The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

April 11, 2013

Motorsports: IndyCars back on track at Pocono

By Shawn Wood

For The Daily Item

LONG POND -- The sound that residents around Long Pond heard on Tuesday was not the usual drone of a NASCAR engine.

It was the turbo-charged sound of an Indy car as the IZOD IndyCar Series was on hand at the Pocono Raceway for a Firestone tire test.

After 24 years, the series returns to the track on July 7.

Four drivers, Marco Andretti, Dario Franchitti, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud participated in the tire test.

"It was fun to see cars going 230-plus on the straightaway," speedway president Brandon Igdalsky said. "The anticipation as to what these guys are going to do as far as racing -- it's not going to be like a Talladega or Daytona -- but there'll definitely be a lot of drafting and the field will stay pretty close together."

Igdalsky spent 45 minutes with the fans watching practice from the stands where several hundred fans turned out. He noted they were quite pumped for the race.

"I was sitting with a gentleman who was here in 1971 for the Indy car race and they haven't been back since 1989. They bought their tickets for the race and they are ready to go."

Danny Sullivan won the last Indy car race held at the track in 1989 with an average speed of 170.720 mph.

Tuesday's speeds, while not official, were estimated to be on an average of 215 mph.

The one-lap track lap record is 211.715 mph set by Emerson Fittipaldi in qualifying in 1989. In the morning session, the record was topped by almost three miles an hour.

Franchitti, a four-time series champion, is the only driver to have raced a stock car at the track. He had a very interesting description of his first laps around the Tricky Triangle.

"My first thought was 'holy (expletive), that's fast,'" he said.

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