Tinton Falls, NJ -Indy Racing League champion Greg Ray will join in the battle for the True Value IROC crown in 2000. Also confirmed to compete is reining IROC champion Dale Earnhardt, two-time NASCAR Busch Grand National champ Dale Earnhardt...
Tinton Falls, NJ -Indy Racing League champion Greg Ray will join in the battle for the True Value IROC crown in 2000. Also confirmed to compete is reining IROC champion Dale Earnhardt, two-time NASCAR Busch Grand National champ Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Rusty Wallace, former IROC and NASCAR Winston Cup champion.
The four-race series begins on February 18 at Daytona International Speedway, in Daytona Beach, Fla. and matches a dozen top drivers in equally prepared Pontiac Firebird Trans Ams. The schedule also includes events on April 15, Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Ala.; June 10, Michigan Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich.; and August 4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. ABC Sports will televise Daytona, March 12 at 5 p.m., and Talladega, April 16 at 5 p.m. ESPN will broadcast LIVE from Michigan, June 10 at 12 noon, and ABC Sports will air Indianapolis, April 16 at 5:00 p.m.
Ray, of Plano, Texas, claimed the 1999 IRL championship with four wins, winning both events at Pikes Peak from the pole. Ray won the most races (3 of 10); the most poles (4); and tied Sam Schmidt for races led (7 of 10) during 1999.
"To compete against these other great drivers from the Winston Cup, Busch Series, and IRL will be an exciting opportunity," Ray states. "Hopefully, I can gain tremendous experience through this invitation and I'm very grateful to the True Value IROC organizers for including me."
Earnhardt, of Mooresville, N. C., returns as a triple IROC titlist for his record 16th IROC series after finishing seventh in the 1999 Winston Cup standings with three victories. The seven-time NASCAR champion won three consecutive IROC races in 1999 for a total 10 career IROC victories, second to Al Unser Jr. with 11 wins.
Earnhardt Jr., of Concord, N.C., will return to duel with his Dad, after capturing his second consecutive Busch Series championship. Earnhardt Jr. claimed six victories, 19 top-ten and 15 top-five finishes on his way to the 1999 crown. He finished second to his father in IROC competition at Michigan Speedway last year by a record margin of 0.007 second. It was also the first father-son, one-two finish in the history of IROC competition.
Wallace, of Lake Norman, N.C., will compete in his ninth IROC series in 2000 and was eighth in last year's Winston Cup rankings with a win at Bristol in the spring. He posted 16 top-ten finishes, of which, seven were top-fives. The former IROC champ all but won the 1999 Talladega IROC race when Dale Earnhardt made a surprising pass on the outside approaching the stripe and taking the win.
In 1999 Dale Earnhardt joined Rusty Wallace, the first IROC driver to win three consecutive races in a season. The inaugural IROC champion Mark Donohue is the only other driver to win three of the four races.
These four join previously announced, Jeff Gordon, Eddie Cheever Jr., Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart. Series President Jay Signore said the final group of drivers will be announced next week.