IRL: Kelly Racing Michigan test report

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- A name known more in Hollywood circles than in racing ovals was at Michigan International Speedway on Thursday testing an Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series car for the first time. Jason Priestley, star of television's Beverly ...

IRL: Kelly Racing Michigan test report
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BROOKLYN, Mich. -- A name known more in Hollywood circles than in racing ovals was at Michigan International Speedway on Thursday testing an Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series car for the first time.

Jason Priestley, star of television's Beverly Hills 90210, and driver coach Tony Renna tested the No. 7 Homemed Kelley Racing Infiniti Dallara at MIS, the first time an Infiniti Pro Series car had taken laps around historic speedway. The drivers logged 58 laps during the muggy day, with Renna taking the first 20 in the morning and Priestley handling the final 38 in the afternoon.

The test, intended less for speed and more for working out kinks before an open test session this weekend in St. Louis, proved valuable to the team. Priestley, in particular, is looking forward to competing at MIS in the Michigan 100 Infiniti Pro Series race July 28 prior to the inaugural Michigan Indy 400 Indy Racing League event.

"I think it's going to be a great race," Priestley said. "The cars produce a lot of downforce, so I think all of us will be comfortable and that'll lead to a lot of close racing. The speeds won't be quite to the level of the IRL cars, but it'll be a great show."

Priestley, while known more for his acting in television and movies, is no stranger to motorsports. In 1991, he started driving for the California Rally Series and finished third in his division at Glen Helen Raceway in California.

He moved on to the SCCA the following year until catching a ride in a Mustang for the IMSA Firehawk Series in 1996. Priestley also competed in the Sportscar GTS1 Series and finished third overall at Laguna Seca.

"And now I've landed here with Kelley Racing in the Homemed Infiniti Dallara," Priestley said. "I think it's going to be a great series, and it's a new racing discipline for me because I'm used to road course racing."

While Priestley wouldn't mind a ride in the Indy Racing League next season, he's maintaining 100 percent focus on the 2002 seven-race Infiniti Pro Series campaign.

"All through my racing career, I've been conscious about taking things one step at a time," he said. "In this business, it's easy to get in over your head and if you don't get up to speed, you can end up jumping into a car that's got too much power and that's too difficult. I'm focused on this year, and what happens next year will happen."

Tickets for the inaugural Michigan Indy 400, including the Michigan 100 Infiniti Pro Series race, on July 28 are just $40 with kids 12 and under free. Add a Saturday ticket -- and see the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race -- for just $10 more. The ticket prices include admission to the two-day ACDelco Corvettes at MIS presented by AutoWeek on July 27-28 in the MIS infield.

-Call (800) 354-1010 -- CenturyTel users dial *MIS -- or visit www.MISpeedway.com for tickets.

-mis-

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