IRL: Dover Preview

DOVER, Del., July 27, 1999 - Quotes from selected Pep Boys Indy Racing League drivers, team owners and officials about the second annual MBNA Mid-Atlantic 200 on Aug. 1 at Dover Downs International Speedway. PPG Pole qualifying is July ...

DOVER, Del., July 27, 1999 - Quotes from selected Pep Boys Indy Racing League drivers, team owners and officials about the second annual MBNA Mid-Atlantic 200 on Aug. 1 at Dover Downs International Speedway. PPG Pole qualifying is July 31.

BILLY BOAT (#11 Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear): "Unfortunately, last year I watched this race from the suite with my leg propped up on the chair. This was one of the races I missed due to injury, so this will be my first time on the track, and it will be a totally new experience for me. The Harrah's team ran well at Dover last year, and hopefully we'll have a good race again this year."

KENNY BRACK (#14 A.J. Foyt PowerTeam Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear, defending league champion, 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner): "We're excited about coming to Dover. We think our chances are really good there, and the open-wheel cars really put on a good show. We want to avoid what happened last year, when we had engine problems that took us out of the race early. To win the championship again, we need three good finishes and two more wins in the last five races. We had a good finish in Atlanta, so we are right on track. We will be looking for a win in Dover."

BUZZ CALKINS (#12 Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat G Force/Aurora/Firestone): "We had a very successful test (at Dover) July 6-7. Our quick time was 19.7, which put us under last year's track record. Of course, the track is much smoother since the bumps have been cut. They remain, however, and will again play a role in race preparation and attrition. My fifth-place finish at Atlanta provided real energy and momentum for everyone associated with Bradley Motorsports. As a result, we approach Sunday's race with a high degree of optimism. The key is to be aggressive yet avoid the inevitable problems that results from the very nature of the track ? high braking, bumps, speed, close competition."

TYCE CARLSON (#20 Hubbard Photographics Inc.-Immke Auto Group Dallara/Aurora/Firestone): "I am really looking forward to the race in Dover. I watched the race on TV last year, and this time it will be from our #20 Hubbard Photographics Inc.-Immke Auto Group Dallara. Dover reminds me of a bigger Winchester or Salem racetrack, which were two of my favorite tracks when I was running midgets and sprint cars. Those were tracks we won at. So ?"

EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (#51 The Children's Beverage Group-Team Cheever-Infiniti Dallara/Infiniti/Goodyear): (About last year at Dover): "I had just come from the big prize money win at Indy and proceeded to leave Dover with $800,000 less on my balance sheet (due to crashes by he and teammate Robby Unser). It was the fastest dissipation of assets in my life ... with the exception of my divorce." (About the 'Monster Mile'): "Dover is a combination of high banks, a ton of cement and the only high-banked 1-mile oval we run on. It is furiously fast and extremely unforgiving. It is the most physically demanding equaled only, in my opinion, by the F1 circuit in Monte Carlo. You get no rest on this track." (About the race): "The 24-degree banking will make for a highly intense race with any number of cars positioned for the lead. Absolute concentration will be needed, as so many cars will be able to go quick here with everyone running inches from each other. Constantly! If you are in traffic and trying to pass another car, and that person is not paying attention or panics and makes a mistake, like what happened between me and Greg Ray last year, it can be catastrophic." (About chances for victory): "Very high. The last three races, our race and our subsequent results have been due to a variety of self-inflicted problems. We need a clean race without tactical errors. I know this team is capable of that and more." (About Infiniti engine): "In Atlanta, top gear would pull 216 mph; here the gears are not as long. An engine with a lot of torque will be more suited here then in Atlanta, and that's just what the Infiniti delivers. I believe our Infiniti was initially perceived as a weakness by our competitors. In my opinion, this team and the Infiniti Indy group have shown that it is a strong asset to anyone's competitive package."

MARK DISMORE (#28 MCI WorldCom Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear): "I'm looking to have a good race weekend. We were very fast at Dover last year. We qualified third last year. We were running third during the race when unfortunately an engine let go. The track's surface, being different than the other circuits we run on, makes it hard on the car. There is no room to make a mistake on this track. The high-banked oval makes it difficult to pass people. I feel extremely positive about this MCI WorldCom team. We just need a little lady luck, and I think we can gain in the championship standings."

