IRL: Hornish, Sharp Daytona IROC test

Hornish, Sharp Discovering Iroc Speed Secrets At Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2001 - Indy Racing champions Sam Hornish Jr. and Scott Sharp each started preparing for the 2002 True Value International Race of Champions series...

Hornish, Sharp Discovering Iroc Speed Secrets At Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2001 - Indy Racing champions Sam Hornish Jr. and Scott Sharp each started preparing for the 2002 True Value International Race of Champions series by turning laps Nov. 13 at Daytona International Speedway.

2001 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves also joined 2001 Indy Racing champion Hornish and 1996 co-champion Sharp in testing on the 2.5-mile, high-banked oval at Daytona.

Hornish, Sharp, 2000 Indy Racing Northern Light Series champion Buddy Lazier and 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion Kevin Harvick are the first four drivers named to the 12-driver field for the 2002 True Value IROC series. Castroneves is eligible to participate in IROC due to his Indianapolis 500 victory, but his participation hasn't been confirmed. The four-race series among top drivers in identically prepared cars starts Feb. 15 at Daytona and ends Aug. 3 with the fifth annual IROC at Indy at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Hornish turned two 40-lap stints in the Pontiac Firebird stock cars. It was Hornish's first time in a stock car on the Daytona oval. He has competed on the road circuit at Daytona in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

This will be Hornish's first year in IROC.

"It was pretty exciting today," Hornish said. "I had a lot of fun being out there in a three- or four-car pack. The biggest thing for me right now is learning the draft and where I have to be on the track. There's so much other stuff around me than I'm used to, you've got roll bars and whatnot, so it's just going to take some getting used to."

2001 Indianapolis 500 MBNA Pole winner Sharp returns to the True Value IROC series for the first time since 1994, when he represented the SCCA Trans-Am Series. He completed 75 testing laps over two runs Tuesday, getting reacquainted with IROC machinery with the help of veteran IROC test drivers Dave Marcis and Jim Sauter.

"It's like I've never done it before," Sharp said. "I certainly don't remember much about seven years ago. I'm just learning the whole process over again. Just to get your whole mind thinking about the areas you need to pay attention to. Think what you need to ask Jim and Dave about. And today, getting a chance to work with Helio and Sam out there is invaluable.

"The cars have really changed a lot, too. It was a different chassis with a rear-steer configuration (in 1994). Now they're front-steer cars. They're a lot different, and I haven't been in a stock car for seven years now."

"Today I got my comfort level back. I got to where I'm running easily, in the right groove, close to people, working on my timing for drafting, and it got me back to square one. So I can really start dancing with it tomorrow and any other time I'm in the car."

Hornish and Sharp will continue IROC testing Nov. 14 at Daytona.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar , IROC
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Dave Marcis , Jim Sauter , Sam Hornish Jr.