CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach Friday wrapup

1995 TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH PPG Indy Car World Series Race No. 4 April 7-9, 1995 LONG BEACH, Calif. -- SpeedNet -- Its been a hell of a day here, and I wish I could had offered more information. As it was, Steven and I are barely...

1995 TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH PPG Indy Car World Series Race No. 4 April 7-9, 1995

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- SpeedNet -- Its been a hell of a day here, and I wish I could had offered more information. As it was, Steven and I are barely going to get out of here in time to eat what could be called dinner. :)

We spent the morning out on the track, watching from 8:15am with the Supercars to about 1:00pm when the Indy car practice session ended so, at least we were not stuck here in the press room all day long.

The most exciting part of the day came when we were given a lift from Turn One back to the area of the Long Beach arena by the tv crew, Grand Prix Teleproductions. GPT sends out a truck to pick up cameramen out on the circuit so they can go back to the tv compound for lunch. Turn one cameraman John Repczynski waived us into the back of a pickup truck as it slowed in the runoff at Turn One and Steven, Aaron Rommel and myself hopped aboard.

After all the years I have been coming here, I have never been driven around the circuit. After the first couple turns, I was impressed at how well the Toyota handled, especially with all these guys in the back. I mean, we were moving pretty quick.

Quicker still, were the Player's Ltd. Toyota Atlantic cars, which surprised us by coming around Turn 4 just as we were picking up the last cameraman.

So here we were, stopped on the track, with about half of the 30-car FA field bearing down on us. Avoid us, they did, and we made off down the backstraight.

As we approached 60 mph, the rest of the field came up behind, and around each side of us, and by this time they were well above 100mph with engines screaming full bore.

About the time we finally began to think this was funny and not as dangerous as first expected, David Empringham, last year's Player's Ltd. Toyota Atlantic champion, came up along side and toyed with us, as if to say, "Wanna race?"

But the joke is on him and the rest of the FA field because, in our hearts, we know, we won the pole (at least in the Toyota Truck category). :)

See ya tomorrow!

-Robert Heathcote, Steven Heathcote, Aaron Rommel, and Jeff Angell

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Series IndyCar
Drivers David Empringham