Delphi Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway FAST FACTS WHAT: Delphi Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway First of 10 races in 2000 Indy Racing League season WHERE: Walt Disney World Speedway 1-mile paved...
Delphi Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway FAST FACTS
WHAT: Delphi Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway First of 10 races in 2000 Indy Racing League season
WHERE: Walt Disney World Speedway 1-mile paved tri-oval
WHEN: Noon (EST) Saturday, Jan. 29, 2000
DISTANCE: 200 miles/200 laps
POSTED AWARDS: More than $1 million
CARS: Dallara, G Force and Riley & Scott chassis; Oldsmobile Aurora V8 and Nissan Infiniti Indy V8 engines; Firestone tires
1999 RACE WINNER: Eddie Cheever Jr.
1999 INDY RACING LEAGUE CHAMPION: Greg Ray
TV: (Race) ABC (live), noon (EST), Jan. 29. "Indy Racing 2Day," ESPN2 (live), 11:30 a.m. (EST), Jan. 29.
(Qualifying) ESPN2 (delayed), 1:30 p.m. (EST) Jan. 28.
RADIO: (Race) Indy Racing Radio Network (live), Noon (EST) Jan. 29. Pre-race show starts at 11:30 a.m. Area affiliate is WQTM-AM 740, "The Team," Maitland, Fla. Host: Mike King; Analyst: Larry Rice Pit reporters: Mark Jaynes, Doug Rice Backstretch reporter: Jerry Baker
SCHEDULE (all times local):
(Thursday, Jan. 27)
7 a.m.: Indy Racing League garage opens 8 a.m.: Public gates open 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Practice (two groups) 1-3 p.m.: Practice (two groups)
(Friday, Jan. 28)
7 a.m.: Indy Racing League garage opens 8 a.m.: Public gates open 10-11:20 a.m.: Practice (two groups) 12:30-1:45 p.m.: Pole qualifying 4:15-4:45 p.m.: Final practice 5:30-6:15 p.m.: Autograph session (Midway, outside main straight)
(Saturday, Jan. 29)
7 a.m.: Indy Racing League garage opens, public gates open 11 a.m.: Cars to grid Noon: Delphi Indy 200 (200 miles/200 laps)
(Qualifying) Scott Sharp, 21.007 seconds, 171.371 mph, Jan. 23, 1999
(Race, full distance) Buzz Calkins, 1 hour, 33 minutes, 30.748 seconds, 128.325 mph, Jan. 27, 1996
1-mile paved tri-oval Front straightaway: 910 feet Mid straightaway: 1,023 feet Back straightaway: 572 feet Three turns: 750 feet each Width: 58 feet (minimum) Banking: Turn 1, 10 degrees; Turn 2, 8.5 degrees; Turn 3, 7 degrees, straightaways are flat
The facility opened in 1995, playing host to its first race, the inaugural Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway, on Jan. 27, 1996. The race was also the first conducted by the Indy Racing League. WDWS is located on the grounds of Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom, near many of Disney's famous attractions and resorts. The only permanent structure at the facility is the race surface itself; all grandstands and race facilities are constructed for the race, then removed upon its conclusion.
THE RACE: The Delphi Indy 200 marks the fifth year that the Indy Racing League kicks off its season at Walt Disney World Speedway. Defending champion and Orlando resident Eddie Cheever Jr. has claimed two of his three career Indy Racing League victories at WDWS. Cheever also won this event in 1997. He also won the 1998 Indianapolis 500.
Cheever is the only driver to win at Walt Disney World Speedway more than once. Other previous winners include Buzz Calkins (1996) and Tony Stewart (1998).
RACE NOTES: Greg Ray starts the defense of his 1999 Indy Racing League championship at the Delphi Indy 200. Ray won the title by 37 points over 1998 league champion Kenny Brack. The 1999 title was not determined until the final race of the season, the Mall.com 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, in October. Ray served notice to his fellow Indy Racing competitors that he was ready for a second consecutive championship by dominating winter open testing at Walt Disney World Speedway. Ray was fastest at both the December and January tests, posting a fastest overall speed of 169.165 mph in the Conseco-Menards Dallara/Aurora/Firestone.
Three Indianapolis 500 winners are entered in this event: 1998 champion Eddie Cheever Jr., 1996 champion Buddy Lazier and 1992 and 1994 champion Al Unser Jr.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. is making his Indy Racing League debut at the Delphi Indy 200. Unser drives a G Force/Aurora/Firestone for Galles ECR Racing. Unser, the son of four-time Indy 500 winner and Indy Racing League consultant Al Unser, competed for Team Penske in the Championship Auto Racing Teams series for the past six years. Unser reunites with team owner Rick Galles at this event. Unser and Galles earned the 1990 CART championship and 1992 Indianapolis 500 titles together.
Teams will debut new engine, chassis and transmission packages at the Delphi Indy 200. Engine makers Oldsmobile Aurora and Nissan Infiniti have designed new 3.5-liter engines for the 2000 Indy Racing League season, replacing the 4.0-liter engines that were in use since 1997. Chassis builders Dallara, G Force and Riley & Scott will introduce all-new chassis for the season, and a new sequential-shift transmission, designed by British firm Xtrac, also will be used in competition for the first time.
Scott Sharp will become the all-time victory leader in the Indy Racing League if he wins the Delphi Indy 200. Sharp is tied with the retired Arie Luyendyk and Kenny Brack with four career victories. Sharp's most recent win was the Kobalt Mechanics Tools 500 presented by MCI WorldCom in Atlanta on July 17, 1999. Brack now competes for team owner Bobby Rahal in the CART series.
Six Indy Racing League rookies are confirmed to participate in the Delphi Indy 200: Sam Hornish Jr. (PDM Racing), Niclas Jonsson (Blueprint Racing), Jon Herb (Jonathan Byrd-McCormack Motorsports), Doug Didero (Mid-America Racing), Jeret Schroeder (Tri Star Motorsports) and Airton Dare (TeamXtreme).
Buzz Calkins holds the Indy Racing League record for the most consecutive races running at the finish, a current streak that stands at 11. He will begin his attempt to be running at the finish of every race for the second consecutive season at the Delphi Indy 200, driving the Bradley Motorsports Dallara/Aurora/Firestone.
Jeret Schroeder joins Tri-Star Motorsports for the Delphi Indy 200. Schroeder competed at the 1999 Indy 500 with CBR-Cobb Racing, and also competed at Walt Disney World Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway in Indy Racing competition in 1997, finishing 14th and 19th, respectively. Tri-Star Motorsports is co-owned by Tony Stewart, the 1996-97 Indy Racing League champion and 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year, Larry Curry, Andy Card and Rick Ehrgott.
Indy Racing League veterans Jeff Ward and Robby McGehee will compete at the Delphi Indy 200 after having joined two different high-profile teams during the offseason. Ward will drive the Harrah's G Force/Aurora/Firestone for legendary four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt. McGehee, the 1999 Bank One Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, joins Treadway Racing for the 2000 Indy Racing season, driving the Energizer Advanced Formula G Force/Aurora/Firestone.
All Indy Racing League cars will use Firestone tires this season, as Goodyear withdrew from the Indy Racing League and CART competition after the 1999 season.