Nazareth Speedway is gearing up for an open wheel festival of speed this weekend with four divisions of racing headlined by the Indy Racing League in the Firestone 225 on Sunday. Appearing on the weekend card are USAC's top three divisions, with...
Nazareth Speedway is gearing up for an open wheel festival of speed this weekend with four divisions of racing headlined by the Indy Racing League in the Firestone 225 on Sunday. Appearing on the weekend card are USAC's top three divisions, with feature races for USAC Midgets and Sprints on Saturday. After Saturday's feature races, the USAC Silver Crown cars will take to the one-mile oval for their last-chance qualifying race
On Sunday morning, the USAC Silver Crown cars will race wheel to wheel for 100 laps starting at 10:30 a.m. The Indy cars will set the grid at noon with the green flag scheduled to drop at 1:00 p.m. for 225 miles of high-speed action.
This weekend marks the Indy Racing Leagues first visit to the Nazareth oval. The high levels of downforce produced by the Indy racing cars will produce racing speeds and side by side action that has never been seen on the Lehigh Valley oval.
"We have a lot of downforce," said Felipe Giaffone, Indy Racing's 2001 Chevrolet Rookie of the Year. "For sure, you're going to see a lot better racing than you've seen here before. The extra downforce makes the racing more interesting and you're going to see a lot of passing."
Giaffone, who competed in the Indy Lights series, has experience on the Nazareth oval, as does 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier. "The Indy Racing cars handle real well and this is a tight race track," said Lazier. "Our cars run good in dirty air so it's going to be a lot different than the last time I was here six or seven years ago.
"Plus, a lot has changed for me since then. Not only am I with a team that can win, I'm in a series where anyone who starts the race has a chance to win. All the cars are playing on an even playing field."
While Sunday's Firestone 225 is sure to produce plenty of action, the support races should be exciting too. This weekend marks the first time in USAC history that the Sprints, Midgets and Silver Crown cars have all raced on the same card at a pavement track.
Six drivers are slated to do triple duty with Brothers A.J. and Aaron Fike of Galesburg, Ill., defending Sprint Car Champion J.J. Yeley of Phoenix, Ariz., defending National Midget Car Champion Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind., Silver Crown and Midget Car point leader Dave Steele of Tampa, Fla. and former Silver Crown Champion Tracy Hines of New Castle, Ind. each entered in all three USAC series.
Along with the national drivers, several local drivers are entered in the Midget race. The American Racing Drivers Club, which sanctions midget races throughout the northeast, has several drivers entered including 2001 ARDC Champion Ray Bull. Randy Mausteller of Bloomsburg, Brian Paulus of Mechanicsburg, Michael Roselli, Jr. of Brodheadsville and Travis Miniea of West Middlesex will also compete.
This weekend also marks the return of World of Outlaws star Sammy Swindell to the Silver Crown Series.
The three day open wheel extravaganza gets underway on Friday, April 19 with all four series practicing one the one-mile oval. For more information or directions to the track visit www.nazarethspeedway.com.