IRL: Test in the West Fast Facts

WHAT: Northern Light Indy Racing Series Test in the West Indy Racing League-sanctioned open tests at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway WHERE: Las Vegas Motor Speedway 1.5-mile paved tri-oval Phoenix International ...

WHAT:

Northern Light Indy Racing Series Test in the West Indy Racing League-sanctioned open tests at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway

WHERE:

Las Vegas Motor Speedway 1.5-mile paved tri-oval Phoenix International Raceway 1-mile paved oval

WHEN:

Las Vegas: Feb. 21-22, 2000 Phoenix: Feb. 25-26, 2000

CARS:

Dallara, G Force and Riley & Scott chassis; 3.5-liter Oldsmobile V8 and Nissan Infiniti Indy V8 engines; Firestone tires

1999 LAS VEGAS RACE WINNER:

1999 PHOENIX RACE WINNER:

Sam Schmidt

Scott Goodyear 1999 NORTHERN LIGHT INDY RACING SERIES CHAMPION:

Greg Ray SCHEDULE (all times local):

(Las Vegas, Feb. 21-22) Track open for practice, 9 a.m.-noon, 1-4 p.m. Grandstands open to the public. No admission charge.

(Phoenix, Feb. 25-26) Track open for practice, 9 a.m.-noon, 1-4 p.m. Grandstands open to the public Feb. 26. No admission charge.

TRACK RECORDS:

(Las Vegas, qualifying) Arie Luyendyk, Reynard/Ford Cosworth/Firestone, 23.832 seconds, 226.491 mph, Sept. 14, 1996 (turbocharged)

(Las Vegas, race) Eliseo Salazar, Dallara/Oldsmobile/Goodyear, 208 laps/312 miles, 2:11:07.915, 142.757 mph, Oct. 11, 1997

(Phoenix, qualifying) Arie Luyendyk, Reynard/Ford Cosworth/Firestone, 19.608 seconds, 183.599, March 23, 1996 (turbocharged, IRL)

(Phoenix, race)

Indy Racing League best: Arie Luyendyk, Reynard/Ford Cosworth/Firestone, 1:42:14, 117.368 mph, March 24, 1996 (turbocharged)

Track record: Roberto Guerrero, March/Cosworth/Goodyear, 200 laps/200 miles, 1:26:56.620, 138.020 mph, April 12, 1987 (CART)

THE TRACKS:

Las Vegas Motor Speedway: 1.5-mile paved superspeedway Front straightaway: 2,657 feet Back straightaway: 2,187 feet Turns: 1,610 feet Width: Backstraight, 54 feet; Tri-oval, 65 feet; Turns, 70 feet Banking: Backstraight, 3 degrees; Frontstraight, 9 degrees; Turns, 12 degrees

Phoenix International Raceway: 1-mile paved oval Front straightaway: 1,179 feet Back straightaway: 1,551 feet Width: 56-71 feet Banking: Turns 1-2, 11 degrees; Turns 3-4, 9 degrees

Las Vegas Motor Speedway, completed in 1996, is owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. The facility boasts a 1.5-mile superspeedway, 3/8-mile paved oval, 1.3- and 2.25-mile road courses, quarter-mile drag strip, half-mile dirt oval and a BMX bicycle facility. In addition to the Northern Light Indy Racing Series, LVMS plays host to events sanctioned by NASCAR, the National Hot Rod Association, the World of Outlaws and the American Le Mans Series.

Phoenix International Raceway, located in the Arizona desert in the western Phoenix suburb of Avondale, opened in 1964. The facility is owned and operated by International Speedway Corp. The oval features a unique "dogleg" bend on the back straightaway. PIR has played host to 55 Indy-style races and also conducts NASCAR and United States Auto Club-sanctioned events. An 11-turn, 1.51-mile road course within the facility is used for Grand American Road Racing Association races.

