in May, is testing the #44 Sinden Racing Services machine driven by Steve Kinser at Indy.
Shelby American, founded by the legendary Carroll Shelby, and Treadway Racing are scheduled to announce a new partnership at 1 p.m. (EDT) Friday at the Las Vegas Convention Center theater. Scheduled to be present are Fred Treadway, owner of Treadway Racing; Don Rager, chief operating officer of Shelby American, Ind., and Treadway drivers Scott Goodyear and 1997 Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk.
Media Contacts: Mai Lindstrom, IMS/IRL Public Relations Director, 317/484-6780 Tony Troiano, IRL Public Relations Manager Lisa Sommers, IMS Public Relations Manager Andy Hall, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 702-644-4444
Website information: www.indyracingleague.com