IRL: Test in the West Notebook 99-02-27

PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE 'TEST IN THE WEST' NOTEBOOK Ray fastest Saturday as open testing ends, Dismore fastest overall PHOENIX, Feb. 27, 1999 - Greg Ray was fastest Saturday at the Pep Boys Indy Racing League "Test in the West" at ...

PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE 'TEST IN THE WEST' NOTEBOOK Ray fastest Saturday as open testing ends, Dismore fastest overall

PHOENIX, Feb. 27, 1999 - Greg Ray was fastest Saturday at the Pep Boys Indy Racing League "Test in the West" at Phoenix International Raceway, posting a best lap of 20.502 seconds, 175.593 mph on the 1-mile oval.

Ray's best lap in the Glidden-Menards Dallara/Aurora/Firestone was tied with Scott Sharp for the second-fastest performance of the two-day test. Mark Dismore posted the fastest overall lap, 20.498, 175.627, on Friday in the MCI World Com Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Sharp's best lap also came Friday. "We were working on different setups at this test," Ray said. "We tried 10 or 12 different things. Some were good and some were bad. Our primary focus was on the race setup. "I don't think we reached the ultimate speed here. That wasn't our goal, although they did give me some new tires and let me go for it a little at the end of testing."

Pep Boys Indy Racing League teams used the test session to prepare for the MCI World Com 200 on March 28 at PIR. Many teams will participate in private tire testing Sunday. "I think we will be looking at 20.2 (seconds) for the pole position here at PIR," Ray said. "I think Team Menard along with Sharp, Dismore, (Billy) Boat and (Kenny) Brack are capable of reaching that speed. It's just going to be who crosses the t's, dots the i's and gets it right."

Dismore was second-fastest Saturday at 20.683, 174.056. Scott Goodyear was third at 20.695, 173.955 in his backup Pennzoil Panther G Force/Aurora/Goodyear.

John Hollansworth Jr. was the fastest rookie at 20.962, 171.739 in the pcsave.com-Lycos Dallara/Aurora/Firestone.

***

Minor scrapes: Scott Sharp, John Paul Jr. and Buzz Calkins all were unhurt and released to drive after accidents Saturday during the "Test in the West."

Sharp, in the Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear, spun and backed his car into the Turn 2 wall. The car sustained light rear-end damage.

Kelley Racing Technical Director David Cripps said of the incident: "We got caught up in the conditions out there. The track was still cold, and the rear tires weren't quite warmed up yet. We're fortunate - there wasn't much damage to the car, the safety equipment did what it was supposed to do." Paul, in the Jonathan Byrd's-VisionAire G Force/Aurora/Firestone, spun exiting Turn 4 and hit the inside of the front straightaway wall. The car sustained moderate left-side damage.

"The car just got loose coming around turn 4, I thought I had it saved but it just swapped ends on me," Paul said. Calkins, in the Bradley Foodmarts/Sav-O-Mat G Force/Aurora/Firestone, spun 180 degrees and hit the Turn 3 wall with the left rear of the car, which sustained moderate rear-end damage.

"I was going into (Turn) 3, and the engine just blew," Calkins said. "I got it slowed down to some extent, but not enough. It's a shame because we were just going to do this run and then were going to be done testing."

***

Knapp shakes down ISM car: Steve Knapp Saturday became the third driver to get behind the wheel of the ISM car in the "Test in the West."

Knapp, the 1998 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year, will drive in the MCI WorldCom 200 on March 28 at PIR but had not driven an Indy-style car on the 1-mile oval. He was allowed to practice in the car brought to the track for Jaques Lazier while the rookie took a break.

Jeff Ward, the primary ISM driver, shook down the car for Lazier on Friday.

***

Ongais visits tests: Strolling through the garages at PIR was the famed "Flying Hawaiian," Danny Ongais, a veteran of 11 Indianapolis 500s.

Ongais drove from 33rd to seventh for John Menard in the 1996 Indianapolis 500, first conducted under the Indy Racing League aegis. He finished 13th in his only other Indy Racing League appearance at Walt Disney World Speedway in 1997.

He practiced for the Indy 500 last year but crashed and was hospitalized. When he was released, he was not cleared medically to drive in the race.

***

Helping hand: John Martin, who drove in five Indy 500s between 1972 and 1976 (with a best finish of eighth), was a helper for Dick Simon Racing during this test.

Last year Martin ran the Indy Lights program for Casey and Clint Mears, sons of Roger and Rick Mears, respectively. But then Roger Mears lost his major sponsor and liquidated his spotless shop in Bakersfield, Calif., from which he also conducted his off-road operations.

"He sold the shop, his equipment, everything," Martin said.

***

Wooed: Jim Harbaugh, one of the owners of the Pennzoil Panther Racing team, is being hotly pursued by the NFL's San Diego Chargers to join the team as the backup quarterback.

"San Diego's after him heavy," said John Barnes, another of the Panther Racing owners as well as team manager. "Jim's a hell of a coach. I think they want him to save their investment in Ryan Leaf. Leaf was highly disappointing as a rookie quarterback last year for the Chargers.

Harbaugh joined Barnes, TV producer Terry Lingner and Indianapolis new car dealer Gary Pedigo as a partner in Panther Racing while playing quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. He was released at the end of the 1997 season and signed by the Baltimore Ravens, where he played for Ted Marchibroda. Marchibroda's Colts came within one dropped end-zone pass by Harbaugh of making the Super Bowl in 1995. Marchibroda was fired by the Ravens at the end of the 1998 season.

