Crown Royal IROC Series Pit Notes
Series' Newcomers Sebastien Bourdais, Bobby Hamilton Try Out IROC Cars
Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 9, 2005) -- The Crown Royal International Race of Champions began on-track activities at Daytona International Speedway Wednesday in preparation for the season opener on Friday, February 18, which will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel at 6:00 p.m. ET.
Series newcomers, 2004 Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais and 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Bobby Hamilton took their first laps in the Crown Royal IROC cars along with three-time series participant Danny Lasoski representing the World of Outlaws.
Track activities began with test drivers, Dave Marcis, Jim Sauter, Jay Sauter and Andy Hillenburg putting the fleet of 17 race cars through initial test runs before assisting Bourdais, Hamilton and Lasoski in practice sessions.
Sebastien Bourdais: "It's been a big adjustment for me, but I've already learned a lot of things today. The IROC concept is great, it's a unification of a lot of different racing series and drivers, which is always interesting and I'm having a blast right now and trying to learn as much as I can and doing that slowly and smoothly and as safe as I can because the IROC cars are pretty fast and I don't want to make mistakes, especially when we are working with all the experienced test drivers and series drivers who have been here before. I'm just going to have to concentrate and learn the right lines and work with all the drivers. Hopefully, I will learn to be in the right place at the end, which is when the result will count and hopefully, I can do that."
Bobby Hamilton: "The IROC cars feel great. It reminds me of the Cup cars a couple of years ago when we had the wickers on like the ones on the IROC cars today, it's fun. There are four practice cars and I got to drive everyone of them. I got to mess around out there with Danny Lasoski and Sebastien Bourdais along with the Sauter's and Marcis. It's a lot of fun, I'm glad I came over here to test this today because the cars are different than Truck and Busch cars. I'm going to keep testing as much as I can and get more time in the cars."
Dave Marcis - "When we started out the cars weren't as drivable as we'd like them to be, I think we were trying some things from Atlanta that didn't quite work out here at Daytona, but we learned a lot and made adjustments, which made the cars much more comfortable this afternoon. From what we found out after talking with people who tested here in Trucks, Cup and Busch cars that the race track has changed a bit and everyone seems to be fighting a loose condition, more than what we have in the past. We're going to make a few more changes in the cars, but I don't think it's anything to get concerned over or worry about. It's some minor adjustments and we're looking forward to another great race for Crown Royal with IROC series here at Daytona."
Jay Sauter, Crown Royal IROC test driver - (About Sebastien Bourdais' first day) "Sebastien did very well with us here today. Having never been in a stock car, especially here at Daytona where the draft is critical, he adapted very quickly and did so throughout the course of the day as we stepped through adjustments on the race cars.We were fighting a bit of a loose condition here today and it was probably a good thing forSebastien to experience. We made some adjustments to correct for the track conditions and he responded to the changesimmediately."
Jay Signore, IROC President - (About Sebastien Bourdais' first day) "Sebastien did great, and he is a pleasure to work with. He was able to give us excellent feedback on the performance of the IROC cars, which are completely different animals than what heis used to driving. Today was our first day on the track with the Crown Royal IROC race cars and we were working Sebastien, Bobby Hamilton and Danny Lasoski in the practice cars andsimultaneously, shaking down the race cars. We were looseacross the boardthis morning, but by the afternoon we had the cars dialed in better and all of the drivers werevery complimentary of Sebastien's abilitieshaving no experience in this arena. His goal is to come back next week andstart logginglaps in the IROC cars, becausehe understands experience is the best teacher here at Daytona, and from what I've seen today, he'll be an A-Student."
Tickets for the Crown Royal IROC Series opening race and other Daytona Speedweeks 2005 events are available online at: www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Daytona International Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.
<pre> The 2005 Crown Royal IROC field includes:
Driver Series Representing Matt Kenseth NASCAR Nextel Cup (2004 Crown Royal IROC champion) Kurt Busch NASCAR Nextel Cup (2004 Series champion) Mark Martin NASCAR Nextel Cup (4-time Crown Royal IROC champion) Sebastien Bourdais CHAMP CAR (2004 Series champion) Bobby Hamilton NASCAR Craftsman Truck (2004 Series champion) Steve Kinser World of Outlaws (2004 Series champion) Max Papis Grand American Road Racing (2004 Series co-champion) Scott Pruett Grand American Road Racing (2004 Series co-champion) Martin Truex Jr. NASCAR Busch Series (2004 Series champion) Helio Castroneves IRL IndyCar Series (2-time Indianapolis 500 champion) Buddy Rice IRL IndyCar Series (2004 Indianapolis 500 champion) Danny Lasoski World of Outlaws (2001 Series champion)