IRL: Indy500 Oldsmobile Race Report

OLDSMOBILE DOMINATES INDIANAPOLIS 500 Oldsmobile IRL Aurora V8 Powers Top 20 Drivers, Leads Every Lap, and Scores 11th Straight Victory in IRL Series Speedway, Ind.; May 24, 1998 -- For the second consecutive...

OLDSMOBILE DOMINATES INDIANAPOLIS 500

Oldsmobile IRL Aurora V8 Powers Top 20 Drivers, Leads Every Lap, and Scores 11th Straight Victory in IRL Series

Speedway, Ind.; May 24, 1998 -- For the second consecutive year, Oldsmobile IRL Aurora V8 engines dominated the Indianapolis 500. Eddie Cheever, Jr. scored his second career Indy Racing League victory as the 40-year-old owner/driver from Tampa, Fla., drove his Oldsmobile-powered Indy car to a 3.19-second victory over 1996 Indy 500 winner Buddy Lazier at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Cheever averaged 145.155 mph in the 500-mile race as Oldsmobile engines captured the top 20 spots and led all 200 laps.

"I ran hard all day long," Cheever reported. "My car ran impeccably. I had to take the risk of running the last 20 laps in fifth gear, but (engine builder) Brayton Engineering has done one hell of a job with the engine."

The Indy 500 victory continued Oldsmobile's dominance in Pep Boys Indy Racing League competition. Oldsmobile IRL Aurora V8 engines have won 11 straight IRL events, won every pole, and led every lap since the series introduced its production-based engine formula in January 1997. Cheever scored Oldsmobile's first Indy car victory in the rain-shortened 1997 Indy 200 at Walt Disney World -- the first race for the IRL's new-generation Indy cars.

The 82nd running of America's oldest auto race spotlighted the performance and reliability of Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 racing engine. Seventeen cars were running at the finish, exceeding the 13.8 average for the last 20 years and equaling the number of finishers in 1994 and 1995. Oldsmobile engines had an 84 percent reliability record, with only five engine-related problems reported among the 32 drivers who started the race with IRL Aurora V8 motors.

Three independent Oldsmobile engine builders were represented in the top three finishers: Brayton Engineering (Eddie Cheever, Jr., winner); Speedway Engine Development (Buddy Lazier, runner-up); and Comptech (Steve Knapp, third). Cheever's teammate Robby Unser, the son of three-time Indy 500 winner Bobby Unser, finished fifth -- the best showing among the eight rookies in this year's race.

"I don't think I can describe the feeling without crying -- winning the Indy 500 means that much," said Jim Wright, general manager of Brayton Engineering in Coldwater, Mich. "We've got 28 guys working at Brayton Engineering, and they've done a great job. Eddie had to run his engine hard, because everyone was chasing him. He had confidence in the equipment."

"Oldsmobile is going from success to success in 1998," commented Oldsmobile General Manager Darwin Clark. "We're winning in the showroom with rising sales of Oldsmobile vehicles, and we're winning on the race track with an engine that is based on the architecture of the production Aurora V8 that we sell to our customers. We congratulate the team of GM engineers who created the IRL Aurora V8, the racing teams and development partners who have made Oldsmobile the preeminent manufacturer in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League, and the drivers who have raced to 11 straight victories with Oldsmobile engines."

The IRL Aurora V8 will be gunning for another victory at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on June 6 in the fourth race of the 11-event Pep Boys Indy Racing League series.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 RESULTS Top Five Finishers: Driver Entrant Engine Laps 1. Eddie Cheever Team Cheever Oldsmobile 200 2. Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn Racing Oldsmobile 200 3. Steve Knapp ISM Racing Oldsmobile 200 4. Davey Hamilton Nienhouse Mtrspts Oldsmobile 199 5. Robby Unser Team Cheever Oldsmobile 198

Pole: Billy Boat/Oldsmobile/223.503 mph

Lap Leaders 1. Eddie Cheever Oldsmobile 76 laps 2. John Paul, Jr. Oldsmobile 39 3. Kenny Brack Oldsmobile 23 4. Buddy Lazier Oldsmobile 20 5. Greg Ray Oldsmobile 18 6. Billy Boat Oldsmobile 12 7. Arie Luyendyk Oldsmobile 4 Buzz Calkins Oldsmobile 4 9. Davey Hamilton Oldsmobile 3 10. Tony Stewart Oldsmobile 1

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Buzz Calkins , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Buddy Lazier , Davey Hamilton , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Kenny Brack , Steve Knapp , Robby Unser , John Paul