INDIANAPOLIS, March 30, 1998 - Notes and quotes from the Pep Boys Indy Racing League: Team Scandia adds Roe to Indy 500 roster: Veteran driver Billy Roe has joined Team Scandia as a teammate to Jimmy Kite for the ...
INDIANAPOLIS, March 30, 1998 - Notes and quotes from the Pep Boys Indy Racing League: Team Scandia adds Roe to Indy 500 roster: Veteran driver Billy Roe has joined Team Scandia as a teammate to Jimmy Kite for the Indianapolis 500 and possibly the rest of the Pep Boys IRL season. Roe, an Indianapolis native living in Gilbert, Ariz., finished 22nd last year in his first Indianapolis 500. He competed in three IRL events during the 1996-97 season, with a best finish of 13th at the Las Vegas 500 last October. He failed to qualify for the season-opening Indy 200 this January while driving for D.B. Mann Motorsports, as the team lacked enough entrant points to make the field after qualifying was rained out. "I'm just phenomenally excited to have an opportunity to run with Team Scandia," Roe said. "They sat on the front row at Indy last year with Vincenzo Sospiri and they won at Las Vegas last year with Eliseo Salazar. I'm really excited to go forward and do a great job for them."
Roe, 40, will drive a Dallara chassis powered by a Roush-built Oldsmobile Aurora engine on Goodyear tires. The car will sport number 33 and be sponsored by Royal Purple Synthetic Motor Oil. Roe's agreement with Team Scandia runs through the Indianapolis 500 but may be extended to include the rest of the 1998 season.
Kite fast during Speedway debut: Team Scandia driver Jimmy Kite turned heads March 26 during his first laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, recording an unofficial fast lap of 215.8 mph in the Royal Purple Synthetic Motor Oil Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. That speed would have put Kite on the second row in last year's race. Scott Goodyear started fifth at 215.811 mph. Kite, 22, completed 99 laps around the 2.5-mile oval as he prepares for the Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program on April 14-15. Kite, from Stockbridge, Ga., made his Pep Boys IRL debut in June 1997 with Team Scandia after a rapid rise through the USAC open-wheel ranks. "When I walked under the Gasoline Alley sign, it was like a dream come true," Kite said. "I was a little in awe when the day started, but then I didn't want to get out of the car to go home. For a guy who has run most of his career on short tracks, this place is huge and it takes a little while to learn the corners."
Three more teams enter 500: Three more Pep Boys IRL teams - R&S Cars, Inc., Crest Racing/SRS and SRS - have entered the Indianapolis 500. Eliseo Salazar will drive for R&S and Dr. Jack Miller for Crest Racing/SRS. Rookie J.J. Yeley will drive for SRS if he completes the Rookie Orientation Program on April 14-15 at the Speedway.
All entries for the Indianapolis 500 must be received by the IRL by April 9.
Cheever receives boost from Foyt at Phoenix: Eddie Cheever Jr. recorded a solid 10th-place finish at the Dura-Lube 200 on March 22 at Phoenix after a big boost from a friend.
Cheever had engine problems in his Team Cheever Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear during practice March 20 and qualifying March 21, forcing him to start 20th in the 28-car field. But A.J. Foyt loaned Cheever an engine for the race, and Cheever wasted no time climbing through the field. He led laps 55-60 before problems during a pit stop forced him to return to the pits for quick repairs.
"I do want to thank A.J. Foyt for lending me such a strong engine to use in the race," Cheever said. "It was a very generous thing for him to do. "The team is coming together really well and is even stronger than ever after overcoming all the problems we faced at Phoenix. I'm feeling very good about our chances at Indy."
Cheever drove for Foyt's team in 1994-95.
Durant debuts at Phoenix: Rookies J.J. Yeley and David Steele made plenty of news with their Pep Boys IRL debuts in the Dura-Lube 200 on March 22 at Phoenix, but a veteran driver returned to the league at that race with a new team.
Paul Durant finished 21st for the CBR-Cobb Racing team, co-owned by sports-car racer Price Cobb. The team is based in Golden, Colo. Durant, from Manteca, Calif., drove in two races during the 1996-97 Pep Boys IRL season. He finished 21st at the Indianapolis 500 last May in a car owned by A.J. Foyt and was 26th at the Las Vegas 500 last October in a car owned by Jonathan Byrd-Cunningham Racing.
Benefit concert moved: The "500 Rock-n-Roll Benefit Concert" at 8 p.m. May 18, sponsored by KECO Motorsports, has been moved to the bw-3 club at 8440 Castleton Corner Drive in Castleton, Ind.
Performing will be songwriter/musician Larry Crane, with a special appearance by The SpeedTones, featuring Pep Boys IRL driver Robbie Groff. The event will start with a driver autograph session and an auction. All proceeds benefit the Indiana Children's Wish Fund, which grants wishes to people ages 3 to 18 diagnosed with terminal or life-threatening illnesses. KECO Motorsports, based Indianapolis, is an associate sponsor of Pep Boys IRL driver Tyce Carlson and a league contingency sponsor in 1998.
Next event: Indianapolis 500, May 24, Indianapolis Motor Speedway. General admission tickets for practice and qualifications can be purchased in advance by calling (317) 484-6700. Reserved race tickets are sold out, but general admission tickets are available in advance or at the gate.
World Wide Web: http://www.indyracingleague.com