SCOTT GOODYEAR (#4 Pennzoil Panther G Force/Aurora/Goodyear, points leader): "I'm excited to go to Dover Downs, I really enjoy racing on this track. It's almost like racing in a fishbowl, with the high-banking and high speeds. It makes it really exciting for the drivers and the fans." (About points lead): "We were lucky to leave Atlanta with a larger points spread than we arrived with, but there's still a half-dozen guys who have a shot at the points championship, so each race is important." (Chances for victory): "We came out in early July and spent two very productive days testing at Dover. We were fast and ran great even though temperatures were well into the 100's, so that should make this trip back a little easier. After driving in that kind of heat in Dover, it made the Atlanta heat a lot easier to take last weekend." (Personal note) "(Wife) Leslie and I went on a short holiday (last) week with the kids. It really re-energized and refocused me. It helped me to get beyond the disappointment of Atlanta and move forward to Dover."

STEPHAN GREGOIRE (#7 Dick Simon Racing-Mexmil-Tokheim-Viking Air Tools G Force/Aurora/Firestone): (About getting married right after this event to his fiancee, Virginie Houot): "We both come from little French towns in the same area in France. Virginie is from Mirecourt, and I was born in Neufchateau, which is close by. We met in 1986 before I started my racing career. We have been planning to get married for some time now, but with my Pep Boys Indy Racing League schedule it was difficult to find the right time. So we are going to France directly after this race, and we will be back in the U.S.A. well before the next race at Pikes Peak (Aug. 29). After my crash at Atlanta, I am hoping that my last race as a bachelor will bring our team some good luck at Dover Downs. I finished fifth here last year, and I remember the track was very bumpy to drive. But they have resurfaced parts of the track, so it will be faster and smoother to drive on this year. Dick Simon's team finished third here last year, so we should do well with our team this year. With its steep banking, Dover Downs will be a good track for my G Force car, and, with luck, my last race with a bachelor will bring us a great result."

DAVEY HAMILTON (#9 Galles Racing Spinal Conquest Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear): "This series is so competitive that I really think most of the field has a chance for victory. We finished fourth here last year and had a great race. It always feels good to go back to a track that I raced well at the year before. The track is pretty smooth, and I think it will be fast." (Team goals): "Other than winning, which is the obvious, we want to make sure that we keep ourselves in contention for the championship. Finishing races is crucial in this series, and we want to be there at the end. The points race is extremely tight right now, and I think that this race will play a large role in the championship points race."

SCOTT HARRINGTON (#66 CertainTeed Building Products Special Dallara/Aurora/Firestone): "We've been faster than our record shows so far this year, and we want to put it all together at Dover. I certainly want to do more than just start the race like I did at Dover last year. I'm a racer, and I want to race. We want to get the job done. That's what CertainTeed, Harrington Motorsports and the Pep Boys Indy Racing League are all about, and we hope the fans at Dover this weekend will enjoy the show."

BUDDY LAZIER (#91 Delta Faucet-Coors Light-Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear): "Dover is so fast and so challenging for the driver, team and equipment. A driver and team can truly understand and appreciate Dover's nickname, 'The Monster Mile.' It truly is the monster mile with its concrete construction, unusual surface and incredible banking. All of these challenges make Dover a unique and awesome racing venue. This racetrack can quickly make the driver dizzy and physically and mentally exhausted. There will be a lot of side-by-side, wheel-to-wheel racing. The Pep Boys Indy Racing League has consistently proven its level of competition - at Atlanta the entire qualified field was separated by only between six- and seven-tenths of a second. This is most unusual in any form of racing. With competition this closely matched, track position in the race is critical for success. One of the major factors in good track position is the speed and efficiency of a team and driver's pit stops. I am fortunate to have a very talented and quick team capable of gaining track position through amazing pit stops. To place on podium or to obtain a victory, a driver and team must get it all really right and make no mistakes. The Delta Faucet-Coors Light #91 Hemelgarn Racing team and driver look forward to a good race."

