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Published: Sunday, 5/29/2011

Indy 500 Notebook: World-record jump goes off without hitch

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Professional stunt driver Tanner Faust flies through the air on his way to setting a new world record by jumping 332 feet in a Pro 2 truck at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before the Indianapolis 500 Sunday. Professional stunt driver Tanner Faust flies through the air on his way to setting a new world record by jumping 332 feet in a Pro 2 truck at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before the Indianapolis 500 Sunday.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

INDIANAPOLIS  — Tanner Foust set a world record at the track known for breaking barriers Sunday.

The 37-year-old professional stunt driver and three-time X Games gold medalist sped down a bright orange ramp at 104 mph and jumped 332 feet in a Pro 2 truck, breaking Johnny Greaves’ mark of 301 feet in a four-wheel vehicle.

“You’re basically going down a really poorly designed rollercoaster, because there are no guard rails,” Foust joked afterward. “We accounted for everything you could imagine outside of the weather.”

Hot Wheels, which put on the event, didn’t reveal the driver’s identity until after the jump, about 90 minutes before the Indianapolis 500 started.

The ideal conditions — no rain and a tail wind — helped Foust soar well beyond the 309 feet he cleared during testing at the Hot Wheels facility in California.

The ramp in the fourth turn of the 2.5-mile oval track was built to replicate the company’s V-Drop, which is hung on a door. Workers constructed a 100-foot scaffold, draped with a cover to mimic an actual door.

Foust raced down the 90-foot ramp, took off and landed well beyond the 301-foot mark.

His next challenge might be getting in an IndyCar to try to win the $5 million prize that series CEO Randy Bernard has offered if a driver from another series wins the season-ending race at Las Vegas.

“Yeah, let’s do that,” Foust said. “I think IndyCars are really cool. I’ve had a little open-wheel experience. I’d love testing that out.”

 

RACING IS RACING: Former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden can see himself switching from two wheels to four when his riding career is over.

Hayden was at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday to watch the Indy 500 and promote the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix to be held at the track in August.

The 29-year-old Hayden, who won the world championship in 2006, said he’ll “race anything,” and when his motorcycle career is over he could see himself getting behind the wheel of a race car. Hayden said the skills he’s gained while riding could translate well into other racing disciplines.

Hayden isn’t going anywhere soon. He’s currently sixth in the MotoGP standings and is eager to return to Indy, where his best finish is second.

 

SCHMIDT FAN: Actor Patrick Dempsey is pulling for Sam Schmidt’s team at the Indianapolis 500.

Dempsey, who owns and drives for a team in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, spent time in Schmidt’s garage before the race. He’d like to see pole-sitter Alex Tagliani, Townsend Bell and rookie Jay Howard do well.

“I’m very excited for Sam,” said Dempsey, who announced a partnership with Trina Solar on Sunday. “He’s been in this sport for so long, and he’s done so much.”



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