2008 IRL race at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH — Defending IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. raised some eyebrows Wednesday — both on and off the track.

The Indianapolis 500 winner grabbed attention during the lunch hour when he made mention of potentially running an IndyCar Series race here at night.

Hornish got a taste of racing at night here three months ago when he competed on a similar road-course in the International Race of Champions event.

"I think that, especially the way they did it, under the lights, I think it would be something really neat to have an IndyCar road-race under the lights here," Hornish said.

The IROC race and the Rolex 24 At Daytona used DIS' traditional 3.56-mile road course and both were contested at night.

Tuesday and most of Wednesday, Hornish, Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan and Vitor Meira negotiated a 2.73-mile, 10-turn road-course.

In the sessions final hour on Wednesday, the course was altered to a 12-turn, 2.95-mile course — following some input from the drivers.

"As racecar drivers we're never happy so we're always going to complain about something," Kanaan said. "After we talked last night we gave them a couple of suggestions on a couple of extra corners that they can add."

Wheldon, the 2005 IRL champion and 2006 runner-up, has driven the 24-hour race here three times and won the race earlier this year with Scott Dixon and Nextel Cup regular Casey Mears.

The Englishman said an IndyCar race at night here would not be an issue.

"There's definitely enough light out there. I don't know how much difference the headlights make. Sometimes they can be more of a nuisance than anything else," Wheldon said. "A venue like this, if they're going to commit to having an IndyCar race, I don't think you're going to have a problem with anything. They're going to make sure that it's done right. I don't see any issues."

DIS president Robin Braig said there have been discussions with the IRL about scheduling a test session in the spring of 2007 — January, February or March — but no race date discussions have taken place.

There was talk around the track Wednesday about the potential for an IRL date at DIS on Labor Day weekend.

The race date could come as early as September 2007, but would more than likely be the season-finale to the 2008 season. More at Daytona Beach News Journal

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