Daytona: First day of testing recap

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 5, 2002) - On track activities were unusually busy for the first day of True Value IROC testing at Daytona International Speedway. Five of the 12 series competitors were in attendance for driver practice. Indy Racing...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 5, 2002) - On track activities were unusually busy for the first day of True Value IROC testing at Daytona International Speedway. Five of the 12 series competitors were in attendance for driver practice. Indy Racing League representatives, Sam Hornish, Buddy Lazier, Scott Sharp and Helio Castroneves were joined by World of Outlaws sprint car champion, Danny Lasoski for the initial test sessions.

The Indy Racing League's Test In The West, being held at California Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway, will occupy the Indy racers for the remainder of this week. "This is an important opportunity for us (IRL drivers) to get as much seat time as possible in order to adjust to the IROC cars and to learn how to draft here, which is important at Daytona. I really didn't know how it was going to be and it's great, just a lot of fun," said Castroneves. Said Sharp, "We all need to learn how to work with each other on the race track to be competitive with the NASCAR drivers. Each time you go out you learn so much. We'll be back here for more (practice) as soon as we can be."

Veteran True Value IROC test drivers, Dave Marcis, Jim Sauter, Dick Trickle and Andy Hillenburg were on hand to tutor the open wheelers. Lasoski, who is relatively new to racing on pavement, jump-started his learning curve by taking lessons at Andy Hillenburg's Fast Track racing school. "Everything he told me is exactly what's going on out there. I ran about 10 laps by myself and then Helio Castroneves, Scott Sharp, and Sam Hornish and I got in a draft. Learning what to do and what not to do is what we're doing. I'm so excited I'm floating on air being here, " said Lasoski.

Lazier is returning for his second consecutive year of True Value IROC competition, "I'm really just getting myself reoriented today. It's such great racing and a lot of fun, as well as great honor to run in IROC. It's great to be back."

True Value IROC testing will continue throughout Speedweeks for the season opener on Friday, Feb. 15 at Daytona International Speedway. ESPN will broadcast race one on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Others participating in True Value IROC 26 are: NASCAR Winston Cup drivers, Tony Stewart, Dale Jarrett, Sterling Marlin and 2001 True Value IROC champion, Bobby Labonte; 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion, Kevin Harvick; 2001 NASCAR Truck Series champion, Jack Sprague; Indy Racing League driver, Al Unser, Jr.

-iroc-

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