Tuesday, November 16, 1999

IRL champ runs fastest laps at Ky. Speedway




BY TERRY FLYNN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SPARTA, Ky. — Indy Racing League champion Greg Ray stopped by Kentucky Speedway on Monday and toured the dusty 1.5-mile track at about 209 mph, the fastest speed yet.

        Speedway vice president Mark Cassis said Ray, from Plano, Tex., ran about 20 laps total around the tri-oval in his Team Menard car and was impressed with the layout.

        “He said the track is very wide, very fast, and it's going to be a lot of fun,” Cassis said. “He ran about a dozen laps, came in for some adjustments to the car and ran a few more laps. Then he was gone.”

        The IRL will run the final race of the inaugural Kentucky Speedway season Aug.27, 2000.

        Ray is the third 1999 racing champion to run laps at the speedway. NASCAR Truck Series champ Jack Sprague and Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) champ Bill Baird previously tested the tracks 14-degree banked turns. All three drives will race at Kentucky Speedway in 2000.

        “The (track) conditions were OK, but obviously not what they will be on a race day,” Cassis said. “We still have a lot of construction going on here, and the track was dusty.”

        Bill Moss, the engineer who designed the track and is overseeing construction, predicted the track could hold speeds of 225 mph from an Indy car, and Ray's laps in the 209 realm on less than perfect conditions seemed to back up that prediction.

        Track president and co-owner Jerry Carroll said he was impressed with the ease with which Ray ran the fastest laps so far at the track.

        “This is yet another indication of what we can expect here during a race,” he said.

        In addition to the August IRL race, Kentucky Speedway, located at Ky. 35 and Interstate 71 in Gallatin County about 35 miles from Cincinnati, has scheduled an ARCA race and a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race for next summer.

       



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