For Immediate Release IRL DRIVER ORIENTATION AT P.I.R. FOLLOWS THREE-DAY 'TEST IN THE WEST' PHOENIX, February 29, 1996 -- Six drivers participated in USAC/IRL rookie orientation today at Phoenix International Raceway following three days...
For Immediate Release
IRL DRIVER ORIENTATION AT P.I.R. FOLLOWS THREE-DAY 'TEST IN THE WEST'
PHOENIX, February 29, 1996 -- Six drivers participated in USAC/IRL rookie orientation today at Phoenix International Raceway following three days of IRL open testing at the one-mile oval. Billy Boat (Phoenix native and '95 Western States Midget champion), Dan Drinan (National Midget series driver from Scottsdale, Ariz.), Brian Gerster (third-place finisher in the '95 USAC National Midget series from Indianapolis, Ind.), Kevin Olson ('82 and '87 USAC National Midget champion from Rockford, Ill.), Gary Peterson (Toyota Atlantic and SCCA Super Vee veteran from Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Billy Roe (Toyota Atlantic veteran from Gilbert, Ariz.) were on the track Thursday in the first of two day-long sessions. Orientations were overseen by three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford and USAC's Jack Beckley.
Drinan, Olson and Peterson conducted their sessions in the No. 18 PDM Racing machine of Indy veteran John Paul Jr. Boat, Gerster and Roe drove the No. 16 Blueprint Racing car of veteran Johnny Parsons and newcomer Jim Guthrie.
Boat, Drinan, Gerster and Roe passed all four phases of the USAC proficiency test today. Peterson, who raced at P.I.R. in both the Toyota Atlantic and SCCA Super Vee series, passed the first phase today and will attempt to complete the remainder of the test tomorrow. Olson, with limited track time Thursday, will begin phase one of his session tomorrow.
"This is a fine crop of rookies looking for a chance to compete in Indy car racing," said Rutherford. "They're all competent drivers and winners in their forms of racing. They just need to get accustomed to the power and speed of an Indy car. This is a good opportunity for them to drive under controlled conditions. We're here to make sure they're doing things right, let them know they're in control and get them qualified to drive Indianapolis-type cars."