DAY 4, RACE DAY -- October 11, 1997
Four of the cars in the Las Vegas 500k field are competing in their eighth straight IRL race. They are: #4 Galles Racing -- driven by Jeff Ward at Walt Disney World and Kenny Brack in the rest of the races. #6 Treadway Racing -- driven by Scott Goodyear in all events. #17 Chitwood Motorsports -- driven by Danny Ongais at Walt Disney World and Affonso Giaffone in the rest of the races. #30 McCormack Motorsports -- driven by Jeret Schroeder at Walt Disney World and Phoenix and Robbie Groff in the rest of the races. *** Mike Shank becomes the 57th driver to start an IRL race in history. He is also one of 31 drivers whose first IRL start was also their first start ever in an Indy-type car. *** NASCAR Winston Cup driver Todd Bodine is a visitor in the pit of Jeff Ward this evening. Bodine will drive the Tabasco car on the Winston Cup trail next year. His wife, Lynn, is serving as a spotter for Ward for the Las Vegas 500k. *** The Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary's second annual Casino Night is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Northside Knights of Columbus, 2100 E. 71st St. in Indianapolis as a benefit to the Jeff krosnoff Memorial Fund and CARA's Children's Charities. Admission is $30. Featured are "The Speed Tones" a band including IRL drivers Robbie Groff and Dave Kudrave. For information, call 317/299-2277. *** Scott Sharp, the IRL's 1996 co-champion, is on hand here for the Las Vegas 500k. "Everything is great but it's sure been frustrating," Sharp said. "I had an MRI five weeks ago and everything was 100 percent healed. Really, there was no reason I couldn't have run this race but the doctors just wanted me to be patient. There really wasn't any point in me running here because I'm not in the points championship. They really didn't want me to take a chance on being involved in something as unfortunate as someone else's wreck. They wanted to take that variable out of the window. We'll start testing in a few weeks and be back at full speed. "I've been doing some things for Conseco and I'm trying to get myself back in really good shape. Luckily the time has been moving pretty quick, because if it was going slowly, I'd be tearing my hair out. You really don't have a chocie but to have a good attitude about something like this. You run enough years at 200 miels an hour and it's only going to be a matter of time before something like this happens. You've just got to bounce back. Working out is important because it helps your attitude and helps you feel good about yourself. You see yourself getting better and it gets you in the mode to be ready to get back racing again." *** Brandon Erwin will be the new driver of the No. 16 Blueprint Racing entry for the 1998 Indy Racing League season, it was announced today by the team. Erwin, 21, of Lake Kiowa, Kan., is a former International Karting Federation Grand National champion. He has been participating in a developmental program for Blueprint for two months, won the Texas State IKF championship in the junior division in 1989, captured the IKF Grand National title in 1991 and 1997 and won an SCCA regional race in a Formula Ford 2000 vehicle in September at Texas World Speedway. "It's been a dream," Erwin said. "I had a radio-controlled Indy car when I was a little kid. When the IRL started, I saw it as a potential opportunity but I never knew how much of a chance I had. But now that's it's actually happening, it's just overwhelming." "We are very impressed with his driving style, his work ethic and his intelligence," said Blueprint Racing owner Ed Rachanski. "We think he's exactly the type of exciting young driver the IRL needs in 1998." *** Tony Buffomante of Chicago captured the 50-lap Formula Mazda preliminary race. Kevin Corso of Chatsworth, Calif., was second, followed by Alfonso Ribeiro (actor in "Fresh Prince of Bel Air"). All three cars were fielded by Valley View Motorsports. Sarah Senske of Kennewick, Wash., the pole winner, led the early going in her first oval race, but fell back later.
Temperature was 62 degrees and track temperature was 74 at the time of the starting command, according to Goodyear tire engineers. LAS VEGAS 500K RUNNING:
Start will be with two laps of caution after the pace car leaves the field in the hands of #1 Boat. Green is expected third time by after the pace car leaves.
