STEWART TURNS FASTEST LAP EVER AT ATLANTA AS OPEN TEST BEGINS HAMPTON, Ga., July 7, 1998 - Tony Stewart recorded the fastest speed ever at Atlanta Motor Speedway, 226.406 mph, to lead all Pep Boys Indy Racing League drivers July 6 during...
STEWART TURNS FASTEST LAP EVER AT ATLANTA AS OPEN TEST BEGINS
HAMPTON, Ga., July 7, 1998 - Tony Stewart recorded the fastest speed ever at Atlanta Motor Speedway, 226.406 mph, to lead all Pep Boys Indy Racing League drivers July 6 during the first night of the Open Test in preparation for the inaugural Atlanta 500 Classic on Aug. 29.
Pep Boys IRL points leader Stewart turned the unofficial fast lap on the 1.54-mile quad-oval in his Glidden-Menards Special G Force/Aurora/Firestone. The lap was faster than the league qualifying record for new-formula cars, 224.448 mph by Stewart last month at Texas Motor Speedway.
"I don't see any reason why we shouldn't set a new qualifying record here in August," Stewart said. "We'll definitely go faster (Tuesday) night. We probably could have gone a little faster tonight, but it's a two-night test and we wanted to save a little."
The Open Test resumes from 5-11 p.m. (EDT) July 7. Private tire testing will take place July 8. The Atlanta 500 Classic is the first Indy-style race at AMS since 1983 and the first night race in the track's history.
Scott Sharp, second in the point standings, was second fastest at 220.406 in the Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear.
"This track definitely has curve appeal," Sharp said. "I love (owner) Bruton Smith's tracks, and this one is a masterpiece. It's wider than the other tracks we run on, so you don't get pinched in the corners. We should see three-wide racing with little problem here."
Sharp's teammate, Mark Dismore, was third fastest at 219.538 in the Kelley Automotive Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear.
"The speeds will slow down a little once you get all of the cars out here under race conditions, but right now it's extremely fast," Dismore said. "The corners here are a lot wider than at Texas and Charlotte, so I think you'll see a lot more passing."
Jim Guthrie returned to the driver's seat for the first time since suffering injuries in a crash during the Indianapolis 500 on May 24. Guthrie completed six shakedown laps for his new team, Cobb Racing, with no speed posted.
Other drivers testing were Dr. Jack Miller (217.267), J.J. Yeley (216.503), Robby Unser (216.140) and Buzz Calkins (215.493).
ATLANTA OPEN TEST NOTEBOOK
Atlanta 500 Classic schedule: The inaugural Atlanta 500 Classic starts at 9 p.m. Aug. 29. Pep Boys IRL drivers will race 208 laps on the 1.54-mile quad-oval.
Georgia Power Pole Night qualifying for the PPG Pole starts at 6 p.m. Aug. 28. Practice sessions are scheduled for 4 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Aug. 27, 3:45 p.m. Aug. 28 and 4:30 p.m. Aug. 29.
Atlanta 500 Classic tickets: Tickets for the Atlanta 500 Classic are available by calling Atlanta Motor Speedway at (770) 946-4211.