True Value IROC Daytona Testing Day Two
Open-Wheel Champions Test the High Banks
Daytona Beach, FL (November 13, 2001) -- Preseason testing for the 2002 edition of the True Value International Race of Champions continued for a second day at Daytona International Speedway. Turning laps today were 2001 IRL champion Sam Hornish, Jr. , 1996 IRL co-champion Scott Sharp and 2001 Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves. The day began with heavy rain in the morning that cleared out and testing began in earnest at 1:00pm.
Current Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr. took to the track today for the first time in a stock car and ran two 40 lap stints or the equivalent of two races. Hornish, Jr., who has competed at the speedway before in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, was taking to the 2.5 mile NASCAR oval for the first time.
"It was pretty exciting today," commented Hornish, Jr. "I had a lot of fun being out there in a three or four car pack. Learning where the car needs to be and the biggest thing for me right now is learning the draft and where I have to be on the track, cause there's so much other stuff around me than I'm used to, you've got roll bars and whatnot, so, it's just gonna take some getting used to.
"I'm really having a good time with Dave Marcis and Jim Sauter. They're very informative, anything you need to know they'll tell you, they're trying to help me out as much as they can. Maybe tomorrow I can be better at drafting and learning more about what I need to be doing out on the track."
Scott Sharp who competed in the series in 1994 got two familiarization runs in this afternoon totaling 75 laps. When asked if he needed to learn this all over again he commented, "It's like I've never done it before. I certainly don't remember much about seven years ago. I'm just learning the whole process over again. Just to get your whole mind thinking about the areas you need to pay attention to. Think what you need to ask Jim (Sauter) and Dave (Marcis) about. And today, getting a chance to work with Helio (Castroneves) and Sam (Hornish) out there is invaluable. The cars have really changed a lot too. It was a different chassis with a rear steer configuration, now they're front steer cars, they're a lot different and I haven't been in a stock car for seven years now."
"Today, I got my comfort level back," said Sharp. "I got to where I'm running easily, in the right groove, close to people, working on my timing for drafting and it got me back to square one. So, I can really start dancing with it tomorrow and any other time I'm in the car."
Castroneves is eligible for the 2002 series because of his 2001 Indianapolis 500 victory. His participation is not yet confirmed and he tested today to familiarize himself with stock cars and to take the opportunity to drive the high-banks of Daytona.
"I had so much fun, said Castroneves. "I really want to thank Jim (Sauter) and Dave (Marcis). They did a great job teaching us what to do. It was fantastic, and a lot of fun. These cars are definitely completely different from our car, the open wheel car. Drafting a lot. Basically here drafting is everything. Getting to know the track, knowing the different grooves and different tricks on different parts of the track, all of this is so important. And learning about control, you have so much more play in the steering wheel, and the car moves around so much, and we're not used to any movement like that in our car. I mean I just really had a lot, a lot, a lot, of fun. I 've gained today, a lot of respect for the guys in NASCAR.
Testing will continue for one more day on Wednesday, weather permitting, with Scott Sharp and Sam Hornish Jr. continuing their education with professors Dave Marcis and Jim Sauter.