IRL: Charlotte notes 97-07-25

DAY 4 -- JULY 25 Honorary starter for Saturday's VisionAire 500k is Jim Rice, VisionAire chairman, CEO and president. Starting command will be given by Bruton Smith, chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc. *** Metro Racing...

DAY 4 -- JULY 25

Honorary starter for Saturday's VisionAire 500k is Jim Rice, VisionAire chairman, CEO and president. Starting command will be given by Bruton Smith, chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc. *** Metro Racing Systems has announced several key positions have been filled in preparation for its planned debut with a Riley & Scott chassis for owner/driver Stan Wattles on Oct. 11 weekend at Las Vegas. Peter Mountford, crew chief for Wattles' Atlantic series efforts from 1994 to 1996, will serve as chief mechanic for the Indy Racing League team. Bill Riley, chief design engineer for Riley & Scott, has been contracted as race engineer and Riley & Scott's Rob Passarelli will assist with data acquisition. According to a news release, the team is continuing its search for a team manager. *** Ryan Hampton won the 30-lap Race 1 in the U.S. Formula Ford 2000 ranks today, beating Matt Sielsky by 2.956 seconds. Zak Morioka was third. ZAK MORIOKA: "I was trying to be cautious in the beginning and fell back. Usually in this series we have some very interesting first turns, so I wanted to be real cautious. We had to change the entire setup on the car and we still didn't get it figured out. I was lucky we didn't have any restarts, because my clutch broke. Also, today, I wasn't feeling very good because I had a cold last week. If we get a better starting spot tomorrow, I'll go for it. But right now is not the time to push it very hard because you could really mess up and lose a bunch in the points." RYAN HAMPTON: "My whole strategy was not to spin in the chicane. During practice, I misjudged the chicane and spun twice in two laps, so I concentrated on keeping it straight and smooth. This series is so close and so competitive that we are able to put on fantastic races. Everybody did a good job and stayed clean. We couldn't decide who wanted to lead. I was real good getting off the chicane and that is where I could take the lead. That was the cleanest race I've seen in this series." MATT SIELSKY: "When Zak and I started fighting for second with about five laps to go, it allowed Ryan to pull out. He built up enough of a lead that we couldn't catch him. I was practicing each lap, trying to set Ryan up for a last-lap pass but we didn't get the chance. " *** The new Riley & Scott chassis was unveiled officially this afternoon in front of the Winston Media Center after a press conference in the deadline room. "This is the first car other than the model stages," said chief design engineer Bill Riley. "It took about 14 months. There is always just one more adaptation you could consider making. We have the advantage of learning from our other successful race designs as well as leaning on our engineering experience, so, at the end of the day, we feel fairly confident that our chassis will perform well straight out of the box." In addition to Bill Riley, company representatives present included Bob Riley, president, and Mark Scott, vice-president. The car was delivered to Tom Kelley of Kelley Racing for driver Mark Dismore. *** Six of the cars in Saturday's VisionAire 500 have started all five races to date for the Indy Racing League's new cars and are in the lineup for the Charlotte event, the sixth race. They are: #4 Galles Racing International (Jeff Ward at Walt Disney World, Kenny Brack at the other events). #17 Chitwood Motorsports (Danny Ongais at Walt Disney World, Affonso Giaffone at the rest). #30 McCormack Motorsports (Jeret Schroeder at Walt Disney World and Phoenix, Robbie Groff at the rest). #33 Team Scandia (Fermin Velez at Walt Disney World, Phoenix, Indianapolis and Texas; Jimmy Kite at Pikes Peak and Charlotte). #22 Team Scandia (Dr. Jack Miller at Walt Disney World, Marco Greco at Phoenix, Vincenzo Sospiri at the rest). *** The National Collegiate Association of Racing (NCAR) will stage its first exhibition race of Legends cars Saturday at CMS. Engineering students from the University of South Carolina, along with North Carolina State, the University of North Carolina- Charlotte, the University of Tennessee and Duke will race head-to-head in two separate races in which each race will be assigned points and the university with the most points will be declared the winner. The cars to be driven by the students are replica 5/8 scale 1934 Ford Legends cars painted in school colors. NCAR, which is in its formation stages, hopes the program will be the kickoff to a 5-7 race series beginning in 1998 that will culminate in a national championship race in May, 1998, at the Coca Cola 600 in Charlotte. ***