Lap 1: YELLOW, Billy Boat leads the first lap of the race and the 49th lap of his IRL career. The pole winner has now led the first lap of 12 of 13 IRL races in history. Stan Wattles completes the first racing lap in the Riley & Scott chassis in an IRL race. Lap 4: GREEN. #91 Lazier high and slow. #14 Hamilton leads race, followed by #35 Ward, #3 Buhl. Lap 5: #91 Lazier to pits, passed pit, returned to track. #35 Ward took lead on frontstretch. Lap 6: #35 Ward leads #3 Buhl, #14 Hamilton. #2 Stewart now sixth. Lap 8: SECOND YELLOW, #91 Lazier stopped, middle of backstretch, possible clutch problem. Leaders -- #35 Ward, #3 Buhl, #7 Salazar, #2 Stewart, #28 Dismore. Lap 13: GREEN. Lap 14: #35 Ward leads #3 Buhl by one second, #7 Salazar by 1.3 seconds, #28 Dismore by 1.7 seconds. Lap 15: #2 Stewart is fifth, #14 Hamilton is 11th. #91 Lazier, driver out of car. Lap 19: #35 Ward leads #3 Buhl by 1.3 seconds. #2 Stewart sixth, #14 Hamilton 11th. Lap 23: #35 Ward leads #3 Buhl by 1.7 seconds. #2 Stweart sixth, #14 Hamilton 12th. Lap 25: #35 Ward ran the lap at 194.840, leads #3 Buhl by 1.7 seconds. #21 Guerrero to pits, routine. #10 Durant to pits. Lap 28: #35 Ward leads #3 Buhl by 2.9 seconds. #2 Stewart seventh, #14 Hamilton 17th. Lap 31: Leaders -- #35 Ward, #7 Salazar, #3 Buhl, #28 Dismore, #1 Boat. Lap 34: 19 cars on lead lap. Lap 37: THIRD YELLOW, #97 Ray hit wall coming off Turn 2, stayed against wall down backstretch. Ray was examined and released from the track infield care center. Lap 38: Leaders -- #35 Ward, #3 Buhl, #7 Salazar, #28 Dismore, #1 Boat, #5 Luyendyk, #2 Stewart. Lap 40: Leaders to pits. Leaders after stops: #35 Ward, #3 Buhl, #28 Dismore, #5 Luyendyk, #7 Salazar, #6 Goodyear, #1 Boat. #99 Schmidt long pit stop, tire-change problem. Lap 44: GREEN. Lap 46: #35 Ward, leader, black-flagged for pit-speed-limit violation. Lap 47: #35 Ward to pit road, penalized, returned to track. #3 Buhl leader. Lap 48: #35 Ward now 16th, 23.5 seconds back, last driver on lead lap. Lap 50: #3 Buhl high, #28 Dismore low, side-by-side for lead, #3 Buhl keeps lead. Lap 52: #28 Dismore under #3 Buhl for lead in traffic on backstretch, Dismore leading first lap of IRL career. Lap 53: #28 Dismore leads #3 Buhl by .7 of a second. Lap 55: #2 Stewart eighth, #14 Hamilton 15th. Lap 56: #95 Carlson to pits. Lap 58: #28 Dismore leads #3 Buhl by 2.1 seconds, #7 Salazar by 2.7 seconds. Lap 63: FOURTH YELLOW, #99 Schmidt spun off Turn 2 to infield grass, #40 Miller hit #99 Schmidt in grass, #12 Calkins into grass to avoid. #99 Schmidt, #40 Miller stopped in grass. #12 Calkins stopped end of backstretch. #12 Calkins hit tire, crew trying to get him back in race. Schmidt, Miller, Calkins examined and released from track's infield care center with no injuries. Lap 66: #3 Buhl, in second, #1 Boat, in fifth, to pits. Leaders -- #28 Dismore, #3 Buhl, #1 Boat, #5 Luyendyk, #7 Salazar. Lap 68: Leaders -- #28 Dismore, #5 Luyendyk, #7 Salazar, #6 Goodyear, #4 Brack. Lap 72: GREEN. #6 Goodyear to second, #4 Brack to third on restart. Lap 73: #28 Dismore leads #6 Goodyear by 1.6 seconds. #5 Luyendyk to pit road, out, camshaft. Lap 75: #21 Guerrero black-flagged for not going to end of field after pitting. Lap 82: #10 Durant to pits. #70 Greco to pits. #95 Carlson to pits, rear cowling taken off. Lap 83: #28 Dismore leads #6 Goodyear by 2.1 seconds. Lap 84: #35 Ward now 13th, 21.7 seconds back. Lap 86: Leaders -- #28 Dismore, #6 Goodyear, #4 Brack, #7 Salazar, #27 Guthrie. Lap 91: #1 Boat slowed on frontstretch. Lap 92: #1 Boat to pits. Lap 93: #27 Guthrie, in third, to pits. Lap 95: #6 Goodyear to pits, routine. Lap 96: #28 Dismore, leader, to pits. #2 Stewart slowed on backstretch, 20 mph off pace for lap, continued. Lap 97: #3 Buhl new leader, followed by #17 Giaffone, #22 Sospiri. Lap 100: #17 Giaffone challenging #3 Buhl on inside, takes lead in Turn 4. #17 Giaffone becomes sixth different leader, most leaders of an IRL race at Las Vegas. #17 Giaffone laps #2 Stewart. 