TRUE VALUE IROC TESTING AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY: The first day of IROC testing is under way with test drivers Dave Marcis, Jim Sauter and Dick Trickle fine tuning the identically prepared True Value IROC cars. Series drivers Helio Castroneves and...
TRUE VALUE IROC TESTING AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY: The first day of IROC testing is under way with test drivers Dave Marcis, Jim Sauter and Dick Trickle fine tuning the identically prepared True Value IROC cars. Series drivers Helio Castroneves and Danny Lasoski joined the test drivers. Both Castroneves and Lasoski commented on how much fun they are having in the series and the differences in driving they are experiencing, with Castroneves coming from the Indy Racing League and Lasoski from the World of Outlaws. Both drivers also stated how much they have learned since the series opener in Daytona, commenting that they are doing more "driving" at California Speedway as opposed to running flat out at Daytona. Times were reported to be in the low "40s" per lap.
QUOTES FROM TODAY'S TEST:
On the race track:
"The race track is smooth and wide. We seem to be a little tight at the exit of turns two and four. The tire has changed since the last time we were here, but I think that will help us."
On working with Lasoski and Castroneves:
"They have a lot of enthusiasm, and I am tickled to death to be working with them. They want to be here and volunteered to come on their own for this test. It's great to have guys like that. They want to do well in the series. It's good for the series to see the open-wheel guys up front. We are trying to teach them the best we can, so they feel they have a chance."
On what the drivers have learned:
"In Daytona, we worked with them on side-by-side racing and nose-to-tail racing, things that are a big part of stock car racing. For here, we have to teach them to take care of the front tires and not push off."
On how Lasoski and Castroneves are doing:
"The drivers are doing well. I was happy with how well they did in Daytona. Danny went to the back at Daytona, and that's easy. He made it back up front, and that's tough. Whenever these guys do well, it makes us feel great."
On the first part of the test session:
The track is beautiful and is in great shape. The weather is agreeing with us (hot and dry). We got a good start on the race cars. We were not so good this morning, but better this afternoon, so at least we have a direction to work with."
On learning the True Value IROC cars:
"This is a totally different set-up. It's so much fun, but setting up the car is the opposite of the Indy Car. I tried to go flat out here, but these cars don't turn. You have to back off. It's totally different than Daytona where you can go flat out. There is much more driving here. You have to back off the throttle. I'm getting comfortable with the car."
On working with the test drivers:
"I'm listening very closely to Dave and Jim. These guys are fun to be around. They have been in racing forever, and I love talking to them about racing, cars, tires, testing, engines - whatever. They are experienced drivers. They can teach very well, as long as you listen."
On testing at California Speedway:
"I'm a rookie again. It's phenomenal to be at California Speedway. It's a race car driver's track. You have to let off the throttle and have a good handling race car. You also have to make sure you don't use up your right front tire. If you use it up too much, you are going to be in trouble. I felt as comfortable as I could be for the first time."
On working with the test drivers:
"They are like family to me already. You won't meet better people. Even when we ask stupid questions, they don't treat it that way. I don't know a lot of things about these cars, so I ask every question. After Daytona, I called each of them personally to thank them and tell them about my experience."
On advice from Tony Stewart, who owns Lasoski's 2001 World of Outlaws
"He told me about this place and how to drive it. He helped me in Daytona. He helped me stay in the draft. He did a great job in Daytona, and you can see why he's a great Winston Cup driver."
MORE IROC: The April 27th True Value IROC Series 100 at California Speedway will be the third time the series has competed here. In 1997, the series was part of the Inaugural race weekend at California Speedway. Mark Martin won that year, and followed that up in 1998 with another win.
TICKET INFORMATION: Prices for Sunday's NAPA AUTO PARTS 500 race are $110, $90, $75, $50 and $39. For Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series Auto Club 300, True Value IROC Series 100 and NASCAR Winston West Series Pontiac WideTrack Grand Prix 200, tickets are $50 and $40, while Friday's 1 Trucks Pole Day tickets are just $10, which includes Winston Cup and Busch Series practice and qualifying sessions. Tickets can be purchased via the speedway's website at www.californiaspeedway.com.