MIAMI, Friday, Oct. 27, 2000 - Mark Dismore and Greg Ray got a head start for the debut of the Indy Racing Northern Light Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway, participating in a Firestone tire test Oct. 27 in opening preparation for the Grand Prix...
MIAMI, Friday, Oct. 27, 2000 - Mark Dismore and Greg Ray got a head start for the debut of the Indy Racing Northern Light Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway, participating in a Firestone tire test Oct. 27 in opening preparation for the Grand Prix of Miami on April 8, 2001. Both drivers agree it will be a very competitive race.
"This is one of the smoothest racetracks I've ever driven on," Ray said. "It 's as smooth, or smoother, than Indianapolis."
Ray turned in the fastest unofficial lap of the opening day of the two-day test, running a lap of 27.82 seconds, 194.105 mph, on the 1.5-mile oval. Ray ran an unofficial lap of 28.84, 187.246 in the Conseco/Quaker State/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone during the morning session and bettered that lap by more than a second in the afternoon.
"Racing here is certainly going to be a great challenge for the drivers and the teams, engineering-wise," Ray said. "The facility is wonderful, and I think it's going to be a great racetrack that drivers and teams can show themselves.
"If they work hard and have a good setup, you can hang it out. It's definitely going to be a driver's racetrack."
Dismore ran a best lap of 28.35, 190.476 in the OnStar/GM BuyPower/Bryant Heating & Cooling Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. "I love the track," Dismore said. "The first thing I noticed is it's super-smooth with not a bump out there.
"It's really challenging. It's going to be tight racing, I guarantee that. I imagine the whole field will be covered by six- or seven-tenths of a second. I've only seen this track on television before today, and it's awesome." Both drivers agreed that rubber built up from a major three-day NASCAR test session slowed their times and expect faster speeds during the Indy Racing event weekend. "If I had to guess, I'd say that qualifying speeds here are going to be over 200 mph," Ray said.
Also observing the session was Eliseo Salazar, who finished fourth in the 2000 Northern Light Cup standings driving for four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt. "This is a fantastic place, and I think it's going to be a great place for us," said Salazar, who is now relocating from North Miami Beach to Deering Bay, 15 miles from the track. "I'm pretty sure these cars will run side by side here. They've got power and enough downforce to have good fights. "At the moment, this is the most competitive form of racing anywhere, and you're going to see real intense racing here in April." The two-day session ends Oct. 28.