INDYCAR SERIES DRIVERS RAVE ABOUT RACING AT RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY DURING FIRESTONE TEST RICHMOND, VA (March 19, 2008)--Although it's been nearly 9 months since the IndyCarÂ® Series drivers have raced around Richmond International ...
INDYCAR SERIES DRIVERS RAVE ABOUT RACING AT RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY DURING FIRESTONE TEST
RICHMOND, VA (March 19, 2008)--Although it's been nearly 9 months since the IndyCar® Series drivers have raced around Richmond International Raceway's ¾-mile oval, they have not forgotten how exciting it is to run 15-second lap times at the shortest track the series visits.
Target Chip Ganassi driver Scott Dixon and Team Penske driver Ryan Briscoe were at America's Premier Short Track today for a Firestone test. Both drivers turned laps at Richmond International Raceway on a mild but windy day. It didn't take long for them to remember the intensity of racing at Richmond.
"Richmond doesn't compare to anything we race on," said 2003 IndyCar Series champion Dixon. "For one, it's under the lights. We don't get to race under the lights too often. It's a ¾-mile. My first impression when coming to this place, I thought it was a go-kart track, it was so small. It's definitely the most fun I've ever had on an oval. The side-by-side racing you typically get under the lights and the competition that you have is a lot of fun. It's a place that 90% of us guys love to come back to."
"It's definitely one of the more exciting tracks for us to drive around," said Briscoe. "From a driving standpoint, it certainly is one of the most exciting ovals we go to. The biggest difference about the open-wheel racing in IndyCars is the speed. These cars turn very quick lap times. We can get down in the 15-second range here and it really is flying. And we still get side-by-side racing."
All of the IndyCar Series drivers will return to Richmond International Raceway Friday, June 27 and Saturday, June 28 for the open-wheel weekend, which will feature the SunTrust Indy Challenge IndyCar Series race on Saturday, June 28, preceded by the USAC Silver Crown Series 100 race. The weekend begins on Friday, June 27, with practice and pole qualifying for the IndyCar Series, USAC Silver Crown Series and USAC National Sprint Car Series, as well as the USAC National Sprint Car Series race "under the lights."
This year's SunTrust Indy Challenge will include an additional 50 laps. The race was lengthened from 250 to 300 laps, which will make for even more excitement at America's Premier Short Track.
"It will make a big change," said Dixon, who won the 2003 SunTrust Indy Challenge. "I think it's a combination of a lot of things. Not just the 50 laps, but we're probably going to have eight to 10 cars extra on the grid, as well. At a place like Richmond, you get into traffic so quick, it's going to make it really tough. There could be a few more crashes. It's a great place to run under the lights. I've had some fond memories here and hopefully some more coming this year."
Fans can expect the same excitement this year as they have in previous SunTrust Indy Challenge events. One of the great things about races at Richmond International Raceway is racing "under the lights," which is not only great for the fans, but great for the drivers.
"Everyone is so close, and especially here at night time, it's really exciting," said Briscoe. "It's a great atmosphere. It's always a pleasure to come to a race where you see the grandstands filled with people so close to the action. Short ovals are definitely unique in that aspect compared to the bigger ones."
The 2008 IndyCar Series season is the first since the historic unification of the IndyCar Series and the Champ Car Series--the two premier racing outfits in North America. The unification means even more drivers, cars and excitement in America's top open-wheel series, including the addition of talented drivers such as Paul Tracy and Graham Rahal.
Tickets are on sale now for the SunTrust Indy Challenge weekend at Richmond International Raceway. The SunTrust Indy Challenge IndyCar Series race is scheduled to run "under the lights" on Saturday, June 28. Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves, Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon will be joined by the rest of the stars of the IndyCar Series, as they hit speeds of 180 mph. Saturday's ticket also includes a seat for the USAC Silver Crown Series 100 race. The weekend begins Friday, June 27, with practice and pole qualifying for the SunTrust Indy Challenge, USAC Silver Crown Series and USAC National Sprint Car Series, followed by the USAC National Sprint Car Series race. Tickets are available by calling 866-455-7223 or visiting www.rir.com.