IRL: Goodyear claims first career MBNA Pole at Kentucky

SPARTA, Ky., Saturday, Aug. 26, 2000 -- Challengers Scott Goodyear and Eliseo Salazar tightened the gap on leader Buddy Lazier in the battle for the Indy Racing Northern Light Series championship Saturday by grabbing the two front-row ...

SPARTA, Ky., Saturday, Aug. 26, 2000 -- Challengers Scott Goodyear and Eliseo Salazar tightened the gap on leader Buddy Lazier in the battle for the Indy Racing Northern Light Series championship Saturday by grabbing the two front-row starting spots for The Belterra Resort Indy 300 race at Kentucky Speedway. Salazar became the first driver to exceed 219 mph on the 1.5-mile oval when he clocked a 219.067 lap in his Rio A.J. Foyt Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone as the fifth driver to qualify. But Goodyear, driving the Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone, later blasted around at 219.191 to win his first MBNA Pole in 37 Indy Racing Northern Light Series starts. “I didn’t get out of the car elated,” Goodyear said. That’s because Greg Ray, already owner of four poles this season, had not made his qualifying run. Ray’s Conseco/Quaker State/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone failed to the pass the 2-inch ground clearance rule. The crew made the adjustment, but Ray was penalized one lap and forced to the end of the qualifying line. Goodyear and co-car owners Gary Pedigo and John Barnes held their collective breaths until Ray’s time of 26.654 seconds was flashed on the scoring tower. That was 18-hundredths of a second slower, and the Pennzoil Panther Racing team began doing high-fives. Goodyear was 14-hundredths of a second quicker than Salazar. The pole provided Goodyear with three points. Salazar earned two points for second, and Ray earned one for third. Northern Light Cup points leader Buddy Lazier qualified seventh, and points runner-up Eddie Cheever Jr. was 15th, keeping their totals static with 208 and 185 points, respectively. Goodyear’s total now is 178, Salazar’s 175. Salazar broke a tie with Scott Sharp, who was only 18th fastest. The race, which starts at 2:30 p.m. (EDT) Sunday, rewards the winner with 50 points. The leader of the most laps also gets two. Goodyear is driving his final season for Panther Racing. He said the difference Saturday was that for the first time the team prepared a qualifying car and a race car. The information for the race setup will be transferred to the qualifying machine for Sunday. This was the second straight race that Salazar will start second. At Atlanta, Ray made a last-car run to knock Salazar to the outside of the front row. “I’m happy for tomorrow (Sunday),” Salazar said. “We have a very good setup.” Teen-ager Sarah Fisher continued her fine performance at the Kentucky facility. She said Friday that her goal was to qualify in the top five, and she succeeded with a 217.672-mph lap in her Walker Racing Cummins Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone machine, good for fourth.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Scott Goodyear , John Barnes , A.J. Foyt
Teams Panther Racing