>From NASCAR Public Relations Office FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FIRST DAY OF GOODYEAR TIRE TEST COMPLETED) AT SUZUKA CIRCUITLAND SUZUKA CIRCUITLAND, Japan April 3, 1996) --- Members of the ...
>From NASCAR Public Relations Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FIRST DAY OF GOODYEAR TIRE TEST COMPLETED) AT SUZUKA CIRCUITLAND
SUZUKA CIRCUITLAND, Japan April 3, 1996) --- Members of the GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet Racing team, including team owner Richard Childress and driver Dale Earnhardt returned to Suzuka Circuit today and completed the first of two days of Goodyear Eagle tire testing in preparation [for] November's NASCAR Suzuka Thunder Special 100 While the Childress Racing team tested tires, Robert Pemberton and his crew unloaded the No 2 Miller Ford Thunderbird of driver Rusty Wallace from a sealed crate and prepped the car for its Thursday debut at the Suzuka Circuitland track "We were asked by NASCAR to be ambassadors so we feel good about that," said Childress "the people of Japan will get the opportunity to see the NASCAR style of racing first-hand. Once it's seen and the people are made aware of it, I think we will pick up a lot of people here who will start following this type of racing." Following today's lunch break, Earnhardt toured the track with driver Keiichi Tsuchiya and an interpreter to learn how the young Japanese driver runs the course at Suzuki Circuitland "I wanted him to show me his line," said Earnhardt, the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion "He's run this track so many times. He's an accomplished driver and has driven the GT cars here. I watched his line and learned a little bit. He really didn't take a different line than I have. It was just the way he approached it." Tsuohiya took approximately 30 laps around the track in the Million Card Ford Thunderbird after talking with Earnhardt. "This is a really great circuit and I'm getting better at it," said Earnhardt. "It's really a unique track. It's fun and it's going to be competitive. I've gotten off the course a couple of times today tire testing. I've been learning where I can pressure the car and where I can't." With the crews from both teams busy in the garage area, NASCAR officials spent the day in various meetings with track officials in preparations for NASCAR's debut in Japan. The schedule on Thursday includes more Goodyear Eagle tire testing as well as Earnhardt and Wallace working with four Japanese drivers who will share time in the Million Card (a Japanese Credit Card) Ford Thunderbird. The native drivers are: Toshio Suzuki, the 1995 Formula 3 Champion; 1992 Rolex 24 at Daytona Champion Hideshi Matsuda, also an experienced IndyCar driver. Takayuki Kinoshita, a touring car series competitor as well as Kenji Momota, who saw limited action in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1995. The Japanese drivers will get 90 minutes for a trial run in a NASCAR Winston Cup Series stock car. Track officials will use Thursday to give members of the media, sponsors and other special guests a demonstration run around the 1.4-mile East Course of Suzuka Circuitland, the part of the three-plus-mile facility that will [be] utilized for November's race. The Million Card Thunderbird has been equipped with a passenger seat to give guests the feel of a NASCAR stock car. This week's test is the second such time NASCAR drivers have headed to Japan. Earnhardt visited Japan in January when he, Childress and several team members took part in the track's "Thanks to Motorsports Fans" Appreciation Weekend.
Earnhardt and Wallace will lead a group of 30 NASCAR drivers, including 19 from the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, who have been extended invitations to participate in the NASCAR Suzuka Thunder Special 100 demonstration race here Nov. 24.
NASCAR announced last Nov. 30 an exclusive agreement with Suzuka Circuitland Company to introduce NASCAR-style racing in Japan. A series of three NASCAR demonstration races will take place over a three-year period.
Tickets for the events will be available June 1. For further information, contact Technical Tours of America, Domestic Travel Branch, Suzuka Circuit Tour tickets, telephone (213) 896-0305, or fax (213) 896-0077.
The schedule for Thursday, April 4, is as follows:
8 a.m. --- Media Center opens 9-11 a.m. --- Goodyear Tire Test 11-11:30 a.m.-- Photo opportunities, Press conference 11:30-12 noon --- NASCAR drivers meet with Japanese drivers 12 noon --- Lunch 1-3:30 p.m. --- Demonstration run with special guests 3:30-5 p.m. --- Japanese drivers test run