IRL INDYCARÂ® SERIES PARTICIPANTS PREPARE FOR BUMPS AND BATTLES AT KENTUCKY INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2005 -- The IRL IndyCarÂ® Series continues its 10th season of competition with the AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 Presented by GPS Industries...
IRL INDYCAR® SERIES PARTICIPANTS PREPARE FOR BUMPS AND BATTLES AT KENTUCKY
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2005 -- The IRL IndyCar® Series continues its 10th season of competition with the AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 Presented by GPS Industries on Sunday, Aug. 14 at the Kentucky Speedway.
The 1.5-mile oval is known for fast, wide-open racing and has produced two of the 20-closest finishes in series history, but it is also one of the bumpiest tracks the IndyCar Series will visit. The close-quarter, high-speed action makes Kentucky a challenging track for drivers and their teams as described in the following first-person narratives:
Super Aguri Fernandez Racing's Kosuke Matsuura had the best finish of his IndyCar Series career at Kentucky Speedway last season, finishing fourth in his No. 55 Panasonic/ARTA Honda-powered Panoz.
The race was one of the highlights of Matsuura's 2004 IndyCar Series Bombardier Rookie of the Year campaign, and he hopes to recapture that success this weekend at Kentucky Speedway.
"Kentucky was a great race for our team last year with Adrian (Fernandez) winning and me finishing fourth. We have a good setup for the 1.5-mile ovals, but the Kentucky track is a bit different. The surface is very bumpy and very abrasive. The challenge is to find a setup that can handle the bumps, and you need a car that is good in traffic.
"In hot weather, we have been struggling with the grip level of our Panoz car in traffic. This is one of the things that we have been focusing on, because you have to be able to pass other cars, especially when you are two-wide and three-wide at Kentucky.
"For the race, it is important to be in the lead group during the last 20 to 30 laps, and restarts and pit stops will also be important. I am really looking forward to this weekend and, hopefully, we will be able to repeat what Adrian did last year. I think the fans will be in for an exciting race."
Veteran race engineer Martin Pare is in his second season as race engineer for Bryan Herta at Andretti Green Racing. The native of Quebec, who led Herta to his first win of 2005 on July 31 at Michigan International Speedway, joined AGR at the beginning of 2004 after spending the previous season with Team Rahal and driver Kenny Brack.
He had previously worked for Fernandez Racing, Forsythe Racing and Tasman Racing, working with current AGR driver Tony Kanaan at Forsythe.
"In relation to the other speedways, Kentucky is the bumpiest track in the corners. At other tracks, like Nashville, you will have bumps in the straights, but Kentucky is very bumpy in the corners, so that will be something that we look at thoroughly and really focus on. Mechanically, you have to maintain more grip going through those corners than if the track was really smooth. As a last resort, you would have to add downforce, which adds drag and decreases speed.
"If we want to stay at the top of the championship hunt, we can't make any mistakes. We need to stay on our game, keep giving Bryan a great car and avoid costly mistakes."
WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD:
Firestone's race tire development team considers the configuration of each track as it chooses the tire compound to be used at each track.
According to Firestone engineers, the high banking at Kentucky Speedway requires a Firehawk tire built for most durability and a compound with high-heat durability that is needed at all superspeedways.
AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300, 12th race in 17-race 2005 season
Kentucky Speedway, 1.5-mile asphalt oval
3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Aug. 14
200 laps/300 miles
PAST RACE WINNERS:
2004 -- Adrian Fernandez; 2003 -- Sam Hornish Jr.; 2002 -- Felipe Giaffone; 2001 -- Buddy Lazier; 2000 -- Buddy Lazier.
ABC (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 14.
Qualifying webcast: 5:15 p.m. (EDT) Aug. 13, www.indycar.com. Wrap-up show: 6:30 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 13, IMS Radio Network.
Race: IMS Radio Network, 3 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 14.
The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 Presented by GPS Industries at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 14 at Kentucky Speedway. The race will be broadcast by ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The race broadcast will also be carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme). The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Bluegrass 100 on Aug. 13 at Kentucky Speedway. The race will be telecast on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 18. The season finale of "The Fast Life" airs at noon (EDT) on Aug. 14 on ESPN2.