IPS: Nashville: Hemelgarn Racing preview

Witherill and Fike ready to conquer concrete at Nashville. Lebanon, Tenn. - Cory Witherill and Aaron Fike are focused on their next challenge, conquering the 1.33-mile concrete Nashville Superspeedway for the Firestone Indy 200 Infiniti Pro...

Witherill and Fike ready to conquer concrete at Nashville.

Lebanon, Tenn. - Cory Witherill and Aaron Fike are focused on their next challenge, conquering the 1.33-mile concrete Nashville Superspeedway for the Firestone Indy 200 Infiniti Pro Series event July 20.

Neither Witherill nor Fike have previous racing experience competing on a concrete surface.

"This is the only venue on the seven-race schedule that I've never raced at," said Witherill. "From what I can tell, the biggest difference in a concrete track is the bumps. I tested on July 10, and it was very bumpy. Although we only ran a few laps, we did get a good handle on the track. We got a baseline and know what work has to be done, especially with the shocks."

Witherill, a Navajo and only full-blooded Native American in professional open-wheel racing, hopes his years of racing and patience will give him the necessary edge over his competitors.

"Nashville is definitely a setup track, and I think this is where my experience will pay off. Horsepower isn't as important at this track and it will take just the right setup to go flat out."

Witherill's patience definitely paid off at the inaugural Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series event at Kansas Speedway. The Indy Racing League veteran drove his No. 92 WSA Healthcare/Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone entry to a third place finish after starting last in the field of 12-cars.

But the inaugural Kansas race was not so good for teammate Aaron Fike. The USAC short-track standout settled for the 11th spot after falling victim to an accident. He heads to Nashville with a podium finish on his mind.

"I just want to finish in the top three," said nineteen-year-old Fike. "We should have done it last weekend, but I got caught up in an accident while running up front. If we stay out of trouble and not run into mechanical problems, we should be at the head of the pack."

With his race anything, anywhere, anytime attitude, Aaron should settle into race mode with little trouble. Having had successful runs on asphalt and dirt tracks throughout the Midwest, the 2000 Rookie of the Year in the USAC Midget series will now try his luck on concrete.

"I've never raced at Nashville and definitely not on a concrete track. I've seen video footage of the track from an in-car cam. The track appears to be narrow, but the car should handle well."

Fike, driving the No. 91 Hemelgarn Racing/Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, will join Witherill when practice gets underway Friday July 19 at 11 am (CDT). Pole qualifying starts at 4:15 pm (CDT) July 19.

The Firestone Indy 200 Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series race starts at 3:30 pm (CDT) Saturday, July 20. Highlights from the race will be televised at 6:00 pm (EDT) August 8 on ESPN2.

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Cory Witherill , Aaron Fike