IRL: Free practice day at Richmond on Thursday

Free Thursday Practice, A Fireworks Show And An IRL Autograph Session Highlight Fan Activities During Inaugural Suntrust Indy Challenge JUNE 25, 2001 -- Fans looking for a taste of Indy Car racing can attend a free test session at Richmond ...

Free Thursday Practice, A Fireworks Show And An IRL Autograph Session Highlight Fan Activities During Inaugural Suntrust Indy Challenge

JUNE 25, 2001 -- Fans looking for a taste of Indy Car racing can attend a free test session at Richmond International Raceway this Thursday, June 28. The free practice begins a weekend that will be highlighted by the inaugural SunTrust Indy Challenge Indy Racing Northern Light Series race on Saturday, June 30.

An autograph session with all Indy Racing Northern Light Series drivers will take place on Friday, June 29 at 5:30 p.m. under the main grandstand. The autograph session will be free for all fans who have a Friday ticket. A fireworks display after the SunTrust Indy Challenge on Saturday night will cap the weekend's festivities.

"The free practice session on Thursday will help introduce Indy Car racing to our fans and community and get them more excited about the entire race weekend," said Doug Fritz, president of Richmond International Raceway. "I urge everyone to come out to Thursday's free practice session to see how fast the cars are and to see what the series is all about."

Fans used to seeing NASCAR Winston Cup or NASCAR Busch Series cars may be surprised at the speeds the Indy Cars can attain at Richmond International Raceway. The qualifying speed for the SunTrust Indy Challenge is expected to be nearly 40 mph (five seconds) faster than a NASCAR Winston Cup race at Richmond International Raceway.

The gates open for the free Thursday test at 8:00 a.m. The drivers will be split up into two groups for the day and early evening sessions. Group one will take to the track from 3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. and group two will practice from 4:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Practice resumes from 7:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. for group one and concludes when group two tests from 7:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The free practice on Thursday is followed by Friday's Richmond Times-Dispatch 150 NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series race and qualifying for the SunTrust Indy Challenge. Saturday features the Dominic's of New York 100 USAC Coors Light Silver Bullet Series race and the inaugural SunTrust Indy Challenge.

All Friday tickets are $20, while Saturday reserved tickets are $35 and general admission tickets are $30. Children 12 and under will receive a free general admission ticket on Friday and Saturday if accompanied by a paying adult. For more information, call the Richmond International Raceway ticket office at 804-345-7223.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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Series IndyCar