IRL: Scott Sharp leads practice for Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, Thursday, April 20, 2000 - Scott Sharp stood alone Thursday as practice for Saturday's Vegas Indy 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway came to an end. Sharp was the only driver to top 207 mph in Thursday's opening ...

LAS VEGAS, Thursday, April 20, 2000 - Scott Sharp stood alone Thursday as practice for Saturday's Vegas Indy 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway came to an end. Sharp was the only driver to top 207 mph in Thursday's opening Indy Racing Northern Light Series practice session. He was clocked at 207.023 mph in his Delphi Automotive Systems-MCI WorldCom Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone car in the morning session and then was second quick behind Tyce Carlson at 205.652 in the steamy afternoon round. MBNA Pole qualifying for Saturday's race is tomorrow at 12:30 PDT. Greg Ray captured the MBNA Pole for the first two races of the Northern Light Series, but Robbie Buhl won the first race at Orlando after starting 22nd, and Buddy Lazier won at Phoenix after taking the green flag in 26th and last place. Sharp's not too concerned about his qualifying position. "I don't think it makes a difference here," Sharp said. "In series qualifying, some people spend time working on qualifying, and it's paid off on Saturday (Friday in this case). Some have worked on a race setup and come on strong. Our objective is to walk out of here with maximum points." That would be two points for winning the pole, 20 for winning the race and two for leading the most laps. "I'm pretty excited," he said. "I felt we had a strong test here a couple of weeks ago. Without trying to go fast, we seem to be pretty quick." An indication that the Kelley Racing team has hit on a speedy setup with the new chassis and 3.5-liter engine is that Sharp's teammate Mark Dismore turned in the third fastest speed of the day in his On Star-GM BuyPower Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone at 206.013. Squeezing between the Kelley teammates was Denver's Buzz Calkins. Calkins clocked a top speed of 206.068 in his Bradley Food Marts-Sav-O-Mat Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Dismore predicted a pole speed close to 209. Despite the engine size reduction, the 209.465 speed by last year's pole winner Sam Schmidt could be challenged. Both Sharp and Dismore, who rank eighth and 13th respectively in the point standings, credit their quick speeds to the switch to Firestone tires. The past three years they have driven on Goodyears. Dismore wasn't totally happy with the way his car worked. "We've got some issues to straighten out," he said. "We're pretty good through (turns) one and two, but pick up a considerable push through three and four. At about 20 laps I begin to lose the handling." Ray was fourth fastest at 205.989 and Tyce Carlson was fifth at 205.926.

VEGAS INDY 300 NOTEBOOK

Schedule: The Vegas Indy 300 starts at 12:30 p.m. (PDT) April 22. MBNA Pole Qualifying starts at 1 p.m. April 21. Practice sessions start at 9 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. April 21.

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Autographs: An autograph session featuring Indy Racing Northern Light Series drivers is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. April 21 in the Las Vegas Motor Speedway garage area, following Northern Light Series final practice.

*** On the air: The Vegas Indy 300 will be televised live on ABC at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) April 22. "Indy Racing 2Day" will be televised live at 3 p.m. April 22 on ESPN2. ESPN2 will televise MBNA Pole qualifying at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) April 21. The Indy Racing Radio Network will broadcast a 30-minute prerace show at 3 p.m. (EDT) April 22, followed by the live race broadcast at 3:30 p.m. The Las Vegas IRRN affiliate is KRLV AM 1340. The IRRN race broadcast also will be available live on the Internet at www.indyracingleague.com as part of a partnership between Indy Racing Online and Yahoo!/broadcast.com, the world's leading Web broadcast site.

***

Tickets: Tickets are available for the Vegas Indy 300 by calling (800) 644-4444 or by visiting http://www.lvms.com.

-IRLNS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Greg Ray , Robbie Buhl , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Mark Dismore , Sam Schmidt , Tyce Carlson