CALKINS MAKES NOISE AT DISNEY: EXCEEDS 180 MPH
(This is the seventh in a series of daily reports on Indy Racing League testing at the new Walt Disney World Speedway. The reports will continue through Friday.)
ORLANDO, Dec. 7,1995 -- Buzz Calkins is one of the young lions making the bold move to Indianapolis cars and the Indy Racing League.
He created attention Wednesday by becoming one of only four drivers to turn laps at the one-mile Walt Disney World Speedway in the 19-second bracket. He backed it up with a fastest lap Thursday of 19.798 seconds, which translates to 181.837 miles per hour.
"That's pretty comfortable, too," said Calkins, 24, of Denver. "I think we can run those times pretty consistently. I like this track a lot. You kind of feel like you're on a roller-coaster with the elevation changes. But the track's getting better every day as people get more rubber down."
Calkins' baptism in Indianapolis cars comes after competing in the Indy Lights and Atlantic series. Bradley Motorsports, Calkins' team in those efforts, is moving up with him.
"I wouldn't say it's harder to drive by any means," he said. "With the ground effects and weight distribution, the car is a lot more stable than an Indy Lights car. I'd almost say it's easier to drive than a Lights car."
He hopes to make his mark in the Indy Racing League and with the young group -- Richie Hearn, Davey Hamilton and Johnny O'Connell among them -- that hope to make up the series' future.
"It's a good opportunity because we don't have the kind of budget to run 17 races," Calkins said. "We can get our feet wet and get to run the Indianapolis 500, too.
"I've always liked ovals better than road courses, and I've shown better on ovals in the Lights cars. With the amount of exposure through the TV package, it offers an opportunity for guys like us to get out there and be seen. As it goes along, I think you'll see more and more."
At 11:53 a.m., Roberto Guerrero in the Pagan Racing Lola did 1 1/2 spins and hit the outside wall at the exit of Turn 2. Guerrero, awake and alert, was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center for examination. While x-rays were reported negative, Guerrero had evidence of a concussion and was admitted for overnight observation.
*** THURSDAY'S TOP UNOFFICIAL SPEEDS FROM USAC TIMING AND SCORING:
NUM BEST BEST DRIVER TEAM LAPS TIME SPEED ==================================================================== Buzz Calkins Bradley Motorsports 89 19.798 181.837 Roberto Guerrero Pagan Racing 30 20.153 178.633