FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rick Voegelin High Performance Communications 408-761-2201 AURORA V8 DOMINATES INDY 500 Indy Aurora V8 Wins Pole, Leads Every Lap, and Scores Third Straight Victory in...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rick Voegelin High Performance Communications 408-761-2201
AURORA V8 DOMINATES INDY 500
Indy Aurora V8 Wins Pole, Leads Every Lap, and Scores Third Straight Victory in IRL Series
Speedway, Ind.; May 27, 1997 -- In Oldsmobile's first appearance at the Indianapolis 500, the production-based Indy Aurora V8 dominated the 81st running of the world's most famous auto race. Arie Luyendyk won the 500-mile contest on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5-mile oval with an average speed of 145.827 mph in Treadway Racing's Aurora-powered Indy car. Aurora racers captured the first 11 finishing positions and led every racing lap.
Indy Aurora V8 engines have now won all three Indy Racing League events since the series introduced its new engine formula in January. Oldsmobile-powered cars have swept all three poles and led every racing lap in IRL competition in 1997. Oldsmobile leads the IRL Manufacturers Championship with 33 points.
"I ran my motor hard today," said Luyendyk, who won his first Indy 500 title in 1990. "I ran fourth gear, fifth gear, and sixth gear -- and every now and then I ran it to the rev limiter. They told me to run my motor at 10,400 rpm, so I ran it at 10,400." Twenty-nine of the 35 starters used Indy Aurora V8 engines, including polesitter Luyendyk (who captured the pole with a speed of 218.263 mph) and the fastest 25 qualifiers. Scott Goodyear, Luyendyk's Treadway Racing teammate, was second across the "yard of bricks" at the finish line, followed in the unofficial box score by Aurora racers Jeff Ward, Buddy Lazier, Tony Stewart, Davey Hamilton, Billy Boat, Robbie Buhl, Robbie Groff, Fermin Velez, and Buzz Calkins.
Concerns about engine reliability proved unfounded as 13 cars were running at the finish -- 11 with Aurora V8s and two with Infiniti engines. (Since 1977, an average of 13.7 cars have finished the Indy 500; in 1982, only 8 cars finished). Seven independent engine builders supplied Indy Aurora V8 engines for the top 11 finishers.
"There were a lot of cars out there running at the finish," Luyendyk noted. "Thirteen finishers is not an unusual number for a 500-mile race. It speaks well for the reliability of our engines. Roush, our engine builder, is doing a great job."
"I don't think anyone really knew what was going to happen with the motors," said third-place finisher Jeff Ward, the top rookie. "We were confident that we had the motors to finish the race, but no one was bragging that the engines were bulletproof. I'm just excited to see that the motors lasted, and mechanically they were as good as anything that has run here before. It's a big step for IRL and Aurora."
The Indy Aurora V8 is the first naturally aspirated engine to power the Indy 500 winner since 1967. Oldsmobile awarded $35,000 and a 1997 Aurora Official Pace Car to Luyendyk for capturing the Indy 500 crown.
"Winning the Indy 500 in our first appearance is a great experience for America's most experienced car company," said Oldsmobile General Manager Darwin Clark. "There's no better way to kick off Oldsmobile's second century than to win the 'Greatest Spectacle in Racing.'"
"Winning is the ultimate team sport," Clark added. "It took a tremendous effort by GM engineers, our development partners, the component suppliers, and the racing teams to put this engine in the Indy 500 winner's circle just 27 weeks after its first track test. I congratulate everyone involved in this great adventure on a job well done."
The next event for the Indy Aurora V8 will be the True Value 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth on June 7, 1997.
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1997 INDIANAPOLIS 500 TOP 11 FINISHERS
Driver Entrant Engine Laps 1. Arie Luyendyk Treadway Racing Aurora 200 2. Scott Goodyear Treadway Racing Aurora 200 3. Jeff Ward Team Cheever Aurora 200 4. Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn Racing Aurora 200 5. Tony Stewart Team Menard Aurora 200 6. Davey Hamilton A.J. Foyt Ent. Aurora 199 7. Billy Boat A.J. Foyt Ent. Aurora 199 8. Robbie Buhl Team Menard Aurora 199 9. Robbie Groff McCormack Motorsports Aurora 197 10. Fermin Velez Team Scandia Aurora 195 11. Buzz Calkins Bradley Motorsports Aurora 188
E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 27-May-1997