IRL: Charlotte Treadway notes

Treadway Takes Home Solid Fourth Place Finish in Charlotte Charlotte, NC: It was beginning to look like Dover all over again. The tough banking and rough surface of the Charlotte Motor Speedway became a battleground for the teams and drivers...

Treadway Takes Home Solid Fourth Place Finish in Charlotte

Charlotte, NC: It was beginning to look like Dover all over again. The tough banking and rough surface of the Charlotte Motor Speedway became a battleground for the teams and drivers of the Indy Racing League. The one and a half mile oval claimed 11 "victims" as cars dropped out while battling for the top position in the VisionAire 500K.

The cast and crew of the #5 Sprint PCS/RadioShack/QUALCOMM car began the race with mixed emotion. The car had not been handling well all weekend, and star driver Arie Luyendyk was concerned about the vehicle's racing ability. To add fuel to the fire, a quick downpour sent everyone scrambling for cover until the track was dry and the safety officials gave the "go ahead."

Approximately one hour after the official start time, the green flag dropped and Treadway Racing joined the battle for the lead. The initial plan was to remain conservative and see how the car was going to perform. Quickly, the yellow flags began to drop, and the attrition rate increased. The Treadway team performed all four pit stops under yellow and made several adjustments to the wings and the weight jacker in an attempt to settle the car in.

With cars rapidly dropping out, the evening improved for Luyendyk. As the 112 lap mark was reached, the #5 car had achieved seventh position. Slowly, the team's position improved and Luyendyk settled into fifth. Unfortunately, as things began to look up, the condition of the car took a turn for the worse. With approximately 50 laps to go, there was a difficulty with the gearbox, and Luyendyk was stuck in fifth gear. While not a problem in traffic-it would prove tricky during the crew's last pit stop and on restarts.

On lap 147, the crew took a chance and brought the car in for a quick splash of fuel. Their luck held and the crew was able to push the #5 car back out onto the track to continue the rest of the race. Still stuck in fifth gear, the car was slow on the restarts, but held up to bring home a solid fourth place finish--which places the team tenth in the Series Championship Point Standings.

Quote from Arie Luyendyk: "Well, under the circumstances, fourth place is a great place to finish. The car wasn't handling well all weekend-but thanks to its reliability, we held out to finish relatively well. We had trouble with the bumps through three and four and had to compensate for it a lot. I certainly wouldn't call it my best race, but fourth is a good place to be and it helps us in the points!"

The next race on the IRL schedule is event number eight at the Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado Springs on August 16, 1998.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Arie Luyendyk