GOODYEAR TIRE TEST AT NEW HAMPSHIRE INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY TRACKSIDE REPORT, TUESDAY, JULY 9, 1996
LOUDON, N.H.-- This is the second of three Trackside Reports for Goodyear tire testing sessions at New Hampshire International Speedway. The tests for the Indy Racing League cars at the one-mile oval are in preparation for the 1996-97 season-opening True Value 200 Aug. 16-18. The sessions are private, not open to the public or media. Interview requests through Wednesday may be accommodated on an individual basis.
An open IRL test session will be held at New Hampshire International Speedway July 23-25. A media day is scheduled for Tuesday, July 23.
Richie Hearn was examined and released from Concord Hospital at 8 p.m. Monday after his accident Monday afternoon. "I feel like I got in a huge fight and lost," Hearn said Tuesday when he returned to NHIS. "Really, the only thing that's sore is my back. I'm not as bad as I thought I'd be...just sore." About the accident, he said, "Nothing broke...just spun. The groove is very narrow. Someone said I was about a foot out of my normal groove and I slowly started to spin." Hearn drove a backup car here today.
Cyberspace has physically made it to the race track. Under Hearn's name on one of the two Della Penna Motorsports machines here at NHIS is "www.dellapenna.com", the team's new internet website address.
Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt is on hand for the tests with drivers Scott Sharp and Davey Hamilton.
"Last year, we (Goodyear) didn't have a competitive tire and that's what we're working on," Foyt said. "We're here to run the (No.1) Conseco championship car and we're giving Davey some laps, too. I think we've made a lot of gains but other people ain't sittin' down, either. That's the reason I'm here, too. I hadn't been going to tests in a long time...just this year."
"Scotty...the last time he was here was when they all tangled and he got upside down. He asks me normally to take him around these tracks and when he does, I go and tell him where I think the groove will be. Davey normally goes, too."
"Our main driver is Scotty because we want to repeat the championship. Getting there is one thing. Staying there is another. The drivers are pretty much the same. Scotty's a little more eager right off. Davey's a little more conservative. He's had bad luck that hasn't been his fault. We just have to get the monkey off his back."
Pagan Racing's transporter, Indianapolis car and driver Roberto Guerrero will be on Main Street Wednesday night in Concord as part of the "Race Fever '96" celebration. The program runs 5-10 p.m. The Pagan team will pack up and move to Main street at the conclusion of Goodyear testing Wednesday.
Davey Hamilton and Paul Durant from the west coast supermodified ranks and Joe Gosek from the Oswego (N.Y.) supermodified group each made their first Indianapolis 500 field this year. Hamilton got his first laps at New Hampshire in an Indianapolis car today after starting last and finishing fifth in the supermodified feature at Oswego Saturday night.
"This is more the kind of track that I'm accustomed to in my kind of racing," Hamilton said. "It's a mile, not a short track. But you have a lift and brake. It seems like I caught on real quick."
He was asked about the difference between supermodifieds on the coasts, and the opportunity for others from their ranks to reach the IRL and Indianapolis.
"We have quite a bit of difference in cars from the east to the west but there are quality drivers on both coasts," he said. "I foresee more of them having an opportunity. It (the IRL) is going to give them the same opportunity as Paul, Joe, and I. I know a lot of guys who are interested. They've been so far away from the Indy car ranks for so long, it's going to take them awhile to meet everybody. It took me a long time. The best thing is that, at these IRL tests, they're giving guys the opportunity to give it a shot.
"I don't know if it (supermodifieds) is the perfect stepping-stone (to the IRL and Indianapolis), but it's a very good one. With the new IRL cars (for '97), I think it will be a great stepping-stone."
A replica of Buddy Lazier's winning car from the 1996 Indianapolis 500 will be featured as part of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum's "Indy Experience" mobile display Friday through Sunday at the Jiffy Lube 300 NASCAR Winston Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway. The display features a 40-seat state-of-the-art theater with a 10 minute "500" highlight film and historic race cars.