IRL: Charlotte preview

1996-97 INDY RACING LEAGUE EVENT NO. 8 WHAT: Inaugural VisionAire 500 WHERE: Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C. WHEN: July 22-26 TRACK: ...

1996-97 INDY RACING LEAGUE EVENT NO. 8

WHAT: Inaugural VisionAire 500

WHERE: Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C.

WHEN: July 22-26

TRACK: 1.5-mile oval

SANCTION: Indy Racing League

POSTED AWARDS: $1,138,400

CARS: Dallara and G Force chassis, Oldsmobile Aurora V8 and Nissan Infiniti Indy engines used by the Indy Racing League for the first time this year.

DISTANCE: 208 laps/500 kilometers/312.6 miles

TICKETS, GENERAL Tickets ($20-45) INFORMATION: (704) 455-3200

TV: Sunday, July 27 -- Inaugural VisionAire 500, CBS Sports, taped, 1 p.m. (EST) with Mike Joy, Scott Sharp, Mike King and Brian Hammonds. Wednesday, July 23 -- Inaugural VisionAire 500 qualifying, Speedvision, live, 7-9 p.m. (ET) with Gary Lee, Derek Daly and Calvin Fish.

RADIO: Saturday, July 26 -- Inaugural VisionAire 500, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network, live 7:30 p.m. (ET) with Bob Jenkins, Gary Lee, Mike Jaynes and Vince Welch.

WEBSITE: www.indyracingleague.com

SCHEDULE: Tuesday, July 22 5 p.m. -- Gates open, Legends races 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. -- IRL practice 9:30-10:30 p.m. -- IRL practice Wednesday, July 23 10:30 a.m. -- Gates open 10:30 a.m.-Noon -- NASCAR Goody's Dash Series practice 12:30-1:15 p.m. -- NASCAR Goody's Dash Series practice 2:30 p.m. -- NASCAR Goody's Dash Series qualifying 4:30-5:30 p.m. -- IRL practice 5:30-6:30 p.m. -- Legends race 6:45 p.m. -- IRL qualifying lineup 7-9 p.m. -- IRL qualifying 9:30 p.m. -- NASCAR Goody's Dash Series race Thursday, July 24 Noon -- Gates open Noon-5 p.m. -- U.S. Formula Ford 2000 optional test session 5:30-6 p.m. -- U.S. Formula Ford 2000 practice

Friday, July 25 Noon -- Gates open Noon-12:30 p.m. -- U.S. Formula Ford 2000 practice 1:30-3 p.m. -- U.S. Formula Ford 2000 single car qualifying 3:30-4 p.m. -- U.S. Formula Ford 2000 cars to grid (Race 1) 4-5 p.m. -- U.S. Formula Ford 2000 Race 1 6-6:30 p.m. -- IRL final practice 7-9 p.m. -- IRL Fan Appreciation (IRL garage area)

Saturday, July 26 Noon -- Gates open 1:30-3:30 p.m. -- U.S. Formula Ford 2000 single car qualifying 3:30-4 p.m. -- U.S. Formula Ford 2000 practice 4:15-5:15 p.m. -- Legends Invitational Race 5:30-6 p.m. -- U.S. Formula Ford 2000 cars to grid (Race 2) 6-7 p.m. -- U.S. Formula Ford 2000 Race 2 7:15 p.m. -- IRL cars to the grid 8 p.m. -- Inaugural VisionAire 500 IRL Race 10 p.m. -- Fireworks TOP 1996-97 IRL DRIVER POINTS LEADERS: Davey Hamilton 207, Tony Stewart 202, Buzz Calkins 183, Arie Luyendyk 167, Marco Greco 162, Eddie Cheever Jr. 160, Roberto Guerrero 153, Mike Groff 148, Buddy Lazier 147, Scott Goodyear 142, Jim Guthrie 121, Stephan Gregoire 119, Scott Sharp 119, Eliseo Salazar 116, Robbie Buhl 103, Affonso Giaffone 91, Mark Dismore 88, John Paul Jr. 88, Fermin Velez 82, Dr. Jack Miller 80, Billy Boat 77, Vincenzo Sospiri 73, Tyce Carlson 73, Robbie Groff 71, Johnny Unser 69.

TOP 1996-97 IRL LAP LEADERS: Tony Stewart 738, Arie Luyendyk 118, Richie Hearn 96, Jim Guthrie 80, Buddy Lazier 64, Robby Gordon 60, Jeff Ward 49, Kenny Brack 24, John Paul Jr. 22, Scott Sharp 22.

TOP 1996-97 IRL LAPS COMPLETED LEADERS (possible 1,357): Davey Hamilton 1,337, Buzz Calkins 1,214, Tony Stewart 1,211, Marco Greco 1,089, Arie Luyendyk 955, Roberto Guerrero 955, Eddie Cheever Jr. 952, Mike Groff 930, Eliseo Salazar 851, Buddy Lazier 836.

