IRL: Scott Harrington Set Run at Charlotte

Buoyed by Fifth-Place Finish, Harrington Is Set for VisionAire 500 CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 28 - Indianapolis' Scott Harrington is a real contender heading into this Saturday night's VisionAire 500 Pep Boys Indy Racing League (IRL)...

Buoyed by Fifth-Place Finish, Harrington Is Set for VisionAire 500

CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 28 - Indianapolis' Scott Harrington is a real contender heading into this Saturday night's VisionAire 500 Pep Boys Indy Racing League (IRL) event at Lowe's Motor Speedway here. In only its second race together as a team, the Harrington Motorsports squad saw their driver qualify eighth and finish fifth in the last Pep Boys IRL race, held March 28 at Phoenix International Raceway. Harrington now leads the Sprint PCS Rookie-of-the-Year point standings. Saturday night's race will be Harrington's first Indy car event at Lowe's, but in some ways it's like coming home. Charlotte was the site of his second car race ever, some 15 years ago. He'll also have lots of family members cheering for him in the grandstands, since his mother's side of the family hails from Greensboro, N.C. They'll be watching Harrington's yellow and white Dallara Infiniti No. 66, which carries sponsorship from Vector Technologies, Abel Construction Co. and Invincible Sportswear. That car is quite different than the pro Sports Renault that Harrington drove here in 1984. Harrington had won championships in motorcycles, but he had just switched his attention to cars and he wanted to race. The fact that he was wearing a cast over a broken hand suffered in a motocross race didn't deter him. "I cut the cast off two weeks early so I could run at Charlotte," Harrington admits. "I think I ended up fourth at the end." He also raced here twice in the Shelby Can Am pro series championship. He crashed very hard between turns three and four in 1992 when his Can Am car's left rear stub axle broke. He went on to win the championship that year, and when he returned to Charlotte in 1993 he was on the podium. "I know I've run here twice at night; we ran as a support event to a NASCAR Winston Cup race," Harrington recalls. "The Can Am cars didn't have much downforce to work with, so their races here weren't easy. You had to be really careful, especially with the bumps in turn four." He predicts that turn four is going to be crucial for the Pep Boys IRL cars here this weekend too. "With the wing rule, the guys are going to try to free the cars up as much as possible, and we're all going to have to be careful going over those bumps. An IRL car can move around a fair amount over the bumps, and you have to take that into account." This weekend's race is also important because it's the final tune-up for the Indy 500 on Memorial Day weekend. Harrington finished 15th at Indy in 1996. "I think the Infiniti is going to surprise some people," Harrington adds, speaking of his powerplant. "The Infiniti's horsepower has been more than competitive on the superspeedways, and the program is really coming along. Being a Firestone Tires team will also be an asset on the high banks at Charlotte. "I have experience running under the lights in motocross and supercross events, so that should be no problem. The Lowe's Motor Speedway is a world-class facility, the fans here are great, I have a great team and a great engineer and crew chief in Darrell Soppe, and we'll just be out there giving it our best shot!" Practice is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday, and 3:15 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. on Friday. PPG Pole qualifying is slated for 6:15 p.m. Friday. The VisionAire 500 is set to get the green flag at 8 p.m. EDT on Saturday. The race will be televised live on SpeedVision beginning at 7:30 p.m. FOX Sports Net will rebroadcast the race on May 6; check local listings for the air time. SpeedVision will also televise PPG Pole qualifying live at 6 p.m. EDT Friday. The Indy Racing Radio Network will broadcast a 30-minute prerace show at 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday, followed by the live race broadcast at 8 p.m. The Charlotte-area IRRN affiliate is WSOC-FM, 103.7, Charlotte. The IRRN race broadcast also will be available live on the Internet at http://www.indyracingleague.com as part of a new partnership between IRL Online and broadcast.com.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Harrington