PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE WEEKLY NOTEBOOK Big test in Texas: USAC midget standout Jay Drake and World of Outlaws star Jac Haudenschild will join USAC stars Ryan Newman and Tony Elliott for a Pep Boys IRL rookie test in the Pennzoil ...
PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE WEEKLY NOTEBOOK
Big test in Texas: USAC midget standout Jay Drake and World of Outlaws star Jac Haudenschild will join USAC stars Ryan Newman and Tony Elliott for a Pep Boys IRL rookie test in the Pennzoil Panther G Force/Aurora/Goodyear on Dec. 3-4 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Drake earned the test by finishing second in the USAC midget national points this season. Champion Jason Leffler already has his Pep Boys IRL license, so Drake earned the spot.
Haudenschild, known as the "Wild Child" to his legions of fans, won 11 races and recorded 47 top-10 finishes this season in Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series sprint-car competition. He finished seventh in the season point standings in his Pennzoil Maxim car.
"It's been a dream of mine to drive an Indy-style car for a long time," said Haudenschild, 40. "I'm really looking forward to it."
Earlier this year, Pennzoil and Panther Racing agreed to provide tests to champions in all three major USAC divisions -- Silver Crown, sprint and midget. If the champion already passed the IRL test, then the test spot was awarded to the next-highest finisher without an IRL license.
Newman finished third in the final Silver Crown point standings, behind champion Leffler and 1998 Pep Boys IRL rookie standout Brian Tyler. Elliott won the USAC sprint national championship.
Pennzoil Panther driver Scott Goodyear and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford will serve as veteran observers during the tests on the 1.5-mile quad-oval.
Oldsmobile renews engine deal: Oldsmobile has extended its agreement to provide engines for the Pep Boys Indy Racing League by two years through at least 2001.
Oldsmobile Aurora V8 engines have powered the winner of every race, every PPG Pole and both league championships since the Pep Boys IRL introduced its normally aspirated engine package in January 1997.
"Oldsmobile is enthusiastic about the future of the Indy Racing League, and we are committed to continuing our marketing and engineering involvement in this exciting and growing area of sports," said Karen Francis, Oldsmobile general manager-marketing. "Marketing studies indicate that the interest of sports fans in auto racing is growing faster than for any other sport, and that the Indianapolis 500 continues to be of more interest to more sports fans than any other single auto race.
"We believe there is tremendous growth potential for the IRL series."
The Pep Boys IRL will switch from to 3.5-liter normally aspirated engines starting in 2000. It will continue to use 4-liter engines based on production technology this season.
Brack, Sharp to star on TNN specials: 1998 Pep Boys Indy Racing League champion Kenny Brack and league standout Scott Sharp will be featured on separate motorsports specials upcoming on The Nashville Network (TNN).
Brack will join several 1998 motorsports season champions in the spotlight on "TNN Raceday's" champions show, 11 a.m.-noon (EST) Jan. 3. Sharp will be a guest on "TNN Raceday's" Christmas show, 11 a.m.-noon (EST) Dec. 27.
Sweet sounds: Chastain Motorsports has added racing sound files to its World Wide Web site, http://www.chastainmotorsports.com.
Many racing sounds are included in the "Headphone Magic" section of the site, including clips of racing engines, work in the pits and even the whistles of the famous "yellow-shirt" Safety Patrol at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. All files are formatted in high-quality, digital MP3 audio.