They Said It
For six years, Kansas Speedway has hosted the IRL IndyCar Series race on July 4th weekend. In 2007, that all changes with the Kansas Lottery Indy 300 race moving to April 29 and becoming the final IRL race prior to the Indianapolis 500.
So what do IRL drivers think about the date change? Here's what a few of them had to say.
Defending race winner and IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr. said, "Obviously, I'm looking forward to returning to Kansas next year to defend my win, plus, I'm excited that we'll be racing earlier in the season. It shouldn't be 100 degrees in April, so I'm expecting it to be a more comfortable experience for everyone. I also think that moving this race to just before the Indianapolis 500 is a good thing for the track as well as the Series because it gives us a great race in the U.S. to build momentum and attention before heading to Indianapolis for the month."
Hornish teammate, Helio Castroneves said, "I'm definitely happy about the new date for the Kansas race because I think it's going to benefit everyone. It should be a more pleasant experience for the fans because it won't be as hot as it is in July, which hopefully will attract more people to the race. The decreased temperatures should also allow for more side-by-side racing because the hot temperatures we've experienced in the past made the track really slick. The heat causes us to lose downforce, which makes the car hard to drive; I experienced this first hand during last year's race. Hopefully, I won't have that problem next year and can score my first win at Kansas."
From Dan Wheldon, who has finished second the last two years at Kansas, "The first four races on the schedule are extremely important, not just from a championship standpoint, but also as preparation for the Indianapolis 500. You want to establish yourself as a championship contender early on in the season and then remain consistent throughout the year. Competing at Kansas earlier in the season will be helpful because I do well there and the cars perform well there. It will definitely be an advantage."
For driver Sarah Fisher, it all comes down to getting ready for Indianapolis. "The date change is exciting to me. It grants us another weekend to focus on our on-track product before the month of May. Besides that, it allows another weekend besides the Japan race for pre-May testing for drivers who are only going to be at Indy."
Hornish does see one downside though to the new date. "I've always looked forward to racing in Kansas because it typically fell on my birthday, so now I'll have to find somewhere in Watkins Glen to celebrate."
Another exciting season of racing is just around the corner at Kansas Speedway. RPM and P.A.S.S season tickets go on sale Dec. 2 and are available by calling 866-460-RACE or on the Kansas Speedway website. Fans get five great races with RPM and P.A.S.S tickets - the Kansas Lottery Indy 300 (IRL IndyCar Series) and the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series) in April, and the Kansas 400 (NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series), the Yellow Transportation 300 (NASCAR Busch Series) and the kansasspeedway.com 100 (USAC) races in September. Parking continues to be free at Kansas Speedway and in 2007 fans are permitted to bring coolers (6x6x12-inch) into the stands.