THE SOPHOMORE TRY AT RICHMOND FOR CROWN ROYAL IROC SERIES Richmond, VA (Sept. 3, 2005) -- The Crown Royal International Race of Champions Series began a week of testing at Richmond International Raceway in preparation for round three, of the...
THE SOPHOMORE TRY AT RICHMOND FOR CROWN ROYAL IROC SERIES
Richmond, VA (Sept. 3, 2005) -- The Crown Royal International Race of Champions Series began a week of testing at Richmond International Raceway in preparation for round three, of the four race $1-million dollar series, which will take place on Thursday, September 8 at 7:00 p.m., ET, broadcast live on SPEED Channel.
Series test drivers, Dave Marcis, Jim Sauter and Jay Sauter did preliminary testing with the fleet of Crown Royal IROC racecars over the weekend to check for any major speed and handling discrepancies before doing longer runs in the dedicated test cars. With the racecars proving close out of the box, the test drivers were able to get a jump on making longer 60-lap runs, simulating the first segment of the 90-lap event.
The IROC race format at Richmond this year will feature a routine pit stop at lap 60. A yellow flag will signal the end of the first segment with bonus points being awarded to the drivers in the first three positions. All of the cars will come down pit road for a mandatory pit stop before retaking the green flag for a final 30-lap shootout to the checkers.
The Series first raced at the three-quarter mile oval in September of 2004, making Richmond the first short track event ever contested in IROC racing history. The inaugural event did not include a mandatory stop, only a competition yellow to realign the field. To prepare for a second go-round in 2005, the team tested in May before returning this week.
Series' life-long test driver, Dave Marcis said, "Well, I think the progress we made at the test in May put us a lot closer to where we need to be in order to give the competitors a car they can race hard in and be more comfortable in. At the test in May, we discovered that some of the older body panels were carrying excess weight from being painted, which we never noticed as a problem in our first race at Daytona or even in our second race at Texas Motor Speedway. But Richmond, being a short track, magnified those differences and the IROC crew spent a lot of time dismantling, weighing and replacing many body panels over the summer. Reducing the weight of the racecars makes it a lot easier for the tires to work, makes it easier on the brakes, and just makes the car overall much better for racing here (at Richmond). Now we can go to work on trying to perfect the chassis and get it to where we think it needs to be for all of the drivers this week."
Jay Sauter said, "I think one of the things we improved on at the test last May was in making the cars more free through the corners. It's hotter now than it was during the (May) test, so we've got a little more work to do here yet, but overall the cars are real racy. We've been running in packs with plenty of good side-by-side racing, so I think we've got it pretty much handled."
The team made two 60-lap runs including some hard racing at the front between veteran IROC test driver Jim Sauter and his son, Jay who began testing with the series in 2003. Regarding the fierce and continual side-by-side battle with his son, the elder Sauter said, "We both were driving hard and pretty aggressive, which is the way the drivers are going to be running the cars this Thursday. That's really the only way to know how well we're doing in setting the IROC cars up for Richmond, which is famous for hard racing. Richmond brings out that 'Got to go for it, right now,' mentality in a driver."
"The guys up front racing for the lead aren't going to be worried so much about saving the right front tire, they're going to run it hard and that's what we're working on with this setup. We proved today that reducing the weight was a big help and the cars are staying more consistent during side-by-side racing for multiple laps and that, we've never seen before in our tests here. So, I'm really pumped up and it should result in some great racing this week."
Testing and equalizing the racecars will continue throughout the weekend and next week with the series competitors arriving on Tuesday to start practicing.