BRIGHT LIGHTS TO SHINE ON BRACK, FOYT TEAM AT IRL AWARDS GALA INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 20, 1998 - The Pep Boys Indy Racing League will step out in style Saturday, Nov. 21 for its annual awards banquet, as league teams, drivers, officials and promoters...
BRIGHT LIGHTS TO SHINE ON BRACK, FOYT TEAM AT IRL AWARDS GALA
INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 20, 1998 - The Pep Boys Indy Racing League will step out in style Saturday, Nov. 21 for its annual awards banquet, as league teams, drivers, officials and promoters will be honored for their achievements in the 1998 season.
The black-tie gala will start with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m. at the Murat Theatre in downtown Indianapolis. ESPN television personality Bob Jenkins, also the radio voice of the Indianapolis 500, will serve as host.
The spotlight will shine on A.J. Foyt Power Team Racing. The team will take center stage to accept numerous awards for its championship title, including the $1 million championship bonus from Pep Boys to be split by car owner A.J. Foyt and championship driver Kenny Brack, who won the title by 40 points over Davey Hamilton.
Brack and four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Foyt will receive the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Championship Trophy from Tony George, founder of the Indy Racing League and president & chief executive officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Championship Trophy is just one of the many awards that Foyt and Power Team Racing will receive.
Foyt also will be crowned as the 1998 Pep Boys Indy Racing League Entrant Champion for fielding the Power Team entry. The Championship Team Manager award will be presented to Tommy LaMance, team manager of A.J. Foyt Enterprises. Power Team, a wholesale company of electrical power supply, will be honored as the winning sponsor for the 1998 Pep Boys IRL season. Pennzoil will name John King, chief mechanic for the A.J. Foyt Power Team Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear, as Chief Mechanic of the Year for his outstanding contribution to Power Team's title chase.
Brack will receive a $10,000 bonus for winning the EMCO Gears Right Gear Award, given to the highest-finishing driver in the point standings using EMCO Gears.
Pep Boys IRL fan Ron Ace of Baltimore and Brack will split $100,000 through the Pep Boys-MCI Million Dollar Driver Sweepstakes. Ace picked Brack to sweep three selected races this season. Brack won two of three, earning a share of the bonus with Ace. Oldsmobile is the Engine Manufacturer Champion for the second consecutive year. Oldsmobile Aurora engines have powered the winners of all 19 IRL races since the introduction of the normally aspirated 4-liter V8 in January 1997.
Additional honorees at the IRL banquet will include Robby Unser, Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year in the Children's Beverage Group G Force/Aurora/Goodyear owned by 1998 Indy 500 champion Eddie Cheever Jr. Unser, son of three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Bobby Unser, will take home a $50,000 bonus from Sprint PCS as the top rookie.
Tony Stewart will receive $30,000 and the MBNA Lap Leader Award. Stewart led 598 of the 2,288 laps (26.1 percent) during the 1998 season. Buddy Lazier will earn $10,000 from MBNA for winning the MBNA Charging Through the Field Award, awarded to the driver who improves his position the most during league events. This award started at the Pep Boys 400K in July at Dover Downs International Speedway and was awarded through the season-ending Las Vegas 500K in October at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk will receive a glass trophy and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle for winning the MCI-OnTrack-IRL Crew Most Popular Driver Award.
The winner of the Indy Racing League Special Achievement Award also will be revealed. Leo Mehl, Executive Director of the Indy Racing League and Vice President of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will bestow the award to a person who has made extraordinary contributions to the success of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League.
Champion Brack became the first IRL driver to capture three consecutive victories in one season, winning the VisionAire 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Radisson 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway, and the Atlanta 500 Classic at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The 1998 IRL championship title came down to the season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Entering the Las Vegas 500K, Brack, Hamilton and Stewart were all in contention for the season title, with Brack leading Hamilton by 31 points and Stewart 41 points behind Brack.
Brack clinched the Pep Boys IRL championship by finishing 10th. He ended up with 332 points.
Hamilton finished runner-up in the point standings for the second consecutive year, with 292. He finished 19th in the season-ending Las Vegas 500K in the Reebok Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear.
Stewart, 1996-97 Pep Boys Indy Racing League champion, was plagued by electrical problems and finished 14th in the Glidden-Menards-Special Dallara/Aurora/Firestone. He was third in the final points with 289.