JAQUES LAZIER (#33 Warner Bros. Studio Store-Truscelli Team Racing G Force/Aurora/Goodyear): "The entire Truscelli Team Racing team, Warner Bros. Studio Store, EDSS and myself are coming off of an exciting and successful race in Atlanta. We are growing by leaps and bounds as a team, and I feel that the communication process is where it needs to be to have another successful outing in Dover. I'm extremely encouraged and excited about the upcoming race. I enjoy leading races and hope to put the Truscelli Team Racing car back on top."

ROBBY McGEHEE (#55 Energizer Advanced Formula Dallara/Aurora/Firestone, 1999 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year): (About 14th-place finish at Atlanta): "I have never worked that hard in a car in my life. We just couldn't get the setup to work no matter what we tried, and the car was a handful all night. In the end, it looks like it was a bad right rear shock. But, just like every other time out this year we learned something: Even with a car that bad you can stay out of trouble and finish the race. So in a positive light, if we can straighten out some of the setup issues then we should be in pretty great shape." (About racing at Dover Downs): "I have never been to Dover, but I am excited about going there. It is one of those thrill-a-minute 1-mile ovals that have the reputation for being exciting -- so I am looking forward to the challenge of running there. Just like all of the tracks in this league, it is a great oval with a lot of racing stories to tell. For me it is really great to be able to run on these legendary circle tracks that you have seen on TV and in other series." (Goals for race): "Just like we have done all year, we are going there to be competitive, finish the race and see where that gets us. Hopefully we will have a better handle on setup than at Atlanta, and if that is the case I think we will be in the hunt." (About goals for rest of season): "We originally weren't going to go to Dover -- since this was our first year we wanted to focus on the big ovals and work on setup. After Indy we found ourselves in the hunt for series Rookie of the Year honors, and so we added Pikes Peak and Dover. This is also a big race for Energizer since they have some major accounts on the East Coast, so it worked out good for us to be here. We basically traded test time at Texas for this race, so hopefully we can work hard and get a good finish here. We are approaching each race one at a time and focusing on getting as much from the situation and the car as we can. If history means anything, this should be a race of attrition, so we hope to have a good car and keep it out of trouble."

ELISEO SALAZAR (#6 Nienhouse Motorsports Racing Special G Force/Aurora/Firestone, suffered multiple injuries in practice crash at this event last year, ending his season): "Strangely, I am feeling fine about Dover. Really looking forward to it! It is the last missing piece of this ordeal, and to race it and get it behind me will feel great. It (accident at Dover) was almost exactly a year to date from Atlanta ... and I have proven to myself that I can still win! No, I am not afraid to go back. It will be like a mini- mile and a half with the banking. The have ground the bumps down, and the surface will be much smoother, and this year we are better prepared as a team. Last year, Dover caught us and other teams by surprise with no testing. It was very rough ... but this year I am looking forward to Dover!"

SCOTT SHARP (#8 Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear, defending event champion): "I'm excited for the Delphi team to go back to Dover. We won there last year, and I'm confident we have a great setup for this year. It's very comforting to know we have had some great speeds there. The Dover 1-mile oval is by far the most demanding track on the Pep Boys Indy Racing League schedule both mentally and physically on a driver. The track is so fast. It will be important to stay out of trouble. It's very easy to get caught up in other people's mistakes. The Delphi team really needs to have a good race. There are four races to go, and obviously accumulating the most points will be critical. We will need to be survivors at Dover. This so-called 'Monster Mile' is not an easy place to pass opponents. I think this track makes for one of the tightest grids in our history. You really have to concentrate and be focused."

JEFF WARD (#21 Yahoo!-MerchantOnline.com Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear): "Qualifying up front is a must at this track. It's going to be hard to pass because Dover is not really a two-groove track." (About concrete surface): "The concrete wears the tires a little bit more because of the banking. Other than that, it's pretty much the same. The concrete is not any different than the asphalt. Last year, it seemed nobody had tire problems, so I think it'll be OK."

Source: IRL/IMS

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Dick Simon , A.J. Foyt