IRL: Atlanta Weekend Notes

Atlanta 500 Classic Notes USAC driver Dave Steele was named to drive a second Panther Racing entry at the Lone Star 500 on Sept. 20 at Texas Motor Speedway. Steele will drive alongside teammate Scott Goodyear in the Pennzoil sponsored No. 43 ...

Atlanta 500 Classic Notes

USAC driver Dave Steele was named to drive a second Panther Racing entry at the Lone Star 500 on Sept. 20 at Texas Motor Speedway. Steele will drive alongside teammate Scott Goodyear in the Pennzoil sponsored No. 43 G Force Aurora. Associate sponsorship will come from Manheim's Fort Worth Auto Auction. Steele tested with another team earlier this season at Texas Motor Speedway but had his session cut short due to extremely cold weather.

Heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield was the honorary starter of the inaugural Pep Boys IRL race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Prior to the race the champ visited with 1998 Indy 500 champion Eddie Cheever. Holyfield had a chance to sit in Cheever's backup car, making the tight squeeze into the cockpit after the seat had been removed.

Tom Kelley announced his driver lineup at Kelley Racing through the year 2000, adding, "This is to put an end to all the rumors." Both of Kelley's present drivers, Mark Dismore and Scott Sharp have signed to drive for Kelley for the next two seasons.

Larry and LeeAnne Nash of LP Racing intend to run a second car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 11. Scott Harrington is expected to be named as the teammate to Sam Schmidt for the season finale.

Just prior to taking to the track for the pole qualifying run at Pikes Peak, Billy Boat's crew taped over all the unnecessary inlets on the car, lowering the car's coefficient of drag by a fraction of a fraction. This week, most of the cars in the qualifying line had done the same thing, including the car belonging to the owner that barked, "I don't think that really helps," at PPIR.

Bradley Motorsports switched to a Dallara chassis for driver Buzz Calkins this weekend. The team will keep their two G Force chassis. "Jeff Braun, our new engineer, acquired a great deal of experience with the Dallara during his tenure with Team Scandia," said team owner Brad Calkins. "I also want to emphasize that we have not lost confidence in G Force. However, we will evaluate both chassis after this race relative to the Texas and Las Vegas rounds."

Steve Knapp driver of the No. 18 Earl's Performance Products G Force, entered by PDM Racing, was hard at work at AMS long before any of the IRL crews arrived at the track. Twelve hours before he was to take the green flag in the Atlanta Classic 500, Steve was in the F2000 paddock working on John Miller's engine. Knapp's company, Elite Engines, supplies engines to several teams in the F2000 series.

Pagan Racing's new driver, Stevie Reeves, became a spectator at Atlanta when the team withdrew their entry on Thursday. Reeves was put to work during the race spotting for the No. 44 Sinden Racing Services entry driven by J.J. Yeley. Reeves finished 10th in his IRL debut at Charlotte. A broken CV joint late in the race cost Reeves a seventh place finish.

Jimmy Kite, of Stockbridge, GA., was an interested spectator at Atlanta Motor Speedway over the weekend. Jimmy had a seat in one of the speedway's luxury suites, yet he still couldn't hide his disappointment over not being a bit closer to the track.

David Donohue was another interested spectator at Atlanta. Donohue has been racing sports cars in Europe this year as well as done some testing in a NASCAR Craftsman truck for Pac West.

Brian Tyler has signed with Team Pelfrey for the remaining races in the 1998 Pep Boys IRL series. "We are using 1998 as a year of learning," said Dale Pelfrey, "and we plan to run the full IRL schedule in 1999." John Paul led thirty-nine laps at the Indy 500 in the team's first outing.

Thermo Tech Technologies Inc., a Canadian company, announced a multiyear sponsorship of ISM Racing and driver Jeff Ward. Thermo Tech is in the organic waste reclamation business, converting wet organic waste into pasteurized and marketable end products. The company has recently entered into the American market with offices in Atlanta.

John Paul Jr. is the only active Pep Boys IRL driver to have competed in an open-wheel race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Paul finished third in the CART race in 1983 at AMS, his first career start on an oval.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Eddie Cheever , Jeff Ward , Scott Sharp , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Scott Goodyear , Jimmy Kite , Sam Schmidt , Steve Knapp , David Donohue , J.J. Yeley , Dave Steele , Brian Tyler , Scott Harrington , John Paul , Stevie Reeves
Teams Panther Racing