LAS VEGAS (Sept. 24, 1999) â€“ Few race tracks are as difficult to predict the weather as Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Nevada superspeedway, site of this weekendâ€™s Indy Racing League Vegas.com 500, is known for the fast speeds and close ...
LAS VEGAS (Sept. 24, 1999) – Few race tracks are as difficult to predict the weather as Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Nevada superspeedway, site of this weekend’s Indy Racing League Vegas.com 500, is known for the fast speeds and close competition on its 1.5-mile oval, but it has earned a reputation as a fickle race track as well.
It’s not just the infamous dry heat of the high desert. Las Vegas on race day can be cool, windy, dusty, cloudy or almost tropical, all elements that affect tire performance and the types of challenges that Goodyear Racing Eagles thrive on.
"The most important weather factor for an IRL racing tire is the temperature of the racing surface," says Paul Lauritzen, Goodyear’s IRL operations manager. "A hot race track can adversely affect a tire’s performance and wear, so it is important that Goodyear prepares for the conditions that each track presents.
"Goodyear has recorded track temperatures over 140 degrees at a number of the Indy Racing League events this past summer. The final two races – Las Vegas and Texas – have the potential to be the hottest tracks of the year," Lauritzen adds. "But we also have to be prepared for other weather conditions. Something as slight as light cloud cover can lower the track temperature by 30 degrees, and that can greatly change a race car’s handling characteristics. Goodyear’s job is to supply a tire that will provide optimum grip and performance through the changing conditions."
Goodyear has scored two wins in the three IRL races held at Las Vegas. That performance is typical of Goodyear’s commitment and winning tradition in Indy Car racing, where the manufacturer has won the majority of races in 1999.
"With five wins in eight races, including the Indianapolis 500, Goodyear has proven to be the tire the winners rely on in the Indy Racing League," Lauritzen says. "Goodyear can claim the 1999 tire manufacturers’ honors with a win this weekend, but it is just as important to make sure that our Goodyear-equipped teams and drivers get to victory lane and claim as many top finishing positions as possible at every race we compete in. We’re looking to help our teams earn the IRL drivers’ and entrants’ championships."
Goodyear’s IRL wins include the Kenny Brack-led 1-2-3 sweep at the Indianapolis 500. IRL points leader Scott Goodyear has won twice this year, at Phoenix in March and again at Texas in June. Scott Sharp jumped into championship contention with a well-deserved victory in Atlanta last month and Eddie Cheever won the season opener at Walt Disney World Speedway in Florida.
Goodyear racers hold nine of the top 11 positions in the IRL points championship. Second-placed Scott Goodyear (Panther Racing) heads the Goodyear contingent with 202 points, followed by Kenny Brack (A.J. Foyt Enterprises) with 199, Buddy Lazier (Hemelgarn Racing) at 185 and Davey Hamilton (Galles Racing Spinal Conquest) with 180 points to round-out the top five. Scott Sharp (Kelley Racing), Jeff Ward (Pagan Racing) and Eddie Cheever (Team Cheever) are in a three-way tie for seventh with 177 points, while Mark Dismore (Kelley Racing) at 176 and Billy Boat (A.J. Foyt Enterprises) at 174 are just behind.
Also racing on Goodyear Eagles in Las Vegas is a pair of IRL veterans, Robbie Buhl (Tri Star Motorsports) and Johnny Unser (Hemelgarn Racing). A talented pair of rookie drivers joins them: Ronnie Johncox (Tri-Star Motorsports) and Jaques Lazier (Truscelli Team Racing).