WHAT: Chevy 500; Final race in 13-race 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series season WHERE: Texas Motor Speedway, 1.5-mile paved oval WHEN: 3 p.m. (CDT) Sunday, Oct. 6 DISTANCE: 300 miles/200 laps POSTED AWARDS: More than $1 ...
WHAT: Chevy 500; Final race in 13-race 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series season
WHERE: Texas Motor Speedway, 1.5-mile paved oval
WHEN: 3 p.m. (CDT) Sunday, Oct. 6
DISTANCE: 300 miles/200 laps
POSTED AWARDS: More than $1 million
CARS: Dallara and G Force chassis; Oldsmobile V8 and Infiniti Indy V8 3.5-liter engines; Firestone tires
2000 RACE WINNER: Scott Goodyear
2001 NORTHERN LIGHT CUP CHAMPION: Sam Hornish Jr. (Clinched championship Sept. 2 at Chicago)
TV: (Pre-Race) "Indy Racing 2Day" ESPN2 (live), 11 a.m. (EDT), Oct. 6
ESPN2 (live), 4 p.m. (EDT), Oct. 6
Announcers: Bob Jenkins, Larry Rice, Jason Priestley
Pit reporters: Vince Welch, Jack Arute
IMS Radio Network (live), 4 p.m. (EDT) Oct. 6
Pre-race show starts at 3:30 p.m. (EDT)
Host: Mike King; Analyst: Johnny Parsons Jr.
Announcer: Jerry Baker
Sr. Pit Reporter: Mark Jaynes; Pit reporter: Kim Morris
Area affiliate: KESN-FM 103.3 Arlington, Texas
SCHEDULE (all times local):
(Friday, Oct. 5)
8 a.m.: Indy Racing League garage opens
10 a.m.-Noon: Practice (Two groups)
1:30-2:30 p.m.: Practice (Two groups)
4 p.m.: MBNA Pole Qualifying
(Saturday, Oct. 6)
8 a.m.: Indy Racing League garage opens
10-10:30 a.m.: Final practice (All cars)
2 p.m.: Cars to grid
3 p.m.: Chevy 500 (300 miles/200 laps)
1.5-mile paved oval
Frontstraight: 2,250 feet
Backstraight: 1,330 feet
Turns: 750 feet
Width: 58 feet (minimum)
Banking: Turns: 24 degrees
Straightaways: 5 degrees
Texas Motor Speedway is owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports Inc., which also owns Bristol, Las Vegas, Lowe's and Atlanta Motor Speedways, and Sears Point Raceway. The Texas facility, which opened in 1997, features 154,861 permanent seats and 144 luxury suites. The Speedway Club in Turn 1 houses the speedway's corporate offices, a restaurant and one of the largest health clubs in Texas. The speedway also features the Lone Star Tower, a luxury condominium and office complex located in Turn 2. It is the second-largest sports facility in the country. In addition to the Indy Racing Northern Light Series, TMS plays host to virtually every type of motorsports including the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Pennzoil World of Outlaws, American Le Mans Series and many others. The 1.5-mile asphalt oval was repaved this summer.
(The Chevy 500 is ninth Indy Racing event to take place at Texas Motor Speedway since the track opened in 1997. The facility has played host to two Indy Racing events each season since 1998. Next year's races are scheduled for June 8 and Sept. 15.
Three Indianapolis 500 winners are entered in this event: 1998 champion Eddie Cheever Jr., 1996 champion Buddy Lazier and 1992 and 1994 champion Al Unser Jr.
Two years ago Sarah Fisher made history by competing in the season finale at Texas Motor Speedway. She became the youngest driver to race in league history, just 13 days after her 19th birthday.
This is the seventh Indy Racing event on a 1.5-mile oval this season. There have been six different winners in the six previous races. The previous winners: Sam Hornish Jr. (Homestead-Miami Speedway); Greg Ray (Atlanta Motor Speedway); Scott Sharp (Texas Motor Speedway); Eddie Cheever Jr. (Kansas Speedway); Buddy Lazier (Kentucky Speedway); Jaques Lazier (Chicagoland Speedway).
The Chevy 500 will be the second race held on the newly paved Texas Motor Speedway. The track was resurfaced after the Indy Racing event in June. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will compete on the track the evening before the Chevy 500.
Four Indy Racing teams have tested at Texas Motor Speedway after the track was repaved. The following drivers and teams tested at TMS on Sept. 6: Jaques Lazier, Team Menard; Airton Dare, TeamXtreme; Jeff Ward and Johnny Herbert, Heritage Motorsports. Ward and Lazier reported unofficial speeds approaching 216 mph, faster than MBNA Pole winner Mark Dismore's speed of 215.508 mph for the Casino Magic 500 in June. Eddie Cheever Jr. logged laps on Sept. 25 and Buzz Calkins and Robbie Buhl plan to test before the event.
Sam Hornish Jr. became the youngest champion of a major-league, open-wheel series in North American racing history when he clinched the Northern Light Cup on Sept. 2 in the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicago. Hornish, 22, leads defending Indy Racing champion Buddy Lazier, 451-385. It is the first time that a driver has clinched the title before the final race of the season.
