RAY EXTENDS TEAM MENARD POLE DOMINATION AT VISIONAIRE 500 By Beth Agan indyracingleague.com CONCORD, N.C., April 30, 1999 -- Greg Ray won the PPG Pole for the VisionAire 500 in dramatic fashion Friday night, turning a record lap of 24.320...
RAY EXTENDS TEAM MENARD POLE DOMINATION AT VISIONAIRE 500 By Beth Agan indyracingleague.com
CONCORD, N.C., April 30, 1999 -- Greg Ray won the PPG Pole for the VisionAire 500 in dramatic fashion Friday night, turning a record lap of 24.320 seconds, 222.039 mph on the 1.5-mile oval at Lowe's Motor Speedway to deliver the third consecutive pole at this event for Team Menard. Ray, from Plano, Texas, was allowed only one qualifying lap because his Menard-Glidden Dallara/Aurora/Firestone was one-thousandth of an inch too low in pre-qualifying technical inspection. Drivers normally receive two qualifying laps. "We were in line in 14th, and we changed the ride height," Ray said. "We had to hang it all out on the first lap. We were lucky tonight to reach into the hat and pull out a rabbit." It was Ray's second career and second consecutive PPG Pole. He also took the top spot at the MCI WorldCom 200 in late March at Phoenix. Ray started second at the season-opening TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200 at Orlando, Fla. Tony Stewart, now competing in NASCAR Winston Cup, won the pole for Team Menard at this event in 1997 and 1998. Stewart set the track record last year of 24.490, 220.498, smashed by Ray Friday night despite an air temperature of 58 degrees and a steady wind approaching 20 mph. The VisionAire 500, the third race of the 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League season, starts at 8 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. Scott Sharp qualified second at 221.239 in the Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. The first 20 qualifiers were separated by only .642 of a second, the closest margin between the top 20 in Pep Boys Indy Racing League history. Series points leader Scott Goodyear qualified third at 221.067 in the Pennzoil Panther G Force/Aurora/Goodyear. Sam Schmidt qualified fourth, at 220.390 in the Sprint PCS G Force/Aurora/Firestone, his best career Pep Boys Indy Racing League starting position. Jeff Ward was fifth at 219.736 in the Pagan Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Defending series champion Kenny Brack was 21st at 24.971, 216.251 in the A.J. Foyt-Power Team Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear, as the team made the wrong gear selection before qualifying. Brack is the defending champion of this event.
On the air: The VisionAire 500 will be televised live on SpeedVision, starting with a 30-minute prerace show at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. It's the network's first live broadcast of a Pep Boys Indy Racing League race. FOX Sports Net will rebroadcast the race May 6. Check local listings for air time. The Indy Racing Radio Network will broadcast a 30-minute prerace show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by the live race broadcast at 8 p.m. The Charlotte-area IRRN affiliate is WSOC-FM, 103.7, Charlotte. The IRRN race broadcast also will be available live on the Internet at www.indyracingleague.com as part of a new partnership between IRL Online and broadcast.com, the world's leading Web broadcast site.