IRL: Testing pace picks up during 'off' week

Drivers, Teams Stay Busy As Testing Pace Picks Up INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, June 21, 2001 - Indy Racing Northern Light Series drivers and teams are staying busy during a rare week off this month by testing at four facilities new to the series this...

Drivers, Teams Stay Busy As Testing Pace Picks Up

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, June 21, 2001 - Indy Racing Northern Light Series drivers and teams are staying busy during a rare week off this month by testing at four facilities new to the series this season.

Northern Light Series points leader Sam Hornish, 1999 series champion Greg Ray and Robbie Buhl tested June 20 at Kansas Speedway, site of the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 on July 8. Shigeaki Hattori is testing June 20-21 and Airton Dare June 21 at Richmond International Raceway, site of the SunTrust Indy Challenge on June 30.

Billy Boat and Sarah Fisher are testing June 21-22 at Nashville Superspeedway, site of the Harrah's Indy 200 on July 21. Defending series champion Buddy Lazier, 1996 series co-champion Scott Sharp and his Kelley Racing teammate, Mark Dismore, are testing June 21-22 at Chicagoland Speedway, site of the Delphi Indy 300 on Sept. 2.

At Kansas, Buhl and Ray each were fastest with a lap of 212.598 mph on the 1.5-mile oval, according to figures provided by the track. Buhl drove the No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone, while Ray was in the No. 2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone.

Hornish was right behind at 211.3 in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. "Everything was good," Buhl said. "The track - it's fast and it's smooth. The new pavement, the tarmac, there seems to be a lot of grip. There's some dust on the track, but there's a lot of grip in the pavement. It will be a fast, exciting race."

Said Ray: "This is absolutely a wonderful facility. I've been racing for 10 years from Canada to Mexico, the West Coast, East Coast. This is just an incredible, beautiful facility.

"I came in this morning and drove out on the racetrack when it was wet. It is super, super smooth. You can tell it will promote three- and four-wide racing."

At Richmond, Hattori turned 45 laps June 20 on the ¾-mile oval with a best speed of 152.46 mph in the No. 55 EPSON Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone.

"We got a lot accomplished today considering this is the first time for the #55 EPSON team to pay a visit to RIR," Hattori said. "We're learning a lot about the minor bumps and lift in Turn 1 and then a fall coming out of Turn 2.

"We're also realizing what a wild ride it will be with a full pack out there. It's definitely an interesting track at RIR, and you can bet next Saturday's race will be one of the most, if not the most exciting race, the Indy Racing Northern Light Series has raced in 2001."

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Robbie Buhl , Shigeaki Hattori , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Sam Hornis
Teams Dreyer & Reinbold Racing