TOP 1996-97 IRL RUNNING-AT-FINISH LEADERS (possible seven races): Davey Hamilton 7, Mike Groff 5, Marco Greco 5, Buzz Calkins 4, Eddie Cheever Jr. 4, Roberto Guerrero 4, Scott Goodyear 4, Eliseo Salazar 4, seven tied with 3.

PAST NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP/INDY-STYLE RACES IN NORTH CAROLINA: DATE SITE WINNER RACE DISTANCE AVERAGE SPEED 10/25/24 Charlotte Tommy Milton 250 miles 118.17 5/11/25 Charlotte Earl Cooper 250 miles 121.6 11/11/25 Charlotte Tommy Milton 250 miles 124.28 5/10/26 Charlotte Earl DeVore 250 miles 120.08 8/23/26 Charlotte Earl Cooper 25 miles 128.93 8/23/26 Charlotte Dave Lewis 25 miles 125.32 8/23/26 Charlotte Frank Lockhart 50 miles 122.54 8/23/26 Charlotte Frank Lockhart 150 miles 120.88 11/11/26 Charlotte Frank Lockhart 25 miles 132.40 11/11/26 Charlotte Dave Lewis 25 miles 127.02 11/11/26 Charlotte Harry Hartz 50 miles 129.35 11/11/26 Charlotte Leon Duray 100 miles 122.04 9/19/27 Charlotte Frank Lockhart 25 miles 127.66 9/19/27 Charlotte Peter DePaolo 50 miles 125.99 9/19/27 Charlotte Babe Stapp 100 miles 119.91

LAST NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP/INDY-STYLE RACE IN THE CAROLINAS: 7/4/56 Darlington Pat O'Connor 200 miles 124.883

ITEMS OF INTEREST: --This is the first race for national championship/Indy-style cars in Charlotte since Babe Stapp won a 100-miler on a board track here on Sept. 19, 1927 in a Miller. --This is the first national championship/Indy-style race in the Carolinas since Pat O'Connor won a 200-miler in a Templeton/Offenhauser on July 4, 1956 in the fourth race of the season. --The Inaugural VisionAire 500 will be the first IRL event televised by CBS Sports. With the exception of Texas last month, which was aired on a tape-delayed basis by ESPN2, ABC Sports has televised the other IRL races to date. --At the last IRL race at Pikes Peak, Davey Hamilton became the first IRL driver to run more than 2,500 miles in his career. Hamilton now has logged 2,535 IRL racing miles to 2,406.5 for second-place Buzz Calkins. --Five drivers have started all 10 IRL races to date -- Buzz Calkins, Roberto Guerrero, Davey Hamilton, Arie Luyendyk and Tony Stewart. In all 56 drivers have started at least one IRL race. --Tony Stewart has led nine of the 10 IRL races to date. --Tony Stewart has led 830 of the 1,957 IRL racing laps to date. Arie Luyendyk is second with 240. --At Pikes Peak, Tony Stewart became the first IRL driver to lead 1,000 career racing miles. Stewart now has 1,042 to 354 for second-place Arie Luyendyk. --Tony Stewart has started on the pole three times and the front row six times in the 10 IRL races to date. --Danny "Chocolate" Myers, the Winston Cup gasman for the #3 Goodwrench Chevrolet and seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, will become the fueler for the #17 GM Brasil/Chitwood Motorsports entry of rookie Affonso Giaffone for the VisionAire 500. --Davey Hamilton has finished in the top seven in all five 1997 IRL races to date, including thirds at Phoenix, Texas and Pikes Peak. Hamilton has an average finish of 7.90 in 10 career IRL starts, best among the drivers who have started all 10 races. --Davey Hamilton has completed 1,337 of a possible 1,357 laps in the 1996-97 IRL season. --Arie Luyendyk has the most career IRL wins with three ('96 at Phoenix, '97 at Indianapolis and Texas). --Tony Stewart has three PPG poles in the 1996-97 IRL season, followed by Arie Luyendyk with two and Scott Sharp and Richie Hearn with one each. --The 1996-97 IRL season has been lucrative to race winners. Through seven races, the winner's average winnings are $351,607. Even without the $1,568,150 paid to winner Arie Luyendyk at Indianapolis, the average winner's share is still an impressive $148,850 for the other events. --Last-place finishes haven't been bad monetarily, either. The average payout to the last-place driver in each event is $46,899. Without the Indianapolis 500, the average is still $30,550.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Tony Stewart , Robby Gordon , Buzz Calkins , Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Jeff Ward , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Jim Guthrie , Scott Goodyear , Roberto Guerrero , Kenny Brack , Richie Hearn , Calvin Fish , Tyce Carlson , Derek Daly , Fermin Velez , Johnny Unser , John Paul , Vincenzo Sospiri , Jack Miller