IRL: Hamilton, Goodyear and Ward Fight for First Win

HAMILTON, GOODYEAR, WARD ARE WINS WAITING TO HAPPEN IN TEXAS FORT WORTH, Texas, Sept. 9, 1998 - It's safe to say that Kenny Brack knows exactly what Davey Hamilton, Scott Goodyear and Jeff Ward are going through now. Hamilton, Goodyear...

HAMILTON, GOODYEAR, WARD ARE WINS WAITING TO HAPPEN IN TEXAS

FORT WORTH, Texas, Sept. 9, 1998 - It's safe to say that Kenny Brack knows exactly what Davey Hamilton, Scott Goodyear and Jeff Ward are going through now. Hamilton, Goodyear and Ward would love to know exactly what Brack is going through these days. Brack was a win waiting to happen two months ago in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League. He led two of the first three races this year in the Power Team Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear owned by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt and qualified in the top 10 at four of the first six events. But he couldn't break through for that elusive first Indy Racing League victory. Then fate, skill and horsepower created a magical mix for Brack, who has won an unprecedented three consecutive races since mid-July to climb from sixth to first in the league point standings. Brack's struggles before his hot streak aren't lost on Hamilton, Goodyear and Ward as they head to Texas Motor Speedway for the inaugural Lone Star 500 on Sept. 20. Like Brack, Hamilton, Goodyear and Ward all have been big winners in other forms of racing. They all have been very fast this year and led races. And they all have come up empty in the quest for their first career league victory. A victory at Texas will do more than relieve pressure for Hamilton, Goodyear and Ward. It also will buoy their hopes of catching Brack in the chase for the Pep Boys Million awarded to the series champion. "We want to win, big-time," Hamilton said last month. "But we know how long it takes to win races. We don't have very many yet. Hopefully a win is right around the corner." Hamilton could turn that big corner at Texas. He is coming off a career-best second-place finish at the Atlanta 500 Classic presented by MCI on Aug. 29 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He has finished in the top 10 in eight of nine races this season in the Reebok-Nienhouse Motorsports Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear, including seventh in the True Value 500 on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway. He also has led in four of the last five races. That metronome-like consistency has pushed Hamilton into second in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League point standings, 23 behind Brack. Goodyear also has been on a rocket ride toward the winner's circle lately in his Pennzoil Panther G Force/Aurora/Goodyear. He has finished in the top 10 in five of the last six races, including fourth in the True Value 500 at CMS. Goodyear has climbed from a tie for 14th to a close fifth in the points since May. If his performance last month at Atlanta is any indication, Goodyear is good and ready to win. He led 93 of the first 135 laps during the Atlanta 500 Classic but slipped to fourth at the finish due to handling problems. Maybe no driver has been twisted by fate more than Ward this season. He has led 290 laps, second only to defending series champion Tony Stewart, but has been ravaged by various ill-timed woes. Ward led twice for 56 laps during the VisionAire 500 on July 25 at Charlotte Motor Speedway but was passed by Brack with 13 laps remaining. He ended up second, plagued by handling problems. There haven't been many more cruel sights during this season than watching Ward hit the wall between turns 1 and 2 while leading at the Radisson 200 on Aug. 16 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. He led by nearly 13 seconds on Lap 118 of the 200-lap race before crashing due to an apparent mechanical failure in the ISM Racing G Force/Aurora/Goodyear. Former AMA motocross champion Ward also was a major factor at Atlanta, leading three times for 64 laps on the same day that Thermo Tech Technologies was announced as the team's primary sponsor. But Brack once again passed the ill-handling Ward once again for the lead late in the race. Ward finished sixth.

LONE STAR 500 NOTEBOOK

Texas Two-Step: Billy Boat is the leading candidate to win the Texas Two-Step Championship and a $100,000 bonus at this event.

The driver who scores the most combined points at this race and the True Value 500, completed June 6 at TMS, will earn the big bonus. Boat won the True Value 500 in the Conseco Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear owned by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, a Houston resident.

The driver with the second-highest total will earn $50,000. Greg Ray, from Plano, Texas, finished second in the True Value 500 in the TKM-Genoa Dallara/Aurora/Firestone.

*** Event schedule: The inaugural Lone Star 500 is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. (CDT) Sept. 20. The Dallas Morning News Pole Day qualifying for the PPG Pole starts at 4 p.m. (CDT) Sept. 18. Pep Boys Indy Racing League practice sessions will take place at 9:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. (CDT) Sept. 18, and 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (CDT) Sept. 19.

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Broadcast schedule: The Lone Star 500 will be televised live on ABC at 3 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 20. The Dallas Morning News Pole Day qualifying for the PPG Pole will be televised live on SpeedVision at 5 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 18. The IMS Radio Network will broadcast the race live at 3 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 20, with a pre-race show starting at 2:30 p.m.

*** Taste of IRL: Pep Boys Indy Racing League fans can enjoy the cuisine of the league's best team chefs during the "Raceway Romp with a Taste of IRL" from 6-10 p.m. Sept. 18 at Texas Motor Speedway. The charity event benefits the Texas chapter of Speedway Children's Charities and CARA Charities. Guests can sample fine appetizers, main courses and dessert prepared by many race team chefs in the team motorhome area of the track's infield. Drivers and team officials will join in the feast. Musical entertainment will be provided, and a silent auction of racing memorabilia will take place. Tickets are $50 per person. A $25 ticket also is available, which includes admission to a Texas barbecue north of the team motorhome area, musical entertainment and a chance to participate in the silent auction. Tickets can be purchased by sending a check before Sept. 15 to: SCC-TX, P.O. Box 500, Fort Worth, TX 76101-2500

or CARA Charities, 2915 N. High School Road, Indianapolis, IN 46224 Call SCC-TX at (817) 833-0061 or CARA at (317) 299-2277 for more information.

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Pit challenge: Team Pelfrey and Team Cheever will compete in a Pep Boys Pit Stop Challenge from noon-1 p.m. (CDT) Sept. 16 at the Fort Worth Stockyards.

Team Cheever owner and driver, 1998 Indianapolis 500 champion Eddie Cheever Jr., his teammate, Robby Unser, and Team Pelfrey driver Brian Tyler will be joined by fellow Pep Boys Indy Racing League drivers for an autograph session after the competition.

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Tickets: Tickets for the Lone Star 500 are available by calling Texas Motor Speedway at (817) 215-8500.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Greg Ray , Jeff Ward , Davey Hamilton , Billy Boat , Scott Goodyear , Kenny Brack , Robby Unser , A.J. Foyt