IRL: WDW preview notes 97-01-20

For Immediate Release MEHL ENTHUSIASTIC AS TRANSPORTERS ROLL INTO WALT DISNEY WORLD ORLANDO, FLA., January 20, 1997 =97 As Indy Racing League transporters= rolled into town Monday in preparation for Saturday's Indy 200 at Walt Disney ...

For Immediate Release

MEHL ENTHUSIASTIC AS TRANSPORTERS ROLL INTO WALT DISNEY WORLD

ORLANDO, FLA., January 20, 1997 =97 As Indy Racing League transporters= rolled into town Monday in preparation for Saturday's Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Presented by Aurora, Leo Mehl was excited.

The League's new executive director reflected on the work done by racing teams and manufacturers around the world to bring the new cars and engines to the one-mile Walt Disney World Speedway oval.

"Considering car and engine specifications were conceived about a year ago and actual production of the pieces started roughly seven months ago, it has taken an extraordinary effort by the teams to get us ready for the race," Mehl said.

"It will be the first Indianapolis-type race in history which will start with all brand new cars and engines. It's very exciting for me and all the teams and drivers to actually be here after working day and night, including Christmas and New Year's Day to get these cars put together."

Teams have logged more than 4,600 miles in testing at Walt Disney World and Phoenix International Raceway since Arie Luyendyk drove Treadway Racing's car for the first test of the new IRL machines on Nov. 13 at Phoenix.

"Two weeks ago, I was here watching eight or nine cars thunder around here lap after lap doing full pit stops," Mehl said. "In fact, we awarded three teams decorated cakes after they completed the race distance =97 over 200 miles =97 on one engine. The cars were all within three or four tenths (of a second) of each other in speed. We were all very excited. One of the objectives was to provide close racing.

"I think it's a tribute to the regulations as well as designers for both Dallara and G Force. The cars rolled out of the box not only handling very well, but very close and competitive in speed."

Up to 23 car/driver combinations are expected to be on hand when practice starts Thursday.

"We can provide an outstanding race by starting 18 cars," Mehl said. "Remember that these cars are all brand new and they've all been proven to have consistent handling with similar horsepower. We could have as many as eight or 10 cars capable of running up front."

Mehl said the new cars and engines will be in plentiful supply by the 81st running of the Indianapolis 500 in May.

"Following this race, we'll be over the hump," he said. "There'll be many more engines and cars available for Phoenix (March 23). We expect a minimum of 60 of the new cars available for the Indianapolis 500."

From lad@brickyard.com Tue Jan 21 01:14:37 1997 Received: from www.brickyard.com by omega.metrics.com (8.6.12/1.37) id UAA14337; Mon, 20 Jan 1997 20:14:36 -0500 Received: from d00081.mco.bellsouth.net by www.brickyard.com (NTMail 3.02.07) with ESMTP id la005705 for <ras-info@motorsport.com>; Mon, 20 Jan 1997 19:59:56 -0500 Message-Id: <1.5.4.32.19970121011551.006747dc@brickyard.com> X-Sender: lad@brickyard.com X-Mailer: Windows Eudora Light Version 1.5.4 (32) Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Date: Mon, 20 Jan 1997 20:15:51 -0500 To: indy200@bellsouth.net From: "Lee A. Driggers" <lad@brickyard.com> Subject: PR-IRL: WDW Testing 01/20/97 Status: O

For Immediate Release

LAZIER TESTS HEMELGARN DALLARA/INFINITI; TEAMS START ARRIVING FOR INDY 200 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

ORLANDO, FLA., January 20, 1997 =97 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier= drove Hemelgarn Racing's Dallara/Nissan Infiniti Indy to a lap at 152.542 miles an hour Monday at Walt Disney World Speedway in his first serious testing of the new Indy Racing League machine this winter.

Lazier ran 60 laps around the one-mile oval in preparation for Saturday's Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Presented by Aurora.

Transporters for the IRL teams began arriving at the track Monday as Team Scandia, Blueprint Racing, Pagan Racing joined Jonathan Byrd/Cunningham Racing and Bradley Motorsports in the paddock.

Testing continues Tuesday and both IRL testing and U.S. Formula Ford 2000 testing are scheduled for Wednesday. The track opens to the public with the first official practice sessions Thursday.

Veteran Marco Greco has been assigned to drive the #22 International Sports Limited/Xcel/Alta entry for the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World, it was announced Monday by Team Scandia.

QUOTES: BUDDY LAZIER: "We've mostly just been doing system tests. We haven't done car work or go-fast work, just make-it-run work. The basic conceptual formula is good. It (the car) is forgiving to a degree but this is a professional racing series and it can bite you hard. In engine and car development, we're in the prehistoric stages. There's a tremendous curve to be developed. It's surprisingly good for being right out of the box. My biggest surprises have been on the positive end. I believe things like slipstreaming will be more important. The field will be closer together than in the past. No matter how you chalk up the situation, we're three weeks to a month late and there's nothing you can do about being three weeks to a month late. Certainly, we'll be in great shape after this weekend. We're going to to do the best we can. I wouldn't count us out yet."

RONNIE DAWES (Hemelgarn team member who serves as engineer): "The car itself is real easy to work on. The problem we're faced with is a lack of time to run and figure out what the car likes and doesn't like. This is the second (Infiniti) engine produced, so we definitely have to be careful with the motor. We're running with revs lower than what we're going to race. That gives us different feedback on the chassis. With some time on the motor, it's going to be a real nice package."

About 250 members of the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans organization were surprised Sunday night when Buzz Calkins, the IRL's 1996 co-champion, showed up at their annual banquet at Celebrations in Indianapolis.

"Nobody could remember the last time an Indy (series) champion came to the banquet," said Pat Sullivan, a director of the club who emceed the affair. "He got a standing ovation from the members. He was so gracious. He seemed to be genuinely interested in what the other competitors had accomplished. They were able to spend some time with him.

"He just made a huge impression."

Tickets for Saturday's Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Presented by Aurora are available daily at the Walt Disney World Speedway ticket trailer, Pleasure Island and at Race Rock, 8986 International Drive in Orlando (I-4 to Sand Lake exit).

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Buddy Lazier , Arie Luyendyk