Hampton, Ga. (July 17, 1999) Scott Sharp won the Kobalt Mechanics Tools 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway tonight. Sharp, the 1996 Pep Boys Indy Racing League co-champion, finished the race under yellow when Jacques Lazier spun with less than...
Hampton, Ga. (July 17, 1999) Scott Sharp won the Kobalt Mechanics Tools 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway tonight. Sharp, the 1996 Pep Boys Indy Racing League co-champion, finished the race under yellow when Jacques Lazier spun with less than two laps to go.
"I've got some awesome feelings," said Sharp. "It's hard to express them all. We started this race with a brand new setup, and that's hard to do. We kept digging and digging, and we finally got it."
Prior to the last caution period, second place finisher Robby Unser was running less than half a second behind Sharp. "I wish I had a little more horsepower to run down Scott Sharp," Unser said, "he just had a car that worked very well and my congratulations go out to him."
This was Unser's fourth consecutive top-10 finish.
Joining the battle at the front was 1998 Indy Racing League champion Kenny Brack. All three were in contention for the lead when Brack broke a header, causing a reduction in the engine's power.
Brack still held on to finish third. "We had a pretty good day, all in all," said Brack "Unfortunately a header broke on lap 175 and we lost power. I'm happy I finished third, it was a good result."
Jacques Lazier made a late charge on Brack for third place but a spin with less than two laps to go dropped the rookie driver to 12th at the finish. "We came to race today," said Lazier. "When we were running fourth, (owner) Joe (Truscelli) said to go for it. All day I was running the top line. Kenny washed up in (turn) two and it took the air off my car, and I looped it."
Lazier plans to run the remainder of the Indy Racing League schedule, contending for the Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year honors. Despite missing the first part of the season, Lazier has 48 championship points, placing him fourth in the battle for rookie of the year.
There were sixteen lead changes between ten drivers tonight but the front wasn't the place to be until the last lap. Of the ten drivers that led, half finished outside the top-10. Jacques Lazier, Scott Goodyear, Buddy Lazier, Sam Schmidt and Greg Ray all led at one point in the race. Jacques Lazier finished 12th, Scott Goodyear finished 16th, while Buddy Lazier, Schmidt and Ray finished twenty first through twenty third.
Scott Sharp led twice, taking the lead for good with thirty laps remaining in the race.
The Pep Boys Indy Racing League's next event will take place on the high banks of Dover Downs International Raceway on Sunday, August 1, 1999.
- Motorsport News International Staff