Sunday, July 02, 2000

Sun shines on Speedway


Forecast, outlook good for ARCA race

By Tom Groeschen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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IRL's Sarah Fisher and ARCA's Shawna Robinson share the spotlight at Kentucky Speedway Saturday.
(Brandi Stafford photos)
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        SPARTA, Ky. — Jerry Carroll expects 35,000 people for his daylong racing festival today at Kentucky Speedway, and he promises everyone will get in this time.

        Carroll's comeback weekend was going well as of Saturday, with an announced crowd of 16,432 for ARCA pole qualifying and Indy Racing League testing.

        Today there is more Indy practice, a short Legends race by four NASCAR Winston Cup drivers and the ARCA Kentucky 150 race capping everything at 7:30 p.m.

        And, there is no rain in the forecast.

        Two weeks ago, the Speedway's opening night attracted more than 63,000 fans for a NASCAR Craftsman Truck race. But thousands more were turned away by traffic and parking problems, thanks to a 3-inch rainfall that rendered several parking lots unusable.

        Speedway chairman Carroll has added three contingency gravel lots and said there is parking for 45,000 autos.

        Carroll and Speedway officials are writing off their first weekend as a weather fluke, when a month's worth of rain fell in just 10 hours. Saturday, the talk turned back to racing, with another stream of positive comments from drivers and crews making their first visit here.

TODAY'S SCHEDULE
  • Gates open, 10 a.m.
  • IRL testing, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Winston Cup/IRL autographs, 3:30-5 p.m.
  • Celebrity Legends race featuring Winston drivers Jeremy Mayfield, Steve Park, Kenny Wallace and Michael Waltrip, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • ARCA Kentucky 150, 7:30 p.m.
  •New parking areas
        “I've been to Charlotte, Atlanta, a lot of places, and there's no facility nicer than this,” said Bill Green, a former ARCA standout driver.

        Green is now manager of a local ARCA entrant, the No.94 Wildwood Inn Ford driven by his son, Willie Green (Walton, Ky.). They qualified 24th Saturday for tonight's ARCA race.

        David Keith (Owensboro, Ky.) won the ARCA pole at 175.262 mph. Three-time ARCA champion Tim Steele will start second.

        Saturday's events included Indy Racing League drivers testing for their Aug. 27 race here. IRL drivers Sarah Fisher, Tyce Carlson, Sam Hornish Jr., Robbie Buhl, Buzz Calkins and J.J. Yeley took practice laps, with Fisher fastest in the early sessions at 218.317 mph.

        Today, Winston Cup drivers Jeremy Mayfield, Steve Park, Kenny Wallace and Michael Waltrip will compete in a “Legends” race at 5:30 p.m. The Legends cars, five-eighths-scale replicas of old hot rods, will compete on a quarter-mile oval in the infield.

Track gets thumbs up from IRL's George



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