Dare scores first IRL victory with Chevrolet in scorching Kansas. KANSAS CITY, Kan., July 7, 2002 -- While Dorothy needed ruby slippers and the advice of a wizard to get home to Kansas, Airton Dare relied on a Chevy Indy V8 engine and wise...
Dare scores first IRL victory with Chevrolet in scorching Kansas.
KANSAS CITY, Kan., July 7, 2002 -- While Dorothy needed ruby slippers and the advice of a wizard to get home to Kansas, Airton Dare relied on a Chevy Indy V8 engine and wise counsel from car owner A.J. Foyt to take him to the winner's circle today at Kansas Speedway. Dare scored the first win of his IRL career in the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 with a .1741-second margin of victory over Sam Hornish Jr. Dare scored the ninth consecutive victory for Chevrolet in his 31st career start driving Foyt's Harrah's Chevrolet Dallara. Points leader Helio Castroneves finished third to give Chevy a podium sweep and lead a Chevy parade of the top eight finishing positions.
"We had a perfect car," said Dare, who took the lead with an outside pass around Hornish in the third turn on lap 198. "The crew never stopped working, and the car got better and better. That's development, and we're working with GM to make our motors more competitive. The engine ran really well; we keep improving at every track we go to. (Engine builder) Roush is doing a great job along with GM Racing, and we're looking forward to more improvements for the next race."
Tempers were as hot as the weather, which saw the heat index soar to 115 degrees and track temperatures top 130 degrees. Dare passed Hornish following an aborted restart after the final caution period. Hornish maintained that lapped cars between him and Dare were not in the proper running order and that he was unaware that race control would restart the race on the following lap.
"I still had it in third gear, and didn't know what was going on," Hornish explained. "I had to go back down to second and try to go. You're a sitting duck at that point.
"We thought for sure it was ours," added Hornish, who led 49 laps. "It was hot all day long, and in 15 minutes I'll cool off and feel better. I just feel bad for the team. We had a good car and a fast car. I'm just trying to figure out a way to cool off mentally and physically."
Helio Castroneves maintained his lead in the IRL championship by eight points (315-307) over teammate Gil de Ferran. Hornish is third with 296 markers.
"We didn't have the fastest car but with handling we were able to keep up behind traffic," Castroneves explained. "That's the only way to keep with the guys who were faster in the straightaway. On this type of track we just have to be smooth. It's flat-out all the way and you have to be careful. Little by little, that's the way you keep a lead in the championship."
Dare's victory with a Chevy Indy V8 avenged GM's only IRL loss last season at Kansas Speedway. His 178.527 mph average speed was the second fastest in IRL history.
"Today's victory was a great way to cap off the weekend at Kansas Speedway for Chevrolet," said Dick Amacher, GM Racing project engineer. "Chevrolet Silverado pickups finished 1-2-3 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race yesterday, and Airton extended the Chevy Indy V8's winning streak to nine straight races this season. We have continued to refine the Chevrolet engine package for 1.5-mile tracks, and we feel that we now have the engine with the power to win and the reliability to be there at the finish."
The fight for the IRL driver's title will resume under the lights at the all-concrete 1.33-mile Nashville Speedway on Saturday night, July 20.