Indianapolis, IN- As the USAR Hooters ProCup Northern Series heads to Indianapolis Raceway Park for the running of the Naturally Fresh Dressings 200 presented by Lucas Oil Products, teams and drivers are getting better at guessing what set-ups to...
Indianapolis, IN- As the USAR Hooters ProCup Northern Series heads to Indianapolis Raceway Park for the running of the Naturally Fresh Dressings 200 presented by Lucas Oil Products, teams and drivers are getting better at guessing what set-ups to throw at their cars. A case in point would be Regan Smith, driver of the #28 Chevrolet.
"A lot of these tracks I'm going to, I've never seen before. As a driver, I like to study an overhead picture of the track, that way I know where to brake, where to set the car up for the turn, and where to stomp on the gas." Smith said. This weekend will be his first visit to the famed .686 mile track.
"Going to these tracks that I've never seen before, has helped me a lot," admitted the Mooresville, NC native. "This team is not real excited about testing, which makes it better for me. During practice, I have to learn the track, where I have to be patient and that is something that I did not have last year."
Smith is currently fifth in the Northern Series points, and has won Sunoco pole awards at Thompson International Speedway and Louisville Motor Speedway.
Smith attributes his two pole awards to his patient practice style.
"During practice, I get a feel of the track, and know what to expect going into the turns. Also, you have got to throw a little bit of luck in to the picture somewhere."
Like Smith, Jeremiah Kuntz, driver of the #9 Jehavah Jireh/ Kuntz Chevrolet Oldsmobile, Cadillac Dealership Chevrolet, has never seen the birthplace of racing.
"The way that I set up for a track that I have not yet been to is pretty simple. I wait until I get there," Kuntz said jokingly. "I make a few phone calls to some drivers, and the track to kind of know what to expect. Once I get to the track, I walk around the track to get an image of the surface. Once practice begins, I take the first couple of laps slow to see how the track feels inside the racecar, and after my third slow lap, I let it hang loose."
Northern Series points leader, Mardy Lindley, driver of the #01 Aloe Lu Ya/ Big Fan Racing Ford, has been to IRP and expects some very fast laps.
"IRP is a good, smooth, wide track and it is definitely the fastest track I have run at yet. This track is even faster than Lakeland (USA International Speedway)."
Lindley does not expect to see many cautions, "but when there is a wreck, it is going to be a big one, with the high speed," said the resident of Taylors, SC. While Lindley was in the hometown of automobile racing, he had the opportunity to run a few laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, site of the famed Indy 500, in a street legal car.
"Indy Motor Speedway is a neat track. I got to see the garages and the track and the scenery is incredible. Also, the Indy Museum is definiently a great place to visit to see where racing started out at."
Currently, Lindley has a slim, eighteen-point lead over Mike Herman, Jr. who is second in Hooters ProCup Northern Series points.
Jeff Agnew, driver of the #73 NGA Hooters Golf Tour Chevrolet, also took the ride up to Indy with Lindley and had the opportunity to test his car at Indianapolis Raceway Park.
"I brought a new car to the track, and it ran great! This is the best race track that I have ever been to or probably will ever go to." Agnew, who resides in Floyd, VA, said that the average speed he turned around the track was 106 mph.
"The only trouble areas that I see are entering the turns. The entrance is kind of narrow if you are running two wide and the groove, even in the turns, is next to the outside retaining wall. This is definitely going to be an exciting race for both the fans and the drivers."
Practice for the USAR Hooters ProCup Northern division drivers starts at 11:30 a.m., with practice and qualifying for the Baby Grands beginning at 3:30 p.m. Grandstands open at 4 p.m. with ProCup qualifying starting at 5 p.m. The Baby Grand division will bump and run beginning at 6 p.m.. The ProCup Autograph Session will begin at 7 p.m. and the field of 40 Hooters ProCup Series drivers will receive the green flag for the start of the Naturally Fresh Dressings 200 presented by Lucas Oil Products at 8 p.m.