IRL: Charlotte Pagan Racing Preview

Jeff Ward - Pagan Racing No. 21 Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear Race Preview: Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, NC WHAT: Visionaire 500 WHEN: Saturday, May 1, 1999 (8:00 p.m. EDT) WHERE: Lowe's Motor Speedway - Concord, NC ...

Jeff Ward - Pagan Racing No. 21 Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear

Race Preview: Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, NC

WHAT: Visionaire 500

WHEN: Saturday, May 1, 1999 (8:00 p.m. EDT)

WHERE: Lowe's Motor Speedway - Concord, NC

1.5-mile tri-oval superspeedway Front straightaway: 1,952.8 feet long Back straightaway: 1,360 feet long Banking in turns: 24 degrees Banking on straightaways: 5 degrees

PAGAN RACING READY TO RACE AT CHARLOTTE

With less than two weeks to prepare for the MCI WorldCom 200 at Phoenix International Raceway, Pagan Racing cemented a deal with Jeff Ward for three races in the 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League Championship Series.

"This is going to be a test," said Team Manager Jack Pegues after arriving at Phoenix. The team's pair of Dallaras had not raced since Stevie Reeves made his IRL debut with Pagan Racing at the Charlotte Motor Speedway last July.

Mitch Davis and the crew had just enough time to install the 1999 Dallara update kit before loading the car on the transporter bound for Phoenix.

Once at Phoenix, Jeff Ward qualified fifth. In Sunday's 200 mile race he drove the Pagan Racing Dallara to a second place finish. Not bad for a test.

"It's hard not to be competitive with Jeff behind the wheel," said team co-owner Allan Pagan. "We're really looking forward to Charlotte. We've tested there and we feel we'll have a good set up right off the transporter. Jeff's real comfortable in the car and we're looking forward to having a good race there."

Jeff Ward raced at Charlotte for the first time last season and he's looking forward to going back too. Ward started tenth last year, leading 56 laps on his way to a second place finish.

"We've tested at Charlotte already," Ward said. "You're comfortable right off the bat so you get right up to speed, the full potential of the car, when you arrive with a good set up. Then you can spend race weekend tweaking on it and trying things to make it go quicker.

"You don't want to waste a day or so, or a couple of sessions just getting comfortable with the track. You want to arrive at the track and start to free it up and make it go faster."

"We've tested at Indy too. I think we've got a handle on what the car's going to do and we'll be able have enough adjustment in the car for me to be able to go which ever way I need to go without pulling into the pits."

This Saturday night will be the Pep Boys Indy Racing League's third annual visit to the high banks of the Lowe's Motor Speedway. "I love racing under the lights," said Ward. "It makes the cars even more spectacular. For the driver, the only time you really realize you're under the lights is coming in pit lane. It just gets a little dark for a second and then you come back under the lights."

"But it's more spectacular for the spectators. I've been to one of these night races. Seeing the cars sparkling down the back straight, flickering at the speeds that we're running, it just magnifies the whole night and the race."

Needless to say, the entire team shares Jeff's enthusiasm for this weekend's Visionaire 500. SpeedVision will show the race live, May 1, at 8:00 p.m. with a pre-race show starting at 7:30. Fox Sports Net will rebroadcast the race on May 6, 1999, check your local listings.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jeff Ward , Stevie Reeves