Indianapolis, Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - The True Value International Race of Champions Series took to the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway Tuesday for the first day of testing and driver practice in preparation for the championship crowing...
Indianapolis, Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - The True Value International Race of Champions Series took to the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway Tuesday for the first day of testing and driver practice in preparation for the championship crowing event this Saturday, August 2.
Jay Sauter was added to the line up of IROC test drivers, which at Indy this year includes Jay's father, Jim Sauter, Dave Marcis and Dick Trickle. Of his first day on the track at Indy Jay said, "I'm really grateful for this opportunity with the IROC Series, especially here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with all the history and tradition, it's just awesome. It's every race car drivers dream to get to run at Indy and going around here for the first time today really took my breath away. Today I'm a rookie all over again as a test driver for IROC, but I've worked with my Dad, Dave Marcis and Dick Trickle throughout my years of running NASCAR's Truck, Busch and Winston Cup series' and it's all about communicating our different impressions of what's going on with the race cars and dialing them in for the race."
Of Jay's first day on the job, lead test driver Dave Marcis said, "He's doing fantastic. He's never been here before and his times we're right down where they need to be, so he's very comfortable with the race cars. He's repeating his laps and he knows the race cars inside and out and that's what we need."
Of his son's first day at Indy testing for IROC, veteran IROC test pilot Jim Sauter said, "I'm very pleased with Jay's first day because this (Indy) is a tough place to figure out and he went out there and was fast as any of us, right off the start, which is due to all of his experience with all the NASCAR divisions he's competed in and that's what we need, someone who's not timid and gets out there and does the job. He knows what a race car needs and can communicate it, I'm real happy."
The team found Tuesday's track conditions were not favorable for the June test chassis set up. Marcis said, "We seem to be struggling a little bit with the cars today. It's been some time since we tested here, which was right after the Indianapolis 500. The track was in great shape then, it had a lot of rubber in it and it's been a little while since a lot of cars ran here, plus we had rain all day yesterday, so we're a bit disappointed this morning with how the cars felt. By this afternoon we started getting some rubber back into the track, which immediately improved the car, but we still have our work cut out for us. We don't want to get to crazy right now because once the Winston Cup cars get here and put down a lot of rubber, which is all I think we really need, we be in back good shape."
Fellow test driver Dick Trickle said, "Track conditions change so much here and this morning the track didn't like the set up. But, like Dave said, by the time the weekend comes we'll have something all the racers will be happy with. This is a tough job for us because you have to remember, we're working with one car that has to run the high-banks of Daytona and Talladega, the short ovals like Chicagoland and the big flat ovals like Indy. All of the Winston Cup teams have different cars built specifically for different types of tracks, so Dave (Marcis), Jim (Sauter), Jay (Sauter) and I really have our work cut out for us, but in the end, the cars are adjustable enough to work with."
IROC driver practice took place on Tuesday afternoon for World of Outlaws champions, Danny Lasoski and Steve Kinser who are ninth and tenth, respectively, in the IROC point standings.
An IROC competitor in 2002, Lasoski missed out on his opportunity to run in the final race at Indianapolis due to injuries he suffered in a World of Outlaws event the week before the 2002 IROC at Indy finale. Lasoski is more than excited about his shot at being back in a Brickyard event. Lasoski said, "Last year when I came here injured to watch the race I was here in body, but I can't say that I remember much. But, this year I get to live out my life-long dream of coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and participating. I'm double proud to be doing it as a competitor in the IROC Series, which I want to continue to compete in year after year, I just love this series. I grew up in the Midwest and it's all about being a part of this great heritage and all the history."
As for his run today, Lasoski said, "I got to run a few sessions and I'm just getting a feel for track again. I ran a few laps out front and followed for a few laps and learned a bit about how to draft up, but I've got a lot to learn about passing."
Kinser, who ran in the 1997 Indianapolis 500 is making his return to Indy, but it's a whole new ball of wax in an IROC car, Kinser said, "This is my first time here in a stock car and I've got a long way to go, I can tell you that. I've been very comfortable in these cars on a high-bank Superspeedway, but the flat tracks are a whole other deal. You've got to roll in and out of the throttle a lot and know when and how much to brake and I get a little lost with that on the flat tracks. It's hard to come out here and get it down with only a few days of practice, but we'll do the best we can come race day, but like I said, as of now, I've got a long way to go."
True Value IROC testing and practice will resume Wednesday at Indianapolis.
The sixth consecutive True Value IROC Series Championship race will take place on Saturday, August 2 at 1:00 CDT and be broadcast Sunday, August 3 on ESPN at 1:00 PM EDT.
For ticket information go to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com