Tuesday, March 8, 2005
Drivers confident in Silver Crown car’s abilities
by Race Author
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- A stable car, durable simulations and two confident drivers highlighted Monday’s test of USAC’s new generation pavement Silver Crown car in an all-day test at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.
Reigning USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series champion Jay Drake and fellow Silver Crown and Sprint Car driver Jason McCord combined for 173 laps (259.5 miles) at the 1.5-mile track, notching average lap speeds of over 165 mph and deeming the test “successful.”
USAC conducted a series of simulations, including short runs to check brakes, ride heights and tire temperature, qualifying runs, and a race simulated full fuel tank run.
Riley Technologies, which developed the prototype car tested at Kentucky Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and now Homestead-Miami, made several changes throughout the day’s activities, which included spring and tire changes.
Having participated in a Jan. 31 test at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz., both drivers were pleased with the changes following the test a month ago.
“I can see that they’re making improvements every time they run it,” Drake said. “It’s getting closer and closer; they’re just making minor adjustments now. Pretty soon, it’s going to be a pretty good racecar.”
Aerodynamically, the car stuck to the ground and didn’t suffer any lift, McCord said. The Anderson, Ind. native ran over 100 laps and ended the afternoon with a simulated 100-mile run. Reliability, fuel mileage and tire management were the key issues addressed during that run, while new, key components, such as the gearbox were tested with success. The engine showed durability over the test.
Other issues addressed included engine and tire temperatures checks, as well as handling consistency. These matters have been rectified following the Phoenix test.
“Over the long run, it didn’t change much at all,” McCord said. “The car didn’t feel bad with the full fuel load; really, it got better each lap of the run.”
Drake, of Val Verde, Calif., came to the test hot off a fifth-place finish in the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series race Sunday afternoon. Though he said it was difficult to compare the two machines we drove over the weekend, he said he felt comfortable running both cars.
He said running the Silver Crown car was “fun.”
“After a couple of sessions, I was fairly comfortable,” Drake said. “I think we ran a pretty good speed today for that car. It’s not doing anything scary; it never scared me out there. So that’s comfortable enough.”
Bob Riley, President of Riley Technologies, said the car’s handling didn’t show any strange characteristics when on the track.
“I’m happy with the stability of the car; it’s very stable,” Riley said. “I haven’t seen it do anything strange, so I’d imagine the drivers are happy about that.”
Owen Snyder III, Associate Competition Director, said many questions were answered in part to the test.
“After completing our full tank run, many questions were answered, giving us much more confidence of the ability of these cars to successfully race and compete at these tracks,” Snyder said.
But how will multiple cars perform when on the track simultaneously? McCord said he was unable to answer the question, but was confident that multiple cars would handle running well together on the track.
“That’s still an unknown, and we can’t determine that until we have two cars on the racetrack,” McCord said. “There were two distinct grooves on this track. We’ll also have to figure out then what the drafting is going to do.”