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The Callahan Report from Indianapolis, May 4

4 May 1997

Stephan Gregoire Stephan Gregoire at the Trackfont size=-1>

It was a near perfect day weather wise at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There were not too many drivers taking advantage of the rookie orientation program, but two rookies quickly flew through their rookie tests. Vincenzo Sospiri of Monaco had completed all phases of his rookie test by the lunch break period. Driving for Team Scandia of Indianapolis, Sospiri completed the 195 to 200 mph and the 200 mph plus portions of his test back to back. The amiable Sospiri completed his test about as quickly as Nigel Mansell did in his debut at the speedway a few years ago.

The rookie driver was quite visibly pleased with the quick accomplishment as was his "coach", Dick Simon. Simon, an Indy veteran himself, is notorious for bringing new talent to the speedway and Vincenzo Sospiri was added to Simon's long list of new talent today.

Sospiri began his racing career in 1981 driving 100cc karts. He advanced through Formula Ford and Formula 3000 before becoming the test driver for the Benetton Formula One team last year.

Kenny Brack of Sweden also completed his in short order. Unlike Sospiri, Brack took a little time off in between the different phases of his test. The rookie completed his test shortly after the lunch break, driving the Monsoon Audio/Futaba/Galles International machine.

Kenny Brack Kenny Brack Completes His Rookie Testfont size=-1>

Dr. Jack Miller of Indianapolis also made an early track appearance in the Crest sponsored Arizona Motorsports car, but was done quickly as he blew an engine at the North end of the track. Robbie Groff also ran several laps in the number 30 McCormack Motorsports entry.

Dr. Jack Miller Dr. Jack Miller in the Pitsfont size=-1>

Jeff Ward began his refresher test in the Teem Cheever/First Plus car. He plans to complete the test tomorrow. The refresher course consists of 20 laps in excess of 200 mph.

By days end, six cars had taken to the track. Sospiri was the fastest at over 211 mph. On Tuesday, the veterans will be allowed on the track in preparation for Saturday's run for the pole.

Terry Callahan -- The Auto Channel