DELPHI INDY 200 INDY RACING LEAGUE OPEN TEST PARTICIPANTS Dec. 10-11, Walt Disney World Speedway, Orlando, Fla.
Team Driver(s) Bradley Motorsports Buzz Calkins Conti Racing TBA Hemelgarn Racing Buddy Lazier Hubbard-Immke Racing Tyce Carlson Kelley Racing Mark Dismore, Scott Sharp Panther Racing Scott Goodyear PDM Racing Sam Hornish Jr. (R) TeamXtreme Airton Dare (R), John Hollansworth Jr. Team Cheever Eddie Cheever Jr. Team Menard Greg Ray Treadway Racing Robby McGehee Tri Star Motorsports Jeret Schroeder (R)
TBA - To be announced (R) - Indy Racing League rookie
EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (#51 Team Cheever Dallara, Riley & Scott/Infiniti/Firestone, defending Delphi Indy 200 champion, 1998 Indianapolis 500 champion): "This will be the first time we will be running the Firestone tires. We just finished a short shakedown test with the new Infiniti Indy VRH35DE engine. I was pleased with the power of the engine. With newness of both the tires and the engine package, we'll be focused most on figuring out the handling with the Firestone tires while continuing the endurance development of the engine program." (Goals for season): "They've never really changed. We want to bring Infiniti its first IRL victory, we want retake our Indy 500 title and then, go on to win the championship. Lofty goals, I guess, but our team sees it as a matter of course." (About his holiday plans): "My children are coming from Italy for the holidays. So, in addition to revisiting Disney and all the theme parks of Orlando, we plan to skip away to Colorado for some skiing and horseback riding in the mountains. My kids love it there and so do I."
MARK DISMORE (#28 MCI WorldCom Dallara/Aurora/Firestone): "We're real excited about the 2000 season, especially after winning in Texas. We'll be back with the same crew from last year; Eric Bretzman is our new engineer. Eric's been a mechanic and has done some awesome stuff with smaller teams. We have the same racing package as last year with the exception of Firestone tires. I've tested twice with the Firestone tires already and am very pleased with their performance. I know we have the equipment combination and the crew chemistry to win the championship this year. Our goals for this test are to shake down the 2000 Dallara and just get miles on the new 3.5-liter engine." (Goals for the season): "As for our goals for the season, I now know we are serious contenders for the championship. If we just plan to do what we've been doing, the #28 team will be there come the end of the season."
SCOTT HARRINGTON (#66 Harrington Motorsports Dallara/Aurora/Firestone, 1999 Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year): "I'm going to be attending the open test at Disney, but we're not going to be testing. Our team manager, Darrell Soppe, and my dad are going with me. Right now we're concentrating on finding funding for the 2000 season. We won the Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year award, and we're moving into a larger shop in Indianapolis by the middle of the month. I think the Harrington Motorsports team is the best one out there. We can get the job done, and we have a great deal to offer any company that wants to develop a cost-effective sports marketing program. I can't help but think about where we were at this time last year. Last December I was still hoping to join up with another team, but those plans didn't work out, and my dad and I decided to form our own IRL team over the Christmas holidays. Twenty-five days later, I was racing in the Harrington Motorsports car at the season opener at Disney. At the very next race, we had our first top-five finish, and seven months after that we had earned the Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year title. So although I certainly wish we had all our funding in place and were testing this week, I just have to be optimistic that a sponsor will realize how much talent and perseverance the Harrington Motorsports team has and the kind of job we can do, and will decide to come on board with us for the 2000 season. As far as the holidays go, I'm looking forward to both Christmas and my birthday, which is on Dec. 24. I've always thought that I got a little short-changed on my birthday since it's the day before Christmas, but it's no surprise what's on the top of my wish list for both my birthday and Christmas this year: a sponsor! Seriously though, we're talking to a lot of people, and we're trying to talk to a lot more. If anyone wants more information they should call my dad, Gene Harrington, at the office in Louisville, Ky. Our Web site is also coming together. It's at www.scottharrington.com. All systems are go!"
