IRL: Sharp tops 200 mph at Miami-hOMESTEAD

MIAMI (January 19, 2001) -- Scott Sharp shattered the 200 mph barrier by running four consecutive laps under 27 seconds in private testing for the April 6-8 Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami on Friday, bettering his own unofficial Indy Racing record...

MIAMI (January 19, 2001) -- Scott Sharp shattered the 200 mph barrier by running four consecutive laps under 27 seconds in private testing for the April 6-8 Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami on Friday, bettering his own unofficial Indy Racing record at the 1.5-mile oval.

Sharp's best lap was 26.95 seconds, 200.444 mph in the Kelley Racing Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara Aurora. On Thursday, Sharp broke Greg Ray's unofficial Speedway record with a lap of 198.3 mph.

The official record will be set in official qualifying on Saturday, April 7, when the MBNA Pole is set for the Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami, the debut of Indy Racing in South Florida. Tickets are now on sale by calling (305) 230-RACE, or may be ordered on-line at www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com.


Scott Sharp shows his 200 mph smile. Photo: Homestead-Miami Speedway

"We're very happy with our progress, testing here for the first time," said Sharp, who spent the bulk of Friday working on race setups. Kelley Racing team manager Tim Bumps was also pleased with the session.

"The purpose of our test was three-fold," he explained. "We were looking to get experience with our new engine manufacturer (Ilmor); we wanted to get Scott some laps around the track, since it's his first time here; and we wanted to start out with a good platform for our 2001 car, which we will test here in early February."

Joining Sharp at the test were Treadway-Hubbard Racing's Davey Hamilton (27.66/195.228 mph), and Hemelgarn/Metro Racing's Stan Wattles (27.63/195.440 mph). The test concludes on Saturday, when Treadway-Hubbard Racing's Felipe Giaffone of Brazil will attempt to pass his IRL rookie test.


Sharp talks with Eric Bretzman of Satellite Beach, Fla., during his test. Bretzman is an engineer for Sharp's Kelley Racing teammate, Mark Dismore. Photo: Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"This is a beautiful facility and an interesting track," said Hamilton of his first impressions of Homestead-Miami Speedway. "The track's a little tricky. We've got a good baseline, but we've got to find a few miles per hour. My first impressions are good. It wasn't hard to get up to speed quickly, but finding the numbers that we're looking for is going to take some time.

"The good thing is I feel like I could run up in the high line right now," added Hamilton, a former Supermodified driver from Idaho. "I think we're going to put on a good race here. The Indy Racing rules give us a little extra downforce, which makes for good racing, and good corner racing."

While Hamilton is the only driver to start all 43 races in Indy Racing history, Wattles rejoins the tour after a seven month hiatus. "I ran a joint Hemelgarn-Metro team at Indianapolis last year, and we qualified eighth and were consistently turning the fastest race laps before our engine blew with 28 laps remaining. This is my first test with the team. We're running the 2000 car with no updates, but I'm getting the feel of racing again."

Practice for the Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami begins on Friday, April 6, with qualifying on Saturday, April 7. For additional information, visit the official web site, www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com.

- J. J. O'Malley

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Stan Wattles