IRL: Scott Goodyear finds speed at richmond

RICHMOND, Va., Tuesday, June 27, 2000 - Scott Goodyear paved the way for a new era of speed at Richmond International Raceway, setting an unofficial track record with a top lap of 146.75 mph today during the first Indy Racing Northern...

RICHMOND, Va., Tuesday, June 27, 2000 - Scott Goodyear paved the way for a new era of speed at Richmond International Raceway, setting an unofficial track record with a top lap of 146.75 mph today during the first Indy Racing Northern Light Series test at the ¾-mile oval. Goodyear turned a total of 50 laps in his Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. His best lap, 18.42 seconds, 146.75 mph, easily exceeded the track record of 20.552, 131.374 set by Randy Tolsma in a USAC Coors Light Silver Bullet Series car in June 1996. The fastest lap by a stock car on the D-shaped oval is 21.344, 126.499 by Jeff Gordon in May 1999. The test was the prelude to the first Northern Light Series event at Richmond on June 30, 2001. It will be the first Northern Light Series event on a track shorter than 1 mile. "It's a challenging track," Goodyear said. "We should be able to run two- or three-abreast comfortably." Goodyear indicated that speeds should climb even higher during the inaugural race, as his car was set up for the Open Test this weekend on the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway, not a short oval. Still, it took Goodyear only 10 laps to reach a speed of 143.92 mph. "I would guess that we'd be in the 17.5 range, around 150 average," Goodyear said of eventual top speeds at RIR. "The pit lane here is great. It's nice and wide. There's also probably more speed tire-wise." Observing the test were Brian Barnhart, Indy Racing League director of racing operations; Phil Casey, Indy Racing League technical director; Al Unser Jr., two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and Northern Light Series standout; Jim Hunter, Darlington Raceway president and general manager; and Doug Fritz, RIR vice president and general manager. Unser, like Goodyear, is eager to race under the lights next June at RIR, which has 14-degree banking in all four turns. "This track, to me, is a little bullring for Indy cars," Unser said, smiling. "We, the drivers, are going to be busy the whole race. Every straight and every corner will be busy. "With the banking, it's like a mini-Michigan. It gets a little tight at the exit of Turn 2. But as drivers, we'll take care of that. It looks like a fun little racetrack." The test also was a big story with the regional media, as approximately 30 media members covered Goodyear's laps and attended a luncheon at the track. "We did a radio show here last week, and the enthusiasm was high," Goodyear said. "I think you're going to see a great entertainment package almost one year from now. We're in the entertainment business. We just turn left doing it."

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Scott Goodyear , Randy Tolsma , Brian Barnhart , Jim Hunter