For Immediate Release
CARS ENTERED FOR IRL SEASON-OPENING TRUE VALUE 200
INDIANAPOLIS, August 5, 1996 -- Indy Racing League reigning co-champions Scott Sharp and Buzz Calkins and Indianapolis 500 winners Buddy Lazier and Arie Luyendyk head a list of 23 drivers named to rides for the Aug. 18 True Value 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway, it was announced today.
A total of 35 cars have been entered for the IRL's 1996-97 season opener, the League's first race at the one-mile NHIS oval. The race, to be aired live by ABC Sports and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network, is scheduled for 3 p.m. (EDT, 2 p.m. Indy) Sunday, Aug. 18. Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird will serve as Grand Marshal for the event. Tickets for the True Value 200 are available by calling 603/783-4931.
Sharp, a Norwalk, Conn., native, returns to his New England roots in the #1 championship-winning Conseco Lola-Ford Cosworth car for AJ Foyt Enterprises. The Loudon track's road course was the site of Sharp's first Sports Car Club of America race, which he won at age 18.
Lazier, who won the 80th Indianapolis 500 this May, also returns to his roots, having been graduated from Curry College in Milton, Mass. The Hemelgarn Racing team has additional connections in the region through both Delta Faucet and Super Fitness, primary sponsors of the #91 car fielded by owner Ron Hemelgarn.
Calkins, the winner of the IRL's inaugural race at Walt Disney World in January 1996, will take the wheel of the Bradley Motorsports entry that carried him to a share of the IRL drivers title. Luyendyk, the 1990 Indianapolis 500 winner who now holds the one-lap, four-lap and 500-mile speed records at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, returns with Treadway Racing.
Several drivers named to True Value 200 entries have raced championship cars previously at Loudon. They include Sharp, Luyendyk, Lazier, Roberto Guerrero, Mike Groff, Eddie Cheever and Marco Greco. The race also marks the comeback ride of Stan Wattles, who was sidelined from finishing the first IRL season by a practice crash at Phoenix. Wattles teams with series rookie Randy Tolsma for McCormack Motorsports' new IRL program.
Team Scandia has the most entries on the list (four), with three solo entries (for Formula One veterans Eliseo Salazar and Michele Alboreto and France's Stephan Gregoire) and one shared entry (Greco with Arizona Motorsports). Team Menard follows with four cars, two each for 1996 Indianapolis 500 pole starter Tony Stewart and Mark Dismore.