Nashville: Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing preview

McDONALD'S DRIVER WILSON AND HOLE IN THE WALL CAMPS DRIVER RAHAL HEAD TO NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY FOR THIS SATURDAY NIGHT'S FIRESTONE INDY 200 NASHVILLE (July 9, 2008) --- The 2008 IndyCar Series (ICS) season has been full of new experiences...

McDONALD'S DRIVER WILSON AND HOLE IN THE WALL CAMPS DRIVER RAHAL HEAD TO NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY FOR THIS SATURDAY NIGHT'S FIRESTONE INDY 200

NASHVILLE (July 9, 2008) --- The 2008 IndyCar Series (ICS) season has been full of new experiences for McDonald's driver Justin Wilson and Hole in the Wall Camps driver Graham Rahal. Not only will the Firestone Indy 200 on the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway oval take place on a track neither the drivers nor Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing has competed on. It will also be the first race for each of them on an oval track with a different type of surface.

"Nashville Superspeedway is a concrete track, which on an oval I imagine is quite interesting," said Wilson, who has competed in 12 races on an oval to date. "It could be pretty hard on tire life so that is something we will have to watch. It's going to be another interesting race for the McDonald's team."

"From what I hear it's a pretty tough event," said Wilson. "You are close to being flat-out driving around on your own. I guess in the race I might have to start lifting though because there will be a lot of traffic. I have been to a few race tracks that have concrete sections on them. Sebring being one of them, and Toronto and there were even concrete patches in Watkins Glen last weekend. We have experienced it a little bit and it's generally very bumpy and quite difficult to drive on so it's very challenging. On an oval I can only imagine what that does. I can imagine that once the rubber goes down, it starts to lay some grip down there and it would start to get quite grippy. It will be interesting to see what kind of concrete it is and how it affects things. We don't have any experience with this so we will just have to work it out as quick as we can."

The Firestone Indy 200 will mark only the seventh oval race for 19-year-old Rahal, who became the youngest race winner in IndyCar Series history in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg street event. After qualifying second in his third oval race at the Milwaukee Mile and third in his sixth event in Richmond, Rahal seems to be adapting well to ovals and could also become the youngest winner on an oval track. Scott Dixon currently holds the record for his 2001 win in the CART race in Nazareth at 20 years, 9 months and 14 days old. After a weekend on the road course at Watkins Glen International, he is looking forward to getting back on an oval.

"I have only seen Nashville Superspeedway during a charity event for Firestone in April," said Rahal. "I haven't driven on it yet but I have heard that it is bumpy and there are a lot of high frequency bumps on the concrete. Overall, I'm looking forward to getting back on an oval to be honest. I like going to ovals because I like seeing how we are progressing on them throughout the season. We need to go to Nashville and do our best. If we can get a top-10 finish there I will be pretty happy."

-credit: nhlr

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Series INDYCAR