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IROC Series Raring for Round III at Richmond

Tinton Falls, N.J. – The Crown Royal International Race of Champions team is busy with final preparations for round three of the million-dollar Crown Royal IROC championship, which will resume at Richmond International Raceway on Thursday, September 9 at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) broadcast live on Speed Channel.

The three-quarter mile Richmond oval event will mark the first short track race in the nearly 30-year history of the series, which invites top drivers from various types of racing to compete in identically matched race cars.

Initial testing at Richmond, followed by testing at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the host of the fourth and final event on October 30, resulted in a lengthy list of modifications that had to be completed on the Crown Royal IROC cars due to the demanding characteristics of both, the Richmond short track and the challenging high-speed banks of Atlanta.

At Richmond, it’s all about brakes, which is not a usual concern for the Crown Royal IROC team because braking is not as critical on the larger ovals. The good news is the IROC race cars have been equipped with carbon brake rotors and carbon brake pads (known as carbon-on-carbon) since the early 1990s. Carbon brakes don’t fade, which is a common problem with steel brakes under heavy usage.

The bad news (if you can call it that) is the confines of a three-quarter mile race track, compounded by the heated competition of IROC racing, and the literal heat generated by all the hard braking will, no doubt, dirty up the pretty, white Crown Royal IROC cars.

IROC President Jay Signore will take the reliable braking and some black carbon dust on the race cars. Signore said, “I would much rather touch up dirty race cars than have to fix clean white wrecks.”

Signore continued, “Even with carbon brakes it’s important to get as much air as possible flowing over the brake rotors for cooling. We’ve devised a cooling system with blowers, specialized hose and fabricated metal ducts, which had to be duplicated on all the race cars. We also made some modifications to the brake pedals to make them larger and cut down the size of the clutch pedal, which will help the driver’s footwork.”

Signore continued, “The Goodyear engineers developed a great race tire for this season, which is complimented by a softer chassis set up with softer springs and heavier sway bars. The softer the setup, the closer the chassis rides to the surface of the race track. We had some bottoming out problems at the Atlanta test and we had to cut the crossmembers by three-quarters of an inch to gain more ground clearance. We also had to modify our Dr. Gas crossover x-pipe exhaust system, which is what gives the IROC cars such a unique sound. Thankfully, Boyd Butler at Dr. Gas helped us out with all new systems, so we won’t lose our distinctive Dr. Gas IROC sound.”

Many other components on the Crown Royal IROC cars have been modified keeping the team hustling since race two at Texas Motor Speedway this past April.

Signore concluded, “I’d say we’re pretty excited about going to Richmond. We’ve got multiple ties in the points battle, including first place. It’s a short track. It’s a night race. It’s live on Speed Channel with a final Shootout segment at the end of the race, and they’re all going for that Crown Royal million.”

The series enters race three at Richmond with nine of the twelve drivers holding the top four positions. NASCAR drivers Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman are tied in first-place, followed by a tie for second-place between World of Outlaws champion Danny Lasoski and NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson. Only one point separates those four drivers in the top two spots. Reigning IROC champion Kurt Busch is third, followed by a four-way tie for fourth between NASCAR Truck champion Travis Kvapil, two-time Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves, World of Outlaws “King” Steve Kinser and reigning NASCAR champion Matt Kenseth. IndyCar Series champions Scott Sharp, Scott Dixon and Triple Crown champion J. J. Yeley follow them.

 

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