IRL: Phoenix test -- Day 3 98-02-27

TIRE COMPANIES WORK WITH IRL TEAMS TO FIND HOT SETUP FOR PHOENIX PHOENIX, Feb. 27, 1998 - Firestone and Goodyear continued to develop their tires for the Pep Boys Indy Racing League on Friday at Phoenix International Raceway,...

TIRE COMPANIES WORK WITH IRL TEAMS TO FIND HOT SETUP FOR PHOENIX

PHOENIX, Feb. 27, 1998 - Firestone and Goodyear continued to develop their tires for the Pep Boys Indy Racing League on Friday at Phoenix International Raceway, conducting extensive testing with five teams in preparation for the Dura-Lube 200 on March 22.

Testing for Firestone:

.Team Menard (driver Robbie Buhl) .Treadway Racing (Arie Luyendyk) .Jonathan Byrd-Cunningham Racing (Mike Groff)

Testing for Goodyear:

.A.J. Foyt Enterprises (drivers Billy Boat, Kenny Brack) .Hemelgarn Racing (Buddy Lazier)

Both companies had different objectives during testing on the 1-mile oval. Firestone tested its primary race tire, while Goodyear worked with its option race tire.

Firestone's race tire is a new design, in both construction and compound, said Al Speyer, Bridgestone/Firestone director of motorsports. It's different than the tire that Jim Guthrie used to win this event last March and different from the tire used in Firestone's successful test in December 1997 at PIR.

"This is the next step of our evolution," Speyer said. "We've been taking the best of all of those tires and trying to make an even better tire. This is our final validation for the race.

"We still have room for improvement. We're well aware that Goodyear is working hard. We're pleased, but we're also very knowledgeable that we have work to do. It's really fun because we enjoy the challenge. We expect a great, close show here next month."

Many Goodyear teams helped to refine the company's primary race tire during the "Test in the West" open test session Wednesday and Thursday at PIR. The tire tested Friday will be available as an option for Goodyear teams during the Dura-Lube 200.

"We're set, other than what we learned today, which we'll apply to the option tire," said Paul Lauritzen, Goodyear operations manager for the IRL. "We're very pleased with how all three days have gone. We had the fastest time and speed of the three days here."

Speyer and Lauritzen admit that testing in the 60-degree temperatures Friday can be deceptive because they both expect the mercury to hit at least 80 on race day.

"Through our years of experience of testing in January and February we know what to look for in March and April," Lauritzen said.

Said Speyer, "The compound we brought is better-suited to temperatures 10 to 20 degrees hotter, which is what we expect for race day."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robbie Buhl , Buddy Lazier , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Jim Guthrie , Kenny Brack , Paul Lau , A.J. Foyt
Teams A.J. Foyt Enterprises