IRL TESTING AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY TRACKSIDE REPORT, TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 1996 This is the first of four days of Indy Racing League Trackside Reports covering the first-ever testing sessions at the new 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway oval.
IRL TESTING AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY TRACKSIDE REPORT, TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 1996
This is the first of four days of Indy Racing League Trackside Reports covering the first-ever testing sessions at the new 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway oval. Reports will be issued twice daily through Friday. Top three speeds of the morning practice session were 204.786 mph by Buddy Lazier, 204.372 mph by Scott Sharp, and 204.615 mph by Tony Stewart. Ten drivers were on the track; a total of 16 cars and 12 assigned drivers are here.
Chronology of the opening of the track for testing:
United States Auto Club Chief Steward Keith Ward set an initial 160 mile-per-hour speed limit. The "first out" opportunity was open. Tony Stewart and Team Menard were officially first out.
7:38 a.m. -- The #30 Team Menard car for Stewart was towed to the staging area at the facility's Legends oval just inside Turns 3 and 4.
7:42 a.m. -- Stewart got in the car.
7:46 a.m. -- Engine fired.
7:47 a.m. -- Stewart rolled away, paced to the track by a van driven by USAC Steward Art Meyers down the LVMS road course to enter the oval at Turn 2 as work continued on the track's pit road.
7:49 a.m. -- The green flag was waved at the starting line for the first time in front of a race car at LVMS by Bill Stapp, longtime Phoenix International Raceway operations official.
7:50 a.m. -- Stewart completed the first race car lap ever at the LVMS oval, a warmup, with a time of 1:11.54, which translates to 75.48 miles per hour.
8:02 a.m. -- Ward raised the speed limit to 180 miles per hour.
10:22 a.m. -- Ward lifted the 180 mile-per-hour speed limit.
TONY STEWART: "It's smooth, fast. It'll be a great race track when it's 'clean.' verything I thought when I was driving the rental car on it yesterday held pretty much true. There weren't any surprises. I was almost flat (out)...I think this place has a lot of speed left in it. We'll run 210, 215, maybe more. Until you go through all the ranges of variables, you don't know."
SCOTT SHARP: "I think it's an awesome facility. From a driver's point of view, it's fantastic to see a facility of this magnitude built out here. It's going to take awhile to develop a groove. It's wide. There are so many passing areas. You can get five-abreast down the front straightaway if you want to. There's a low groove, a middle groove, certainly a high groove and maybe a fourth groove. There's going to be so much opportunity to get around somebody." (Was he surprised by the speed?) "A lot."
BUDDY LAZIER (1996 Indianapolis 500 winner): "We're still warming up...I don't think it will be hard to go quicker. It's a very, very impressive facility. It's one of a kind. I've never run on a 1.5-mile oval before.
At 10 a.m., the temperature was 90 degrees and winds were out of the northeast at 11 miles per hour, gusting to 18. At noon, it was 98 degrees and NE winds at 11 mph.
1992 Indianapolis 500 pole winner Roberto Guerrero turned a lap at 207.557 miles per hour at 1:50 p.m. to claim fastest of the day honors in the first-ever test at the new Las Vegas Motor Speedway's 1 1/2-mile oval. Guerrero's run came just eight minutes after Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Tony Stewart had moved the day's fastest lap to 206.928. Eleven drivers took the track in 10 cars during the day. A total of 301 laps were turned.
ROBERTO GUERRERO: "We're not trying to be fast right now, just feeling it out to get the feel of the track. It feels good. The track is great. It's going to be very fast. It's very smooth. It's going to be good to race on because there are plenty of places to pass. It's unusual...kind of a combination of Michigan and Phoenix. I think it's going to be fun. You can take different lines through the corners so that basically means you'll be able to pass.
TONY STEWART: "The wind seemed to die down when I went out. We've got enough laps between Mark (Dismore) and I now that we have a setup that's compatible with the track and conditions. I just went out and went as hard as the car will let me go." (More speed?): "I'd like to think so. We're trying to get the aero(dynamics) balanced right now. Once we get that, I think we can get some more speed." At 10 a.m., the temperature was 90 degrees and winds were out of the northeast at 11 miles per hour, gusting to 18. At noon, it was 98 degrees and NE winds at 11 mph. At 2:15 p.m., it was 107 degrees and N winds at 12 mph.
TOP SPEEDS OF THE DAY CAR DRIVER TEAM NO. LAPS FAST FAST NO. TIME SPEED
21 Roberto Guerrero Pagan Racing 25 26.016 207.557 30 Tony Stewart Team Menard 31 26.096 206.928 91 Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn Racing 12 26.368 204.786 1 Scott Sharp A.J. Foyt Enterprises 36 26.375 204.732 30 Mark Dismore Team Menard 21 26.391 204.615 18 John Paul Jr. PDM Racing 57 26.664 202.520 33 Michele Alboreto Team Scandia 42 27.310 197.723 7 Eliseo Salazar Team Scandia 19 27.466 196.600 54 Robbie Buhl Beck Motorsports 25 27.924 193.382 27 Jim Guthrie Blueprint Racing 26 29.896 180.626 28 Joe Gosek PDM/Brickell Racing 7 31.652 170.600
The Las Vegas Motor Speedway's National Media Day is scheduled Wednesday, with a press conference and teleconference from the garage area scheduled at 10:15 a.m., PDT. The number for media representatives to call to participate in the teleconference (private, please) is 303/267-1001. A video highlights package of the first two days of the inaugural test, produced by TelX Sports, will be on satellite Ku SBS6, transponder 14, downlink frequency 12043.5, audio 6.8 mix, 6.2 NATS. The feed goes up at 3-3:15 p.m. EDT.