IRL: Las Vegas Thursday Practice Report

David Reininger - Las Vegas, NV (April 20, 2000) - Scott Sharp, driving the Delphi Automotive Systems Oldsmobile -powered Dallara, topped the speed charts in practice this afternoon at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Sharp's...

David Reininger -

Las Vegas, NV (April 20, 2000) - Scott Sharp, driving the Delphi Automotive Systems Oldsmobile -powered Dallara, topped the speed charts in practice this afternoon at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Sharp's fastest lap, clocked at an average speed of 207.023, was a full mile an hour faster than second-fastest Buzz Calkins.

"We had a pretty quick car today when we were really not trying to go too fast," said Sharp, who spent most of the day working on a race day setup. "We made sure this afternoon to put in a long run and we seemed to have competitive times, so we're happy with that."

Although most drivers set their fastest lap in the morning session before track temperatures rose, Sharp managed to set to the second fastest time of the afternoon session. His best effort in the afternoon session was only 17 one-hundredths of a second slower than his best lap of the day.

"The car seems to be pretty consistent; the tires are staying under us pretty well. This is one track that I am really pleased to be on the Firestones. We've always struggled here big time.

Buzz Calkins was pleased to be back in the Bradley Motorsports entry after suffering a minor back injury in a crash at Phoenix. Setting the second fastest lap of the day gives Calkins extra confidence for this weekend's race and builds momentum for the team as they head to Indianapolis next month.

"This is good, not just for this race, it's good from the standpoint of since we had an accident in Phoenix, and we were out of the car, it helped from that, and it helps with getting the momentum going into Indianapolis."

"We had a pretty good test here and we went back to the shop and figured some stuff out that we knew we could do to make it quicker, and it worked," said Calkins. "We ran 203 during the test and it was a lot cooler, so I think we made some big gains."

Pleased with his baseline setup, Calkins will work on a race day set up tomorrow. "We were flat like the second lap out. Now we'll concentrate on making it a good race car and hopefully we'll qualify well."

Sharp's teammate at Kelly Racing, Mark Dismore, was third fastest on the day. Dismore admitted that his fast lap had come with a qualifying setup on his On Star/GM BuyPower Dallara. "The speed we did this morning, that's pretty much our qualifying setup. We're just focusing on the race car now."

Fourth fastest today was Greg Ray, driver of the Team Menard Conseco No. 1. Ray was just eight one-thousandths of a second faster than fifth fastest Tyce Carlson, Carlson set his fastest lap during the second session when track conditions deteriorated due to the afternoon heat.

"I'm happy with the performance of the Hubbard-Imke team," Carlson said. "Every time we go out we make the gains we need to. That just shows the teamwork and consistency of the entire group, from the engineers to all the crew members who make up the package. We got a little faster while some guys got slower, and we're still working on our race setup."

Making his debut at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway is two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr. Unser ran consistently today, turning in speeds of 205.558 mph in the first session and 205.066 in the afternoon. After combining the times from the sessions, Unser was eighth fastest of the day. "Today was a good day and we should be fine for qualifying tomorrow. The car still feels good even in the heat of the day, which means we should have a good car for race day. The speeds look pretty competitive, so it ought to be a good show on Saturday."

Practice for Saturday's Vegas 300 continues on Friday morning from 9:00 - 10:30 a.m. Qualifying for the Vegas 300 begins at 1:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Greg Ray , Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Mark Dismore