IPS: First test of new series at Michigan Intl. Speedway

Priestley comfortable, confident after Michigan test. INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, June 21, 2002 -- A name better known in Hollywood circles than on racing ovals was at Michigan International Speedway June 20 testing an Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series...

Priestley comfortable, confident after Michigan test.

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, June 21, 2002 -- A name better known in Hollywood circles than on racing ovals was at Michigan International Speedway June 20 testing an Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series car for the first time.

Jason Priestley, star of television's Beverly Hills 90210, tested his No. 7 HomeMed Kelley Racing Dallara at MIS, the first time an Infiniti Pro Series car had taken laps around the 2-mile superspeedway. Kelley Racing test driver Tony Renna was also in attendance, logging 20 laps in the morning with Priestley recording 38 laps in the afternoon.

Priestley was pleased with the one-day session, which served as an introduction to the Infiniti Pro Series car prior to official Open Tests June 22 at Gateway International Raceway and June 24 at Chicagoland Speedway.

"It's a new racing discipline for me because I'm used to road course racing," said Priestley, 32. "The cars produce a lot of downforce, so I think all of us will be comfortable, and that'll lead to a lot of close racing."

While new to open-wheel competition, Priestley has participated in various forms of motorsports, including IMSA, the SCCA Pro Rally Series, the Magna Enduro Series and the FIA World Rally Championship. In 1998, he earned his first career victory driving a Grand-Am sportscar at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and finished 10th in the 24 Hours of Daytona for Multimatic Racing.

"All through my racing career, I've been conscious about taking things one step at a time," he said. "In this business, it's easy to get in over your head, and if you don't get up to speed, you can end up jumping into a car that's got too much power, and that's too difficult. I'm focused on this year. I think it's going to be a great series."

The inaugural, seven-race season of the Infiniti Pro Series will begin July 7 at Kansas Speedway and culminate with the season finale Sept. 14 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The 100-mile Infiniti Pro Series "sprints" will take place at the same track and on the same day as Indy Racing League events except for the Texas race, which will be conducted the day before the IRL's season-ending Chevy 500.

Drivers will compete for a $100,000 purse at each Infiniti Pro Series race, and all events will be broadcast by ESPN2 and distributed worldwide via ESPN International.

-irl/ips-

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Tony Renna , Jason Priestley