"SHOP 'N SAVE 100" QUICK FACTS WHAT: The "Shop 'n Save 100" Final event of the 13-race 1998 Silver Crown Championship Series WHERE: Gateway International Raceway, Madison, Ill. 1.25-mile semi-banked paved ...
"SHOP 'N SAVE 100" QUICK FACTS
WHAT: The "Shop 'n Save 100" Final event of the 13-race 1998 Silver Crown Championship Series
WHERE: Gateway International Raceway, Madison, Ill. 1.25-mile semi-banked paved oval
WHEN: Saturday, October 17, 1998
DISTANCE: 100 miles/80 laps
TICKETS: Tickets available by calling the track: (888) 82-SPEED
POSTED AWARDS: More than $84,000 (winner receives $17,000 minimum)
1997 RACE WINNER: Pat Abold
1997 SERIES CHAMPION: Dave Darland
POINTS LEADER: Brian Tyler
TELEVISION: ESPN2 (taped), 8:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, October 18 Announcers: Bob Jenkins, Larry Rice Pit reporter: Dave Despain
SCHEDULE (all times local): (Oct. 16) 6:00 a.m.: Garage area opens 10:00 a.m. - 10:55 a.m.: Silver Crown practice 12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.: Silver Crown practice 2:15 p.m.: Silver Crown qualifications (Best of two laps) 4:00 p.m.: Silver Crown qualifying race (15 laps, qualifiers 25th and lower)
(Oct. 17) 7:00 a.m.: Garage area opens 9:00 a.m. - 9:20 a.m.: Silver Crown warm-up (Yellow flag) "Shop 'n Save 100" (100 miles/80 laps): Follows 200-lap NASCAR BGN race which begins at 11:30 a.m.
TRACK RECORDS: (Qualifying) Chuck Leary, 31.746 seconds, 141.750 mph, September 13, 1997
(Race) No record established (red flag)
THE TRACK: At 1.25 miles, Gateway International Raceway is the largest track to ever host a points paying Silver Crown race. GIR is located across the river from St. Louis in Madison, Ill, and the famous Arch is within sight of the track. Gateway International Raceway hosted its inaugural season of oval racing in 1997. The grounds also contain a 1.6-mile road circuit and a .25-mile drag strip, the roots of which date back to 1967. The track is owned and operated by the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. Sanctioning bodies that conduct races at GIR include USAC, CART, NASCAR and NHRA.
THE RACE: * This will be the second appearance of the Silver Crown cars at Gateway, but this will be the first time the season has ended there. Last year, this race was part of the oval's inaugural season, and Pat Abold earned the second victory of the 1997 season and his career.
* Shop 'n Save, the new sponsor of this race, is one of the largest grocery chains in the St. Louis and Southwestern Illinois market. They operate 33 stores stretching from St. Louis through southwestern Illinois to Springfield.
RACE NOTES: * Illinois connection. . .Of the drivers pre-entered for the "Shop 'n Save 100," Indianapolis 500 veteran and Springfield, Ill resident Donnie Beechler is the lone driver carrying the hopes of the Illinois/St. Louis area. Beechler's car owner, Dr. Jim Logan lives in the St. Louis area, as does Gus Sohm, owner of the 83 car entered with no driver. Gene Beach of Franklin, Mo. is another area car owner. Beach will have John Heydenreich in the seat. The Beach-Heydenreich combination has already been in victory lane this year at Pikes Peak.
* Brotherly love. . .Bill Tyler, brother of current points leader Brian Tyler, is scheduled to compete at Gateway. In 1996, when Brian won his first of two Stoops Freightliner Sprint Car titles, his brother Bill won the final sprint car event of the season. No stranger to fast pavement racing, Bill hopes to repeat that statistic in the Silver Crown series this time.
