Contact: Rick Voegelin High Performance Communications 408-761-2201 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AURORA V8 RACES TO SIXTH STRAIGHT VICTORY IN CHARLOTTE Oldsmobile Dominates Inaugural...
Contact: Rick Voegelin High Performance Communications 408-761-2201
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AURORA V8 RACES TO SIXTH STRAIGHT VICTORY IN CHARLOTTE
Oldsmobile Dominates Inaugural Indy Car Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway with Sixth Pole and Sixth Consecutive IRL Win
Concord, N.C.; July 26, 1997 -- Oldsmobile's production-based Indy Aurora V8 engine continued its domination of Indy Racing League competition as Buddy Lazier drove Hemelgarn Racing's Aurora-powered Dallara Indy car to victory today in the inaugural VisionAire 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Oldsmobile's sixth straight Indy car victory in 1997 spotlighted the performance, reliability, and efficiency of the Indy Aurora V8.
The Indy Aurora V8 powered the "Indy car invasion" into the heart of stock car country -- the first race for Indy-style cars in Charlotte since 1927. Racers using the Indy Aurora V8 swept the top 22 finishing positions and led every racing lap on the high-banked (24-degree) 1.5-mile quad-oval. The Indy Aurora V8 had a strong reliability record in the 500-kilometer (312-mile) race, with only three reported engine problems by teams using Oldsmobile engines. Thirteen cars were running at the finish -- all powered by Aurora V8s. Accidents eliminated three cars, but no drivers were injured.
An announced crowd of 73,039 spectators saw Lazier, the 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion, score his second career IRL victory in the series' debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The crowd roared its approval as the Indy cars raced three and four abreast at over 200 mph.
"The new format of cars and motors this year really lends itself to close racing," said Lazier, who switched to Aurora power at the Indianapolis 500. "You've got to fight for every inch. It makes for a good show."
Aurora racer Billy Boat was runner-up, and 1997 Indy 500 runner-up Scott Goodyear was third.
"We ran the engine flat-out lap after lap for the first part of the race," said Boat, who scored his second runner-up finish of the year in A.J. Foyt's Conseco Indy car. "I ran sixth gear most of the race, and then put it up in fifth at the end to try to catch Buddy, but I didn't have quite enough for him. Oldsmobile definitely builds a great motor."
Aurora racers led all 208 laps, topped by Tony Stewart who led 74 laps and took over the lead in the IRL Drivers Championship. Oldsmobile engines have now led every racing lap in IRL competition in 1997 -- a total of 1,165 laps (1,673 miles). Oldsmobile leads the IRL Manufacturers Championship with 66 points, the maximum number of points available.
Stewart, winner of the preceding event at Pikes Peak International Raceway, set the pace in qualifying at Charlotte with a fast lap of 217.164 mph. Stewart's pole-winning run eclipsed the 185.759 mph track record set by NASCAR stock car driver Ward Burton by more than 31 mph. It was the fourth pole of 1997 for Stewart and Team Menard.
"It's cool to be the first pole winner anywhere you go," said Stewart. "Every pole you get is special, but it's nice to do it at a track where you haven't raced before. There's a lot of history at this track."
Twenty-two of the 23 starters (96% of the field) used Indy Aurora V8 engines -- including the 18 fastest qualifiers. Cunningham-Byrd Racing, the latest team to switch to Oldsmobile, qualified driver Mike Groff 22nd on the grid in his first race with Aurora power. The lone Infiniti driver in the field qualified 19th and finished 23rd.
The next event for the Indy Aurora V8 will be the Pennzoil 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire, on August 17. The event will be televised live by ABC Sports at 3:00 p.m. EDT.
IRL VISIONAIRE 500 RESULTS
Driver Entrant Engine Laps Status 1. Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn Racing Aurora 208 Running 2. Billy Boat A.J. Foyt Ent. Aurora 208 Running 3. Scott Goodyear Treadway Racing Aurora 207 Running 4. Affonso Giaffone Chitwood Motorsports Aurora 206 Running 5. Kenny Brack Galles Racing Aurora 206 Running 6. Eddie Cheever Team Cheever Aurora 206 Running 7. Tony Stewart Team Menard Aurora 205 Running 8. Stephan Gregoire Chastain Motorsports Aurora 202 Running 9. Marco Greco Galles Racing Aurora 202 Running 10. Eliseo Salazar Team Scandia Aurora 200 Running 11. John Paul, Jr. PDM Racing Aurora 198 Running 12. Jim Guthrie Blueprint Racing Aurora 197 Running 13. Robbie Groff McCormack Motorsports Aurora 189 Halfshaft 14. Mike Groff Cunningham-Byrd Racing Aurora 176 Running 15. Jimmy Kite Team Scandia Aurora 163 Accident 16. Davey Hamilton A.J. Foyt Ent. Aurora 141 Accident 17. Roberto Guerrero Pagan Racing Aurora 141 Accident 18. Sam Schmidt LP Racing Aurora 114 Engine 19. Mark Dismore Kelley Automotive Grp. Aurora 97 Engine 20. Vincenzo Sospiri Team Scandia Aurora 70 Engine 21. Arie Luyendyk Treadway Racing Aurora 67 Handling 22. Greg Ray Knapp Motorsport Aurora 30 Electrical 23. Jack Miller Arizona Motorsports Infiniti 12 Electrical
Lap Leaders 1. Tony Stewart Aurora 74 laps 2. Buddy Lazier Aurora 58 3. Billy Boat Aurora 38 4. Roberto Guerrero Aurora 26 5. Jimmy Kit Aurora 11 6. Scott Goodyear Aurora 1
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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 26-Jul-1997