IRL: Mark Dismore Gets Jump on Field at ''Test in the West''

PHOENIX, Friday, Feb. 25, 2000 - Mark Dismore accomplished Kelley Racing's goals in the first practice session of the "Test in the West" on Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. Dismore used a qualifying setup in the morning to turn the...

PHOENIX, Friday, Feb. 25, 2000 - Mark Dismore accomplished Kelley Racing's goals in the first practice session of the "Test in the West" on Friday at Phoenix International Raceway.

Dismore used a qualifying setup in the morning to turn the fastest lap of the day at 20.638 seconds, 174.436 mph in the Bryant Heating & Cooling-On Star Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. The time stood the whole day as 23 other Northern Light Indy Racing Series drivers tested the 1-mile dog-leg oval at Phoenix, site of the MCI WorldCom Indy 200 on March 19.

"It's a good place to start, that's for sure," Dismore said. "I just hope our follow-through is good the next time we come back here. We tested about three weeks ago, and it helped us get a good baseline."

Stephan Gregoire was second fastest at 20.831, 172.819 in the Dick Simon Racing-Mexmil-Tokheim-Viking Air Tools G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Dismore's teammate, Scott Sharp, was third at 20.922, 172.068 in the Delphi Automotive Systems-MCI WorldCom Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone.

"We are going as fast as possible," Gregoire said. "My car is very consistently tight, and I am very happy. It is handling very well; even in traffic I can go fast. I was behind Scott Goodyear this morning and the car was perfect, so it will be good in race traffic, for sure."

A total of 24 drivers and 22 cars turned laps today, recording 2,626 laps of testing in less than six hours of on-track activity. Scott Goodyear's 192 laps led all drivers today.

Goodyear, the defending winner of the Phoenix race, finished the day 12th fastest overall with a lap of 21.276, 169.205 in the Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone.

Northern Light Indy Racing Series points leader Robbie Buhl and the new Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team struggled with a new set-up. Buhl finished the day with the 20th fastest lap, 21.852, 164.745, in his G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. was 10th fastest at 21.236, 169.523 in the Galles ECR Racing Starz G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Unser was the second-busiest driver of the day behind Goodyear, turning 175 laps in preparation for his Indy Racing debut at Phoenix.

Jimmy Kite was eighth fastest at 21.200, 169.811 in his first test in the Blueprint Racing-ZMAX G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Kite recently signed to be the team's full-time driver in the Northern Light Indy Racing Series.

Testing continues Saturday. The grandstands at Phoenix International Raceway will be open to the public with free admission. The day will be highlighted by an autograph session during a lunchtime break.

Tickets for the MCI WorldCom Indy 200 can be purchased by calling (602) 252-2227.

"TEST IN THE WEST", FEB. 25, PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY Pos. Car # Driver C/E/T Time Speed Laps 1) 28 Mark Dismore D/O/F 20.638 174.436 131 2) 7 Stephan Gregoire G/O/F 20.831 172.819 119 3) 8 Scott Sharp D/O/F 20.922 172.068 163 4) 20 Tyce Carlson D/O/F 20.987 171.525 101 5) 1T Greg Ray D/O/F 21.013 171.323 72 6) 11 Eliseo Salazar G/O/F 21.111 170.527 87 7) 55 Robby McGehee G/O/F 21.139 170.301 121 8) 27 Jimmy Kite G/O/F 21.200 169.811 110 9) 1 Greg Ray D/O/F 21.208 169.747 31 10) 3 Al Unser Jr. G/O/F 21.236 169.523 175 11) 91 Buddy Lazier R/O/F 21.253 169.388 124 12) 4 Scott Goodyear D/O/F 21.276 169.205 192 13) 14 Jeff Ward G/O/F 21.318 168.871 55 14) 88 Airton Dare D/O/F 21.369 168.468 172 15) 18 Sam Hornish G/O/F 21.379 168.390 122 16) 12 Buzz Calkins D/O/F 21.404 168.193 111 17) 6 Jeret Schroeder D/O/F 21.422 168.052 95 18) 5 Sarah Fisher R/O/F 21.695 165.937 162 19) 30x Andy Michner G/O/F 21.778 165.304 46 20) 24 Robbie Buhl G/O/F 21.852 164.745 87 21) 30 Ronnie Johncox G/O/F 21.927 164.181 73 22) 51 Ross Cheever D/I/F 21.930 164.159 150 23) 98 Donnie Beechler D/O/F 21.940 164.084 106 24) 30Z Derek Higgins G/O/F 22.914 157.109 14 25) 43 Doug Didero D/O/F 24.118 149.266 34 Key: C/E/T - Chassis/Engine/Tire; D - Dallara; F - Firestone; G - G Force; I - Infiniti; O - Oldsmobile; R - Riley & Scott


ROSS CHEEVER (#51 Team Cheever-Firestone-Infiniti): "I am driving for Team Cheever at the Las Vegas and Phoenix tests to help put some miles on the Infiniti Indy engine and also to gain some valuable experience on two ovals that I have never driven before. I am on a learning curve here at Phoenix, so I am driving well within my limit. We are trying not to put too much importance on our lap times but rather to get the car as comfortable as possible."

