BARNHART, RAY GIVE THUMBS UP TO KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY SPARTA, Ky., Nov. 16, 1999 - Under the supervision of Pep Boys Indy Racing League Director of Racing Operations Brian Barnhart, Team Menard driver Greg Ray recorded several laps at speeds faster...
BARNHART, RAY GIVE THUMBS UP TO KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY
SPARTA, Ky., Nov. 16, 1999 - Under the supervision of Pep Boys Indy Racing League Director of Racing Operations Brian Barnhart, Team Menard driver Greg Ray recorded several laps at speeds faster than 205 mph during the first test of the new Kentucky Speedway on Nov. 15. Kentucky Speedway, which opens in 2000, will play host to The Belterra Resort Indy 300 on Aug. 27 of next year.
"The management of Kentucky Speedway asked the Indy Racing League to come down and test the track surface after the final coat of asphalt was applied," said Barnhart. "So, we asked Greg (Ray) and Team Menard if they would help us. It worked out well because Greg was able to point out a few things that can be corrected before the first race.
"It's a beautiful facility, and the Indy Racing League is looking forward to racing here."
After Barnhart completed a thorough track inspection, he gave Ray and Team Menard the go ahead to "break in" the new 1.5-mile tri-oval speedway. Ray ran approximately 20 laps and quickly turned laps above 205 mph in his Glidden-Menards Dallara/Aurora/Firestone. According to his onboard telemetry, Ray's fastest lap was 25.910 seconds at 208.410 mph.
"They're in the final stages of pressing the asphalt, and they wanted impressions from us on bumps and transitions from lane to lane," said Ray. "It's cold, it's windy and very, very dirty, and we still went out there and did laps at 208 mph. It's going to be a very fun track to run on." Kentucky Speedway is being constructed 35 miles south of Cincinnati, in northern Kentucky. The $152-million motorsports complex will feature the 1.5-mile tri-oval, seating for 65,000, 50 luxury suites and a glass-enclosed restaurant seating 210.
Paving of the racing surface began in late September and was finished in October. The speedway announced in September it has already started one of its Phase II projects - lighting the facility. That project will be finished in 2000.
Kentucky Speedway President Jerry Carroll and facility designer and engineer Bill Moss both observed the test. "For Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville and Lexington, it's the talk of the town," said Carroll. "We have people in this area that are knowledgeable Indy Racing League fans. They're excited about it. And they're buying tickets right now."
For The Belterra Resort Indy 300 ticket information, call Kentucky Speedway at (888) 652-7223.