IRL: Indy500 Blueprint hits track early for open test

INDIANAPOLIS, IN., April 9, 2000- Under cold and windy conditions Blueprint Racing debuted their new G Force chassis at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today with much success. The Founders Bank/ZMAX/ Blueprint Racing Special ended the...

INDIANAPOLIS, IN., April 9, 2000- Under cold and windy conditions Blueprint Racing debuted their new G Force chassis at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today with much success. The Founders Bank/ZMAX/ Blueprint Racing Special ended the debut-day second quick on the time charts at the famed "Brickyard" with a speed of 217.807 miles-per-hour (41.321 seconds around the two and one-half mile oval) run shortly before the track closed for the day.

The test session, an "open test" for all entrants of the 84th running of the Indianapolis 500, was delayed due to low temperatures- temperatures hovered in the high-40s until early afternoon. In the early afternoon session, two-time Indianapolis 500 starter Jimmy Kite quickly brought the car up to speed after initial leak-checks and new car "break-in" items were completed. Kite turned the third quickest time of the first session at a time of 214.772 mph (41.905 seconds) before taking the car back to "Gasoline Alley" to make adjustments and to wait for the winds- gusting as high as 35 mph at times- to subside.

"This thing was awesome," enthused Kite after the quick run. "It's making my job easy because the car just turns itself. We ran flat this morning and I just couldn't believe how fast we were. To jump into a brand new car and set a time like this, in these conditions, is just amazing. It really shows how strong this Founders Bank/ ZMAX team is. The guys gave me a great race car, as usual, and Ed and Sonny's motor was everything I had hoped for. I just can't say enough about this G Force and about our team."

The Blueprint team opted to park the car for the remainder of the open test, choosing to return to its Chicago-based shop to prepare the car for the Las Vegas Indy 300. The event, held on April 22 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, will be the third race on the nine-race Indy Racing Northern Light Series' schedule.

"We did everything we wanted to do and more. We didn't expect to be quite this fast so quickly," remarked Blueprint team manager Brad McCanless. "Why hang-around and run in the cold and the wind? You aren't going to learn much to help you in May in these conditions. By getting back to the shop it gives Randy [Ruyle, Blueprint chief mechanic] and the guys a chance to work without such a pressing deadline. Since we received this car just before the Phoenix race, these guys have worked themselves very hard to get it ready to run today. This will let them get home to see their families before the long-run of May and June."

The Founders Bank/ZMAX/ Blueprint Racing Special was less than one-tenth of a second behind the fast-time of the day (41.269 seconds) set by 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever.

Kite described the day simply, "This hot rod was hauling and we haven't even begun to really play with it yet! I can't wait to get back here in May."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Jimmy Kite