IRL: Indy Racing notebook 2001-08-09

Indy Racing Northern Light Series Notebook F1 veteran Herbert to test with Heritage Buhl welcomes new daughter INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2001 - Former Formula One race winner Johnny Herbert will test an Indy Racing car with Heritage ...

Indy Racing Northern Light Series Notebook
F1 veteran Herbert to test with Heritage
Buhl welcomes new daughter

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2001 - Former Formula One race winner Johnny Herbert will test an Indy Racing car with Heritage Motorsports on Aug. 13 at Kentucky Speedway, the team announced Aug. 9.

Herbert, 37, retired from F1 at the end of the 2000 season after a 12-year career in that series. He had three career Grand Prix victories, the latest in a Stewart-Ford in 1999. Herbert also drove on the winning Mazda team in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1991.

"I'm looking forward to testing with the Heritage Motorsports team," Herbert said. "This is an opportunity that will be beneficial for everyone involved. We're both working on putting ourselves in the best position to fulfill our future goals."

One of Herbert's lifelong racing goals is to win the Indianapolis 500.

"I have one major challenge left to accomplish in motorsports; winning the Indianapolis 500," Herbert said. "Racing at Indy has been a goal of mine since I was 10 years old. It is the greatest race in the world, and I'm taking every opportunity I can to get to Indy."

Last month, Herbert got his first experience on an oval track at Rockingham Motor Speedway in his native England, testing a Champ car. He logged 175 miles at Rockingham and pushed the car to 198 mph. "That was the first time I had ever run on an oval, and I thoroughly enjoyed it," Herbert said.

Herbert drove in the Le Mans 24 Hours this year for the Champion team in an Audi continues to drive for that team in American Le Mans Series races.

Heritage Motorsports, a first-year Northern Light Series team, fields the No. 35 Heritage Motorsports Firestone Menards G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone for Indy Racing veteran Jeff Ward.


New arrival: Indy Racing standout Robbie Buhl and his wife, Becky, welcomed a daughter named Quinn Barbour Buhl into the world Aug. 4. She weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce.


McGehee on win streak: Robby McGehee is entering the Belterra Resort Indy 300 on Aug. 12 at Kentucky Speedway on a winning streak. McGehee may have finished a season-best fourth in his latest Indy Racing start, on July 21 at Nashville Superspeedway, but he won from the pole position in the American Cities Racing League event Aug. 5 at Road America in Wisconsin in the Team Duke Racing Carbir owned by Duke Johnson. McGehee also set the fastest lap of the race on the 4-mile road course, 2 minutes, 19.46 seconds. That was faster than his pole lap of 2:19.6.

1999 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year McGehee took the lead on Lap 4 of the 12-lap race. "I had a ball," McGehee said.

McGehee now turns his attention to the race at Kentucky as he continues to recover from a broken lower left leg suffered in the Casino Magic 500 on June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway. He finished 10th in the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 on July 8 at Kansas Speedway and a season-best fourth in the Harrah's Indy 200 on July 21 at Nashville Superspeedway in his first two races since the injury.

"My leg doesn't hurt at all," said McGehee, driver of the No. 10 Cahill Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone.


More advice for A.J. IV: A.J. Foyt IV, grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500, doesn't have to look far for advice when making his USAC Coors Light Silver Bullet Series debut Aug. 18 in the Tony Bettenhausen 100 at Springfield, Ill. After all, his grandfather was one of the greatest Champ-car drivers ever on dirt.

But young Foyt, 17, also can turn to a Foyt team member who has enjoyed more recent success on the dirt in a USAC car: driver Donnie Beechler. Beechler finished second in the Silver Bullet point standings in 1997, 10th in 1996, fourth in 1995 and seventh in 1994. He made his Indy Racing debut in the 1998 Indianapolis 500. "Donnie told me that I have to conserve my tires," said Foyt IV. "He said that you start off with a full fuel load which is a lot of weight to carry in the rear and you have to be careful not to burn up your tires in the beginning of the race."

Young Foyt has won championships in kart and F2000 competition. But he knows that racing in a Silver Bullet car on a 1-mile dirt oval will be quite a challenge.

"It'll be a big adjustment driving on a track of this size, but I'm really looking forward to it. I've been working real close with Jack (Starne) putting the car together. Everything has to be perfect." Starne joined A.J. Foyt Racing in 1967 and now manages all of Foyt's racing operations, which include a two-car Indy Racing team and a NASCAR Winston Cup team.


Brayton calling all fans: Brayton Racing is trying to generate funding to race full-time in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series in 2002, and it has created a unique sponsorship program to help achieve its goal. The team wants to field a car sponsored by its fans after receiving so many well wishes from fans during this year's Indianapolis 500. Fans can go to the team's Web site, <>, for information on how to contribute to the effort.

Longtime Indy Racing engine builder Lee Brayton and his son, Todd, run Brayton Racing. Lee Brayton's son and Todd Brayton's brother, Scott, won the pole for the Indianapolis 500 in 1995 and 1996 but was killed in a practice accident during practice in May 1996 at Indianapolis.

Memo Gidley failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 this year in the debut of Brayton Racing.


Hot laps: Indy Racing driver Robbie Buhl visited ill children at the Children's Hospital Medical Center on Aug. 9 in Cincinnati as part of his duties as national spokesperson for Racing For Kids. Buhl visited with the patients and signed autographs ... Northern Light Cup contender Eliseo Salazar will participate in a press conference Aug. 15 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to unveil the Rev-It Up, Racing Across America Program, a national education program that involves motorsports curriculum for schools that educators can use to reach students and make learning fun.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Robby McGehee , Robbie Buhl , Eliseo Salazar , Jeff Ward , Memo Gidley , A.J. Foyt IV , Donnie Beechler , Duke Johnson , A.J. Foyt