IRL: Steele and Yeley Pass Rookie Tests

USAC STARS STEELE, YELEY READY TO ROLL AFTER PASSING IRL TESTS PHOENIX, Feb. 20, 1998 - USAC stars Dave Steele and J.J. Yeley are ready for prime time in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League after passing their IRL driving tests Feb. 19 at Phoenix ...

USAC STARS STEELE, YELEY READY TO ROLL AFTER PASSING IRL TESTS

PHOENIX, Feb. 20, 1998 - USAC stars Dave Steele and J.J. Yeley are ready for prime time in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League after passing their IRL driving tests Feb. 19 at Phoenix International Raceway. Steele completed a refresher test and Yeley the complete rookie test on the 1-mile oval, said Brian Barnhart, IRL director of racing operations.

Barnhart and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford observed the testing. "They both did an excellent job," Barnhart said. "They were very smooth, very controlled, very competent." Steele and Yeley are eligible to participate in the "Test in the West" open test session Feb. 25-27 and the Phoenix 200 on March 22, both at PIR.

There are four phases to an IRL rookie test. The last two phases of that test comprise the refresher test. Drivers must complete 10 consecutive laps within the designated time range to pass each phase. The time ranges for each phase at Phoenix:

--Phase One: 24.0 seconds (150.000 mph) and 24.5 seconds (146.939 mph). --Phase Two: 23.5 seconds (153.191 mph) and 24.0 seconds (150.000 mph). --Phase Three: 23.0 seconds (156.522 mph) and 23.5 seconds (153.191 mph). --Phase Four: Quicker than 23.0 seconds (156.522 mph).

Steele, who passed his IRL rookie test in 1996, completed 170 laps in a car fielded by rsm Marko. His best lap was 22.5 seconds, 160.000 mph. Yeley turned 190 laps in an Arizona Motor Sport Racing/SRS car, with a fast lap of 22.0 seconds, 163.636 mph.

Steele, 23, from Tampa, Fla., won six USAC sprint races on pavement in 1997. He finished ninth in the sprint point standings despite racing a partial schedule. Steele will drive for rsm Marko for the rest of the 1998 IRL season and continue to race in selected USAC events.

Yeley, 21, from Phoenix, was named USAC sprint car Rookie of the Year in 1997 after finishing fifth in the point standings. He won the USAC Indiana Sprint Weeks and the prestigious Tony Hulman Classic in 1997. Yeley will drive for AMS/SRS in the Phoenix 200 and the Indianapolis 500 as a teammate to Dr. Jack Miller, and he will finish the season with the team if more sponsorship can be found.

Tickets for the Phoenix 200 are available by calling Phoenix International Raceway at (602) 252-2227.

Visit the Pep Boys Indy Racing League's website at: http://www.indyracingleague.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers J.J. Yeley , Dave Steele , Brian Barnhart , Johnny Rutherford , Jack Miller