THE BEAT GOES ON: OLDSMOBILE WINS NEW ENGLAND 200 IRL Aurora V8 Has Perfect Reliability Record, Powers Top 15 Drivers and Scores 13th Straight Victory in IRL Series Loudon, N.H.; June...
THE BEAT GOES ON: OLDSMOBILE WINS NEW ENGLAND 200
IRL Aurora V8 Has Perfect Reliability Record, Powers Top 15 Drivers and Scores 13th Straight Victory in IRL Series
Loudon, N.H.; June 28, 1998 -- Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 engine worked its magic again today on the "Magic Mile" at New Hampshire International Speedway, scoring Oldsmobile's second consecutive New England 200 victory and its 13th straight win in Pep Boys Indy Racing League competition. Reigning IRL champion Tony Stewart led an Oldsmobile sweep of the top 15 positions in the series' return to the 1.0-mile oval. Twenty-four of the 26 starters (92% of the field) used Oldsmobile's production-based IRL Aurora V8 engine. Stewart posted his third career IRL victory in Team Menard's Oldsmobile- powered Dallara, averaging 113.861 mph over the 200-lap contest. He held off runner-up Scott Goodyear on the final lap by 1.788 seconds. Scott Sharp was third in Kelley Racing's IRL Aurora V8-equipped entry.
"Two years ago we came here with a Menard V6, I was ahead by 2 1/2 laps with 18 laps to go, and we had a motor problem," Stewart recalled. "This time I couldn't count the last 18 laps fast enough.
"We had great motors this race -- we didn't have a single problem all weekend," Stewart added. "I'll never fault the motor department for something breaking because they're trying to make more power every race. When you try to create more power, you risk having failures. The bar keeps going up each week, so we have to keep pushing forward and trying to make our cars better, and part of that is in the motor department."
Oldsmobile engines had a 100 percent reliability record in the New England 200. Of the 24 cars that started with IRL Aurora V8 engines, none dropped out with engine mechanical problems. One retired with a burned external oil line, and one had a chassis loom wiring problem.
Fifteen of the 16 cars running at the finish were powered by IRL Aurora V8 engines. Three independent Oldsmobile engine builders were represented on the podium: Team Menard, Indianapolis (Tony Stewart, winner); Speedway Engine Development, Indianapolis (Scott Goodyear, runner-up); and Brayton Engineering, Coldwater, Mich. (Scott Sharp, third).
Scott Goodyear guided his Pennzoil G-Force to a runner-up finish, his best showing of the season, after leading three times for a total of 44 laps. "Unfortunately, we were having a problem with the transmission jumping out of fifth gear," Goodyear reported. "I went to sixth gear, which wasn't really a problem because we could still run strong laps. Then after one of our pit stops, I could only use fourth. I think I ran the last 90 laps in fourth gear. It's a testament to Oldsmobile and the Speedway Engine Development guys who build our motors because the car was on the rev limiter halfway down the straight on every lap.
"I was waiting for the engine to blow up and it didn't -- that's amazing," Goodyear declared. "The motors have come a long way since I got involved in the series a year ago. The gearbox problem cut our time down a second a lap, so I was pleased to be able to finish on the podium and collect some points toward the championship."
Oldsmobile engines dominated the 211-mile race, leading all 200 laps -- just as Olds engines have led all 2,581 laps (3,608 miles) in IRL competition since January, 1997. Stewart led a total of 93 laps, followed by Jeff Ward who led 46 circuits.
The next event for the IRL Aurora V8 will be the Pep Boys 400K at Dover Downs International Speedway in Dover, Del., on July 19.
NEW ENGLAND 200 RESULTS
Top Five Finishers: Driver Entrant Engine Laps 1. Tony Stewart Team Menard Oldsmobile 200 2. Scott Goodyear Panther Racing Oldsmobile 200 3. Scott Sharp Kelley Automotive Oldsmobile 200 4. Davey Hamilton Nienhouse Mtrsprts. Oldsmobile 200 5. Arie Luyendyk Treadway Racing Oldsmobile 199
Pole: Billy Boat/Oldsmobile, 162.146 mph (track record) Fastest Lap: Davey Hamilton/Oldsmobile, 158.252 mph
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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 28-Jun-1998
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Treadway Racing News Release Race Day at the New Hampshire International Speedway-The Treadway Team Overcomes Adversity to Finish Fifth
Indianapolis, IN: The Treadway Racing team with Arie Luyendyk at the helm, beat the odds today at the New Hampshire International Speedway as they raced to a solid fifth place finish despite threatening electrical difficulties.
Due to the rain-soaked delays from the previous afternoon, schedule changes demanded a warm-up session to be held prior to this afternoon's feature event on New England's one-mile oval. Luyendyk and the crew ran a short session this morning and within ten laps felt the set-up was working and it was time to go racing. While the skies played a cat-and-mouse game between threatening gray clouds and long patches of blue, the team's luck held and the conditions were optimum for the Indy Racing League event. Arie started on the inside of row four in seventh position, and kept his head and car clean during the yellow-flag infested race. Several spectacular accidents added spice to the 200-lap race and the Treadway team took advantage of the yellows to maintain excellent pit and position strategy.
On approximately lap 178, the team began to notice difficulties with off-board telemetry systems and determined that electrical gremlins had set in and the last 20 laps were going to be a test of skill for Luyendyk and the #5 Sprint PCS/RadioShack/QUALCOMM entry. With no telemetry to work with, the team shut off their computers and left it up to Luyendyk to finish the battle. A skilled veteran of the ovals, Luyendyk did not disappoint and settled quickly into the top-five.
Quote from Arie Luyendyk: "I finished fifth today, but I am not quite happy. The car was a bit loose during the beginning, but it was manageable. When the electrical problems hit, we just kept cutting out, and it was tricky to get around the track. We hung in and the car was OK, but there just wasn't enough to win."
The top-ten unofficial finishing positions for the New Hampshire 200 are as follows: SR Car Driver C/E/T Laps Comp. 1 1 Tony Stewart D/A/F 200 2 4 Scott Goodyear G/A/G 200 3 8 Scott Sharp D/A/G 200 4 6 Davey Hamilton G/A/G 200 5 5 Arie Luyendyk G/A/F 199 8 28 Mark Dismore D/A/G 199 9 51 Eddie Cheever Jr. D/A/G 198 10 3 Robbie Buhl D/A/F 198
The next race on the IRL schedule will be at Dover Downs on July 19 for the Inaugural Pep Boys 400K.