Richmond, VA (Sept. 7, 2004) - Crown Royal IROC race three activities resumed on-track Tuesday at Richmond International Speedway. Six of the 12 series competitors were on hand to turn initial practice laps in preparation for the inaugural Crown Royal IROC short track event this Thursday night.
IndyCar Series drivers Scott Dixon, Scott Sharp, and Helio Castroneves joined World of Outlaws stars, Steve Kinser, Danny Lasoski and NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Kurt Busch in a rain-free day at the three-quarter mile oval.
The open wheel contingent was treated to a unique tutoring experience. They served as passengers of veteran series test driver, Dave Marcis in the Crown Royal two-seater car. An all-out race car, the two-seater is the perfect study hall for a crash course in stock car short track racing. "Professor" Marcis communicated with his star-passengers via two-way radio, talking through each lap as he demonstrated various racing grooves, braking points and acceleration techniques.
Scott Dixon - Representing the IRL IndyCar Series
"Not too bad. I seem to get down in the lap times close enough but getting that last tenth or two seems to be pretty difficult. Kurt (Busch) seems to do it pretty well but I'm struggling a little, trying to carry the speed a little more into the corner. There's lots of different way to get through the corner, there's people going in deep, people going in early trying to save the right front and get a little more speed off the corner. It's hard to really know what to do having never driven these cars on a short circuit, but it's a lot of fun and a lot different from the bigger circuits in the IROC cars."
Scott Sharp - Representing the IRL IndyCar Series
"Sure glad I came today! A smaller track like this where you have to use the brakes so much, waiting on the car throughout the aspects of the corner, continuing to turn the car, being very gentle when you pick up the throttle . . . all of that is so uncharacteristic of what we're used to. So, it's invaluable that Dave Marcis, Jay and Jim Sauter get us out there and work us through some laps because we really need them!"
"It's going to be a different race. I think the open wheel drivers have a better chance when it's a drafting track, not to say we're drafting experts, but if you can get tucked up with a NASCAR guy he can pull you along and you can follow his moves, you have a better chance. Here (Richmond) it will really pay dividends to the guys who are used to driving these cars."
Helio Castroneves - Representing the IRL IndyCar Series
"Wow, man -- at the beginning it was like wow, very different from what I'm used to. I am just starting to get comfortable, but these cars don't have the wings like the Indy cars for downforce, so you have to slow down otherwise you're going to spin, and I almost spun like, three-four-five times and after a while, I realized I have to take it a little easier. But, thanks to Jim Sauter and Dave Marcis and Jay Sauter they are helping me a ton! Unbelievable! They're just guiding me through and I'll be ready to go."
About tagging the wall:
"I just gave it a little kiss coming off of turn four, just a little kiss, just enough to scrape the Crown Royal off the fender, sorry about that, but otherwise, doing fine."
Kurt Busch - Reigning IROC Champion, representing NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
"The IROC cars have a great short track feel. The new surface is going to provide some good side-by-side action and we've seen what typically happens here at Richmond -- we'll see whose fiberglass goes flying off first. It's going to be a matter of reading the race track and reading the car and judging what's going to happen over the course of 90-laps."
Danny Lasoski - Representing the World of Outlaws (Dirt track sprint cars)
"Everything is feeling absolutely great. I got a little too brave earlier during a run and spun her sideways into the grass, but all the help the test drivers are giving me is shortening up the learning curve. I just ran over 70-laps and I'm just excited about the race."
Steve Kinser - Representing the World of Outlaws (Dirt sprint cars)
"I feel like I'm starting all-over again! It seems like every time I come to a place I haven't been to in a while I'm starting from scratch. I'm hoping the weather holds off so we can get some more time in - I sure do need it. But, even if I am slower than I want to be, I still enjoy it"
About driving in the two-seater IROC car with Dave Marcis:
"Anything we can do to learn more or trigger something off definitely helps, especially for the guys who don't do this style of racing every week. We've made a lot of laps at the drafting tracks like Daytona and Talladega, but when you come to a smaller track like this, or even the mile tracks, we're sort of lost and starting all over again. Going out with Dave (Marcis) in the two-seater helped a lot, we saw his line, but if I go again, I'll watch his feet and hands more. Nothing helps more than just doing laps and that's what I'm here to do."
Race three of the four part series will be broadcast live on Speed Channel at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night.