MPH AVERAGE REACHED AT INDIANAPOLIS
1997 specification IRL car passes the 220 mph
Luyendyk became the first driver to record a lap
average of over 220 mph at the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway for the new specification Indy Racing League
cars, when he clocked 220.297 mph during Day 5 of the
'Month of May'.
Treadway Racing G-Force/Oldsmobile-Aurora, Luyendyk
set the new standard midway through the days' session
that was stopped early due to light rain.
his record-breaking run, Luyendyk had set the days'
best times with laps of 216.060 and 219.421 mph.
"It's always fun to be fast and the one people
are targeting," said Luyendyk after his hot
year in Vegas we didn't test in the summer because I
said it was too hot to test and we were fast right
out of the box. Again we have proved we can be fast
co-champion Scott Sharp in a Conseco AJ Foyt Racing
G-Force was second fastest of the day on the 2.5 mile
oval, although his day was cut short due to a
high-speed accident in Turn 4.
sustained heavy left-side damage, and Sharp was
removed from the wreck to the Hanna Medical Centre to
be later released and cleared by medical officers to
continue his driving at the track.
commented, "The car was exceptional in Turn 3
and 4 and I felt it tighten up in 4, a loud noise and
then it turned in. The car turned right around. I
can't worry about future accidents because my job is
to stand on the button - I was lucky however that the
car turned in when it did and I only scraped the wall
instead of thumping it."
Luyendyk and Sharp on the timesheets were Phoenix 200
winner Jim Guthrie, Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart.
Gardner, Joe Gosek, Andy Michner and Dennis Vitolo
passed their driver physicals at the track to enable
them to participate in official qualifying sessions,
while veteran driver Lyn St. James returned to the
track for the first time since the shunt during the
1996 event which broke her wrist.
James, who did race a Legend car at Las Vegas last
September, turned thirty-four laps in the No.90
Lifetime TV/Cynergy entry. Her assistant at LSJ
Racing, Deb Turner, confirmed that St. James' wrist
had healed - "a bionic wrist and better than
of forty-one cars are now at the Speedway.
Twenty-nine of which have passed their technical
inspections. Another statistic is that twenty-six
drivers have been onto the circuit during four days'
of testing - thirty three drivers can start the race
on May 25th.
ARIE LUYENDYK TREADWAY RACING 220.297
Scott Sharp Conseco AJ Foyt Racing 217.402
Jim Guthrie Jacuzzi/Blueprint Racing 216.076
Robby Gordon Coors Light Sabco 215.993
Tony Stewart Glidden/Menards/Special 215.750
Fermin Velez Team Scandia 214.174
Scott Goodyear Treadway Racing/Nortel 214.123
Buzz Calkins Bradley Food Marts 213.792
Kenny Brack Monsoon Galles Racing 212.821
Eliseo Salazar Copec/Cristal/Scandia 212.465
pace hots up at Indianapolis
Luyendyk, driving a Treadway Racing Wavephore Miller
Lite G-Force/Oldsmobile Aurora, clocked the fastest
time on Day 4 of the 1997 'Month of May' recording a
speed of 218.707 mph.
Indy 500 winner took to the 2.5 mile 'Brickyard' for
the first time this year as veteran drivers' began
their build-up to the 500 mile race that takes place
on May 25th.
one IRL race todate, Luyendyk led last years event
until a collision with Chilean driver Eliseo Salazar
put him out. The Dutch driver, based in America, is
one of the favourites to win the Borg-Warner Trophy
and he would join a small band of great racers to win
two Indianapolis 500's.
of 218.707, ahead of NASCAR returnee Robby Gordon and
IRL hot-shot Tony Stewart, looks set to fire-up an
interesting battle for Pole Position - qualifying for
which takes place on Sunday(May 11th).
commented, "The cars are slower than last year
and they move around more on the corners. We are
flat-out for this type of car on the straights so the
time is won or lost in the corners."
continued, "My engine has been rebuilt by Jack
Rousch and he tells me that it is really good now -
however I still keep one eye on the oil pressure as I
Gordon, who set the second fastest time of the day,
said after his days' work was complete, "Today I
didn't run a flat-out lap. I think this car might be
alittle easier to save than the old ones. We're
trying to run a lot less downforce because we don't
have the horsepower. At least the G-Force chassis is
driver Kenny Brack was the first to complete all
stages of his USAC Rookie Orientation Programme. The
Monsoon Galles Racing Driver gained approval from
USAC Veteran Observer's Johnny Rutherford, Al Unser
Snr. and Johnny Parsons. Brack said afterwards,
"They felt my driving overall was stable and
consistent. It was great to get their view on the
graduate through the test were Robbie Groff, Greg
Ray, Vincenzo Sospiri and Affonso Giaffone.
in the No.52 FirstPlus Team Cheever entry became the
first driver to hit the wall during the tests. He
suffered an engine problem in Turn 3, which spun him
round and into the outside wall.
G-Force car was damaged at the rear, although not
badly, and Ward was cleared to continue driving
following checks at a nearby Medical Centre.
