IRL: Scott Sharp's spotter the key at Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas, Sunday, June 11, 2000 -- Mike Ford Jr. has encountered two truly exciting racing days in his life. The first came on May 15, 1965. Ford's parents, Mike Sr. and Katie, were on the way to the Indianapolis Motor ...

FORT WORTH, Texas, Sunday, June 11, 2000 -- Mike Ford Jr. has encountered two truly exciting racing days in his life. The first came on May 15, 1965. Ford's parents, Mike Sr. and Katie, were on the way to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Pole Day time trials. "My mother went into labor with me and ruined my father's qualifying day," Ford said. The second special racing event came Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. Ford was the spotter for Casino Magic 500 winner Scott Sharp, who blasted across the finish line only 59-thousandths of a second in front of Robby McGehee for the closest finish in Indy Racing Northern Light Series history. "I had the button pushed down the last two laps," Ford said of the "talk" button on his radio. "I said, 'Keep it on the bottom, huggy-pole (a sprint car term).' There's a little difference in the turbulence on the outside. "We met in the trailer before the race and said if we're there at the finish, don't let (the other car) on the inside. Coming out of Turn 4, he was on the inside. I'll tell you what, Robby was on a run." Then after Sharp took the checkered flag in his Delphi Automotive Systems/MCI WorldCom Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone fielded by Kelley Racing, Ford gave him one last piece of instruction. "I said, 'Scott, I want some doughnuts," Ford said. Sharp answered with some spins in the infield grass on the way to the victory celebration. Ford said McGehee's Treadway Racing spotter sat behind him and a couple spots down in the spotter booth inside Turn 4. "We definitely made eye contact," Ford said. When Ford was interviewed in Victory Lane, he said, "My mom said I about blew the speakers out." Ford, from Whiteland, Ind., called the race the best he had ever seen. He said his biggest concern was staying on the radio too long during the tight racing and disrupting Sharp's concentration. But in the tense final two laps, he kept telling his driver to make McGehee earn it and keep him on the outside. "I ran through the stands, and fans grabbed me and told me it was the best race they had ever seen," he said. "I can't wait to see the tape."

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby McGehee , Scott Sharp