Strong Qualifying and Early Lead Turn To Disappointment For Ray at Charlotte Motor Speedway CHARLOTTE, N.C.: July 26, 1998 - After a strong qualifying effort and an early lead, Ray's second race in the Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Indy car ended in...
Strong Qualifying and Early Lead Turn To Disappointment For Ray at Charlotte Motor Speedway
CHARLOTTE, N.C.: July 26, 1998 - After a strong qualifying effort and an early lead, Ray's second race in the Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Indy car ended in disappointment.
Starting from second place, Ray passed Tony Stewart for the lead on the first lap of the VisionAire 500. He held on to the lead for four laps and remained running in the top five until the 100-lap mark.
The team's troubles started during the third pit stop of the race when Ray spun leaving the pit box. A few laps later on the restart, the transmission stuck in two gears. The Conseco crew fixed the problem, only to learn that the car had a strong vibrat ion when Ray went back in the race. Ray's day ended on lap 131 of the race. He finished 17th in the final standings.
"The A.J. Foyt/Conseco team did a great job," Ray said. "We led the race early on. My hat's off to A.J. for giving me this chance to fill in for Billy Boat. I didn't do him any favors tonight. I made a lot of mistakes. I haven't been this disappointe d in myself for a long time."
On a positive note, Ray's A.J. Foyt Enterprises teammate Kenny Brack won the Pep Boys Indy Racing League race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
"Kenny really turned up the wick at the end of the race," Ray said. "He did the job. We had similar cars and he didn't make any mistakes today."
The Charlotte race marks the end of Ray's commitment to Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing. Billy Boat-who is recovering from a broken leg suffered in an accident at New Hampshire last month-will return to the cockpit of the No. 11Conseco car in the next Pep Boys IRL event at Pike's Peak International Raceway on August 16. "I have enjoyed this team and working with A.J. Foyt," Ray said. "It was so much more than I expected it to be. It was a true honor to be with A.J. and Conseco for these two races. Unfortunately, I am still looking for that victory lane. It is a good taste and a bad taste at the same time."