IRL: Pagan Racing Phoenix Preview

Jeff Ward - Pagan Racing No. 21 Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear Race Preview: PHOENIX WHAT: MCI Worldcomm 200 WHEN: Sunday, March 28, 1999 (2:00 p.m. MST) WHERE: Phoenix International Raceway - Phoenix, Arizona 1-mile paved...

Jeff Ward - Pagan Racing No. 21 Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear

Race Preview: PHOENIX

WHAT: MCI Worldcomm 200

WHEN: Sunday, March 28, 1999 (2:00 p.m. MST)

WHERE: Phoenix International Raceway - Phoenix, Arizona

1-mile paved oval Width: 56-71 feet Front straight: 1,179 feet Back straight: 1,551 feet Banking: Turns 1-2: 11 degrees, Turns 3-4: 9 degrees Facility opened in 1964

Jack and Allan Pagan, team co-owners of Indianapolis based Pagan Racing, are pleased to announce that Jeff Ward will be at the wheel of the No. 21 Pagan Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear car at the MCI Worldcomm 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 28, 1999.

In an announcement made last week, Ward is slated to drive the Pagan Racing entry in the next three rounds of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Championship Series.

"The initial agreement is for Phoenix, Charlotte and the Indy 500," said team co-owner Allan Pagan. "We want to continue the association past Indy, but that will depend on funding. We will be working hard to turn this into a permanent and successful partnership."

"We think that Jeff Ward is one of the best drivers out there," Pagan said. "He has continued to demonstrate his speed, tenacity, and determination throughout his motorsport career. He was one of the winningest and most successful motorcycle racers in history, and we feel his potential has barely been tapped when it comes to auto racing."

Ward recently visited the Pagan Racing shops to get fitted for the team's Dallara. "I spent two days there, Sunday and Monday," Ward said. "We had to pour a new seat because I've been driving a G Force. We got all the pedals fitted and we have everything taken care of comfort-wise.

Ward is confident that the switch to the Dallara will be smooth. "I drove the Dallara at Las Vegas at the end of 1997," said Ward. "I had never been to that track, or in that car and it wasn't a problem. We were quick right away. I led the race and could have won it if I didn't have a water pump go out.

"We know what the set up is going to be," Ward explained. "These cars have been around long enough that everybody's got a handle on them. We know what we need to start off with. The biggest challenge will be chasing the track with the Craftsman Trucks, and the Winston West Series, that are going to be there."

Ward looks forward to returning to Phoenix where he made his oval track debut driving an Indy Lights car in 1993. "It was only my second car race," Ward said. "I qualified on the front row and finished fourth so I tend to like that track. It's a fun track to drive. There are good passing areas and that's what makes it a fun track."

Ward's only visit to Phoenix in an IRL car came one year ago. He sat on the pole after recording a lap at 172.753 mph, a new track record for the current Indy Racing League cars.

In the first race of this season, at Walt Disney World, Ward started sixth and finished third. He is currently fourth in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League point standings.

INDY RACING LEAGUE CAREER STATS:

Jeff Ward - Pagan Racxing No. 21 Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear Starts: 15 Poles: 1 (Phoenix 1998) Top 5: 6 Top 10: 7 Total Laps: 2,327 Laps Led: 417 Races: 10 Prize Money: $1,321,350

1999 DRIVER POINTS (top 5) 1. Eddie Cheever 50 2. Scott Goodyear 40 3. Scott Sharp 37 4. JEFF WARD 35 5. Raul Boesel 31

RACE FAST FACTS:

MCI Worldcomm 200 - 200 laps - 200 miles Round 2 (of 11) Pep Boys Indy Racing League

March 28, 1999 - 2:00 P.M. (MST) TV - FOX Sports Net (live), 4:00 P.M. (EST) RADIO - IMS Radio Network (live), 4:00 P.M. (EST) Local Affiliate KGME-AM, 1360, Phoenix

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Jeff Ward , Scott Sharp , Scott Goodyear , Raul Boesel