Lasoski takes first laps at Brickyard in True Value IROC testing. INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, June 10, 2002 -- Danny Lasoski, 2001 World of Outlaws champion, turned his first laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 10, the first of three days...
Lasoski takes first laps at Brickyard in True Value IROC testing.
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, June 10, 2002 -- Danny Lasoski, 2001 World of Outlaws champion, turned his first laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 10, the first of three days of True Value International Race of Champions testing at the Speedway.
The True Value IROC series is racing's "all-star game." Twelve of the best drivers from various series compete in equally prepared Pontiac Trans Am stock cars in a four-race series that concludes Aug. 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Lasoski joined True Value IROC test drivers Andy Hillenburg, Dave Marcis and Jay Sauter on the famous 2.5-mile oval.
"When I was a little kid, I dreamed of coming to Indy," Lasoski said. "I grew up in Missouri, raced on dirt tracks, never been on pavement, and the first time I went down the backstretch it was like 'Oh, gosh,' I wanted to scream on the radio, 'I can't believe I'm here!' I'm having a great time, and it's a fabulous facility."
Lasoski drives a car in the World of Outlaws owned by 1996-97 Indy Racing League champion and fellow True Value IROC competitor Tony Stewart. Lasoski has won a record seven track championships at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa, and won the World of Outlaws event June 8 at the Terre Haute Action Track in Terre Haute, Ind. He leads the point standings, 4,227-4,204 over runner-up Steve Kinser, who finished 14th in the 1997 Indianapolis 500.
While Lasoski has been a master of the dirt tracks, the only surface on which the World of Outlaws competes, he is quickly learning how to deal with the paved superspeedways the True Value IROC series uses. Lasoski, 43, had spent his entire career racing on dirt until the first True Value IROC event of the year in February at Daytona International Speedway, where he finished sixth.
The True Value IROC season finale at Indy will be only his fourth start on pavement.
"Jay (Signore, president and general manager of IROC) and all the guys affiliated with IROC have been great to me, bringing me up to speed," Lasoski said. "I got comfortable within a matter of 10 laps, and now it's just trying to hit the right line and get the speed up.
"These guys have almost adopted me. I've made them adopt me. They can't get rid of me. This is probably the neatest thing I've ever done in my entire life. It's a great honor to be chosen to represent, basically, the short tracks.
"It's been a very big learning curve for me. I've never been on pavement, but having guys like (test drivers) Dave Marcis, Jim Sauter, Dick Trickle and Andy Hillenburg teach you the ropes is great. And it's helped having my boss (Tony) Stewart because he'd told me little things I need to do."
Hillenburg, a test driver for several years in IROC and a starter in the 2000 Indianapolis 500, has been impressed with Lasoski.
"He's doing really well," Hillenburg said. "I must say, his first day here, I feel like he doing all the things, he's asking the right questions. I really hope he's competitive come August to get the dirt-track crowd into the race."
While Lasoski is busy getting acclimated with a True Value IROC car at Indianapolis, Hillenburg, Sauter and Marcus were busy trying to make the cars equally competitive for the race Aug. 3. Each year, the test drivers head to each of the four tracks where the series competes and do extensive testing to ensure that the 12 cars are as evenly matched as possible.
"We had a great race (at Indianapolis) last year," Hillenburg said. "I think Bobby (Labonte) and Tony (Stewart) duked it out pretty much the whole day, and if we can come and work a little harder, maybe we can get five guys in there duking it out. We're just trying to get the cars where they drive a little better and they're more competitive, and it's a never-ending job."
While Hillenburg and the others are assuring that the cars will be competitive, they are also making sure Lasoski knows his way around the "World's Greatest Race Course."
"They can tell you all they want," Lasoski said. "But until you get out and do it, that's the name of the game."
True Value IROC testing continues Tuesday and Wednesday. Lasoski and the IROC test drivers will test both days. Defending Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr. is expected to test Tuesday, with NASCAR Winston Cup standout Ryan Newman scheduled to test Wednesday.