For Immediate Release SHARP'S FAST LAP HOLDS UP AS IRL TESTING ENDS LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Jan. 14, 1998 - If preseason testing is any indication, Scott Sharp could be the favorite for victory in the Indy 200 Presented by Aurora on...
For Immediate Release
SHARP'S FAST LAP HOLDS UP AS IRL TESTING ENDS
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Jan. 14, 1998 - If preseason testing is any indication, Scott Sharp could be the favorite for victory in the Indy 200 Presented by Aurora on Jan. 24 at Walt Disney World Speedway, the Indy Racing League season opener.
Sharp's unofficial fast lap Jan. 9 of 20.967 seconds, 171.698 mph - an unofficial track record for the new IRL cars - remained the best performance as testing ended Wednesday on the 1-mile oval. Sharp turned the quick lap in just his second day with his new team, Kelley Racing. Sharp finished fourth in the Indy 200 Presented by Aurora last year in a car owned by A.J. Foyt.
IRL testing was conducted Dec. 9-10 and resumed Jan. 6-10, 12-14.
A full field of 31 IRL entrants will return to Walt Disney World Speedway next week for the race. Practice starts at 10 a.m. Jan. 22, with qualifying starting at noon Jan. 23. The third annual Indy 200 Presented by Aurora will take the green flag at 12:40 p.m. Jan. 24.
At 10:43 a.m., Stan Wattles was unhurt when his Metro Racing Systems Riley & Scott/Aurora did a half-spin entering Turn 1 and backed into the outside retaining wall, causing moderate damage to the car. Wattles was examined in the Infield Care Center, transported to Sand Lake Hospital for precautionary X-rays and released Thursday afternoon. IRL Medical Director Dr. Hank Bock cleared Wattles to drive.
STAN WATTLES: "The car was just fine. We made a change, so I was being careful about it. I came into the corner and started to squeeze the power back on. The car was balanced, but it just came right around. I said: 'Ah, sugar. Not again.' I didn't want to be the first one to test the new (Riley & Scott) bellhousing."
UNOFFICIAL TOP TIMES, SPEEDS OF THE DAY Driver Team Car/Engine/Tire Time Speed Davey Hamilton Nienhouse Motorsports G Force/Aurora/Goodyear 21.7 165.899 Eliseo Salazar R&S Cars, Inc. R&S/Aurora/Goodyear 22.28 161.580 Dr. Jack Miller Crest Racing Dallara/Infiniti/F 22.6 159.292 Note: Times, speeds unavailable for Mike Groff, Stan Wattles
*** Indy 200 tickets: Tickets for the Jan. 24 Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway Presented by Aurora are available by calling Ticketmaster, (407) 839-3900 (Orlando) or (813) 287-8844 (Tampa).
On the airwaves: The live television and radio broadcast schedule for the Indy 200 Presented by Aurora, Chevy Trucks Challenge and USAC Silver Crown Championship races:
Jan. 17 (2:30 p.m., ESPN2): USAC Silver Crown qualifying race and main feature race, Chevy Trucks Challenge qualifying race.
Jan. 18 (noon, ESPN2, MRN Radio): Chevy Trucks Challenge race.
Jan. 23 (noon, Speedvision): Indy 200 Presented by Aurora qualifying.
Jan. 24 (noon, IMS Radio Network; 12:30 p.m., ABC): Indy 200 Presented by Aurora race. The Orlando-area IMS Radio Network affiliate is WQTM, 540 AM.