ROBBY McGEHEE (#5 Energizer Advanced Formula G Force/Aurora/Firestone, 1999 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year): "I'm really excited about the coming season. We had an opportunity to test at Phoenix during the last couple of weeks and it went absolutely great. I drove the new G-Force, and it looks awesome. It was a good session. We even went well in the '99 car! That's a good sign. Obviously, we're planning on running well at Walt Disney World, trying to get the new car up to speed. But if all else fails, it's nice to know the old car is fast, too. It'll all depend on how our testing goes. We were a Firestone team last year and know those tires well. I was very disappointed to see that Goodyear left the series because now we have lost that particular competitive advantage. But I think we'll have even more competitive racing, if you can imagine that. The new engine seems fast, and it sounds as awesome as the G-Force looks. Especially at around 11,000 rpm! We're doing our best to take a little break here during our 'offseason.' But we're not succeeding, though. The offseason has been every bit as busy as the actual season. My computer business is heating up big-time, right when I should be out playing golf in Florida and Arizona. At least there aren't as many of the weekend 'trips' that we have during the season. So the work is getting done. So much for my golf game!"
JERET SCHROEDER (#22 Tri Star Motorsports Dallara/Aurora/Firestone, 2000 Indy Racing League rookie): "We signed with Larry Curry's Tri Star Motorsports team last Thursday, and we'll be on the track at Disney on Friday getting right to work. We hope to make our sponsor announcement for 2000 soon. We're going to try to run for the Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year award. Actually I'll be coming to Disney from two days of testing a Can-Am car in Savannah, Ga., on Wednesday and Thursday. It's the regular car I drive in those events; Tom Volk's TRV Motorsports Supreme Exhaust System Products/Racer Parts Wholesale Riley & Scott Chevy. It will be great to be at Disney. My parents live in North Palm Beach, so I'm in Florida a lot. Every time I think of Disney, I remember the track dedication ceremonies. I think it was in December of 1995. I was on hand for that because I had just won the U.S. Formula 2000 national championship, and that series was running as a support event to the IRL at the first race ever at Disney. They had me take my two-liter car down into Turn 3, and then on a cue over the radio I drove it out of the turn, down the frontstretch and stopped it in front of the dignitaries at the podium. It was just my crew chief, Brendan Cunnane, and my PR rep and I there among all those Indy-car people, media people and dignitaries. We were really happy to be a part of the day. We had a good time, but we also knew that someday we wanted to be here with an Indy car instead of a Formula 2000 car, and now we are. In 1997 I passed my IRL rookie test at Disney. That was crunch time. I took the test in John Paul Jr.'s turbocharged Lola Cosworth with no practice, but that went really smoothly. The hardest part of that was trying to go slowly. The Tri Star Motorsports team and I will be just getting to know each other this weekend at Disney just like the McCormack Motorsports team and I were doing at Disney in 1997. We're just testing, not racing, this time though so hopefully we won't be thrashing so much. I'll do whatever Larry Curry tells me to do, and we'll see how things go." (About holiday plans): "For the holidays I plan to go skiing in Aspen with our family right before Christmas. We're coming back the 23rd, and I'll spend Christmas and New Year 's at home in New Jersey. For New Year's, I'm just going out with some friends."
SCOTT SHARP (#8 Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Aurora/Firestone, pole winner at 1998 Delphi Indy 200): "The Delphi Automotive Systems team is really pumped about this coming season. We've already been testing with the 2000 car and Firestone tires, and I'm real excited about the 3.5-liter formula, too. Obviously, with Delphi as our sponsor and the race sponsor in Orlando, our goal is to win this race. This test will give us a good chance to evaluate ourselves and our new car against the rest of the IRL, but I think our chances are already great for both this race and the championship."