David Empringham, Rodolfo Lavin, David Pook Test at Homestead

TWO-TIME HOMESTEAD WINNER DAVID EMPRINGHAM COACHES LAVIN, POOK IN INDY LIGHTS TESTING HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Feb. 16, 1999) - David Empringham, a two-time CART PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Series winner at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports...

TWO-TIME HOMESTEAD WINNER DAVID EMPRINGHAM COACHES LAVIN, POOK IN INDY LIGHTS TESTING

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Feb. 16, 1999) - David Empringham, a two-time CART PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Series winner at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex, returned to the Speedway Tuesday to test with two of the series top prospects. Rodolfo Lavin Jr. and David Pook spent two days testing with Brian Stewart Racing at the 1.5-mile oval, preparing for the 1999 season opener during the March 19-21 Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota weekend. The PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Series is the final step in open-wheel racing's ladder before the top rung. Many graduates of the series move up to the FedEx Championship Series, including 1998 series champion Cristiano da Matta. The Indy Lights teams will compete in a 100-mile, 67-lap race, March 21 at 11 a.m. "This is a track that I've really enjoyed," said Empringham, who serves as driver coach for the Stewart team. "It's a great facility, and our team has a great setup here. As a driver coach, it's really enjoyable working with Rodolfo and David. "It's my job to guide the drivers in what a good car feels like around here, and to help on a technical side with the engineers as to what an Indy Lights car likes around here," added the Canadian, who hopes to land a FedEx Series ride. Empringham won the first two Indy Lights races at Homestead in 1996 and 1997 while dominating Indy Lights competition. While Lavin will make his debut with Stewart Racing, the 21-year-old Mexican is the most experienced driver in the series. "I think it was a very good test," said Lavin, who finished eighth in last year's event driving for the Corona/Modelo team. "We tested a lot of things, and I am learning a lot with this team. They work very, very well. We are very close to their times from last year (driver Sergio Paese won the pole for the 1998 Homestead race for Stewart Racing). I think we have very good settings to be at the front. "It's a very good thing to have David Empringham on the team. He is teaching me a lot of things. We're working hard, and I think we will do very well in the race. It's going to be a very competitive season, with a lot of very good drivers." For Pook, the son of veteran motorsports promoter Chris Pook, the test was his first Indy Lights experience on an oval track. "It's really smooth, it's a great track," said Pook. "The long straightaways will make for great passing, and it will be challenging in the corners. "This is my first time in an Indy Lights car since 1994," continued Pook, who has been active in Toyota Atlantic and Formula 2000 since then. "I'm happy to come down here and learn a new track. We approached the test at a nice, easy pace, and adjusted to the oval quite well. We got it going pretty good." The weekend also features the opening round for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in Saturday's Florida Dodge Dealers 400. For ticket orders, call (305) 230-7223. For additional information, visit the Speedway's official website, www.racemiami.com.

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Series INDYLIGHTS