IRL: CHAMPCAR/CART: Walker Racing drivers have busy day

Fort Worth, June 8, 2000 - Walker Racing drivers Sarah Fisher in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series and Shinji Nakano in the CART FedEx Championship Series both spent time on the racetrack today -- but in two different states and on two...

Fort Worth, June 8, 2000 - Walker Racing drivers Sarah Fisher in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series and Shinji Nakano in the CART FedEx Championship Series both spent time on the racetrack today -- but in two different states and on two different types of tracks. Fisher practiced at Texas Motor Speedway in preparation of Saturday's Casino Magic 500, while Nakano took to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio during a test session in preparation for the August 13 Miller Lite 200 mile race. Both drivers are in their respective rookie years for Derrick Walker's CART and IRL programs, but Nakano and Fisher are not rookies when it comes to the tracks they ran today. Nineteen-year old Fisher is returning for a second time to the 1.5-mile oval track at Texas Motor Speedway. She drove her first IRL race ever at the Fort Worth track in October 1999, with another IRL team. Now, the teen sensation is back at Texas for the Casino Magic 500 in the #15 Walker Racing Cummins Special/Dallara/Firestone. This will be the first night race that Fisher has driven in the Indy Racing series, but she is a veteran of over 200 night races in her past racing career in the World of Outlaws and the NAMARS midget series. "It's kind of neat to not be a rookie at a racetrack in my 'rookie' year," said Fisher. "I only had 66 laps during the race the last time I was here, but that gave me time to practice and learn the groove. I am looking forward to racing at night here on Saturday, since my background included plenty of nighttime races." The IRL cars were intended to practice and qualify today, but their initial practice session was cut short when drivers Davey Hamilton and Jimmy Kite crashed their G Force cars coming out of Turn 4. IRL chief officer Brian Barnhart made a decision to delay qualifying until Friday when both accidents were suspected to have been caused by a suspension failure in the G Force chassis. "We suspect it's a suspension component in the G Force cars," said Barnhart. "But until all the data has been analyzed and the problem is identified, we don't feel comfortable putting our cars back on the racetrack today." The Indy Racing Northern Light Series will return to the Texas Motor Speedway track for practice at 10 a.m. Friday morning. Qualifying will take place from 1:15 - 2:30 p.m. with a final practice session scheduled for 4:45 - 5:15 p.m. The race will take place on Saturday, June 10 at 7 p.m. (CT) and will be broadcast live on ESPN. Nakano, a Formula One veteran, participated in a CART-sanctioned test session in the #5 avex/Honda car at the Mid-Ohio racecourse, completing a total of 85 laps with a fast lap time of 114.682 mph, 70.881 seconds. The Japanese driver spent the day getting acclimated to the road course, with the session being punctuated by a minor "off" during the morning session. The minor incident damaged the wing, but Nakano was able to return to the session shortly thereafter. "I spent the day getting comfortable with the course and how the car handles on it," said Nakano. "I was basically learning the racetrack today and how the CART car handles on it. The track was a lot more busy than it has been on the oval track tests, and it was a lot of fun to run out there, I am more used to this type of track."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Davey Hamilton , Shinji Nakano