IRL: Indy500 Oldsmobile Pole report

OLDSMOBILE WINS SECOND INDY 500 POLE IRL Aurora V8 Sweeps Top 14 Spots, Powers 25 of 26 Qualifiers in First Day of Qualifying for Indianapolis 500 Speedway, Ind.; May 16, 1998 -- For the second straight year, ...

OLDSMOBILE WINS SECOND INDY 500 POLE

IRL Aurora V8 Sweeps Top 14 Spots, Powers 25 of 26 Qualifiers in First Day of Qualifying for Indianapolis 500

Speedway, Ind.; May 16, 1998 -- For the second straight year, Oldsmobile's production-based IRL Aurora V8 racing engine will start on the pole for the Indianapolis 500, the centerpiece of the 11-race Pep Boys Indy Racing League series. Teammates Billy Boat and Kenny Brack qualified first and third respectively today in Oldsmobile-powered Dallaras owned by four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt. Unheralded Greg Ray split the Foyt twosome, and will start in the middle of the front row with Thomas Knapp Motorsports' IRL Aurora V8-equipped Dallara.

"A.J. gave me full throttle on that run!" Boat joked after winning the pole. "Katech built a great Oldsmobile engine for us for qualifying. We're making more power with more reliability. That's always what you strive for in an engine program."

Boat averaged 223.503 mph in his four-lap qualifying run on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval to capture his second career IRL pole. Ray ran 221.125 mph to claim the No. 2 spot, while Brack qualified Foyt's second entry on the outside of the front row at 220.982 mph. Reigning IRL champion Tony Stewart will start in the second row after qualifying at 220.386 mph.

The top 11 qualifiers all bettered the 218.263 mph four-lap qualifying record for the IRL's new-generation Indy cars set at last year's event by Arie Luyendyk in Treadway Racing's Oldsmobile-powered entry.

Boat, a 32-year-old short-track star from Phoenix, extended the IRL Aurora V8's perfect qualifying record to 11 consecutive poles since the IRL introduced its 4.0-liter engine formula in January, 1997. Twenty-five of the 26 first-day qualifiers -- including the 14 fastest drivers -- used 4.0-liter IRL Aurora V8 engines, which are based on the 32-valve DOHC Aurora V8 that is available exclusively in Oldsmobile's flagship sedan.

Foyt celebrated his 40th year at Indianapolis by putting his car on the pole for the first time since 1975. "I'm fired up because the IRL has really become competitive," said Foyt. "We can do our own motor work now. I can send a new set of cams to Katech, our engine builder, and have them put them in our engine. We have a lot more control over the equipment we run."

"My engine ran really strong," reported Foyt driver Kenny Brack, 32, of Karlstad, Sweden, after posting the third fastest speed of the day. "I ran it right up to the rev limiter at 10,500 rpm."

Unsponsored Greg Ray, 31, of Dallas, raised eyebrows all around the Speedway with his strong qualifying performance. "Brayton builds our Aurora engines, and they have far exceeded what we've asked of them," Ray reported. "They've helped us out with parts we haven't even paid for yet. We're running the Indy 500 on two engines -- one for qualifying and one for the race. My motor ran perfectly on the qualifying run, but we were just a couple of turns off on the setup. We were close, but no cigar."

Team Menard's Tony Stewart and Robbie Buhl qualified fourth and fifth respectively. "Last year we stayed on conservative side and qualified second," Stewart explained. "This year I decided I was either going to be quick or crash. We gambled a little and got the car too loose. We thought the weather might change the car's handling so we made adjustments -- and unfortunately we went over the top.

"Our engine program has been flawless," Stewart added. "Our race motors typically have been bulletproof. Knock on wood, we'll have good ones for next weekend."

Seven independent Oldsmobile engine builders were represented on the list of first-day Indy 500 qualifiers. Katech supplied the engines for the front-running Foyt entries, while Brayton Engineering built Greg Ray's IRL Aurora V8. Team Menard supplied the horsepower for Stewart and Buhl, and NAC Engines powered the surprising Sam Schmidt to the No. 6 qualifying position at 219.982 mph.

Qualifying for the 33-car field will be completed on Sunday, May 17. The 82nd Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to start at 11:00 a.m. local time (12:00 noon EDT) on Sunday, May 24. The race will be televised live by ABC Sports and broadcast on the IMS Radio Network.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 FIRST-DAY QUALIFIERS

Driver Entrant Engine Speed Row 1 Billy Boat A.J. Foyt Ent. Oldsmobile 223.503 mph Greg Ray Knapp Mtrsprts Oldsmobile 221.125 Kenny Brack A.J. Foyt Ent. Oldsmobile 220.982

Row 2 Tony Stewart Team Menard Oldsmobile 220.386 Robbie Buhl Team Menard Oldsmobile 220.236 Sam Schmidt LP Racing Oldsmobile 219.982

Row 3 Scott Sharp Kelley Racing Oldsmobile 219.910 Davey Hamilton Nienhouse Mtrspts Oldsmobile 219.748 Roberto Guerrero Pagan Racing Oldsmobile 218.900

Row 4 Scott Goodyear Panther Racing Oldsmobile 218.357 Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn Racing Oldsmobile 218.288 Mark Dismore Kelley Racing Oldsmobile 218.096

Row 5 J.J. Yeley SRS Oldsmobile 218.044 Marco Greco Phoenix Racing Oldsmobile 217.953 Jack Miller Arizona Mtrsprts Infiniti 217.800

Row 6 John Paul, Jr. Team Pelfrey Oldsmobile 217.351 Eddie Cheever, Jr. Team Cheever Oldsmobile 217.334 Buzz Calkins Bradley Mtrsprts Oldsmobile 217.197

Row 7 Andy Michner Chitwood Mtrspts. Oldsmobile 216.922 Jim Guthrie ISM Racing Oldsmobile 216.604 Robby Unser Team Cheever Oldsmobile 216.534

Row 8 Jack Hewitt PDM Racing Oldsmobile 216.450 Steve Knapp ISM Racing Oldsmobile 216.445 Donnie Beechler Cahill Auto Racing Oldsmobile 216.357

Row 9 Johnny Unser Hemelgarn Racing Oldsmobile 216.316 Billy Roe Team Scandia Oldsmobile 215.781

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Buzz Calkins , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Buddy Lazier , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Jim Guthrie , Scott Goodyear , Roberto Guerrero , Donnie Beechler , Kenny Brack , Billy Roe , Sam Schmidt , Steve Knapp , J.J. Yeley , Jack Hewitt , Johnny Unser , Robby Unser , John Paul , A.J. Foyt , Jack Miller
Teams Panther Racing , Phoenix Racing