New England 200 FAST FACTS WHAT: Third annual NEW ENGLAND 200 Fifth of 11 races in the 1998 Pep Boys Indy Racing League WHERE: New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon, N.H. 1.058-mile paved oval superspeedway WHEN: 2 p.m.
New England 200 FAST FACTS
WHAT: Third annual NEW ENGLAND 200 Fifth of 11 races in the 1998 Pep Boys Indy Racing League
WHERE: New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon, N.H. 1.058-mile paved oval superspeedway
WHEN: 2 p.m. (EDT) Sunday, June 28, 1998
DISTANCE: 211.6 miles/200 laps
POSTED AWARDS: More than $1 million
CARS: Dallara, G Force and Riley & Scott chassis; Oldsmobile Aurora V8 and Nissan Infiniti Indy V8 engines; Firestone and Goodyear tires
1997 RACE WINNER: Robbie Buhl
1996-97 IRL CHAMPION: Tony Stewart
CURRENT POINTS LEADERS: Tony Stewart, Scott Sharp (tie)
TV: (Race) CBS (live), 2 p.m. (EDT) June 28. Host: Ken Squier Announcers: Mike Joy, Tom Sneva Pit reporters: Dick Berggren, Ralph Sheheen
(Qualifying) SpeedVision (live), 2 p.m. (EDT) June 27. Announcers: Gary Lee, Calvin Fish Pit reporter: Vince Welch
RADIO: (Race) IMS Radio Network (live), 2 p.m. (EDT) June 28, with a prerace show starting at 1:30 p.m. Announcers: Gary Lee, Larry Rice
(Qualifying) IMS Radio Network, 3:30 p.m. (EDT) June 27. Announcers: Gary Lee, Larry Rice
SCHEDULE (all times local):
(June 27) 6:30 a.m.: Pep Boys IRL garage opens 8:30-10 a.m.: Pep Boys IRL practice (Two 45-minute split sessions) 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL practice (Two 45-minute split sessions) 2-3:30 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL qualifying (All positions, best of two laps) 5:30-6 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL final practice 6:15 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL autograph session in garage area
(June 28) 7 a.m.: Pep Boys IRL garage opens 1 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL driver introductions 2 p.m.: New England 200 Pep Boys IRL race (211.6 miles/200 laps)
TRACK RECORDS: (Qualifying, one lap) Andre Ribero, 21.466 seconds, 177.436 mph, Aug. 20, 1995 (CART)
(Qualifying, one lap, Richie Hearn, 21.719 seconds, 175.367 mph, Aug. 17, 1996 IRL)
(Qualifying, one lap, Marco Greco, 23.717 seconds, 160.594 mph, Aug. 16, 1997 new formula IRL)
(Race, average) Andre Ribero, 1 hour, 34 minutes, 36 seconds, 134.203 mph, Aug. 21, 1995 (CART)
(Race, average, IRL) Scott Sharp, 1 hour, 36 minutes, 57.912 seconds, 130.934 mph, Aug. 18, 1996
(Race, average, Robbie Buhl, 1 hour, 46 minutes, 50.574 seconds, 118.829 mph, Aug. 17, 1997 new formula IRL)
THE TRACK: 1.058-mile oval Straightaways: 1,500 feet Width of straightaways: 65 feet Width of turns: 80 feet Banking: 12 degrees
Facility opened in June 1990. It's the largest sports seating facility in New England, seating 75,000. The facility also contains a 1.63-mile road course. New Hampshire International Speedway also plays host to NASCAR Winston Cup, NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour, AMA motorcycle, sports car, formula car and kart events.
THE RACE: This is the third consecutive year that this Pep Boys IRL event has taken place at New Hampshire International Speedway. Two Pep Boys IRL events took place at the track in the 1996-97 season. The season started in August 1996 at NHIS, and the second-to-last event of the season also took place at the track in August 1997. Scott Sharp won in 1996, Robbie Buhl in 1997. This will be the seventh Indy-style race contested at New Hampshire International Speedway. A CART event took place annually from 1992-95.
