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AUGUST 15, 2001

Herbert close to IRL pole time in Kentucky test

JOHNNY HERBERT's hopes of getting an Indy Racing League drive have been boosted considerably by a very impressive test with Heritage Motorsports at the Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday. Herbert lapped the 1.5-mile oval in 214.7mph and reckoned that he could have gone a little quicker with a bit more fine-tuning of the G-Force chassis. The pole lap for last Sunday's IRL race was set by Scott Sharp at an identical speed.

"This is a step in the right direction in securing a drive in next year's series," said Herbert. "My goal is winning the Indy 500 and after the tests I feel confident that this is within my reach."

Herbert's test last for three hours but he was running at over 200mph after just three laps.

In the course of the last week Herbert has now tested both a CART and an IRL car and Johnny says that he is currently "trying to figure out all the possibilities and looking at the strongest packages".

The test also proved to be very useful for Heritage as it tried out the new Infiniti engine.

"This was a great test for the team, " said John Mecom III, co-owner of Heritage Motorsports. "The conditions were very comparable to Sunday's race, so we're able to make a close comparison of the data we've accumulated. That was the goal of the test. We learned a lot about the G-Force chassis and were able to experiment with the Infiniti engine. We're making ourselves better for the future."