LAZIER SETS NEW UNOFFICIAL TRACK MARK
(This is the third in a series of daily reports on pre-season Indy Racing League testing at the new Walt Disney World Speedway, already nicknamed "the Mickyard.")
ORLANDO, Dec. 2, 1995 -- Buddy Lazier doesn't have a ride for the 1996 season yet, but he already has a unique record.
Lazier, 28, of Vail, Colo., spent the last two days testing a Hemelgarn Racing machine at the Walt Disney World Speedway for Firestone tires. He wound up running the most laps timed by the United States Auto Club -- 296 -- in the new track's first week of activity.
He also was the fastest, running a quickest lap of 19.713 seconds, which translates to 182.621 miles an hour. He was the only driver to reach the 19-second bracket on the one-mile oval.
"We were pretty consistent in the high 19s," Lazier said. "I think Firestone was pleased with what we learned."
He said the track was one-of-a-kind.
"It's all new characteristics," Lazier said. "I've never seen anything quite like this race track. But then, I've never seen a race track I didn't like."
Stephan Gregoire, the 26-year-old driver who'll run the Hemelgarn Racing cars on the Indy Racing League circuit in 1996, arrived from France Saturday, was fitted into a car for Monday and Tuesday's IRL open test, then took off for his first look at the Walt Disney World complex.
In all, 1,342 laps were timed by USAC in the track's first week, run by eight Indianapolis-car drivers, plus 36 by Formula 2000 champion Jeret Schroeder. Those on the track for first-week driving duties at the "Mickyard" were Eddie Cheever, Arie Luyendyk, Eliseo Salazar, Davey Hamilton, Stan Wattles, Steve Kinser, Lyn St. James and Lazier.