OLDSMOBILE POLE NOTES: 20 Straight for IRL Aurora V8! Lake Buena Vista, Fla.; January 23, 1999 - Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 won its 20th consecutive pole today as the Pep Boys Indy Racing League prepared to stage its season-opening race...
OLDSMOBILE POLE NOTES: 20 Straight for IRL Aurora V8!
Lake Buena Vista, Fla.; January 23, 1999 - Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 won its 20th consecutive pole today as the Pep Boys Indy Racing League prepared to stage its season-opening race on the rollercoaster Walt Disney World Speedway one-mile oval. This is the third straight year that an Oldsmobile engine has started on the pole in the TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200.
* Scott Sharp won his second career IRL pole in Kelley Racing's Delphi Automotive Systems Oldsmobile-powered Dallara. Sharp's only previous IRL pole was at Pikes Peak International Raceway in 1997.
* Sharp set the Walt Disney World Speedway track qualifying record for new-formula IRL cars at 171.371 mph with a 21.00-second lap, eclipsing the 166.013 mph qualifying mark set by Tony Stewart in January 1997.
* Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 dominated qualifying for the Indy 200 as the 11 fastest drivers relied on Oldsmobile power. The fastest Nissan driver qualified 12th with a speed 4.36 mph slower than Sharp's pole-winning lap.
* Twenty-five of the 28 starters (89% of the field) for the Indy 200 are using Oldsmobile engines. * Greg Ray will start Team Menard's Oldsmobile-powered Dallara on the outside of the front row after qualifying at 170.697 mph.
* The 18 fastest qualifiers all bettered the previous qualifying record.
* Less than one second separated the 22 fastest qualifiers.
* The five fastest qualifiers represent five different independent Oldsmobile engine builders: Comptech (polewinner Scott Sharp); Team Menard (Greg Ray, outside front row); NAC Engines (Raul Boesel, inside second row), Speedway Engine Development (Scott Goodyear, outside second row), and Katech (Kenny Brack, inside third row). Nine different engine builders supplied Oldsmobile engines for the Indy 200 starting field.
* Oldsmobile engines have started on the pole in every IRL race since the series introduced its 4.0-liter engine formula at Walt Disney World Speedway in January 1997.
* Oldsmobile can extend the IRL Aurora V8's winning streak to 20 consecutive victories tomorrow.
OLDSMOBILE QUALIFYING QUOTES
Scott Sharp, polewinner: "This series is getting so competitive that you have to drive on the edge and just hang on. The car was a little tighter than I expected it to be in the middle of Turn 1. I just drove it hard and hoped that I had enough, and tried to keep the car as free as possible. It's great to win the pole, but the race is a whole different story.
"We've worked hard on our race setup in the earlier testing we did, so I feel confident going into the race tomorrow. I would feel just as good whether we were on the pole or not. If it rains later and cleans the track, it will be a different track for everybody. We'll have three pit stops tomorrow and everyone will have several chances to fix their cars and make them better."
Greg Ray, outside front row: "I tried to go for the pole, the car felt good, and if I'd had one more lap we might have done it. When we tried to go out the first time we had some shims out of place in the gearbox and I couldn't select any gears. We fixed the problem, but because we missed our turn, we only got one flying lap to qualify. It was all or nothing; it would have been a roll of the dice whether we'd have been quicker."
Raul Boesel, inside second row: "This team has come a long way, and it showed today. I didn't feel any more pressure because our sponsor, TransWorld Diversified Services, is also sponsoring the race - I just want to put on a good show. The preparation of our car is much better. I knew Greg and Scott would be fast - they've been setting the pace all weekend."
TV TIME. The Indy 200 will be televised live on ABC on Sunday, January 24, at 1:00 p.m. EST (tape delayed on West Coast; check local listings).
TRANSWORLD DIVERSIFIED SERVICES INDY 200 TOP FIVE QUALIFIERS Driver Entrant Engine Speed 1. Scott Sharp Kelley Racing Oldsmobile 171.371 mph* 2. Greg Ray Team Menard Oldsmobile 170.697 3. Raul Boesel McCormack Mtrspts. Oldsmobile 170.197 4. Scott Goodyear Panther Racing Oldsmobile 169.731 5. Kenny Brack A.J. Foyt Ent. Oldsmobile 168.563
*Track record for new-formula IRL cars