Brooklyn, MI., June 9- NASCAR Winston Cup driver Tony Stewart, driving the Evan's Orange Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, won his first True Value IROC race today at Michigan International Speedway in race three of the four race series. Indy Racing ...
Brooklyn, MI., June 9- NASCAR Winston Cup driver Tony Stewart, driving the Evan's Orange Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, won his first True Value IROC race today at Michigan International Speedway in race three of the four race series. Indy Racing Northern Light Series driver Al Unser Jr., substitute driving for Scott Goodyear, came across the stripe second, with CART FedEx Championship Series driver Kenny Brack third.
Stewart took the lead from Indy Racing Northern Light Series driver Eddie Cheever, Jr. on lap three and never looked back. "My goal was to get by Cheever as soon as I could. Once I got in front I was able to run the line I wanted to run. It gave me the flexibility to move around the racetrack and try things and use my mirrors as a gauge to see if I'm making ground or losing ground."
Unser Jr., the driver with most wins (four) in the series at Michigan said "It's great to be back (in the True Value IROC Series), we had a good car and that made it easy. The competition is tough with the talented drivers that are driving. I would like a permanent invitation for next year; I'm just subbing for Scott (Goodyear) and wish him a speedy recovery. I hope we made him proud today."
Open wheel drivers, Kenny Brack and Eddie Cheever Jr. battled with NASCAR Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte finishing third, fourth and fifth respectively. Brack said, "I tried at first to stay with Tony (Stewart). I thought Al (Unser, Jr.) would go with me, but he didn't want to go that early. I took care of my tires all day and I had a pretty good race car." The battle among the front runners went three-wide at the end: Brack continued, "Cheever tried to block me, but I was low enough that I got by, I got back up to third place. For me, in this type of car, that's a great achievement. I'm very happy with my run."
"Kenny (Brack) made a brilliant move going three wide," said Cheever, Jr. "He used me. He convinced me that he was going to stay in line and he pulled out and went on and it was too late for me. It was a very tactical race. It was hard racing."
True Value IROC series test driver, Dave Marcis filling in for the injured Dale Jarrett, finished eighth. "It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed actually racing these cars for a change," said Marcis. " I was in the series back in 1979 and things have changed a lot since then. The cars are still very competitive and that's what this series is all about."
The points battle going into the final race is one of the closest in the series' 25-year history with less than ten points separating the top six positions. Stock car's Bobby Labonte has a one-point lead over open wheel driver Kenny Brack going into the finale on August 4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where the 25th anniversary True Value IROC championship will be decided.
The purse for the 2000 True Value IROC series totals of $1,025,000 with $250,000 awarded to the champion based on cumulative point standings at the end of the fourth race.