At 21, Sam Hornish Jr. became the youngest driver to win an Indy Racing League event with his victory at the season opener March 18 in Phoenix. He followed that with a win April 8 at Homestead, Fla., and is one of five drivers in Indy Racing history to win consecutive races.
Sam Hornish Jr.'s consecutive victories at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami, coupled with Buddy Lazier's back-to-back wins at Pikes Peak and Richmond, Va., marked the first time in Indy Racing history that two drivers have won consecutive races in the same season.
Buddy Lazier's back-to-back victories at Pikes Peak and Richmond, Va., coupled with consecutive victories at Nashville, Tenn., and Sparta, Ky., mark the first time in Indy Racing history that a driver has won four events in one season.
Buddy Lazier's victory Aug. 12 at Kentucky was his eighth career Indy Racing League victory, the most of any driver in league history. It was also his fourth victory in five races. Lazier is the only driver to win consecutive races twice in his Indy Racing League career.
Jaques Lazier's first career victory Sept. 2 at Chicago, coupled with his brother Buddy's eight career Indy Racing victories, marked the first time that two brothers had won Indy Racing events.
The Indy Racing Northern Light Series consisted of a record 13 races this year between mid-March and early October. Five new markets played host to Indy Racing events in 2001: Chicago, Miami, St. Louis, Kansas City, Mo., Nashville, Tenn., and Richmond, Va.
The 2002 Indy Racing Northern Light Series schedule will have the largest number of events in Indy Racing history, with 14 races between March and mid-September. Michigan International Speedway and Nazareth Speedway have been added as new venues, and the June race at Fort Worth, Texas, and events at Richmond, Va., and Nashville, Tenn., will be at night.
The Indy Racing League is not awarding qualifying points this year in an effort to discourage teams from building fragile but fast qualifying engines that provide an advantage over those teams lacking the budget to build the costly extra engines.
Sarah Fisher's second-place finish on April 8 at Homestead-Miami was her career best and the best by a woman in the history of Indy-style racing. Fisher also started second at the SunTrust Indy Challenge on June 30 at Richmond, Va., a career best and the best by a woman in the history of Indy-style racing.
Rookie Felipe Giaffone clinched the series Rookie of the Year point standings. Giaffone has 295 points and is tied for fourth in Northern Light Series points. The next-highest rookie in the standings, Didier Andre, has 173 points and is 19th overall.
Eddie Cheever Jr. and Buddy Lazier have started in 53 consecutive Indy Racing Northern Light Series events, a league record. Davey Hamilton started 48 consecutive races from the inaugural Indy Racing event in 1996 until the Casino Magic 500 on June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway, where he suffered serious leg and foot injuries. Cheever and Lazier also share the record for competing in the most Indy Racing events with 54.
Twice this year a driver has led the first lap of an Indy Racing event after starting in the second row. On June 30 at Richmond, Va., Buddy Lazier took the lead on Lap 1 after starting fourth. Eliseo Salazar led the first lap July 8 at Kansas City, Kan., after starting third. Prior to the Richmond race, no driver ever had led the opening lap without starting in the front row.
Sam Hornish Jr. is the only driver to be running at the finish of all 12 Indy Racing events this season. He leads the Indy Racing League with 11 top-10 finishes and 10 top-five finishes.
Sam Hornish Jr. has led in 10 Indy Racing League events this season, tying a record set by Tony Stewart in 1998.
1999 Indy Racing Northern Light Series champion Greg Ray will drive the No. 11 A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone in the Chevy 500 on Oct. 6. This will be the first time A.J. Foyt Enterprises has used an Infiniti powerplant since the engine manufacturer began competing in the Indy Racing League in 1997. However, this will not be Ray's first time driving for the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner. Ray drove for Foyt at Dover Downs International Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway as a replacement driver for injured Billy Boat in 1998.
Ray has won 13 career MBNA poles, a series record. His most recent pole came July 20 at Nashville Superspeedway. He has started in the top-five in 25 of the last 28 Indy Racing events he's competed in.
Few states have a stronger connection to Indy Racing than Texas. The legendary A.J. Foyt hails from Houston and will field cars for Eliseo Salazar and Plano, Texas native Greg Ray in this event. Foyt's team, based in Houston, is one of two Indy Racing teams with headquarters in Texas. TeamXtreme, which fields a car for 2000 Indy Racing Rookie of the Year Airton Dare, is based in the Dallas suburb of Rockwall. Rookie Jon Herb played football for Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and fellow rookie Chris Menninga was born Austin. Heritage Motorsports co-owner John Mecom III lives in Houston, while three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford, who leads special projects for the Indy Racing League, lives in Fort Worth.
Chevrolet is starting its association with the Indy Racing League with the title sponsorship of this event. Chevy will have an even larger presence in Indy Racing starting next year, as the company returns to major-league open-wheel racing as an engine manufacturer for Northern Light Series race teams.