For Immediate Release STEWART LAPS CHARLOTTE AT UNOFFICIAL 214.548 MILES AN HOUR CHARLOTTE, June 19,1997 -- Tony Stewart piloted a Team Menard Indy Racing League machine to a top unofficial lap of 214.548 miles an hour...
For Immediate Release
STEWART LAPS CHARLOTTE AT UNOFFICIAL 214.548 MILES AN HOUR
CHARLOTTE, June 19,1997 -- Tony Stewart piloted a Team Menard Indy Racing League machine to a top unofficial lap of 214.548 miles an hour Thursday night, the fastest lap in the history of Charlotte Motor Speedway's 1.5-mile oval. Stewart had reached 211 miles an hour on Wednesday and edged Buddy Lazier for "top gun" honors in the two-day IRL open test in preparation for the July 26 Charlotte 500, the first race for Indianapolis-style cars in the 37-year history of the track. Lazier turned a lap Thursday night of 214.025 in a Hemelgarn Racing machine. Thursday night was "Fast and Free Night" at the track and 3,000 fans turned out for an autograph session and a free preview of next month's event.
NOTES: - Tony Stewart also has experience in a stock car at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Stewart briefly tested a Pontiac Busch Grand National car here for Ranier-Walsh Racing in the spring of 1996. That was prior to his making a demonstration run in May in connection with Coca Cola 600 activities. - Indianapolis 500 veteran Lee Kunzman, longtime team manager for Hemelgarn Racing, recalled testing a stock car at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1970 but didn't get to race here. - Notable speeds at Charlotte prior to the two days of Indy Racing League testing: The track's NASCAR Winston Cup official record is 185.759 miles an hour by Ward Burton on October 6, 1994. Veteran sports car racer Doc Bundy, driving an IMSA Camel GT Probe, lapped Charlotte in the 194-plus range in 1985. On Sept. 25, 1996, John Paul Jr., drove a Team Menard '95 Lola Indy-style car to a lap of 207.61. On March 15 of this year, Robby Gordon, tested a Team Sabco G Force/Aurora at the speedway and lapped it at 203.77 before heading to Indianapolis. - Among the visitors to the test were midget, sprint and truck series driver Randy Tolsma, open wheel and truck veteran Mike Bliss, open wheel and NASCAR driver Stevie Reeves and NASCAR veterans Phil Parsons and Mike Chase.
UNOFFICIAL TOP LAP SPEEDS FROM TEAM CLOCKS:
#3T Tony Stewart Quaker State/Menards Special G/A/F 214.548 #91 Buddy Lazier Delta Faucet Montana Hemelgarn Racing D/A/F 214.025 #14 Davey Hamilton AJ Foyt Power Team Racing G/A/G 213.145 #1 Scott Sharp Conseco AJ Foyt Racing G/A/G 213.123 #6 Scott Goodyear Treadway Racing - NORTEL G/A/F 212.020 #51 Eddie Cheever, Jr. FirstPlus Team Cheever G/A/G 208.204 #40 Dr. Jack Miller AMS/Crest Racing D/I/F 202.200
QUOTES TONY STEWART: (about his demonstration here in May): "There were a lot of (camera) flashes. I haven't seen that many flash cubes except at a rock concert. I did a burnout out of the pits to get their attention. To come here with every seat filled was an awesome sight." (About Thursday's run): "I think that's going to be pretty close to where we're going to be. Basically, we started where we left off yesterday. We just kept making little changes and gaining speed. It's going to be hard to get as fast as Texas because you can't run the cars the same way. I thought Texas was a great race track for the IRL. Driving-wise, I loved running there. (Charlotte) is different than Texas, but once everybody gets some practice time here, it's going to be plenty quick. It'll be faster than what they're used to seeing. I think we can put on a good show."
EDDIE CHEEVER, JR: "I like it here. We managed to tune the car around the bumps today. The track is very similar to Texas, although since it is older, there are more bumps. We're finding a continuation of the problems that we did have in Texas--here we are about four miles off the pace, and it was about the same there. Tomorrow during testing we'll try some more set-up changes and see where we stand."
SCOTT SHARP: "It just feels tremendous. I don't think there's anything worse than having to sit out of a car during the season and watch someone drive your car in the Indy 500. I wanted to get back in a car the week after the accident. A.J. and I...we were working together better than ever. It's my goal to get us back on the track together." (about Charlotte): "It's a great track. It's my first time on a high bank and my first time on an oval at night. It's a real racer's track. You've got to suck it up to put up a good number. It feels like a very busy track...no time to take a breather."
DAVEY HAMILTON: "It's actually a lot like Texas. We worked with the car quite a bit to keep it from dragging bottom. It's a high-banked, fast son of a gun." (About comparisons to other tracks): "I thought Texas was like Winchester (Ind.). It (Charlotte) has the same characteristics. We'll get it over the bumps. Off the trailer, I don't think anybody's any faster than us anywhere. We may slip a bit as time goes on, but we were fast when we unloaded." (About Hamilton having an advantage from career of short-track racing at night) "I think so. To be real honest, I've done it so much, it makes no difference. Some of the guys haven't run at night and they're thinking about it. I don't know if it's night or day. I'm not even thinking about it."
SCOTT GOODYEAR: "It's very similar to Texas. The front stretch area between (Turns) 4 and 1 is a little more user-friendly. It seems like it probably has a little age vs. Texas---probably a little rougher." (about Texas and running 1.5-mile high-banked tracks): "I'm pleased. I think it was a good show for the fans. A lot of the drivers enjoyed it. It was fun. You could run high, low, side-by-side." (about a visit to Raleigh-Durham last year): "We came here and went to Raleigh-Durham to one of Nortel's big offices with a show car. We arrived at 6:30 in the morning and people were already lined up waiting for us. They were very curious about what this was all about. Nortel's U.S. headquarters is in Richardson, Texas and we had hundreds and hundreds of people there (for the True Value 500). Her we have another race track within a couple hours of a big U.S. (Nortel) facility. I think it'll be well received."
BUDDY LAZIER: "It's an awesome facility. It has a real challenge with the bumps. You can see why they've had such great races here. I think we'll be pretty racy. A wide track gives us a lot of room to race. The only negative I can think of is that there's more room in the corner to gain momentum to the wall. But the overall facility is spectacular."
DR. JACK MILLER: "It's a little more bumpy than Texas but we'll be fine. Charlotte's a really great facility. I really like these high-banked ovals. We're a race behind because we didn't get to run at Texas much. I'm real comfortable. We're flat around here---going as fast as it'll go. We're going to put a different gear in next time. I think we can get a couple more miles an hour."