For Immediate Release IRL SETS NEW POINT SYSTEM, WEEKEND SCHEDULES FOR 1998 INDIANAPOLIS, November 5, 1997 - A new point system, five open testing dates, an established race weekend format and starting fields for 1998 were set Tuesday...
For Immediate Release IRL SETS NEW POINT SYSTEM, WEEKEND SCHEDULES FOR 1998
INDIANAPOLIS, November 5, 1997 - A new point system, five open testing dates, an established race weekend format and starting fields for 1998 were set Tuesday in a meeting among Indy Racing League officials and team representatives at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort and Inn. In addition, a briefing took place on safety and the "update" kits from car manufacturers as teams prepare for the 11-race 1998 IRL season. The announcements were made by Leo Mehl, vice president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and executive director of the IRL. The new point system will feature 50 points for a victory for both entrants and drivers, points for the top three qualifiers for each race and a two-point bonus for the top lap leader. Open testing dates for IRL teams have been set for December 9-11 at Orlando, February 25-27 at Phoenix, April 14-18 under a new format at Indianapolis, June 15-17 at Dover and July 6-8 at Atlanta. The dates will be in advance of races at those tracks. The schedule format shows three-day race weekends at all tracks on the schedule except for the June 27-28 weekend at Loudon, N.H., which will be a two-day appearance. Starting fields were established at 28 on one-mile ovals and 32 on 1.5-mile ovals. These will include 26 starters and 30 starters, respectively, plus two provisional starters under a prescribed formula. The update kit for the G Force and Dallara chassis will include the underwing, side pods, engine cover and air box and will be priced at $35,000 by both manufacturers. In 1998, IRL cars will include what Mehl called a 'fan fin', a tail fin on the engine cowl reminiscent of the Novis of the 1950s and '60s used by only one team during 1997. The fin will sport the car's number in a prominent position to assist identification of cars from the grandstands. Mehl also announced to the owners that the IRL had been accepted as a member of the Automobile Competition Committee of the United States (ACCUS). "It makes us a part of the international sports system," Mehl told the group. "We're on the international calendar for Walt Disney World and Indianapolis. It gives us a situation where we can sit and talk with the other major sanctioning bodies of the country and it allows us to send people to the international safety conferences." Mehl and Phil Casey, technical director for the IRL, said the 1998 IRL rulebook would be out by December and enhanced safety modifications to the cars' bell housing, gearbox, air box, head rests, seats and attenuater would be addressed. Casey said safety testing is ongoing in those areas. "We've spent a lot of time looking at the rule book," Mehl said. "We're going to be able to simplify it quite a bit." Casey said airbox and cockpit modifications would enhance the safety aspects of the cars. "The kits will raise the air box higher by two inches and it'll give the driver more protection in the head area," he said, adding that the kits will provide more crushable material in the side pods and padding in the seats and head rest areas. "I'm pretty excited about all the safety items," Mehl said. "We're doing pretty well and we know we have further to go." "I just want to tell you how proud I am of what was accomplished during 1997 by you," he said further to the team representatives. "We're so far down the road compared to where we were at this point last year." =09 The 1998 IRL opener is the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway January 24 in Lake Buena Vista, FL.
NEW 1998 IRL DRIVER/ENTRANT CHAMPIONSHIP POINT SYSTEMS
1st - 50 16th - 14 BONUS POINTS: Pole Position - 3 2nd - 40 17th - 13 No. 2 starter - 2 3rd - 35 18th - 12 No. 3 starter - 1 4th - 32 19th - 11 Top lap leader -2 5th - 30 20th - 10 =09 6th - 28 21st - 9 =09 7th - 26 22nd - 8 8th - 24 23rd - 7 9th - 22 24th - 6 10th - 20 25th - 5 11th - 19 26th - 4 12th - 18 27th - 3 13th - 17 28th - 2 14th - 16 29th-34th - 1 15th - 15
IRL STARTING FIELDS One-mile ovals - 26 plus two provisionals 1 =BD mile ovals - 30 plus two provisionals Provisionals determined by, in order: 1. Reigning driver champion if he has not already qualified 2. Latest series driver champion if he has not already qualified 3. Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner if he has not already qualified 4. Highest ranking driver in current top 20 driver point standings prior to current event 5. Next fastest qualified driver (Next two fastest times posted during qualifications)
NOTE: No driver may use a provisional more than two times during the 1998 season.
IRL RACE WEEKEND PRACTICE, QUALIFYING, RACE DATES
January 22-24 Orlando, FL July 23-25 Charlotte, NC March 20-22 Phoenix, AZ August 14-16 Fountain, CO May 10-24 Indianapolis, IN August 27-29 Atlanta, GA June 4-6 Fort Worth, TX September 18-20 Fort Worth, TX June 27-28 Loudon, NH October 8-10 Las Vegas, NV July 17-19 Dover, DE
Media Contacts: Mai Lindstrom, IMS/IRL Public Relations Director,= 317/484-6780 Lisa Sommers, IRL Public Relations Manager, 317/484-6526
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