SHARP, DISMORE TEAM UP TO TOP ORLANDO SPEED CHARTS ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 11, 1998 -- Kelley Racing teammates Scott Sharp and Mark Dismore turned the fastest laps Friday as the two-day Pep Boys Indy Racing League Open Test began at Walt ...
SHARP, DISMORE TEAM UP TO TOP ORLANDO SPEED CHARTS
ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 11, 1998 -- Kelley Racing teammates Scott Sharp and Mark Dismore turned the fastest laps Friday as the two-day Pep Boys Indy Racing League Open Test began at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Fla. Sharp, driving the Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear, clocked a quick 170.422-mph lap (21.124 seconds) on the 1-mile tri-oval. Dismore turned a lap at 168.848 (21.321) in his MCI WorldCom-Bryant Heating & Cooling Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Sharp's speed was much faster than the track record, 166.013 mph, set by Tony Stewart in January 1997. "We're optimistic about our chances," said team owner Tom Kelley of Fort Wayne, Ind. "These guys do wonders with an unlimited budget." Sharp, who felt cheated last year when qualifying for the season-opening race was rained out, said he was pleased to do so well in the initial test for the TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway on Jan. 24. "In our book, the '99 season starts today," he said. "It's nice to kick it off this way." Sharp, who is planning to move to Indianapolis from California, said he likes the mile tracks. He won last year on miles at Phoenix and Dover, Del. "The test went quite well last year, but we never got to show what we could do," he said. "Even if it gets a lot warmer, we have to run in the low 21's (seconds) to qualify well. "This is a real credit to our team. David Cripps (team manager) really has these models figured out." Kelley believes his team has an advantage because everyone, including the two drivers, returns from last season. Sharp finished fourth and Dismore 15th in the final 1998 Pep Boys IRL standings. Dismore spent his interview time fending off Sharp's digs about Mark and wife, Donna, purchasing three llamas. "They are building a barn (on his Indiana farm) while we're here," Dismore said. Dismore also was excited because he had secured a sponsorship deal for his son "Little Mark," enabling him to drive in the U.S. F2000 series in 1999. That means the racing Dismores will be at the same track on the same weekend three times during the season. The sponsor is monster.com, an Internet site featuring employment ads and other job searching tools. Indianapolis resident Bill Warren owns the site. Scott Goodyear was third fastest of the day at 167.746 mph in the Pennzoil Panther G Force/Aurora/Goodyear. Greg Ray, taking over for NASCAR-bound Stewart, was fourth fastest in the backup Team Menard Dallara/Aurora/Firestone at 167.418. Rounding out the top five was Sam Schmidt at 165.054 in the Best Western Gold Crown Racing Special Dallara/Aurora/Firestone. The Open Test ends Saturday, with private tire testing Sunday.
OPEN TEST NOTEBOOK
Boesel riding on new tires: Veteran Brazilian driver Raul Boesel, who switched from CART to the Pep Boys Indy Racing League last winter, is making another switch for the 1999 season. He'll be driving for the same McCormack Motorsports team, but he'll ride on Firestone tires in his TransWorld Racing-McCormack Motorsports G Force/Aurora. The team decided to make the change in rubber, and it pleased Boesel because he felt he experienced one of his best Indy-style seasons on Firestones. That was in 1997 when he won one pole and placed in the top 10 in 11 races driving his final year in CART. He also came within a whisker of taking the checkered flag in a three-car drag race to the finish line at Portland, Ore. He placed third, as all three cars were side-by-side on the charge down the final stretch of pavement. "I'm excited to be back with Firestone," Boesel said. Boesel's best Pep Boys IRL finish last season was eighth at Phoenix. *** High visibility: Several cars participating in the Open Test displayed the new readily seen number on their cars, required for 1999. Last year's numbers were bent around the stabilizing tail. The new car number is black inside a white box. On certain car colors, the black and white will be reversed. The large numbers also are affixed closer to the front of the rear cowling. ***
Get well soon: During Friday's testing, Scott Goodyear carried a special message on the Pennzoil Panther G Force/Aurora/Goodyear as he roared around the 1-mile oval. The message said, "Get well Joann." Joann Claymore, receptionist at the team headquarters in northwest Indianapolis, is in Methodist Hospital recovering from injuries she received when her car was hit when she left work 10 days ago. ***
Knapp pinch-hitting for Lazier: Buddy Lazier, 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner, was back in Colorado recovering from lower-back surgery, but the Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear was at the track for the testing with Steve Knapp, 1998 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year, filling in as the driver. "I'm still looking for a ride," said Knapp, who finished last season with PDM. "I really appreciate the call this weekend." Said Hemelgarn team manager Lee Kunzman: "We have no plan to run two cars. The (Indianapolis Motor) Speedway, yes."
Tickets: Tickets for the TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200 are available by calling (800) 822-INDY. ***
PERFORMANCE HISTORY OF THE DAY FROM ORLANDO OPEN TEST (1-mile tri-oval) New-formula Pep Boys IRL track record: 166.013 mph, Tony Stewart, Jan. 24, 1997
Car No. Driver C/E/T Top Speed 8 Scott Sharp Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear 170.422 mph 28 Mark Dismore Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear 168.848 4 Scott Goodyear G Force/Aurora/Goodyear 167.746 3T Greg Ray Dallara/Aurora/Firestone 167.418 3 Greg Ray Dallara/Aurora/Firestone 166.984 99 Sam Schmidt Dallara/Aurora/Firestone 165.054 19 Stan Wattles Riley & Scott/Aurora/Goodyear 164.835 12 Buzz Calkins Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear 164.564 51 Robby Unser Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear 163.852 91 Steve Knapp Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear 162.045 27 Tyce Carlson Dallara/Aurora/Firestone 161.921 31 Andy Michner Riley & Scott/Aurora/Firestone 161.551 66 Scott Harrington Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone 160.449 30 Raul Boesel G Force/Aurora/Firestone 160.192 44 David Steele Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone 154.573 31T Andy Michner Riley & Scott/Aurora/Firestone 154.275