KINSER, LUYENDYK TEST AT WALT DISNEY WORLD SPEEDWAY
(This is the first in a series of reports on Indy Racing League and tire company testing sessions from the new Walt Disney World Speedway.)
ORLANDO, Nov. 30, 1995 -- A special match unfolded this week as Steve Kinser, the "King of the Outlaws," saddled up at the new Walt Disney World Speedway in a car fielded by legendary four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt.
The two teamed up during a Goodyear tire test at the one-mile oval and Kinser, the 14-time World of Outlaws champion, got his first laps in an Indianapolis car in 14 years after climbing into the cockpit of Foyt's Copenhagen Racing 1994 Lola/Ford-Cosworth.
"I've known him (Kinser) for a long time," Foyt said, "and he's a helluva racer. The time before when he was at Indianapolis, he didn't have a fair shake. Yesterday, all he did was ride and he's gonna do a little ridin' today. We're down here having some fun, giving him some (seat) time. I think the cars have impressed him."
Kinser, 41, tried the month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1981, passed the driver's test, then hit the wall in practice.
"We probably put more laps in (70) yesterday than we did there," Kinser said. "This is pretty well a start. We're taking it at a pretty slow pace to get the feel of the car and the track. I've felt pretty comfortable so far. I haven't put myself in a position to feel uncomfortable. I'm not going to find out all I need to know in two days. I can say I've had more laps now (in an Indianapolis car) than the day before. By the end of the day, I was enjoying myself....particularly being down here and around A.J.
"It's really special. I was getting my sprint car ready to run for the points championship. When A.J. called me, I didn't know what to do. When would you ever get a chance to spend a couple days with A.J. and drive his= car?"
Both Foyt and Kinser said it was too early to tell if they might team up for the five-race inaugural Indy Racing League season.
"We're waiting to see how he feels about it," Foyt said. "So far, so good. This track's a little tricky. He did everything we expected him to do. Davey (Hamilton, his other "rookie" driver), is running good. I'm not worried about either one.
"I'm open-mined and he (Kinser) is open-minded. We've not even gone that far yet. I just asked him to come down and take a ride. I think he deserves one as much as anybody."
Kinser echoed Foyt's thoughts. By the end of the second day of testing, he was unofficially clocked at 21.4 seconds...not too far off Eddie Cheever's Team Menard machine, which was unofficially fastest at 20.4 seconds.
"These five races...you could not ask for a better opportunity," Kinser said. "I would like to feel I could give them a reasonable, respectable shot as a driver. I still remember telling the kids in school that I was going to run in the Indianapolis 500...I might've even said I was going to win it. If it doesn't happen, it'll be a choice I will make. If nothing else, I've had an enjoyable time being around him (Foyt)."
Firestone testing starts Friday and open Indy Racing League testing will run Monday, Dec. 4 through Friday, Dec. 8.
Arie Luyendyk, the 1990 winner of the Indianapolis 500, got his first look at the Walt Disney World Speedway this week, taking part in the tests in the Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria/Bryant Heating and Cooling machine.
"I think it's a good race track," Luyendyk said. "There's not a lot of stopping...very light braking. In that respect, it's difficult. The corners are decreasing radius. As far as driving the track, I think it's a blast. It's a lot of fun.
"It's one of the more physical ovals I've driven. You're constantly pulling 3=BD Gs. The banking really helps the car in the turns."
Luyendyk ran 120 laps on Wednesday and got down to 20.8 seconds. Eddie Cheever, in a Team Menard car, was unofficially the fastest Wednesday at 20.4 seconds, more than 176 miles per hour.
"I think this is a 19-second track," Luyendyk said. "It's going to be difficult to pass. I've changed my mind on that. A lot of tracks, you show up on Race Day thinking you're not going to be able to pass each other and a lot of passing goes on, though."