Lasoski ready to live dream at 2003 IROC at Indy World of Outlaws driver, IROC test drivers busy at IMS INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 29, 2003 -- Short-track open-wheel racing ace Danny Lasoski was only seven days away from fulfilling one of ...
Lasoski ready to live dream at 2003 IROC at Indy
World of Outlaws driver, IROC test drivers busy at IMS
INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 29, 2003 -- Short-track open-wheel racing ace Danny Lasoski was only seven days away from fulfilling one of his lifelong dreams in late July 2002 when his opportunity came to a halt.
Lasoski, the 2001 O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series champion and driver of the No. 20 Tony Stewart Motorsports entry on the Outlaws tour, was scheduled to participate in the 40-lap IROC at Indy race Aug. 3, 2002, the season finale for the True Value International Race of Champions (IROC) series. It was his first year as a competitor in IROC.
But an accident in World of Outlaws race July 28 at Mechanicsburg, Pa., left him with a concussion and other injuries. The dream of driving at IMS, "the greatest motor speedway ever," in Lasoski's words, vanished.
In the wake of Lasoski's injuries, NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver and longtime friend Ken Schrader took his place in the 2002 IROC at Indy. Lasoski said his trip to Indy for the race, as a spectator, was one of the most difficult moments of his life.
"It was the closest I've came to bawling, when I came through that tunnel (at IMS) last year," said Lasoski, a 44-year-old resident of Dover, Mo. "I got so choked up because I really wanted to be here. When I came back through the tunnel this morning, I thought, 'Now I really know what it feels like to be here.' I can't wait."
He finally will get his chance to drive at the legendary 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 2, when IROC wraps up its 2003 season with the sixth annual IROC at Indy. Lasoski was invited to compete in the 2003 IROC championship after finishing second in the 2002 WoO points to legend Steve Kinser, who is also racing in IROC.
Lasoski was at the Speedway May 29 to test IROC's stock cars alongside regular IROC test drivers Dave Marcis, Jim Sauter and Andy Hillenburg. He joined the group for after finishing fourth in the World of Outlaws "A" Main race May 28 at Rolling Wheels Raceway just west of Syracuse, N.Y.
How did Lasoski get to Indianapolis so quickly after racing 650 miles away?
"Air Stewart," he said with a laugh, referring to an airplane owned by Stewart, his World of Outlaws team owner and 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion.
Lasoski said there are no techniques from driving a World of Outlaws car that help him drive a stock car at Indy.
"Not even the (helmet) tear-offs," he said. "Nothing."
But after completing approximately 60 laps May 29, he is confident he will be competitive when he fulfills his dream on Aug. 2.
"I got really comfortable really quick," he said. "I understand in last year's race, the car's got so tight that you couldn't pass. I know we want to run side-by-side without wrecking everybody, and that's why we're all here, to put long, hard laps in to make the cars comfortable so we can have a great race."
The race is part of a busy Brickyard 400 weekend at IMS. The 10th running of the Brickyard 400 will see the stars of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series take the green flag at 1:30 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, Aug. 3.
Tickets for Aug. 2, which includes IROC at Indy and NASCAR Winston Cup Series qualifying and practice, are only $10 per person. A limited number of reserved seats for the 10th Brickyard 400 also remain available.
Reserved tickets for practice, qualifications and the race can be purchased on the World Wide Web via www.imstix.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700.