INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 2, 2008) – One day after a hectic three-race weekend in Springfield, Illinois, several AMA Grand National teams were in Indianapolis testing on the Indy Mile in preparation for the Lucas Oil Indy Mile, which runs on Saturday, Sept. 13.
At Indy teams were not only slated to test the track and check out night lighting (with the promoter bringing in supplemental lights to brighten the track for racers and fans), they were also testing various restrictor plates that could be used next year to make a more level playing field for the various manufacturers competing in the series.
Suzuki’s Jake Johnson said he liked the track, but said it was hard to get a good feel since the conditions were so dry. Indianapolis has been without major rainfall for weeks and the track was extremely dry and dusty. No chemicals were used in the test to keep the dust down. Ironically the skies opened and the track was drenched late in the afternoon.
Among those participating in the test was former Grand National competitor Steve Morehead, who rode Chris Carr’s Harley-Davidson and Corby Scherb’s KTM. Morehead is pictured on Carr’s bike going down the main straight with the historic Pepsi Coliseum in the background.
“It was a successful test,” said AMA Pro Racing’s Roy Janson. “We tested the bikes on the dyno as they came off Springfield to get a baseline, then restrictors were used to get an idea of how it affected the horsepower of the motors. The riders got a chance to ride the track, many of them for the first time, so a lot was accomplished.”
The rain late in the afternoon brought an end to the test. The temporary lighting brought in was not tested by the teams.
“The lights they have are the same ones they had in the 1970s and it was dark then,” admitted Mike Kidd, the former AMA Grand National Champion who is transitioning into his position as the head of AMA Grand National racing. “They are going to reposition the existing lights and bring in temporary lighting. I understand they tested it once and found they needed to bring in more banks. I think they are aware of what areas need to be addressed and we think the lights will be fine for the race.”
Teams are heading to Monticello, N.Y., this Saturday and then will come back to Indy for the renewal of the Indy Mile the following Saturday.
The Indy Mile is one of the oldest and most traditional races on the AMA Grand National calendar, but attendance fell off in the 1990s and the race was discontinued. This event is being held in conjunction with the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, which will run on Sunday after the Indy Mile. With an expect 100,000 motorcycle racing fans in town for the GP, the Indy Mile promoters are hoping for a sellout at the Sept. 13th national.