IRL: Phoenix "Test in the West" Notebook 98-02-27

"TEST IN THE WEST" NOTEBOOK Dura-Lube to sponsor IRL race: Dura-Lube, an engine treatment introduced in 1986, has become the title sponsor of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Dura-Lube 200 on March 22 at Phoenix International Raceway. ...

"TEST IN THE WEST" NOTEBOOK

Dura-Lube to sponsor IRL race: Dura-Lube, an engine treatment introduced in 1986, has become the title sponsor of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Dura-Lube 200 on March 22 at Phoenix International Raceway.

The sponsorship marks a return to the IRL by Dura-Lube, based in Stamford, Conn. The company presented the inaugural IRL race at Phoenix, the 1996 Dura-Lube 200.

"We're delighted Dura-Lube will be with us in March," said track president Emmett "Buddy" Jobe. (Dura-Lube CEO) Sonny Howard and his staff have played an important role in the success of this track and its events, and their continued support is important and appreciated."

Dura-Lube also has been the title sponsor of PIR's annual NASCAR Winston Cup Series Dura-Lube 500 since 1995. The company also is involved in NASCAR Busch Grand National Series and the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series.

"Phoenix International Raceway is first-class," Howard said. "Everything about the track and its events is professionally presented, and we're proud to be a part of that."

Dura-Lube is a metal conditioner featuring a precision blend of high-tech petroleum components that penetrates the surface of a vehicle's engine, providing a shield against friction.

***

Tyler OK after accident: IRL rookie Brian Tyler was unhurt after spinning in the middle of Turn 2 at 12:55 p.m. and making heavy contact with the outside retaining wall with the left rear of his G Force/Infiniti/Firestone. Tyler was examined in the Infield Care Center and released to drive by Dr. Henry Bock, IRL medical director.

The rear of the Treadway Racing/Sprint PCS car sustained heavy damage.

"The car bottomed out in the middle of the corner, and it just swapped ends," Tyler said. "I'm fine, just as long as the crew doesn't kill me when I get back to the garage."

***

Infiniti engine makes progress: The Infiniti Indy Phase II engine showed big gains in horsepower and reliability during this test in the hands of IRL rookies J.J. Yeley and Brian Tyler and veteran Dr. Jack Miller. Former USAC rookie of the year Yeley posted the best performance for Nissan in the test, driving the Crest Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone fielded by Arizona Motorsports to a best lap of 21.720 seconds, 165.746 mph on the 1-mile oval at PIR. Scott Sharp posted the fastest lap of the test, 20.584, 174.893, on Thursday in the Delphi Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. "I had an opportunity to jump in the car to see if I could help with the setup, and the car really seemed to suit my driving style," Yeley said. "I had heard that the Infiniti wasn't up to speed with the Oldsmobile, but the engine felt really good. I guess the time sheets prove it." Yeley, 21, also tested a Dallara/Aurora/Firestone for Arizona Motorsports. Tyler posted a quick lap of 21.854, 164.730 in the Sprint PCS G Force/Infiniti/Firestone backup car fielded by Treadway Racing. The Phase II version of the 4.0-liter, 32-valve Infiniti Indy V8 has more than 60 more horsepower and weighs 36 pounds less than the version that raced at the Indianapolis 500 in May 1997. The two Infiniti Phase II-powered cars completed 448 laps of the 1-mile oval at PIR with no mechanical problems. "While there still is much work to do, the 'Test in the West' went a long way to prove that the Infiniti Indy program is moving in the right direction," said Frank Honsowetz, manager, Nissan Motorsports. "We look forward to making more progress as we get closer to the Phoenix race and then the Indy 500." *** Broadcast schedule: The Dura-Lube 200 will be televised live on ABC at 4 p.m. (EST) March 22. Oldsmobile Pole Day will be televised live on Speedvision at 2 p.m. (EST) March 21. The IMS Radio Network will broadcast the race live at 4 p.m. (EST) March 22, with a pre-race show starting at 3:30. The IMS Radio Network will broadcast a 30-minute show from Oldsmobile Pole Day at 5:30 p.m. (EST) March 21. ***

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , J.J. Yeley , Brian Tyler , Jack Miller