VisionAire 500 FAST FACTS WHAT: VISIONAIRE 500 Third of 11 races in the 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League WHERE: Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C. 1.5-mile tri-oval superspeedway WHEN: 8 p.m. (EDT) Saturday,...
VisionAire 500 FAST FACTS
WHAT: VISIONAIRE 500 Third of 11 races in the 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League WHERE: Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C. 1.5-mile tri-oval superspeedway
WHEN: 8 p.m. (EDT) Saturday, May 1, 1999 DISTANCE: 312 miles/208 laps POSTED AWARDS: More than $1 million CARS: Dallara, G Force and Riley & Scott chassis; Oldsmobile Aurora V8 and Nissan Infiniti Indy V8 engines; Firestone and Goodyear tires 1998 RACE WINNER: Kenny Brack 1998 PEP BOYS IRL CHAMPION: Kenny Brack CURRENT POINTS LEADER: Scott Goodyear
TV: (Race) SpeedVision (live), 8 p.m. (EDT) May 1 with a prerace show starting at 7:30 p.m. FOX Sports Net (rebroadcast), May 6, check local listings. Announcers: Jack Arute, Dave Calabro, Arie Luyendyk Pit reporters: Calvin Fish, Vince Welch (Qualifying) SpeedVision (live), 6 p.m. (EDT) April 30 Announcers: Jack Arute, Dave Calabro, Arie Luyendyk Pit reporter: Calvin Fish, Vince Welch RADIO: (Race) Indy Racing Radio Network (live), 8 p.m. (EDT) May 1, with a prerace show starting at 7:30 p.m. The local IRRN affiliate is WSOC-FM, 103.7, Charlotte, N.C. Announcers: Mike King, Larry Rice Pit reporters: Mark Jaynes, Doug Rice Turn reporters: Jerry Baker, Mark Garrow
SCHEDULE (all times local): (Thursday, April 29) 10 a.m.: Pep Boys IRL garage opens 5-6:30 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL practice (Two groups) 7-8:30 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL practice (Two groups) 8:45-10 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL autograph session in garage area (Friday, April 30) 10 a.m.: Pep Boys IRL garage opens 3:15-4:45 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL practice (Two groups) 6:15-7:45 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL qualifications (All positions, best of two laps) 9:45-10:15 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL final practice
(Saturday, May 1) 10 a.m.: Pep Boys IRL garage opens 7 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL cars to grid 7:15 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL driver introductions 7:30 p.m.: SpeedVision prerace show 8 p.m.: VisionAire 500 (312 miles/208 laps)
TRACK RECORDS: (Qualifying) Tony Stewart, 24.490 seconds, 220.498 mph, July 23, 1998 (Race) Buddy Lazier, 1 hour, 55 minutes, 29 seconds, July 26, 1997 Average speed: 162.096 mph THE TRACK: 1.5-mile tri-oval Front straightaway: 1,952.8 feet long Back straightaway: 1,360 feet long Banking in turns: 24 degrees Banking on straightaways: 5 degrees
THE RACE: This Pep Boys Indy Racing League event has taken place annually at Lowe's Motor Speedway, formerly known as Charlotte Motor Speedway, since 1997. 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Lazier won the inaugural VisionAire 500 on July 26, 1997. Tony Stewart won the pole. 1998 Pep Boys Indy Racing League champion Kenny Brack won the VisionAire 500 on July 25, 1998. Tony Stewart, 1997 Pep Boys Indy Racing League champion, won the pole in 1998.
RACE NOTES: *Based on preseason testing, a handful of teams pack the power to break Tony Stewart's track record of 220.498 mph set during PPG Pole qualifying last year. Pep Boys Indy Racing League points leader Scott Goodyear turned an unofficial lap of 221 mph in his Pennzoil Panther G Force/Aurora/Goodyear during recent tire testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Kelley Racing teammates Scott Sharp and Mark Dismore hit 220 and 219, respectively, while 1997 VisionAire 500 winner Buddy Lazier clocked in at 218. *Lowe's Motor Speedway still holds the record of having the fastest Pep Boys Indy Racing League event in history. Buddy Lazier, 1997 Indianapolis 500 champion, recorded the fastest average race speed of 162.096 mph by winning the inaugural VisionAire 500 on July 26, 1997. *1997 & 1998 U.S. F2000 Road to Indy Oval Crown Series runner-up Robby McGehee is scheduled to make his Pep Boys Indy Racing League debut with Conti Racing at the VisionAire 500. McGehee recently participated in the Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. McGehee completed the ROP in 110 laps. *1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr. will use an Infiniti Indy V8 engine for the first time in a Pep Boys Indy Racing League race at this event, as he recently switched from Oldsmobile Aurora power. Cheever recently clocked laps of 220 mph with the Infiniti engine during testing at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a sister track to LMS. *This is the first time that the Pep Boys Indy Racing League will conduct an event in May other than the Indianapolis 500. Every team will hone their high-speed setups for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing while running at LMS.
*The VisionAire 500 will be Johnny Unser's 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League debut, driving the #92 Tae-Bo Delta Faucet Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Unser, son of late Indianapolis 500 veteran Jerry Unser, has driven in the Indianapolis 500 the last three years, with a best finish of 18th for Hemelgarn Racing in 1997. He ran as high as third that year before dropping out with a mechanical problem. Unser will drive car number 92, the same number used by his father at Indianapolis. Tae-Bo, a revolutionary fitness program soaring in popularity across the United States created by Billy Blanks, will serve as the primary sponsor for Unser and as associate sponsor for Buddy Lazier, the inaugural VisionAire 500 winner. The Tae-Bo sponsorship has a natural tie to Hemelgarn Racing. Team owner Ron Hemelgarn owns several hundred health and fitness clubs across the United States in addition to his Pep Boys Indy Racing League team. * Kenny Brack's league-record three-race winning streak began last year at the VisionAire 500 in the #14 A.J. Foyt Power Team Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Only days before this event Brack was sixth in the series point standings after finishing 10th at Dover, seemingly an outside player in the race for the championship. But then the greatest run in series history started at the VisionAire 500. A.J. Foyt's Power Team crew did a great job of keeping Brack on the same lap with the leaders on the final pit stop. Brack then did the rest, methodically and speedily running down Ward in the next 20 laps. He made a thrilling three- wide pass of Ward for the lead with 13 laps to go and motored on to win by 5.602 seconds. *Two Indianapolis 500 winners are expected to enter this event: 1998 champion Eddie Cheever Jr., and 1996 champion Buddy Lazier. *This may be only the third Pep Boys Indy Racing League event to take place at Lowe's Motor Speedway, formerly known as Charlotte Motor Speedway, but open-wheel cars raced at the defunct Charlotte Speedway from 1924-27. Winners on the 1.25-mile, high-banked wooden oval included Indianapolis 500 winners Tommy Milton and Peter DePaolo.
SERIES NOTES: *One thing is certain: there will be a new PPG Pole winner for this year's VisionAire 500 May 1 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Tony Stewart, driving for Team Menard, captured the first two PPG Poles at Charlotte with speeds of 217.164 mph in 1997 and 220.498 in 1998. Stewart, 1997 Indy Racing League champion, now is a full-time Winston Cup driver for Joe Gibbs Racing. Stewart could set a record of sorts (and keep his streak at the track intact) by capturing the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 scheduled for the night of May 30.