IRL: Phoenix notes 96-03-21

THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 1996 Welcome to the $1 million-plus Dura-Lube 200 weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, the 52nd running of the Indianapolis cars at the Desert Mile. *** Lyn St. James will be on...

THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 1996

Welcome to the $1 million-plus Dura-Lube 200 weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, the 52nd running of the Indianapolis cars at the Desert Mile.

***

Lyn St. James will be on America Online for a live chat 7-7:45 p.m. (Phoenix time, 5-5:45 p.m. EST) Friday. Keyword: Lifetime. St. James will answer questions as she prepares for the Dura-Lube 200 in a Lifetime Television-sponsored entry.

***

After the first two rounds, Sam Schmidt leads the overall U.S. Formula Ford 2000 championship points with 56. Jason Bright is second with 46, followed by Allen May (39), Andrew Bordin (34) and Bruno Bianchi (28). Schmidt also leads the USAC Oval Crown standings with 30, followed by Nick Holt (26), May (23), Bianchi (21) and Steve Knapp (18). Schmidt won the season opener at Walt Disney World Speedway by .315 second over Holt. Bright won the second round at St. Petersburg with Schmidt second.

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Wayne Rogers of the Russell Racing School presented the second of the school's US FF2000 oval-track seminars last night for the classroom portion. This morning, 15 new US FF2000 drivers took the on-track portion in preparation for their 50-lapper.

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Stan Wattles underwent testing at the Human Performance International diagnostic clinic in Daytona Beach March 6-7. The program assesses physical aspects of an athlete and provides a one-year regimen for performance improvements through mind and body conditioning. "It was fantastic," Wattles said. "I really enjoyed the doctors' input and I feel more knowledgeable and aware of myself and my capabilities now." Wattles' team, Leigh Miller Racing, has its own hairdresser. He's Robert Bullen of Palm Beach, Fla., who will be the board man on Race Day.

***

Eliseo Salazar, who was injured during practice preceding the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway on Jan. 26, continues to recuperate and plans to be back by the beginning of May. Salazar suffered a broken right leg in the accident which required four surgeries. He has now been cleared to drive a passenger car and his rehabilitation program has been moved from his home to an outside facility. "To all of the organizations and fans who have sent cards, flowers and well wishes, I want to say 'thank you' and I will be seeing you back on the track very soon," Salazar said.

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Billy Roe of Chandler warmed up for Saturday's record run for an electric-powered Indianapolis car today with a lap at 104 miles per hour.

Roe set the closed-course record for an electric-powered Indy car at 107.126 miles per hour at P.I.R. in 1995. He passed his USAC driver's test in the #16 Blueprint Racing machine on Feb. 29. He'll make another run at the mark after IRL qualifying Saturday.

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According to IRL Chief Steward Keith Ward, Paul Durant, Racin Gardner and Johnny Unser will continue United States Auto Club drivers' tests Friday.

Durant, of Manteca, Calif., the first driver to exceed 150 miles an hour in a supermodified at P.I.R., passed three of four phases of the test. Gardner, of Las Vegas completed two phases.

Unser, of Sun Valley, Idaho, started the first phase of a two-phase refresher test. He is the son of the late Jerry Unser, the first of the legendary family to race at Indianapolis.

If all three are cleared to drive, 28 car/driver combinations are set to vie for starting spots in the Dura-Lube 200.

During the tests, Durant ran 76 laps with a top speed of 160.808. As Gardner worked his way up to speed over 105 laps, he reached 155.501. Unser ran only seven laps because of mechanical problems.

***

U.S. FORMULA FORD 2000 NOTES: At 5:18 p.m., #70 Sam Hornish Jr., of Defiance, Ohio, spun and hit the wall in Turn 2. Hornish Jr. was uninjured. The car sustained minor damage to both right-side corners.

At 5:37 p.m., #2 Nick Holt of Seattle made light contact with the wall in Turn 2. Holt was uninjured. The car had wing damage.

At 5:50 p.m., #43 Lance Norick spun in Turn 2, contacted by #99 Allen May. Both drivers were uninjured.

--PIR--

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eliseo Salazar , Billy Roe , Lance Norick , Sam Schmidt , Lyn St. James , Steve Knapp , Andrew Bordin , Jason Bright , Stan Wattles , Johnny Unser , Sam Hornish Jr.