For Immediate Release CALKINS RETURNS TO SPECIAL PLACE IN GOODYEAR TEST; HAMILTON DRIVES FOUR DIFFERENT CARS IN FOUR DAYS AT P.I.R. PHOENIX, February 5, 1997 Buzz Calkins' return to Phoenix International Raceway this week for a Goodyear...
For Immediate Release
CALKINS RETURNS TO SPECIAL PLACE IN GOODYEAR TEST; HAMILTON DRIVES FOUR DIFFERENT CARS IN FOUR DAYS AT P.I.R.
PHOENIX, February 5, 1997
Buzz Calkins' return to Phoenix International Raceway this week for a Goodyear tire test with a special meaning.
At the 1996 Copper World Classic, he received his check for winning the inaugural Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Presented by Aurora =97 and saw his first Copper World.
"I couldn't believe the midgets and Silver Crown cars, how quickly they go, how twitchy they are," said Calkins, the 1996 Indy Racing League co-champion. "They're exciting to watch, that's for sure. I'd seen a lot of them on small tracks, but that's the first time I've seen them on a= mile."
He was asked if he'd like to drive them.
"I'd like to do it on dirt," he said. "I'd like to get into a midget, sprinter, or Silver Crown car. I think it would be fun. I've sat in one before. Actually, I was supposed to do a sprint car school in Bloomington (Ind.) And it got rained out. I'm trying to find time to reschedule it. I have a lot of respect for those guys to run those things around."
With the brand-new program for the IRL cars and engines, Goodyear has had the challenge of matching tires to the mix.
"There are no real new problems," said Todd Carpenter, Goodyear's IRL group leader. "There's optimizing of the tire to meet the needs of the cars, but nothing totally unexpected.
"These cars are a bit unique but also similar," Carpenter added. "There are characteristics of these cars with the engine-chassis combination and with reduced speeds and loads that call for some different tire requirements. You work toward some theoretical properties and then you bring some of those ideas to the track. As we test the cars, theoretical becomes closer to= actual."
He said the new project has been fun.
"With everything being new, you see more progress," he said. "Seeing the progress and being involved in that progress is gratifying."
Davey Hamilton has the unique distinction of driving four different kinds of cars at Phoenix International Raceway in for days (Saturday through= Tuesday).
Hamilton is an annual competitor in the Skoal Bandit Racing Copper World Classic at the Desert Mile. He qualified Saturday for the midget, Silver Crown and supermodified races as part of the Copper World and was testing his regular Indy Racing League car fielded by A.J. Foyt Enterprises Tuesday.
DAVEY HAMILTON: (about the feat being beneficial): "Probably not. The cars are all so different. Track conditions change daily and it depends on whether it's windy or hot. It's fun, though. I don't know if it's been beneficial or not, but it's been fun." (about whether he'd ever run four different cars in four days or not): "I had the opportunity one time to run all four classes of the Copper World but just stuck with three of them. But coming right back and doing an (Indianapolis-style car) test, no, I never have. Maybe next year I can do a (NASCAR Southwest) Tour car, too, and run five." (about Phoenix): "All the laps I've had here ... laps at any race track, you get a feel of it, you know what to expect. That's one reason we didn't do that many laps yesterday and got up to speed fairly quick. It seems like I can come out of the blocks pretty quick, especially here. But once all the teams test, it equals out. This is definitely what I call my home track, where I've had the most success."
Tuesday's times and speeds from team clocks:
DRIVER TEAM CAR LAPS TIME SPEED Buzz Calkins Bradley Motorsports G Force/Aurora 115 22.10 162.896 Scott Sharp AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Aurora 97 22.24 161.871 Eddie Cheever, Jr. FirstPlus Team Cheever G Force/Aurora 100 22.36 161.002 Davey Hamilton AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Aurora 41 22.38 160.858 Kenny Brack Galles Racing Int. G Force/Aurora 155 22.55 159.645