IRL: Texas rookie Erwin ready for Casino Magic 500

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (May 23, 2001) - Indy Racing Northern Light Series driver Brandon Erwin will have a short commute to work on Saturday, June 9. The rookie open-wheel driver will compete in the Casino Magic 500 that night at Texas Motor Speedway,...

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (May 23, 2001) - Indy Racing Northern Light Series driver Brandon Erwin will have a short commute to work on Saturday, June 9. The rookie open-wheel driver will compete in the Casino Magic 500 that night at Texas Motor Speedway, just 15 minutes from his home in Denton, Texas. Erwin is one of the bright young drivers in the series this year, and one who completed his rookie test last fall at Texas Motor Speedway under the watchful eye of Johnny Rutherford.

"When I think about Johnny Rutherford and Al Unser being my coaches, I think I should pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming," Erwin said of the two racing legends who coach the series rookies.

Rutherford hails from Fort Worth and Erwin was born, raised and still lives in Denton. Like Rutherford years ago, Erwin's background is primarily in dirt track sprint cars, like the one he drove to victory at Devil's Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas, in March.

At Texas Motor Speedway, a rookie driver is required to run 10 consistent laps at each of four speeds: 190-195 mph, 195-200 mph, 200-205 mph and 205-plus mph. When Erwin had completed his series of runs, Rutherford passed Erwin with no reservations and told reporters that the Denton product "was impressive in that he got right to his program and clicked it right off. He ran a minimum number of laps to get his test done, and he was through. I think he is going to be a credit to the series."

On April 13, J.R. was also watching when Erwin quickly passed all four phases of the Rookie Orientation Program at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"Nice going!" Rutherford said as he leaned into the cockpit to shake Erwin's hand. "You can keep the star on your helmet, but you can't make it any bigger!" Lone Star J.R. added, referring to the Star of Texas on Erwin's helmet. "Mine was bigger than that," Rutherford added with another grin.

Tickets for the June 9 Casino Magic 500 and the June 8 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly 400 are available by calling the speedway ticket hotline at (817) 215-8500, on line at www.texasmotorspeedway.com, or at participating Ticketmaster locations. Free qualifying night tickets for the trucks and Indy cars on Thursday night, June 7, are available at participating Fort Worth-Dallas Diamond Shamrock and 7-11 stores, and Brookshire Bros. Supermarkets in East Texas.

-TMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Brandon Erwin , Johnny Rutherford , Al Unser