IRL: Olds Indy 500 Notes, 1999-05-19

OLDSMOBILE MOTORSPORT REPORT: Wednesday, May 19, 1999 STEWART RUNS FASTEST SPEED WITH OLDSMOBILE Tony Tops Speed Chart at 226.683 with Brayton-Built IRL Aurora V8 INDIANAPOLIS, May 19, 1999 - It seemed like old times today at Indianapolis...

OLDSMOBILE MOTORSPORT REPORT: Wednesday, May 19, 1999

STEWART RUNS FASTEST SPEED WITH OLDSMOBILE

Tony Tops Speed Chart at 226.683 with Brayton-Built IRL Aurora V8

INDIANAPOLIS, May 19, 1999 - It seemed like old times today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as perennial pacesetter Tony Stewart turned the fastest lap in the first five days of practice for the 83rd Indianapolis 500. Stewart, moonlighting from his day job on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit, needed just 27 laps to get his Home Depot Oldsmobile Dallara up to speed, lapping the 2.5-mile oval at 226.683 mph.

"We stuck to our guns with our race setup," said Stewart, who formed the Tri Star Motorsports team with his former crew chief Larry Curry for this year's assault on Indy. "We didn't anticipate that our race setup would run this fast. We've got a great powerplant with the Brayton engine and are looking forward to race day."

Greg Ray, Stewart's successor at Team Menard, was close on Stewart's heels at 226.085 mph in his Glidden/Menard's Dallara powered by an IRL Aurora V8. Butch Meyer, grandson of three-time Indy 500 winner Louis Meyer, heads Team Menard's in-house engine department.

"Yesterday we were trying to go fast and we couldn't, today we weren't trying to go fast and we did," Ray revealed. "We've been trying a lot of different setups. It wasn't a pure qualifying car and it wasn't a pure race car - it was a hybrid.

"We're really working on getting the car to live for 500 miles," Ray explained. "We're trying to do long runs. Our motor shop has been working very hard, and so far this season in race conditions we haven't had any failures. Our motor department has been given the freedom to go the directions they want to this year. This team has always been quick, and has a heritage of being fast. Certainly at this race, dependability problems have plagued them, so we've been working very diligently all year long to try to rectify that problem."

* Oldsmobile engines turned the eight fastest speeds and powered 40 of the 46 cars on the track on the fifth day of practice - the most cars yet this year. Oldsmobile drivers accounted for 92 percent of the laps today, completing 1,529 of the 1,660 laps recorded. Six Nissan drivers ran a total of 131 laps (8 percent). Jacques Lazier's #15 Tivoli Hotel G-Force officially switched to Aurora power.

* Aurora Sources: The four fastest cars on Wednesday used Oldsmobile engines from four independent builders. Brayton Engineering of Coldwater, Mich., supplied Stewart's IRL Aurora V8, and Ray used an Oldsmobile engine built in Team Menard's Indianapolis shop. Arie Luyendyk, third fastest at 225.096 mph, is using a Comptech Machine-prepared powerplant, and Roush Technologies provides the power for Kenny Brack's Power Team Dallara, fourth fastest at 224.411 mph.

* The Class of '99: Seven of the eight rookies entered in this year's Indy 500 are using Oldsmobile engines. Robby McGehee was the fastest rookie (and seventh fastest overall) in Conti Racing's Energizer Dallara at 224.025 mph. Rookie racers John Hollansworth and Wim Eyckmans both topped 222 mph with Aurora power.

* Today's Aurora Factoid: Arie Luyendyk, celebrating his "Final 500" this year, was the first driver to test an IRL Aurora V8. Luyendyk debuted Oldsmobile's Indy car engine on November 13, 1996, at Phoenix International Raceway in the first production G-Force chassis (serial No. 001). Six months later, Luyendyk scored Oldsmobile's first Indy 500 victory using the same chassis.

* TOP 10 DRIVERS OF THE DAY Pos/Car # Driver Entry Engine Speed 1. 22 Tony Stewart Tri Star Mtrspts. Oldsmobile 226.683* 2. 32 Greg Ray Team Menard Oldsmobile 226.085 3. 5 Arie Luyendyk Treadway Racing Oldsmobile 225.096 4. 14T Kenny Brack A.J. Foyt Ent. Oldsmobile 224.411 5. 7 Stephan Gregoire Simon Racing Oldsmobile 224.193 6. 81 Robby Unser Team Pelfrey Oldsmobile 224.042 7. 55 Robby McGehee Conti Racing Oldsmobile 224.025 8. 6 Eliseo Salazar Nienhouse Mtrspt. Oldsmobile 223.714 9. 50 Robert Guerrero Cobb Racing Infiniti 223.380 10. 14 Kenny Brack A.J. Foyt Ent. Oldsmobile 223.270

*Fastest unofficial lap during Indy 500 practice

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Robby McGehee , Greg Ray , Eliseo Salazar , Stephan Gregoire , Arie Luyendyk , Jacques Lazier , Kenny Brack , Wim Eyckmans , Robby Unser , A.J. Foyt