Kinser, 14-time World of Outlaw sprint-car champion,
has joined the growing band of drivers trying to
qualify for this years Indy 500.
Indiana resident has signed to drive the No.44 One
Call/Menards/ Quaker State/Dallara-Oldsmobile for
Sinden Racing Services.
passed his drivers' test back in 1981, but crashed on
May 15th, the day before the final qualifying
ARIE LUYENDYK TREADWAY RACING 218.707 mph
Robby Gordon Coors Light 215.569
Tony Stewart Glidden/Menards/Special 214.337
Buddy Lazier Delta Faucet-Montana 214.128
Scott Sharp Conseco AJ Foyt Racing 214.041
Robbie Buhl Quaker State/Special 213.843
John Paul Jnr. Klipsch/PDM Racing 212.555
Buzz Calkins Bradley Food Marts 212.339
Scott Goodyear Treadway Racing/Nortel 211.282
Fermin Velez Team Scandia 210.280
SETS THE EARLY 'BRICKYARD' PACE
refugee Vincenzo Sospiri has been setting early
'Month of May' times at the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway in preparation for the 81st running of the
'Greatest Spectacle in Racing' on May 25th.
(30), who started the year with the Mastercard Lola
Grand Prix team, has switched his attentions to the
Indy Racing League for the remainder of the year and
to the Andy Evans' Team Scandia outfit.
his USAC 'Rookie Test', Sospiri blasted around the
2.5 mile oval in a Dallara/Oldsmobile at a speed of
211.964 mph to complete four phases of the test that
will enable him to progress to the official
qualifying sessions that start on Sunday (May 11th).
completed seventy-eight laps in his Scandia Royal
Purple Alta Xcel badged car, lapping a full six
miles-per-hour faster than his nearest rival,
Scottish born racer Jeff Ward.
F3000 race winner, Kenny Brack, clocked the third
fastest time in a Monsoon Galles Racing
G-Force/Olds., with Indiana dentist Dr. Jack Miller
fourth in his Crest toothpaste sponsored G-Force.
said, " The Speedway is a little scary but I
like it." He continued, " We did have the
fastest lap and I'm happy about that. There's alot
more speed to catch out there and I think we can go
even faster than today. Since I was 14 I have dreamed
about winning in Formula 1 and winning the Indy 500.
In Fl only two or three teams can win - here
everybody can win."
VINCENZO SOSPIRI TEAM SCANDIA 211.964 mph
Jeff Ward FirstPlus Team Cheever 205.780
Kenny Brack Monsoon Galles Racing 204.997
Dr.Jack Miller AMS/Crest Racing 194.246
Robbie Groff McCormack Motorsports 191.759
Sam Schmidt Blueprint Racing 180.386
KENNY BRACK MONSOON GALLES RACING 205.597 mph
Sam Schmidt Blueprint Racing 198.325
Greg Ray Tobacco Free Kids 185.494
Jeff Ward FirstPlus Team Cheever Under 100
IN THE 500 ENTRY
SOSPIRI, 30, will contest this years' 'Month of May'
at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the Andy
Evans owned Team Scandia, writes James Beckett.
former Benetton test-driver started his season with
the ill-fated Mastercard Lola Grand Prix team - but
following their shock Formula 1 withdrawl after the
opening Grand Prix of the season in Australia, the
Italian found himself without a drive on the
FIA International F3000 Champion has visited the
Speedway before. He averaged a speed of 222mph in a
Scandia-Lola during a test at the tail-end of last
year and he returns to the 'Brickyard' with the same
team, but with a 1997 specification IR7
first shot to fame by winning, what is regarded as
the greatest ever, Formula Ford Festival at Brands
Hatch back in 1988.
John Village Automotive Van Diemen RF88, Sospiri
failed to see the flag start finding himself well
down the pack as the finalists hurtled into Paddock
memorable charge saw him race through the pack to
take the lead, and win, from Derek Higgins and Jose
Cordova in the dying stages.
FF1600 days were followed by outings in the British
Formula 3 Championship, before stepping back down to
win the 1990 Formula Vauxhall Euroseries. Eventually
he made the break back into top-flight racing and the
International F3000 Championship, which he won with
Super Nova in 1995.
A year as
Benetton-Renault test driver last season, and this
years Lola outing being his final steps towards the
JRL and the Indy 500.
has proved himself time and time again to be a true
determined talent, a gladiator in the rain - a
problem he wont encounter at Indianapolis, a racer of
the highest pedigree.
one-race deal with Team Scandia in a
Dallara/Oldsmobile with backing for the car coming
from Royal Purple Alta Xcel, could be the best thing
that has ever happened to the resident of Monte
tactical racer, rather than an ace in qualifying, if
luck runs his way and if the mighty Olds. 4-litre V8
remains in good health for 500 miles, then it is
possible that the name of Vincenzo Sospiri will enter
folklore as the winner of the fabulous Borg-Warner
Trophy, and the Indianapolis 500.