IRL: 1999 Schedule, Update Kit Unveiled

DATE CHANGES, NEW COLORADO RACE ARE HIGHLIGHTS OF 1999 SCHEDULE League Also Unveils '99 Update Kit Designed to Enhance Safety, Competition INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 2, 1998 - Several date changes and a second race at Pikes Peak International...

DATE CHANGES, NEW COLORADO RACE ARE HIGHLIGHTS OF 1999 SCHEDULE League Also Unveils '99 Update Kit Designed to Enhance Safety, Competition

INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 2, 1998 - Several date changes and a second race at Pikes Peak International Raceway are the highlights of the 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League schedule, announced during a meeting between League officials and team owners.

League officials also unveiled the chassis update kit and an engine rev limit reduction for the 1999 season during the meeting.

The Pep Boys Indy Racing League schedule will consist of 11 races for the second consecutive season. The League's fourth season starts Jan. 24 at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Fla., and ends Oct. 17 with the second League event of the year at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.

Races will take place at these state-of-the art facilities in 1999: Walt Disney World Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Pikes Peak International Raceway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Dover Downs International Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The League's television package will be announced shortly. The League has retained the services of Trans World International, a division of IMG, the worldwide leader in the sports management industry, to help create an exciting television package for 1999.

"We think the 1999 schedule will help the League continue its strong growth pattern and provide our loyal fans with great open-wheel, oval-track racing," said Leo Mehl, executive director of the Indy Racing League. "The date changes and new event in Colorado were designed with our teams, sponsors and fans in mind." The event May 1 at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be the first of three Saturday-night races on the 1999 schedule, with the others June 12 at Texas Motor Speedway and July 17 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

"Moving the Charlotte race to early May will give us a better buildup to the Indianapolis 500, the greatest spectacle in racing," Mehl said. "Eliminating the previous time gap will increase the excitement heading into Indy."

Opening Day for the 83rd Indianapolis 500 is May 15. Pole Day is May 22, with Bump Day May 23. Carburetion Day is May 27, and the world's most prestigious auto race takes place May 30.

Other significant date changes include the Atlanta event moving from late August to July 17, the Dover, Del., event moving from mid-July to Aug. 1, the Las Vegas event shifting from mid-October to Sept. 26 and the second Texas event moving from late September to Oct. 17. Pikes Peak International Raceway, located just south of Colorado Springs in Fountain, Colo., will join Texas Motor Speedway as the host of two Pep Boys Indy Racing League events in one season. Pep Boys Indy Racing League events will take place June 27 and Aug. 29 on the picturesque 1-mile oval at PPIR.

"We're going to Pikes Peak twice because it is a superb, beautiful facility," Mehl said. "We also want to build the fan base of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League in the West while we have this opportunity."

League open tests will take place in December 1998 at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Fla., late February 1999 at Phoenix International Raceway and in early April 1999 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Those tests will be open to the public.

The update kit for 1999 will cost a maximum of $30,000, depending on chassis manufacturer. That's $7,000 less than the 1998 kit, as the League continues to contain costs while improving driver safety and ensuring close, balanced competition. Update kits also allow teams to remain competitive and safe with older equipment, again reducing costs. Dallara, G Force and Riley & Scott have combined to produce 85 chassis in the two years since the Indy Racing League adopted its new chassis formula. All 1999 update kits will incorporate these features:

.Strengthened sidepods. The sidepods on all cars in 1999 must be constructed of carbon fiber with a 3/8th-inch aluminum honeycomb structure underneath. This Kevlar-covered sidepod structure will provide more crushable structure during side impact, protecting the driver and providing more resistance to penetration.

.Increased driver head protection. Driver safety headrests, instituted in 1998, will be enclosed in a Kevlar shell in 1999 that includes more protective foam. A gel sack also will be placed below the air box, directly behind the driver's head. The Kevlar headrest shells and gel sacks will spread any impact over a greater area, reducing shock transferred to the driver. They also will dampen rebound after impact, protecting the driver.

.Aerodynamic changes, including new under wings, and minor refinements and safety enhancements to engine covers and air box inlets.

The chassis of all new cars in 1999 will include more Kevlar material around the driver compartment - or "tub" -- to provide more resistance to penetration and protection for the driver.

In a move designed to control speeds at the League's many high-speed circuits, the engine rev limit will be reduced from 10500 rpm to 10300 rpm in 1999. "This reduction also will control engine costs and significantly improve engine reliability while providing even more competitive racing for the fans," Mehl said.

1999 PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE SCHEDULE

Jan. 24 Walt Disney World Speedway, Orlando, Fla. 1-mile oval

March 28 Phoenix International Raceway, Phoenix 1-mile oval

May 1* Charlotte Motor Speedway, Charlotte, N.C. 1.5-mile oval

May 30 Indianapolis 500, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis 2.5-mile oval

June 12* Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas 1.5-mile oval

June 27 Pikes Peak International Raceway, Colorado Springs, Colo. 1-mile oval

July 17* Atlanta Motor Speedway, Atlanta 1.54-mile oval

Aug. 1 Dover Downs International Speedway, Dover, Del. 1-mile oval

Aug. 29 Pikes Peak International Raceway, Colorado Springs, Colo. 1-mile oval

Sept. 26 Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas 1.5-mile oval

Oct. 17 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas 1.5-mile oval

* -- Saturday night race; all other races on Sunday

Source: IRL/IMS

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