IRL: Phoenix Race Report

Phoenix, AZ (March 22, 1998) - Scott Sharp won the Dura Lube 200 at Phoenix International Raceway today, taking the lead on lap 171 when Tony Stewart stopped for fuel and tires. Tony Stewart led for 127 laps, but his late pit stop handed...

Phoenix, AZ (March 22, 1998) - Scott Sharp won the Dura Lube 200 at Phoenix International Raceway today, taking the lead on lap 171 when Tony Stewart stopped for fuel and tires.

Tony Stewart led for 127 laps, but his late pit stop handed the lead to Sharp. Stewart had hoped to mount a late challenge with fresh tires as Sharp's had not pitted since lap 135.

The tenth caution flag of the day interrupted Tony's plans when Mike Groff tangled with Kenny Brack in the dogleg. Groff was transported by helicopter to St. Joseph's Hospital for evaluation of a possible concussion. The caution period lasted twelve minutes while safety crews removed Groff from the wreck. Eleven laps were recorded during the caution period.

When the cars lined up for the three lap dash to the checkered flag, Mark Dismore was directly behind the leader Scott Sharp, and in front of Tony Stewart. That gave Sharp the cushion he needed to seal the victory.

After the race, Stewart complained that Dismore's poor restart cost him the race. "Mark Dismore slowed me down so much on the restart I had to put my clutch in or else I would've stalled the motor".

Billy Boat finished third, the only other car still on the lead lap.

Stephan Gregoire finished fourth, with polesitter Jeff Ward, rounding out the top five.

Buddy Lazier was the first car out of the race when his engine let go, causing the car to spin in its own oil. Lazier hit the turn four wall but was uninjured.

Roberto Guerrero was the next on the sidelines when he thought his entire gearbox had given up. After pulling off the course he realized he had only lost first gear. The crew returned the car to the race but the gearbox decided that the Pagan Racing Team was done for the day.

J.J. Yeley, who won the SCRA sprint car race at Manzanita the night before the Dura-Lube 200, was next out with an unassisted spin coming off turn two. As Yeley's car spun up towards the wall he collected Davey Hamilton as he tried to go around the high side. Neither car was able to continue.

This was Scott Sharp's second win in the Pep Boys IRL series. His first win came at the True Value 200 at Loudon, NH in 1996. With his sixth place finish at Orlando and his win today, Sharp is second in the 1998 point standings, seventeen points behind defending champion Tony Stewart.

The winner's share of today's purse was $106,750.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Jeff Ward , Scott Sharp , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Roberto Guerrero , Kenny Brack , J.J. Yeley