IRL set for hot weekend

Speed is never an issue at Kansas City. Heat always seems to be. Dealing with temperatures that reached 97 degrees - with no relief in sight this weekend - became the primary concern for IRL IndyCar Series drivers in Friday's first practice session for this weekend's race at Kansas Speedway

IRL set for hot weekend

Strangely enough, 97 degrees didn't faze some drivers who are used to July in the Midwest. The previous two Indy Racing League events at Kansas City also were held in brutally hot conditions.

"It's not as hot as it was here last year," reigning champion Sam Hornish Jr. said. "With the heat and the wind we get here, keeping the tyres underneath you for the whole race tends to be a problem. Some people might run too much pressure or too much camber. You have to be really conscious of your tyres here."

Ganassi Racing driver Tomas Scheckter went fastest in the practice session with a lap of 218.264mph, but was more concerned with looking after his Firestone rubber. "We all have to keep an eye on our tyres," he said. "There's a lot of heat out there."

Other drivers with quick laps on Friday included Scheckter's team-mate Scott Dixon and series points leader Tony Kanaan.

"It's unbelievably hot out there," Kanaan said. "Condition-wise, though, the track didn't change. Heat affects everything. It affects the downforce, the engine and the tyres. We just need to be aware of what's going to happen."

Dixon, who has won the last two races, has closed to within 27 points of Kanaan heading into Sunday's race. "They've always been strong," Kanaan said of Dixon. "That's not a surprise to anybody."

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