Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Disney World Speedway Opens' Testing Begins for Indy 200

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Disney World Speedway Opens' Testing Begins for Indy 200

Article excerpt

The Indy Racing League continues to heat up.

Last Tuesday, the new one-mile oval track was dedicated as Walt Disney World Speedway and was opened for testing for the Jan. 27 Indy 200, which will be the inaugural event in the new series.

Adding credibility to the IRL and the new track was the presence of Arie Luyendyk, 1990 Indy 500 winner. He will drive in the five-race series and be one of the favorites when qualifying begins in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Also testing on the first day was Eliseo Salazar, who finished fourth at Indy last May, and Indy 500 veteran Eddie Cheever.

A.J. Foyt, four-time winner at Indianapolis and the sport's biggest name, also will field a team as a car owner in the IRL events and bypass the existing CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) circuit.

Foyt announced this week that Davey Hamilton, a supermodified champion, would be his driver in IRL races.

"It's fantastic," Hamilton said. "Drivers dream of having (Foyt) for a teacher."

After driving on the new track, Hamilton said it reminded him of the speedway in Phoenix.

The IRL also announced recently that three-time Indy 500 champion Johnny Rutherford would be the league's new special projects coordinator. He will drive the pace car at IRL events, work with new driver orientation and public appearances promoting the league and will serve as a consultant to executive director Jack Long.

Rutherford, 57, won Indy in 1973, 1976 and 1980. Along with Foyt, he is one of the sport's most well-known figures.

"The IRL presents an opportunity to ensure the future of both the Indianapolis 500 and top-level, open-wheel, oval-track racing," Rutherford said. "I'm looking forward to helping the IRL develop young racing talent, and I want people to be aware of the strength of my convictions regarding the positive impact the IRL is going to have on the sport."

The new circuit also announced that the Formula Ford 2000 Series, sanctioned by both the Sports Car Club of America and the U. …

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