AL UNSER JR. (#3 Galles ECR Racing Starz): "We tested here in December and we feel much more confident about the overall balance of the car. We are going to look for some more speed tomorrow, but this should give us a good baseline for race weekend. I've raced at PIR a lot during my life, and our race here in March is going to be a special one for me because it has been a few years since I raced here. These times are close though, and it is going to be very competitive come race weekend. Phoenix ought to see one heck of a show."

TYCE CARLSON (#20 Hubbard-Immke Racing): "We've come here with the perspective of having had a private test here a few weeks ago and of course the one day of testing we got in Las Vegas earlier this week. I'm happy to see that we have a great deal of consistency and continuity. We're able to easily pick up right where we left off and then start to improve on those previous efforts. Our best speed of a few weeks ago was still over 21 seconds, so today was a definite improvement in that we are one of four cars under the 21 mark. On top of that, we ran our quicker speeds in the heat of the day and were able to do some those with near-full tanks. That all goes back to our preparation and having the car comfortable right out of the box so we can concentrate on making it go faster and or trying out some different ideas and new body pieces.

MARK DISMORE (#28 Bryant Heating & Cooling-On Star): "There's nothing on the car that's the same, so every thing we learned at Vegas stays at Vegas. We' re hoping some of the things we learned at Vegas transfers over to Indianapolis. That was a very important test for us. We came out of the box this morning with a qualifying setup. So, we didn't waste a lot of time on that (qualifying practice) because you are going to be chasing the track because of the Ford 2000s and the trucks on race weekend. We now know that's a reasonable setup as far as speed goes for qualifying. So, we switched over to a race setup and practiced that all day."

STEPHAN GREGOIRE (#7 Dick Simon Racing-Mexmil-Tokheim-Viking Air Tools): "We are running with a lot of downforce, which will give me a good indication of how my new car will handle in the race here next month. I did my fast lap this morning, the first session, I think. But I have equaled that quick time on several other laps today, so it wasn't just one quick lap." (About Saturday testing): "We will work on our race setup and not worry about going fast. We have that set up from today. Our test in Las Vegas went well, and I was fast straight away - very fast, actually. We came to Phoenix, and we are fast again. So, I am very happy with my new G Force and my team. I am excited about the race here next month, and I hope we can do really well after our disappointing finish at Orlando."

SCOTT SHARP (#8 Delphi Automotive Systems-MCI WorldCom) (Comparing Las Vegas to Phoenix): "The complete approach is so much different in everybody's mind. You come here with a completely different wing package and downforce package and completely different setups. At Vegas, you're trying to run flat out all the way around, concentrating on freeing the car up. Whereas here, you're worrying about grip and not running flat out all the way around. So, it's just a completely different thing."

SCOTT GOODYEAR (#4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara): "We are focusing on the race day itself. We're finding out what will/will not assist us in the race. Later, we'll begin work on finding the right qualifying set-up. Overall, I am pleased with the response we're receiving from the car."

JOHN BARNES (#4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara team manager/co-owner): "We look at how we can make this machine work better and faster in traffic. Thus far, we're pleased with the car. We didn't have the advantage, like some of the other teams, of having three days of practice prior to today. Yet we have competitive speeds."



Schedule: Testing will take place from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. (local time) Feb. 26 at Phoenix International Raceway.


Gates open: The stands at Phoenix International Raceway will be open Feb. 26, free of charge.


Tickets: Tickets for the MCI WorldCom Indy 200 are available by calling (602) 252-2227.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Robby McGehee , Sarah Fisher , Greg Ray , Al Unser Jr. , Robbie Buhl , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Jeff Ward , Scott Sharp , Airton Daré , Mark Dismore , Scott Goodyear , Jeret Schroeder , Jimmy Kite , Donnie Beechler , Derek Higgins , Tyce Carlson , Ronnie Johncox , Ross Cheever , Dick Simon , Sam Hornis
Teams Dreyer & Reinbold Racing