** Billy Boat will try to become only the second driver in Pep Boys IRL history to win two consecutive races in one season. Boat won the True Value 500 on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway. Arie Luyendyk won the Indianapolis 500 and the True Value 500 last year.
** Three Indianapolis 500 winners are entered in this event: 1998 champion Eddie Cheever Jr., 1990 and 1997 champion Arie Luyendyk and 1996 champion Buddy Lazier.
** This race has a strong New England connection. 1996 winner Scott Sharp is a native of E. Norwalk, Conn. He graduated from Babson College in Babson Park, Mass., majoring in finance and investments. 1997 winner Robbie Buhl graduated from New England College with a degree in business administration. Davey Hamilton is a former standout in supermodified racing, popular in New England. 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier attended Curry College, just outside Boston. Dennis and Felicia McCormack, who own the car driven by Raul Boesel, are natives of Scituate, Mass.
** The closest margin of victory in Pep Boys IRL history, .064 of a second, was recorded last year at this event. Robbie Buhl edged Vincenzo Sospiri for the victory. ** No pole winner at this event has finished in the top 10. Pole sitter Richie Hearn finished 14th in 1996, Marco Greco 20th in 1997.
** Marco Greco won the pole for this event in 1997 by just four-thousandths of a second over Scott Goodyear, the closest margin between the first two starters in league history.
** Only three drivers have finished in the top 10 at both previous IRL events contested at NHIS: Eliseo Salazar, John Paul Jr. and Roberto Guerrero.
** Three Pep Boys IRL rookies are entered in this event: Donnie Beechler, Robby Unser and J.J. Yeley. Unser is the son of three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser. He finished fifth in his series debut May 24 at the Indianapolis 500 and ninth at the True Value 500 earlier this month at Texas Motor Speedway. Yeley is the youngest driver entered in the race at 21. Yeley and Beechler are veterans of USAC short-track oval events.
** Balance prevails in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League. Tony Stewart and Scott Sharp share the points lead with 115. Billy Boat is third with 110. No driver has recorded a top-10 finish in all four races this season. There have been no repeat winners this season.
** Race teams will be allowed to tow their cars to the garage from the pits for service during the race under an IRL rule instituted last October at the Las Vegas 500K. Teams are allowed to repair their cars in the garage and return to the race. Teams can't change their engines or chassis. Two IRL technicians must approve any repairs before the car returns to the track, with IRL Technical Director Phil Casey overseeing the process.
1998 Pep Boys IRL point standings 1998 MBNA lap leaders 1. Tony Stewart 115 1. Tony Stewart 317 Scott Sharp 115 2. Billy Boat 132 3. Billy Boat 110 3. Eddie Cheever Jr. 82 4. Jeff Ward 103 4. Buddy Lazier 54 5. Kenny Brack 97 5. John Paul Jr. 39 Davey Hamilton 97 7. Eddie Cheever Jr. 82 1998 Pep Boys IRL winners Stephan Gregoire 82 1. Billy Boat 1 9. Scott Goodyear 79 Eddie Cheever Jr. 1 10. Greg Ray 78 Tony Stewart 1 11. Buddy Lazier 76 Scott Sharp 1 12. Buzz Calkins 73 13. John Paul Jr. 71 1998 PPG poles 14. Sam Schmidt 64 1. Tony Stewart 2 15. Robbie Buhl 58 Billy Boat 1 16. Arie Luyendyk 57 Jeff Ward 1
1998 Pep Boys IRL money leaders 1998 wins by chassis 1. Eddie Cheever Jr. $1,494,800 1. Dallara 3 2. Buddy Lazier $595,500 2. G Force 1 3. Billy Boat $574,350 4. Tony Stewart $532,100 1998 wins by engine 5. Kenny Brack $460,150 1. Aurora 4 1998 wins by tire 1. Goodyear 3 2. Firestone 1