IRL: Richmond gears up for Indy cars

Richmond International Raceway plays host to three divisions of open wheel racing this weekend. Saturday night's main event is the Sun Trust Indy Challenge with the Indy cars competing under the lights in a 250-lap event on the ¾-mile Richmond ...

Richmond International Raceway plays host to three divisions of open wheel racing this weekend. Saturday night's main event is the Sun Trust Indy Challenge with the Indy cars competing under the lights in a 250-lap event on the ¾-mile Richmond short rack.

On track activities get underway on Friday afternoon with practice for the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series, the USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series and the Indy Racing League. The Indy car drivers will hold a free autograph session at 5:00 p.m. on Friday followed by pole qualifying for the Indy cars at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch 150 for the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series takes the green flag at 8:00 p.m. on Friday night.

The USAC Silver Crown cars will race for 100 laps in the Dominic's of New York 100 on Saturday evening starting at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

The Sun Trust Indy Challenge caps the weekend with the green flag scheduled to drop at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday evening. And don't forget to hang around after the race for the fireworks. Richmond International Raceway promises the best fireworks show ever seen in the state of Virginia during this season immediately following the Indy car race.

Of the 22 drivers currently entered at this weekend's race, only ten competed in the inaugural race at Richmond held one year ago. Only six drivers have tested at the ¾-mile speedway this season with Scott Sharp leading the way with a lap at 16.4 seconds. Sharp's speed of 164.634 mph is a clear indication that Richmond's track record will fall during Friday nights qualifying session.

For race fans interested in speed, it's noteworthy to mention that all three divisions racing at Richmond this weekend will tour the ¾-mile track faster than the Winston Cup track record set by Jeff Gordon in his Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

Activities surrounding Richmond's second annual Sun Trust Indy weekend include Speedfest on Thursday, June 27 in Shockhoe Slip. The event is scheduled to start at 5:00 p.m. in the parking lot across from Sine's Restaurant at 14th and Cary Streets. Fans will get a chance to participate in an Indy car pit stop challenge as well as the Dominic's of New York Sausage Eating Contest.

Scheduled to appear are Marlboro team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran, 1998 Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever, 2001 IRL Champion Sam Hornish Jr., Robbie Buhl, Airton Dare and George Mack. Show cars from all three divisions competing at the Sun Trust Indy Challenge weekend will be on display.

For more information visit the Richmond International Raceway website at www.rir.com.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Scott Sharp , Airton Daré , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , George Mack , Tim Richmond