Sharp Leads Indy 200 Practice Session

22 January 1999

Lake Buena Vista-January 22, 1999

The 1999 Indy Racing League (IRL) season officially got underway with the
first day of practice session at the Walt Disney World 200. When the
two practice sessions concluded for the 29 drivers the leader was Scott
Sharp of the Kelley Racing Team with a time of 21.160 seconds for a speed
of 170.132mph. Sharp was among the fastest driver's during the winter test
sessions. Obviously the team has picked up where it has left off. Following
closely behind the heels of Sharp is his teammate Mark Dismore with a
time of 21.350 seconds for a speed of 168.587.

Scott Goodyear of the Pennzoil sponsored Panther Racing turned in the
third best time with a lap of 21.370 seconds for a speed of 168.445. The
top five was filled out by Menard driver Greg Ray  with a time of  21.460
seconds for a speed of 167.747mph. Sam Schmidt in the Sprint PCS of
Treadway Racing clocked the fifth fastest time with a lap of 21.490
seconds.

The defending champion of this race, Tony Stewart, will not be racing but
will be here as a co-owner. Stewart who has left the series to race
full-time in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series has joined forces with his
former crew chief Larry Curry. The two decided to form a team and
have hired Gualter Salles as their driver. Curry, formerly the crew chief on
the Menard Team left the team after a falling-out with owner John Menard.

The times of the top twenty drivers were all covered by exactly one
second. Sharp's lap of 21.160 seconds is closely followed by 19
drivers. The 20th best time is that of Robbie Buhl with a lap of
22.160. The fall-off rate in lap-times which traditionally has been as
much as five to six seconds is actually less than two seconds from first
(21.160) to last (23.100).

The WDW 200 which will get underway on Sunday at 1:00 pm will be the first
of 11 races on the IRL schedule. The series travels to Phoenix , AZ on
March 28, 1999.

David Treffer -- The Auto Channel

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