For Immediate Release
IRL LAS VEGAS 500K TO INAUGURATE LVMS SEPT. 15
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Sept. 4, 1996) -- Indy Racing League competitors are poised to inaugurate the brand new 1.5-mile, 107,000-seat Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 15 with the Las Vegas 500K.
The second Indy car event of the 1996-97 IRL season, with more than $1 million in prize postings, will be broadcast live (4 p.m. EDT, 3 p.m. Indy, 1 p.m. local) on ABC Sports television and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. It will be the first event at LVMS, developed on the city's northeast side by Las Vegas entrepreneur Richie Clyne.
Twenty-six drivers are currently listed among 39 entries for the Las Vegas 500K. It will be the final race for the current generation of Indy cars with 2.65-liter overhead cam and 3.3- liter pushrod turbocharged engines. At the next IRL race, the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World on January 25, 1997, the new Indy formula -- with 4.0-liter, normally-aspirated engines and chassis with modified aerodynamics -- comes on line.
The new Indy cars will be unveiled at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas Saturday night, Sept. 14. Chassis made by Dallara (Italy) and G Force (England), and the Aurora V8 and the Infiniti Indy V8 engines, will be presented for the first time.
The existing technical formula for the Indy cars proved quick at Las Vegas during the track's four-day IRL testing session June 25-28. It was the first time race cars were on the wide, smooth LVMS surface. Richie Hearn (Della Penna Motorsports) of Canyon Country, Calif., was the fastest of 20 drivers at 222.359 miles per hour (24.285 seconds). Rounding out the top five were Eliseo Salazar (Team Scandia, 219.673 mph), 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier (Hemelgarn Racing, 219.601 mph), 1996 IRL Driver Co- Champion, New Hampshire race winner and current IRL points leader Scott Sharp (AJ Foyt Enterprises, 219.005 mph) and Roberto Guerrero (Pagan Racing, 218.703 mph).
Hearn, quick all summer, won the PPG Pole for the True Value 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway Aug. 15. Hearn and the Della Penna team again go for the $10,000 PPG purse plus the $10,000 True Value Pole Winning Chief Mechanic award during PPG Pole qualifying at Las Vegas Saturday, Sept. 14, starting at 12:15 p.m. (PDT).