IRL: Mark Dismore turns tables on Greg Ray

LAS VEGAS, Friday, April 21, 2000 - Mark Dismore ended Greg Ray's string of MBNA Pole wins in Indy Racing Northern Light Series racing at three. Dismore lived up to his own prediction that it would take a 208 mph lap to take the coveted...

LAS VEGAS, Friday, April 21, 2000 - Mark Dismore ended Greg Ray's string of MBNA Pole wins in Indy Racing Northern Light Series racing at three. Dismore lived up to his own prediction that it would take a 208 mph lap to take the coveted front row spot for Saturday's Vegas Indy 300 by qualifying on the pole with a lap of 208.502.

Dismore, of Greenfield, Ind., drives the #28 OnStar-GM BuyPower Dallara/Olsmobile/Firestone for Kelley Racing. He will lead 28 starters to the green flag Saturday at 12:30 (PDT) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was the first time the Northern Light Series has competed at the 1.5-mile superspeedway with the 3.5-liter engine package. Last September, Sam Schmidt captured the pole with the 4.0-liter engine at 209.465 mph. Schmidt, who suffered a paralyzing injury in a January testing crash, made a surprise appearance Thursday in Las Vegas at a fundraising party and then attended Friday's qualifying session. He has been undergoing rehabilitation at a facility in St. Louis. Dismore earned his third career pole as the 24th qualifier of the day. He knocked his Kelley Racing teammate Scott Sharp out of the top spot, but then had to wait for Ray to complete his run as the final scheduled qualifier. "The car started to loosen up on the second lap, the first one was the best," said Dismore. "I feel very happy to win the pole. Hopefully we can stay there and win the race tomorrow. I had a feeling that (208) is what it would be. A run like that definitely rewards the guys that work on the car everyday. "But I always want to win the race more than the pole." Ray tried his best but couldn't get his Conseco-Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone around the track fast enough. He was clocked at 207.932. His time of 25.970 seconds was .071 slower than Dismore's 25.899. "After practice this morning, I knew it (the field) was going to be very, very tight," Ray said. "When Mark went out there and pushed the 25.8, I knew that it was going to be hard to hit. I just didn't get the car hooked up on the last lap and I caught a big gust of wind in (Turn) 4." Ray captured the pole for the final race of the 1999 season at Texas Motor Speedway and the first two this year, at Walt Disney World Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway. Sharp, qualified at 207.437, will start third. Chilean Eliseo Salazar, the only previous Indy Racing winner at Las Vegas in the field, posted the first big speed on the board with a lap of 207.405. He eventually was pushed down to fourth. Billy Boat will start fifth after qualifying at 206.225. Northern Light Series points leader Buddy Lazier, the 1996 Indy 500 winner, will start 22nd after a lap of 201.260. Two-time Indy 500 champion Al Unser Jr. made two qualifying attempts. Car owner Rick Galles withdrew the primary car after a poor qualifying run. His speed of 201.252 mph in the back-up car placed him 23rd in the lineup. "The guys did an awesome job trying to get the backup car ready in time," Unser Jr. said. "Unfortunately, the car was just too loose."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Al Unser Jr. , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Sam Schmidt