THE TEST:

(This is the first year that the annual Test in the West includes Las Vegas Motor Speedway. For the past five years, the Northern Light Indy Racing Series has conducted the Test in the West at Phoenix International Raceway. All Indy Racing teams were invited to participate in this Indy Racing League-sanctioned event.

(Prominent drivers tentatively scheduled to participate in the Test in the West include 1999 Northern Light Indy Racing Series champion Greg Ray, Indianapolis 500 winners Al Unser Jr. (1992 and 1994), Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998) and Buddy Lazier (1996), Robbie Buhl, winner of the 2000 Indy Racing season opener at Walt Disney World Speedway, and defending Phoenix event champion Scott Goodyear.

(Also participating are Phoenix resident Billy Boat, Kelley Racing teammates Mark Dismore and Scott Sharp, and perennial Indy Racing contender Jeff Ward, driving for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt this year.

TEST NOTES:

(Drivers and teams are participating in the Test in the West in preparation for the MCI WorldCom Indy 200 on March 19 at Phoenix, and the Las Vegas 500 on April 22 at Las Vegas. Northern Light Indy Racing Series winners at Phoenix include Scott Goodyear (1999), Scott Sharp (1998), Jim Guthrie (1997) and Arie Luyendyk (1996). Past winners at Las Vegas are Sam Schmidt (1999), Arie Luyendyk (1998), Eliseo Salazar (1997) and Richie Hearn (1996).

(Two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr. will take part in his first official test at Las Vegas during the Test in the West. Unser, competing in the Northern Light Indy Racing Series this year with Galles ECR Racing, has never raced at Las Vegas. Despite 31 career victories in Indy-style competition, Unser never has won at Phoenix. But he has finished second there four times. The last time an Unser was victorious at PIR was Oct. 10, 1985, when Al Unser Jr.'s father, Al Unser, won a CART event.

(Robbie Buhl, winner of the season-opening Delphi Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway, has a 12-point lead in the season point standings over Buddy Lazier. Buhl placed third in the MCI WorldCom Indy 200 in 1999 at PIR.

(Buddy Lazier and fellow Indy Racing standout Eddie Cheever Jr. are competing in the 2000 Northern Light Indy Racing Series with new Riley & Scott chassis. Lazier and Hemelgarn Racing recently completed private testing at Phoenix with their R&S chassis. The Riley & Scott fared well in its debut race at Walt Disney World Speedway Jan. 29, as Lazier and Cheever finished second and third, respectively.

(Five Northern Light Indy Racing Series rookies are scheduled to participate in the Test in the West: Airton Dare, Doug Didero, Sarah Fisher, Sam Hornish Jr. and Jeret Schroeder. Dare, Didero, Hornish and Schroeder all participated in the Delphi Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway.

(Fisher, who made her Indy Racing debut with Team Pelfrey at the Mall.com 500 last October at Texas Motor Speedway, will compete for the remainder of the 2000 season with Walker Racing. At 19, Fisher, of Commercial Point, Ohio, is the youngest person ever to compete in the Northern Light Indy Racing Series.

STATISTICS: 2000 Northern Light Indy Racing Series point standings 1. Robbie Buhl 52 2. Buddy Lazier 40 3. Eddie Cheever Jr. 35 4. Scott Goodyear 32 5. Eliseo Salazar 30 6. Donnie Beechler 28 7. Jeff Ward 26 8. Buzz Calkins 24 9. Billy Boat 22 10. Robby McGehee 20

2000 rookie point standings 1. Airton Dare 19 2. Niclas Jonsson 18 3. Doug Didero 16 4. Jeret Schroeder 11 5. Sam Hornish Jr. 10 6. Jon Herb 8

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Robby McGehee , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Jon Herb , Robbie Buhl , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Jeff Ward , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Airton Daré , Mark Dismore , Scott Goodyear , Jeret Schroeder , Roberto Guerrero , Donnie Beechler , Sam Schmidt , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr. , Al Unser