IRL: Media Tour Day Two

Indianapolis, IN (April 16, 1998) Day two of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Media Tour started off with a visit to Herb Porter's Speedway Engines Development on Gasoline Alley. There's not much wasted space inside a racing engine and the same...

Indianapolis, IN (April 16, 1998) Day two of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Media Tour started off with a visit to Herb Porter's Speedway Engines Development on Gasoline Alley. There's not much wasted space inside a racing engine and the same goes for Speedway Engine's four room shop.

Step inside the front door and you would expect to be greeted by a reception area, instead, you're in the control room of a state of the art dyno. The second small room facing the road is the engine room portion of the dyno. Two additional rooms, located at the back of the building, comprise the entire operation. Both rooms at the rear function as engine assembly areas. One also serves double duty as the machine shop.

Speedway Engine Development is an OEM Olds Aurora engine builder, supplying seven teams in the IRL series. Engines are built to Speedway Engine's factory specs but teams are able to schedule dyno time to try various fuel or ignition systems.

After The stop on Gasoline Alley, the three buses headed west on Rockville Road to Galen Fox's Foxco Performance. Dave Darland and Donnie Beechler were available for interviews after the presentation by USAC and IMS officials. Dave Darland's pavement Silver Crown car was all ready for the test on the newly paved oval at Indianapolis Raceway Park on May 1st. Brad Fox's sprint car was ready to head for the season opener at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, IN on Saturday night. Brad was 1997 season champion at Lincoln Park and Bloomington.

In addition to the two race ready cars, three restoration projects sat in the shop. Sheldon Kinser's 1977 USAC championship winning sprint car shared space with two Watson Silver Crown chassis. Kinser's "Ol Red" Genesee Sprinter was nearly completed while one of the Watson cars was a bare chassis.

Johnny Capels, USAC's president made the announcement that USAC's racing web site should be up by May 1st. The address will be www.usacracing.com.

The media tour took a break in the early afternoon and most everyone made it over to pit lane to observe the new crop of rookies during one of their practice sessions. Speeds are back above 220 mph and it looks like the pole will be in the low 220 range.

The last shop on the tour was the Engineering Department of Riley and Scott Race Cars. Salazar's race team is run out of a separate shop on Gasoline Alley and the Engineering Department is run in the old Allison Building in downtown Speedway, just a block from the track. The carbon fiber lay up rooms are housed in a series of rooms once used as dyno rooms for diesel engines. Allison once ran his race team out of the same building.

The engineering and design wing of the building has offices with CAD machines and rooms with drawing boards. The room used to store drawings, for both the IRL and sports car, holds between 400-500 drawings for the IRL car and 300 for the sports car.

Not far from the design offices are a group of rooms used specifically for wing and nose assembly.

Towards the back of the building is a room housing a granite table used for setting up critical components of the race car. The same room was home to the wood buck created to build the molds used to make the carbon fiber tub. Tucked away in the corner was the tub used for the frontal impact test. The tub passed the test with at least six inches to spare as determined by yellow chalk line inside the tub.

Just down the hall was a room used for chassis tuning for the Richard Childress No. 3, driven by Dale Earnhardt. A note taped to the rollbar read "Remember, you own that #1 car. Be nice when he passes you. XXOO." It was signed by the letter S. A message from the driver of the DEI car?

Last stop on the Riley and Scott tour was their race car assembly room. With two bays on either side of the room, half the room was filled with IRL cars, the other with sports cars. The IRL chassis that was run by Mark Dismore in practice at New Hampshire was being updated to '98 specs. Next to it was Riley & Scott MK V chassis 98-003 which was near completion.

On the sports car side of the room, WSC chassis 003, with two wins to its credit with Taylor and Sharp sat neglected while the car being shipped to France next week was given full attention. The new car is to be shipped to Paul Ricard next week for testing in preparation for the 24 hours of Le Mans.

Bill Riley reported that seven IRL cars and fourteen sports car have seen on track action.

Members of the media on the tour have been invited to stay at the Speedway to observe testing. Several drivers are walking the garage area looking for rides. Danny Ongais has been searching for a ride and a car was seen in the garage area this afternoon with his name on it. Roberto Moreno has been seen at the track but he insists he not searching for a ride. Moreno says he's here to discuss a specific deal. Also seen making the rounds in the garage area were Johnny O'Connell, Brian Tyler, Jack Hewitt and Willy T. Ribbs.

Practice continues on Friday with Goodyear and Firestone conducting private tire testing on Saturday.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Mark Dismore , Donnie Beechler , Roberto Moreno , Johnny O'Connell , Dave Darland , Jack Hewitt , Brian Tyler , Danny Ongais