5 cars now on lead lap. Lap 101: #10 Durant out, handling. Lap 103: Leaders -- #17 Giaffone, #3 Buhl, #22 Sospiri, #35 Ward, #14 Hamilton, #2 Stewart (-1). Lap 109: Leaders -- #17 Giaffone, #3 Buhl, #22 Sospiri, #14 Hamilton, #35 Ward (-1), #6 Goodyear (-1), #2 Stewart (-1). Lap 111: #17 Giaffone leads #3 Buhl by 8.4 seconds. #30 Groff, in pits, fuel pressure problem, crew changing parts. Lap 116: #2 Stewart to pits, routine. #6 Goodyear takes lead, the fourth straight IRL race he's led. Lap 117: FIFTH YELLOW, #17 Giaffone spun, exit of Turn 2. Lap 121: #6 Goodyear, in lead, to pits. #28 Dismore returns to lead. Lap 122: #14 Lap 123: #27 Guthrie took lead. Lap 126: GREEN. #1 Boat, driver out of car, ignition problem, out. #95 Carlson, in pits, crew changing coils on electronic control unit, out. Lap 130: SIXTH YELLOW, #51 Cheever smoking down front straight, pulled off in grass in Turn 1, driver out of car. Lap 132: #4 Brack takes lead, second consecutive IRL race he's le.d Lap 133: #17 Giaffone returned to track, 15 laps down. Lap 139: #4 Brack out, suspension. Lap 136: GREEN. #7 Salazar takes second from #3 Buhl. Lap 138: #7 Salazar takes lead, second consecutive IRL race he's led and 10th different leader, a new IRL alltime record. Lap 140: #4 Brack out, suspension. Lap 145: #30 Groff, crew changing fuel pressure regulator. #9 Unser to pits, crew changing battery. Lap 149: #7 Salazar leads #28 Dismore by 2.4 seconds. Lap 150: Leaders -- #7 Salazar, #28 Dismore, #3 Buhl, #35 Ward, #6 Goodyear. 7 cars on lead lap. Lap 153: #18 Paul Jr. slowing on course. Lap 154: #7 Salazar leads #28 Dismore by 1.5 seconds. Lap 155: 19 cars still running. Lap 157: SEVENTH YELLOW, #9 Unser smoking off Turn 2 down backstretch. Lap 159: #3 Buhl leads lap as leaders pitted, #7 Salazar first out of pits. Lap 160: Leaders -- #7 Salazar, #28 Dismore, #3 Buhl, #6 Goodyear, #35 Ward, #33 Kite, #27 Guthrie, all on lead lap. #14 Hamilton is eighth (-1), #2 Stewart Lap 164: GREEN. Lap 168: #35 Ward, in fifth, slowed on backstretch, to pits, driver getting out of car. #7 Salazar leads #28 Dismore by 1.1 seconds. Lap 173: Leaders -- #7 Salazar, #28 Dismore, #6 Goodyear, #3 Buhl, #33 Kite, #27 Guthrie. 6 cars on lead lap. Lap 174: #23 Shank to pits, rubber buildup on right front tire. #30 Groff out, recurring fuel pressure problem. Lap 178: #7 Salazar leads #28 Dismore by .5 of a second. Lap 182: #14 Hamilton now seventh, #2 Stewart now 11th. Lap 185: #27 Guthrie passes #33 Kite for fifth. 17 cars still running. 6 cars on lead lap. Lap 192: #7 Salazar leads #28 Dismore by .8 of a second. Lap 197: #14 Hamilton now seventh (-1), #2 Stewart now 11th (-4). Lap 200: EIGHTH YELLOW, #21 Guerrero touched wheels with #70 Greco, flipped into infield grass, Turn 2. Guerrero climbed out of car. Lap 201: Leader s-- #7 Salazar, #28 Dismore, #6 Goodyear, #3 Buhl, #27 Guthrie, #33 Kite. Lap 204: GREEN. Lap 205: #23 Shank grazed wall in Turn 2, slowed, called to pits. Lap 207: #6 Goodyear, #3 Buhl pass #28 Dismore on frontstretch for second, third. Lap 208: #7 Eliseo Salazar gets his first Irl victory by 1.204 seconds over #6 Scott Goodyear, #3 Robbie Buhl third, #27 Jim Guthrie fourth, #28 Mark Dismore fifth.
--Sixteen cars running at the finish is the most-ever in an IRL race. previously, the most was 13 at five different events (1996 at New Hampshire and Las Vegas, 1997 at Indianapolis, Texas and Charlotte). --Jimmy Kite 's sixth-place finish was his best in the IRL. His previous best was 15th at Charlotte. --Stan Wattles finished eighth, his best Irl finish. His previous best was 13th at Walt Disney World in January, 1996. It was also the best finish for the Riley & Scott chassis, which made its debut here. The race was the first for Wattles to be running at the finish in four IRL starts. --Mark Dismore's fifth-place finish was his best in the Irl. His previoous best was 11th in 1997 at Texas, Pikes Peak and New Hampshire. --Tony Stewart led 812 laps of the 1996-97 IRL season. He led six consecutive races from Walt DiSney World in January through Charlotte in July. He had four poles during the 1996-97 IRL season. --Robbie Buhl's finish was his fourth top-10 finish of the season and he led his second straight IRL race. --Scott Goodyear's finish was his fourth top-three finish in 1997 and sixth top-10 finish of 1997. He has led five of eight IRL starts. --Jim Guthrie captured the IRL's 1996-97 Rookie of the Year honor and led his third race of the season today. --Eliseo Salazar got his seventh top-10 finish in nine IRL races. His best previous finish was fourth at New Hampshire in August. He was a front-row starter in the 1996 Indianapolis 500. This is his fifth consecutive race running at the finish. *** INDY RACING LEAGUE 1996-97 SERIES NOTES: --There were nine different winners in 10 races during the 1996-97 season. --There were five different pole winners in 10 races in the 1996-97 season. --There were 26 different lap leaders in 10 races during the 1996-97 season. --Twelve or more cars finished in eight of the 10 races run.
END RACE NOTES