IRL: Schmidt Motorsports Nashville preview

Pit Report from Nashville Thursday, July 18, 2001 You know you're in Nashville when the only thing you can get on the radio station is country music. You also know you're in Nashville when the surface on the race track is concrete. This is...

Pit Report from Nashville
Thursday, July 18, 2001

You know you're in Nashville when the only thing you can get on the radio station is country music. You also know you're in Nashville when the surface on the race track is concrete.

This is the inaugural Harrah's Indy 200 and the ninth of 13 races for the Indy Racing Northern Light Series. The Nashville Superspeedway is a 1.33-mile concrete oval, a cousin track to Bristol Motor Speedway and Dover Downs. They have put up additional grandstands to accommodate the demand for tickets, which at this hour are all sold-out. The only "seating" available now is literally standing room only with restricted view.

This is only the second time that the IRL cars have competed on concrete. The first was the monster mile at Dover Downs. Although several teams have tested here, the #99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special is not one of them. Larry Nash, Team Manager, comments on the challenges at hand, "Concrete will not be as susceptible to changes throughout the race as asphalt, which is always nice when you have a consistent track. However, the big question is in it's texture - how abrasive is it, how slick is it, how are the tires going to wear? There are certainly many questions to be answered yet. Without a test run, we have are work cut out for us. Our focus for the weekend will be on the race. We know we have a solid package, it's time to put some results on the board."

Many of the drivers who have tested here have commented on the fact that the track is slick, fast, and a handful. There have been comments about how difficult and important it will be to hold your line around this track. Although Jaques has not tested here, he did have the opportunity to race in Dover.

"I am looking forward to running at Nashville" he said. "The fact that it is concrete is great. We need to have some variety on the tracks that we run. I enjoyed running in Dover and I believe that set-up will be a key component of success at this race track...which is great, cause my guys have given me a great car every time. I think we've got a lot of talent on this team and the communication is flowing well. We could use a few more horses, and if we had that, there would no doubt that a victory would be close at hand. But with a consistent car you can get results and that will be our focus this weekend. This will be fun!"

"Live" is the word for the weekend. Qualifying will be broadcast live July 20th on ESPN2 at 5:30pm (EDT) as well as pre-race on ESPN2 at 5:30 (EDT) on July 21st. All 266 miles/200 laps of the race will also come to you live on ESPN at 8:00pm on Saturday Night.

Nashville is home to Bridgestone/Firestone and we are looking forward to visiting with a couple of thousand employees throughout the weekend. Spirits in the garage are high and as the heat and humidity of the summer press on, so do we.

- LeeAnne

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sam Schmidt