Contact: Rick Voegelin High Performance Communications 408-761-2201 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OLDSMOBILE KICKS OFF 100TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION WITH SEVENTH STRAIGHT IRL INDY CAR WIN IN 1997 Indy Aurora V8 Continues...
Contact: Rick Voegelin High Performance Communications 408-761-2201
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OLDSMOBILE KICKS OFF 100TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION WITH SEVENTH STRAIGHT IRL INDY CAR WIN IN 1997
Indy Aurora V8 Continues Perfect Season in IRL Competition
Loudon, N.H.; August 17, 1997 -- As hundreds of historic and classic Oldsmobiles caravaned to Lansing, Mich., to celebrate Oldsmobile's 100th birthday on August 21, Oldsmobile's advanced Indy Aurora V8 raced to its seventh consecutive victory in Indy Racing League competition today in the Pennzoil 200 at New Hampshire International Raceway. On Thursday, Oldsmobile will become the first American auto manufacturer to reach its milestone 100th year in business; with an undefeated record in Indy car competition in 1997, Oldsmobile is the first automaker to win the IRL Manufacturers Championship with a production-based 4.0-liter engine.
Oldsmobile engines dominated the Pennzoil 200 as Robbie Buhl drove Team Menard's Quaker State Aurora-powered G-Force Indy car to a .064-second victory over Team Scandia driver Vincenzo Sospiri in the closest finish in IRL history. Aurora racers swept the top 18 finishing positions and led every lap on the 1.0-mile oval. Twenty-three of the 24 starters (96% of the field) used Indy Aurora V8 engines, and Oldsmobile powerplants posted the 22 fastest qualifying times. The sole Infiniti driver was gridded 22nd and finished 19th. Buhl, 33, of Gross Pointe, Mich., scored Team Menard's second win in the last three races after sitting out two events while recovering from an injury he sustained in a testing accident. Buhl took the lead with three laps to go when Eddie Cheever, Jr.'s transmission failed after Cheever had led 80 laps.
"It feels great to win here," said Buhl, a graduate of nearby New England College. "It's special -- my buddies and parents were in the stands."
Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk finished third, followed by Eliseo Salazar, Kenny Brack, and Roberto Guerrero as the top six finishers were all on the lead lap. Buhl's teammate, Tony Stewart, was one of only three drivers who were sidelined with engine problems, but he extended his lead in the IRL Drivers Championship standings to 10 points over Davey Hamilton with one race to go.
Nine Aurora drivers took the lead in the 200-lap race. Oldsmobile engines have now led every racing lap in IRL competition in 1997 -- a total of 1,365 laps (1,873 miles). Oldsmobile has clinched the IRL Manufacturers Championship with 77 points, the maximum number of points possible. Specially modified Aurora V8 engines have now won four Manufacturers Championships in three years, including back-to-back titles in IMSA GTS-1 in 1995-96, the IMSA World SportsCar crown in 1996, and the IRL Indy car championship in 1997.
Brazilian Marco Greco became the fourth driver to win a pole with the Indy Aurora V8, extending Oldsmobile's perfect qualifying record to seven straight poles. Greco reeled off a lap at 160.594 mph to put Galles Racing's Aurora-powered G Force on the point. Canadian Scott Goodyear started Treadway Racing's Aurora on the outside front row, and Greco's Galles Racing teammate, Kenny Brack of Sweden, was third on the grid.
"Knowing the track, I knew what was going to happen when I went out there," said Greco, who was making his fifth appearance at NHIS.
The next event for the Indy Aurora V8 will be the IRL season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday night, October 11. The Las Vegas 500K will be televised by ABC Sports on Sunday, October 12, at 4:00 p.m. EDT.
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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 17-Aug-1997