IRL Final Practice Notes: 6 p.m. -- GREEN. First out was #1 Boat, followed by #2 Stewart. Temperature was 92 degrees and track temperature was 115 degrees, according to Firestone tire engineers. 6:02 p.m. -- #31 Ray turned a lap at 195.525, fastest of session. #5 Luyendyk turned a lap at 200.393, fastest of session. 6:03 p.m. -- #5 Luyendyk turned a lap at 201.065, fastest of session. #5 Luyendyk turned a lap at 206.691, fastest of session. 6:04 p.m. -- #1 Boat turned a lap at 210.518, fastest of session. 6:06 p.m. -- #91 Lazier turned a lap at 210.289, second fastest of session. #91 Lazier turned a lap at 210.987, fastest of session. 6:07 p.m. -- #91 Lazier turned a lap at 211.012, fastest of session. #91 Lazier turned a lap at 211.557, fastest of session. 6:08 p.m. -- #2 Stewart turned a lap at 211.723, fastest of session. #2 Stewart turned a lap at 215.750, fastest of session. 6:09 p.m. -- #14 Hamilton turned a lap at 211.881, second fastest of session. #33 Kite turned a lap at 213.102, second fastest of session. 6:17 p.m. -- YELLOW, #40 Miller did a 270-degree spin in Turn 4 before contacting the outside wall with the nose, continued the spin with left rear contact, then continued 460 feet and came to a stop before the start/finish line in the trioval grass. Miller was examined and released from Northeast Medical Center Infield Care Center and cleared to drive. The car had nose, left rear and left front damage. 6:30 p.m. -- Temperature was 90 degrees and track temperature was 109 degrees, according to Firestone tire engineers. 6:32 p.m. -- GREEN. 6:42 p.m. -- END OF SESSION *** Buzz Calkins, the IRL's 1996 co-champion, visited Charlotte Motor Speedway this afternoon. Calkins was injured in a testing accident at Loudon, N.H. earlier this month. "I feel fine," he said. "I feel like I'm ready to hop in a car, so as soon as they release me, I'm ready to go. I feel I'll be ready by New Hampshire. I actually had the flu last week and that made me feel worse than my injuries. My ankle is fine. It's my ear that's taking a little while. It's about three weeks away, so I should be ready by then." *** NASCAR Winston Cup driver Johnny Benson Jr., was in the pits of Pennzoil teammate Roberto Guerrero for the final IRL practice today. After practice, Guerrero said, "we ran basically the same speed today with full tanks and traffic as we did in qualifying. The Pennzoil car feels really good by itself and as well as in traffic. It seems to pass well, so I think we have a good chance. I feel really good for tomorrow night." ***

POST-PRACTICE QUOTES:

TONY STEWART: "The run was just fine. We just went out there to see if the car was happy with a full tank of fuel. We're pretty happy. We'll just do team checks tonight." LARRY CURRY (Team Menard director of racing): "We went out and Tony was very happy with the car. He said the thing feels great. We ran fewer laps. We felt that since we were two laps short in Texas, that we would run two laps fewer in the practice." JIMMY KITE: "We are really excited for tomorrow night. We've got an engine

in the car now. Actually, this is the engine we ran with at Colorado and tested with at Loudon. I guess you could call it 'Old Reliable.' We ran the car on nearly empty tanks and then we did a run on full tanks. There isn't much of a difference. Even on the full tanks, there were several laps where I could run wide-open. There were several times when I backed off going into the corners, but that was just to be cautious. I've watched a lot of stock-car races here and this track is actually faster than I ever believed it was. I've never been over 200 miles per hour before and this is really a neat place to go that fast. I ran a midget race last week at Salem (Ind.) and it was under the lights and I don't think you'll ever find a track as bumpy. In reality, this is just a bigger version of Salem." JIM GUTHRIE: "It (the car) doesn't seem to like full tanks. We still have a bit of a push. We're not sure what we're going to do about it now but we'll get it straightened out for tomorrow." DAVEY HAMILTON: "We're totally in race setup. The car felt good. The car's more balanced now than it was in qualifying." JEFF SINDEN (owner, #40 Miller): "The car will be okay. It's repairable. The car got a little bit loose and he just went too low. Everything will be okay and his confidence is up, so that's what matters."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Jeff Ward , Mark Dismore , Jeret Schroeder , Roberto Guerrero , Jimmy Kite , Johnny Benson , Danny Ongais , Ryan Hampton , Stan Wattles , Fermin Velez , Vincenzo Sospiri , Jack Miller