Harbaugh was unable to attend the Pep Boys Indy Racing League two-day "Test in the West" at Phoenix International Raceway that ended Saturday due to a commitment in Colorado.

"But he calls four or five times a day (to check on driver Scott Goodyear's speed progress)," Barnes said.

***

For the fans: More than 600 fans turned out to watch testing free of charge today and to participate in an autograph session with Pep Boys Indy Racing League drivers.

***

Red Cross: The Central Arizona Chapter of the American Red Cross played host to a reception for Red Cross Supporters Saturday at PIR. Sprint PCS driver Sam Schmidt visited the reception and spoke about his racing experience. The Red Cross also raised money through donations from supporters, who earned a pace car ride around the 1-mile oval at PIR for their contributions.

***

Combined Practice Summary, 'Test in the West,' Saturday, Feb. 27

Car        Driver                Team                        C/E/T Fast Time Fast Speed
                                        
2        Greg Ray        Team Menard                D/A/F        20.502        175.593
28        Mark Dismore        Kelley Racing                D/A/G        20.683        174.056
4T        Scott Goodyear        Pennzoil Panther Racing        G/A/G        20.695        173.955
8        Scott Sharp        Kelley Racing                D/A/G        20.701        173.905
11T        Billy Boat        A.J. Foyt Enterprises        D/A/F        20.751        173.486
14T        Kenny Brack        A.J. Foyt Enterprises        D/A/G        20.780        173.244
20        Tyce Carlson        Blueprint-Immke                D/A/F        20.887        172.356
44        Robbie Buhl        SRS                        D/I/F        20.917        172.109
42        John Hollansworth Jr.        TeamXtreme        D/A/F        20.962        171.739
51        Eddie Cheever Jr.        Team Cheever        D/A/G        20.976        171.625
12        Buzz Calkins        Bradley Motorsports        G/A/F        20.996        171.461
91        Buddy Lazier        Hemelgarn Racing        D/A/G        21.116        170.487
66        Scott Harrington Harrington Motorsports        D/I/F        21.222        169.635
5        Sam Schmidt        Treadway Racing                G/A/F        21.241        169.484
33        Roberto Moreno        Truscelli Team Racing        G/A/G        21.285        169.133
7        Stephan Gregoire  Dick Simon Racing        G/A/F        21.295        169.054
6        Eliseo Salazar        Nienhouse Motorsports        D/A/F        21.297        169.038
81        Robby Unser        Team Pelfrey                D/A/F        21.520        167.286
3        Andy Michner        Brant Motorsports        R/A/G        21.700        165.899
53        Jaques Lazier        ISM Racing                G/I/G        21.805        165.100
10T        John Paul Jr.        Byrd/Cunningham Racing        G/A/F        21.880        164.534

Overall Summary, 'Test in the West,' Feb. 26-27

Car        Driver                Team                        C/E/T Fast Time Fast Speed
                                        
28        Mark Dismore        Kelley Racing                D/A/G        20.498        175.627
2        Greg Ray        Team Menard                D/A/F        20.502        175.593
8        Scott Sharp        Kelley Racing                D/A/G        20.502        175.593
4T        Scott Goodyear        Pennzoil Panther Racing        G/A/G        20.695        173.955
11T        Billy Boat        A.J. Foyt Enterprises        D/A/F        20.751        173.486
14T        Kenny Brack        A.J. Foyt Enterprises        D/A/G        20.780        173.244
20        Tyce Carlson        Immke Blueprint                D/A/F        20.887        172.356
44        Robbie Buhl        SRS                        D/I/F        20.917        172.109
42        John Hollansworth Jr.        Team Xtreme        D/A/F        20.962        171.739
51        Eddie Cheever Jr.        Team Cheever        D/A/G        20.976        171.625
12        Buzz Calkins        Bradley Motorsports        G/A/F        20.996        171.461
91        Buddy Lazier        Hemelgarn Racing        D/A/G        21.067        170.883
66        Scott Harrington Harrington Motorsports        D/I/F        21.222        169.635
5        Sam Schmidt        Treadway Racing                G/A/F        21.241        169.484
33        Roberto Moreno        Truscelli Team Racing        G/A/G        21.285        169.133
7        Stephan Gregoir        Dick Simon Racing        G/A/F        21.295        169.054
6        Eliseo Salazar        Nienhouse Motorsports        D/A/F        21.297        169.038
10        John Paul Jr.        Byrd/Cunningham Racing        G/A/F        21.400        168.224
81        Robby Unser        Team Pelfrey                D/A/F        21.520        167.286
3        Andy Michner        Brant Motorsports        R/A/G        21.700        165.899
53        Jeff Ward        ISM Racing                G/I/G        21.760        165.441
53        Jaques Lazier        ISM Racing                G/I/G        21.805        165.100
33        Greg Gorden        Truscelli Team Racing        G/A/G        22.347        161.095

Source: IMS/IRL

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Jeff Ward , Scott Sharp , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Scott Goodyear , Jaques Lazier  , Roberto Moreno , Kenny Brack , Sam Schmidt , Rick Mears , Steve Knapp , Tyce Carlson , Danny Ongais , Scott Harrington , Robby Unser , Roger Mears , John Paul , John Martin , Dick Simon , John Barnes , A.J. Foyt
Teams Team Xtreme , A.J. Foyt Enterprises , Panther Racing