IRL: Charlotte Tony Stewart race preview

NIGHT IS RIGHT AS STEWART WINS ANOTHER POLE UNDER LIGHTS CONCORD, N.C., July 23, 1998 - Tony Stewart won the PPG Pole for the VisionAire 500 on Thursday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a track-record speed of 220.498 mph, his fourth pole...

NIGHT IS RIGHT AS STEWART WINS ANOTHER POLE UNDER LIGHTS

CONCORD, N.C., July 23, 1998 - Tony Stewart won the PPG Pole for the VisionAire 500 on Thursday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a track-record speed of 220.498 mph, his fourth pole in five career Pep Boys Indy Racing League night races.

Stewart won the pole for the second consecutive race, both times from the first spot in the qualifying order. It was his fourth PPG pole of the season and ninth of his IRL career. He covered the 1.5-mile tri-oval in 24.490 seconds on his fastest lap in the Glidden-Menards Special Dallara/Aurora/Firestone.

"It doesn't matter where you go out in qualifying," Stewart said. "We run as hard as we can. Downforce is what is important. It doesn't matter if it's 100 degrees or 70 degrees. Sometimes you may want to go early because the air may get heavier and denser, and that can affect the motor."

The VisionAire 500, a 312-mile event, starts at 9 p.m. (EDT) Saturday.

Stewart broke the track record of 217.164 that he set while winning the pole for this event last year. The top six qualifiers all were faster than the track record. Stewart earned three points in the Pep Boys IRL standings for winning the pole, as he entered this event eight points behind leader Scott Sharp.

"I'm feeling confident right now," Stewart said. "We are up to the challenge. The team can get it done. Every point you get is important."

Greg Ray earned the No. 2 spot in the Conseco-A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear at 219.995. His teammate, Kenny Brack, was third at 219.521 in the A.J. Foyt-Power Team Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Points leader Sharp was sixth at 217.926 in the Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear.

Buddy Lazier, who won the inaugural VisionAire 500 last year, qualified 14th at 214.320 in the Hemelgarn Racing-Delta Faucet-Coors Light Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear.

Former USAC midget national champion Stevie Reeves qualified 20th at 209.994 in his Pep Boys IRL debut in the Pagan Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear.

Jimmy Kite returned to the Pep Boys IRL for the first time since the Indianapolis 500, now driving the SRS-Royal Purple-Menards Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. He didn't make a qualifying attempt and will start 23rd in the 24-car field. He only took a handful of practice laps as the SRS team worked to adjust the driver controls to fit his 5-foot-4 inch frame.

Andy Michner qualified 16th at 212.281 in his debut as substitute driver for the injured Eliseo Salazar in the Reebok R&S MK V Riley & Scott/Aurora/Goodyear.

VISIONAIRE 500 NOTEBOOK

Event schedule: The second annual VisionAire 500 is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. (EDT) July 25. Pep Boys IRL practice sessions will start at 2:15 and 7:30 p.m. July 24. *** Broadcast schedule: The VisionAire 500 will be televised live on The Nashville Network at 9 p.m. (EDT) July 25.

The IMS Radio Network will broadcast the race live at 9 p.m. (EDT) July 25, with a prerace show starting at 8:30 p.m. *** VisionAire 500 tickets: Tickets for the VisionAire500 are available by calling Charlotte Motor Speedway at (704) 455-3200.

Motorsport News International's Internet Access in Charlotte Provided by **** WebNet Charlotte **** * Phone 1-888-WEB-NET-8 * 313-295-6227 * * http://www.wnol.net * info@wnol.net *

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Greg Ray , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Jimmy Kite , Kenny Brack , Stevie Reeves , A.J. Foyt