As the inaugural SFP Grand Prix closes in on the green flag, several drivers have expressed their excitement over the new, challenging track that Kansas Speedway presents to the 2013 schedule. And, that means great racing for fans at the Kansas City, Kan., track.
Max Angelelli, a past GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series champion who hasn’t finished outside of the Top Six in his Daytona Prototype career, thinks Kansas Speedway is going to present some challenges for all of the teams.
“It’s a very challenging track, I can tell you,” said Angelelli, who saw the track for the first time three weeks ago during a media event. “It’s not like you approach a corner, brake, turn, go back on throttle, and that’s it. You have two corners that are extremely technical, kind of difficult – turn one and turn five. The approaches are very, very challenging. There are different ways to do those approaches. I’m expecting differences between all the drivers in the way they deal with those corners. At the same time, because of those differences, I’m expecting opportunities to make passes.”
Angelelli’s teammate Jordan Taylor, is focused on the unique layout of the road course and high speeds.
“I think it’ll be a fun race. It’s a unique track where we use a lot of the oval with a pretty road course in the middle,” said Taylor, whose brother Ricky will also be competing in the SFP Grand Prix. “It’s definitely going to be a high-speed race when it comes to the oval, and a lot of people trying to outmaneuver each other all race long, slip-streaming their way to the heavy braking zone, which there are a couple of really big ones on that track. With the format GRAND-AM has, the competitiveness of the series, with the relative equality of the cars and the way they race each other week in and week out, I think it’ll be a good race for our car and for our type of racing. It’s going to be great for the fans, for sure.”
The Taylors aren’t the only set of brothers competing in the SFP Grand Prix; they will be joined by the Friselle brothers – Brian and Burt.
"Kansas Speedway is going to be quite a unique challenge for the team,” Burt Friselle said. “It's going to be one of the only tracks where you see the cars close to top speed, but there are also a lot of tight hairpin turns, so there is going to be action. The number one word I would use to describe the race in Kansas would be action-packed, and being under the lights will make it extra special, so I am excited to get there and see how this track races."
Said Brian Friselle, "It's a great arena to view as a fan. I think the fans will be able to see pretty much the entire track up in the stands, so I think it will be a really exciting race to watch, and being at the race as a fan will be really cool. And it's definitely going to be very high speed. If you want to see a Daytona Prototype flying, it will be there. When we come out of Turn 4 on the banking we will be going really fast, so it will be fun for the fans to watch."
Driver Ozz Negri, who posted some of the top testing speeds during last year’s test session at Kansas Speedway, agreed with Taylor and the Friselles about the speeds fans can expect to see.
“It's one of the fastest tracks we've been to,” Negri said. “It's one of the hardest ovals that we have gone to. It is much faster than Homestead or any of the others. Braking for Turn 1 will be really interesting because it's one of the hardest braking points, especially because we run the car pretty cleaned out there. But it has a lot of grip, so I enjoyed it. I think it will be hard to pass, there aren't many passing zones. But the track is fun to drive and we had a good car when we tested there so I am looking forward to going back.”
Three drivers scheduled to compete in Saturday’s SFP Grand Prix have been to Kansas Speedway before, albeit before Kansas Speedway changed the banking in the turns and in different series (Christian Fittapaldi, NASCAR; Alex Tagliani and Justin Wilson, IndyCar Series).
“It’s a new track and I’m looking forward to doing these races with Gustavo (Yacaman) and the Michael Shank Racing team,” said Wilson, who raced at Kansas Speedway in the IndyCar Series from 2008-2010. “It’s a great group of guys and I think we have a chance of winning the race. It looks like a challenging track and I think it’s going to be close time-wise and we use most of the oval so that will be fun. It’s a new layout and I’m looking forward to giving it a try.”
Race fans still have time to purchase tickets for the SFP Grand Prix Tickets by calling 866-460-RACE (7223) or logging onto www.kansasspeedway.com. Infield general admission tickets for Aug. 17 are $60 and fans can also purchase paddock (garage) access for $15. Aug. 16 is free general admission access and fans can purchase a paddock (garage) pass for $15. Turn 1 Terrace tickets are also on sale now for $9.89 and will be $15 the day of the race.
Tickets for Kansas Speedway’s October races are on sale now, too, by calling 866-460-RACE (7223) or logging onto www.kansasspeedway.com. The Hollywood Casino 400 (the fourth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup) is Oct. 6 and tickets start at $64. The Kansas Lottery 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race is Oct. 5 and the Kansas Lottery 98.9 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race is Oct. 4.
- Story from Kansas Speedway