IRL: Watkins Glen: Penultimate round preview

SCHECKTER READY TO ADD TO FAMILY HISTORY AT THE GLEN Tomas Scheckter's eyes widen at the mention of "The Boot," "The Loop" and "The Chute" at Watkins Glen International, where the IndyCar Series driver will compete this weekend in the inaugural...

SCHECKTER READY TO ADD TO FAMILY HISTORY AT THE GLEN

Tomas Scheckter's eyes widen at the mention of "The Boot," "The Loop" and "The Chute" at Watkins Glen International, where the IndyCar Series driver will compete this weekend in the inaugural Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage.

To the South African whose father, Jody, made his Formula One debut at The Glen in 1972 with McLaren (ninth place after spinning out), the sections of the historic natural terrain road course are to be revered.

Eleven turns with a variety of banking (6 to 10 degrees) and width (36 to 48 feet) comprise the 3.37-mile long course to challenge both driver and race engineer. IndyCar Series cars will run clockwise on the undulating track.

"It's demanding on the driver, but again there are straightaways that give the driver a little bit of a break," said Scheckter, driver of the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. "It's super-flowing, up and down and a good driver's track."

TOMAS SCHECKTER'S VIRTUAL LAP:

"Going into Turn One ("The Ninety"), it's a second and third gear corner. It has some concrete on the inside, so you want to use that. You can use a little bit of the exit curb for grip. It's then flat out through Turns 2 and 3 and 4 ("The Esses"). The car will bottom a little; it's a great feeling. It's a little like a rollercoaster going all the way up that hill (an 80-foot climb into Turn 4).

"It's flat out all the way down turning into the chicane. It's a great corner where you can use some of the curb through there and carry a lot more speed than you think you can.

"You want to make sure your car is in good position getting out of the chicane and going into Turn 5 (sweeping right-hander called the "Outer Loop). You want to be hitting inside a little on the concrete because there's the most grip and you can let the car run out. Coming out of 5 and going into 6 is great again because you're braking downhill (a 30-foot descent that begins The Boot). You have to watch for the inside left locking up because you can end up straight in the wall there, but you can also carry a lot of speed into there and get on the throttle pretty early into Turn 7.

"Seven (100-foot drop from exit of Turn 5) you can brake very late and carry a lot of speed in; just wait for the front end to come back because then it's uphill and you have to be on the throttle very hard.

"Coming up into 8 there's not much grip but it's a standard corner; two downshifts. Nine is a late apex corner (a 50-foot climb into a 90-degree left-hander). You're away from the curb and you just wait, wait, wait and you turn the car in right at the end. There's some concrete there where you can get some grip. Ten is very quick, a lot quicker than you mentally think. Again, there is concrete for grip.

"Eleven there is a lot of speed. It's a very important corner because you carry all the speed going into 1 again.

"This is a really great track. Lots of turns, up and down, and I like the fast chicane that goes into the flat-out right hander. There are still some straights where the drivers can relax a bit. My dad, uncle and cousin have all raced here, so there's a little bit of tradition here for me."

WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD:

Firestone's race tire development team considers the configuration of each track as it chooses the tire compound to be used at each track.

According to Firestone engineers, the permanent road course at Watkins Glen International requires the hardest road course tire to meet the high-speed demands expected at this track.

RACE FACTS:

WHAT:
Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage, 16th race in 17-race 2005 season

WHERE:
Watkins Glen International, 3.37-mile road course (11 turns)

WHEN:
3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Sept. 25

DISTANCE:
60 laps/204 miles

PAST RACE WINNERS:
Inaugural event

TV:
ABC (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sept. 25

RADIO: WQualifying webcast: 12:45 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 24, www.indycar.com.
Wrap-up show: 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sept. 24, IMS Radio Network.
Race: IMS Radio Network, 3 p.m. (EDT), Sept. 25.

***

The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 25 at Watkins Glen International. The race will be broadcast by ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The race broadcast also will be carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme). The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Corning 100 on Sept. 25 at Watkins Glen International. It will be telecast by ESPN2 at 3 p.m. on Sept. 29.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter
Teams Panther Racing