IRL: Oldsmobile Season Review

INDY RACING LEAGUE SEASON REVIEW: The Oldsmobile Era Detroit, Mich. - With a perfect record of 19 wins, 19 poles, and 19 fastest laps, Oldsmobile's production-based IRL Aurora V8 racing engine is the dominant powerplant in the Pep Boys...

INDY RACING LEAGUE SEASON REVIEW: The Oldsmobile Era

Detroit, Mich. - With a perfect record of 19 wins, 19 poles, and 19 fastest laps, Oldsmobile's production-based IRL Aurora V8 racing engine is the dominant powerplant in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League series.

The IRL introduced its 4.0-liter naturally aspirated engine formula in January 1997. Two manufacturers produced engines for the new specifications: Oldsmobile (IRL Aurora V8) and Nissan (Infiniti Indy). The following is a recap of the IRL events contested to date with these engines:

Manufacturer:                   Oldsmobile    Nissan
Race Wins:                           19          0
Pole Positions:                      19          0
Fastest Laps:                        19          0
Races - Most Laps Led:               19          0
Podium Finishes (1st, 2nd, 3rd):     56          1
Total Laps Led:                   3,839         22
Total Miles Led:                  5,280         33
Total Racing Laps Completed:     67,164      4,371
Total Racing Miles Completed:    84,010      6,844
Number of Starts:                   460         40
Number Running at Finish:           246         14
Number of Engine Builders:           11          3
Number of Teams:                     38          9
Number of Drivers:                   55         10

MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIP. Oldsmobile won its second straight IRL Engine Manufacturers Championship in 1998, scoring 121 points - the maximum points possible.

OLDSMOBILE CHAMPIONS. IRL Aurora V8 engines were used by every IRL champion in 1997 and 1998:

Drivers Champion 1997: Tony Stewart 1998: Kenny Brack Team Champion 1997: Team Menard 1998: A.J. Foyt Ent. Rookie Champion 1997: Jim Guthrie 1998: Robby Unser

OLDSMOBILE UNDEFEATED. The IRL Aurora V8 has dominated Indy Racing League competition since its introduction, winning 19 consecutive races - including back-to-back victories in the Indianapolis 500, the centerpiece of the IRL series. Eleven drivers have won IRL races with Oldsmobile engines:

    Driver             Wins
    Kenny Brack         3
    Tony Stewart        3
    Eddie Cheever, Jr.  2
    Scott Sharp         2
    Billy Boat          1
    Robbie Buhl         1
    Jim Guthrie         1
    Buddy Lazier        1
    Arie Luyendyk       1
    John Paul, Jr.      1
    Eliseo Salazar      1
    Total              19

PERFECT POLE RECORD. Aurora engines started on the pole in every IRL race in 1997 and 1998. Oldsmobile pole winners include:

    Driver           Poles
    Tony Stewart       8
    Billy Boat         7
    Marco Greco        1
    Arie Luyendyk      1
    Scott Sharp        1
    Jeff Ward          1
    Total             19

LAP LEADERS. Aurora racers led 99% of the laps in IRL competition in 1998 - a total of 2,266 led by 21 different drivers. Tony Stewart led 598 laps in 1998 with Oldsmobile power, the most among IRL drivers.

PODIUM FINISHES. Aurora racers have scored 56 out of a possible 57 podium finishes (first, second, and third) in the 19 IRL races contested in 1997-98.

THE LONG RUN. Drivers using IRL Aurora V8 engines have completed a total of 84,010 racing miles in 1997-98 - a distance of more than three times around the Earth's equator. Aurora drivers logged 96% of the total laps run in IRL events in 1998.

DRIVERS UPDATE. A total of 55 drivers representing 38 teams have raced with IRL Aurora V8 engines. Drivers using Oldsmobile powerplants swept the top 22 spots in the 1998 IRL championship standings, led by Kenny Brack with 332 points.

THE AURORA ADVANTAGE. The IRL Aurora V8 is the engine of choice in the IRL. Oldsmobile engines were used by 89% of the starters in the eight IRL races contested in 1997. The following is a summary of the Oldsmobile starters in IRL events contested in 1998:

    Event       Olds Starters    Percent
    Orlando        27 of 28        96%
    Phoenix        28 of 28       100%
    Indianapolis   32 of 33        97%
    Fort Worth 1   26 of 28        93%
    Loudon         24 of 26        92%
    Dover          21 of 22        95%
    Charlotte      22 of 24        92%
    Pikes Peak     23 of 25        92%
    Atlanta        25 of 28        89%
    Fort Worth 2   26 of 28        93%
    Las Vegas      26 of 28        93%
    1998 Average                 93.8%

ENGINE BUILDERS. Eleven independent engine builders have supplied IRL Aurora V8s to teams. Seven builders have been represented in the IRL winner's circle:

    Builder              Wins
    Brayton Engineering    5
    Team Menard            4
    Katech                 4
    Roush Technologies     3
    NAC Engines            1
    Speedway               1
    Comptech Machine       1

PRODUCTION RUN. Oldsmobile has produced 409 IRL Aurora V8 engine blocks to date.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Jeff Ward , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Jim Guthrie , Kenny Brack , Robby Unser , John Paul , A.J. Foyt