Marlboro 500 Highlights Scott Pruett's victory was the first of his PPG Cup career and made him the third first-time winner this season, the most in PPG Indy Car World Series history. Pruett's .056 second victory over Al Unser Jr. was the ...
Marlboro 500 Highlights
Scott Pruett's victory was the first of his PPG Cup career and made him the third first-time winner this season, the most in PPG Indy Car World Series history.
Pruett's .056 second victory over Al Unser Jr. was the second-closest margin of victory in modern Indy Car history, trailing only Al Unser Jr.'s .043-second win over Scott Goodyear in the 1992 Indy 500. The race was the seventh decided by less than one second in 12 IndyCar-sanctioned races this season.
Pruett's win was the first for Firestone in its return to Indy Car racing. The victory snapped Goodyear's 315 consecutive race win streak. Firestone's last victory also came at Michigan International Speedway with Al Unser taking the win in the 1974 Michigan 250.
Pruett became the eighth different driver to win a PPG Indy Car World Series event this season. The record for most different winners in PPG Cup competition is nine set in 1985.
The Marlboro 500 featured 18 lead changes among eight drivers.
Tecate Beer/Quaker State Lola Mercedes-Benz driver Adrian Fernandez earned the first podium finish of his career with a third at MIS. The strong showing came in Galles Racing International's 200th PPG Cup race. The career-best finish moved Fernandez into 11th place in the PPG Cup standings.
Parker Johnstone led the first 52 laps of his PPG Cup career. The Comptech Racing driver led the first 45 laps before pitting and then led laps 51-57. He later retired due to brake problems.
LCI Reynard Honda driver Andre Ribeiro also led the first laps of his career at MIS. Ribeiro's total of 68 laps out front earned him the additional PPG Cup point for most laps led.
Parker Johnstone won the Marlboro 500 pole in his first career oval race in any form of racing. The Motorola Cellular Reynard Honda driver registered a 230.458 mph lap despite one-time IndyCar regulations that reduced manifold pressure from 45 to 40 inches.
Johnstone is the eighth different driver to win a pole in PPG Cup competition this season matching the highest total in Indy Car history with eight drivers winning pole positions in both 1984 and 1985. Other drivers earning the top spot this year include Michael Andretti (Miami, Australia, and Long Beach), Bryan Herta (Phoenix), Robby Gordon (Nazareth and Detroit), Scott Brayton (Indy), Teo Fabi (Milwaukee), Jacques Villeneuve (Portland, Road America, and Toronto) and Gil de Ferran (Cleveland).
Johnstone's pole was the first for Honda in PPG Indy Car World Series competition, coming in the automaker's 29th IndyCar race. Honda's previous best qualifying effort had come earlier this season when Scott Goodyear qualified third at Indianapolis.
When Johnstone's Firestone-shod Reynard won the pole position at MIS it was Firestone's first pole since returning to IndyCar racing after leaving the sport following the 1974 season. Al Unser was the last Firestone driver to win a pole position when he captured the top spot at Phoenix in 1974. Unser also was the last driver to win a race on Firestones when he was victorious at the Michigan 250 at MIS in September, 1974.
Johnstone's pole was the seventh straight for the Reynard chassis which has qualified first eight times this season, while Lola has been on top four times.
The top 19 cars in qualifying were separated by just .976 seconds.
Excluding the Sunday warm-up, five different drivers topped the five IndyCar on-track sessions. Friday's practices saw Andre Ribeiro and Michael Andretti top the timing charts. Jacques Villeneuve was the fastest in Saturday's practice sessions with Johnstone fast in qualifying and Pruett winning the race.
The top three finishers started no higher than 11th (Fernandez). Race winner Pruett started 12th while runner-up Al Unser Jr. gridded 13th.
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