* Former series race winner Stevie Reeves is entered in a second Johnny Vance car for Gateway. Reeves, the 1992 and ''93 USAC Midget champion, attempted his return to Silver Crown racing at the "DuPont 100" at IRP in July. Mechanical gremlins conspired to rob him of his return that evening. Reeves will give the Johnny Vance team a powerful one-two punch as he will team with Dave Steele, who recorded a dominating victory at Memphis Motorsports Park in June.
SERIES NOTES: * The Coors Brewing Company and USAC have announced a sponsorship package that includes title sponsorship of the Silver Crown Series. When the series begins in 1999 at the Walt Disney World Speedway, it will be known as the Coors Light Silver Bullet Series.
* J.J. Yeley's victory at Sacramento further extended the record number of different winners in 1998, becoming the 11th different winner. Another interesting note is that for six of those 11 winners, it was their first career Silver Crown victory. In addition, seven of the 11 winners have some form of experience in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League.
* New champion. . .Brian Tyler, Jason Leffler and Ryan Newman all have a shot at the championship on Saturday. For each of them, it would be their first Silver Crown championship. For Newman, it would be his first USAC championship of any kind, while Leffler is the defending National Midget champion and Tyler is the defending two-time champion of the Stoops Freightliner Sprint Car Series.
* The rookies. . .The Turbines, Inc. rookie battle is going down to the wire at Gateway. Although points are only part of the rookie equation, Kane has a slim 44 point lead on Coons by virtue of his impressive run at Eldora two races ago.
* Ryan Newman may be coming to Gateway third in the battle for the championship, but he is leading the charge for the Pennzoil Panther Racing IRL test at Las Vegas in December. The test will go to the highest placed driver in the final standings who does not already have IRL experience. Newman's challengers for that honor are three-time series champion Jimmy Sills and the defending series champion Dave Darland.
* Three active drivers lead an impressive statistical charge into the "Shop 'n Save 100." Jack Hewitt, after his dominating performance at Eldora two races ago, has led a total of 31 races in his Silver Crown career. Jimmy Sills and Chuck Gurney are right behind him with 28 and 27 races respectively. Gurney also leads in total career laps led with 1,328. Sills is close behind with 1,311 and Hewitt has 1,183. Maybe Hewitt has an unfair advantage. . .after all, he has also started more Silver Crown races than any other driver (129).
SERIES STATISTICS: 1998 Silver Crown Standings 1998 Series Winners 1. Brian Tyler 516 Tony Stewart (2) 2. Jason Leffler 502 Donnie Beechler (1) 3. Ryan Newman 472 Tony Elliott (1) 4. Jimmy Sills 438 Russ Gamester (1) 5. Dave Darland 420 Jack Hewitt (1) 6. Jack Hewitt 395 John Heydenreich(1) 7. J.J. Yeley 376 Jason Leffler (1) 8. Russ Gamester 364 Jimmy Sills (1) 9. Robby Flock 325 Dave Steele (1) 10. Tracy Hines 278 Brian Tyler (1) J.J. Yeley (1)
1998 Lap Leaders 1998 Turbines, Inc. (989 total laps) "Rookies of the Race" Jason Leffler 156 Todd Kane (4) Dave Steele 137 Jerry Coons, Jr.(3) J.J. Yeley 133 Brad Armstrong (1) Russ Gamester 127 Randy Bauer (1) Tony Stewart 118 Don Carr (1) Jimmy Sills 82 Doug Didero (1) Tony Elliott 62 Troy Regier (1) Jack Hewitt 50 Robby Flock 33 1998 Pole Positions John Heydenreich 33 Russ Gamester (2) Pat Abold 16 Jason Leffler (2) Ryan Newman 13 Jimmy Sills (2) Donnie Beechler 9 Dave Steele (2) Kenny Irwin 9 Jack Hewitt (1) Tracy Hines 5 Tracy Hines (1) George Snider 4 Kenny Irwin (1) Brian Tyler 2 George Snider *(1) * earned through draw at DuQuoin