OLDSMOBILE MOTORSPORT REPORT: Sunday, August 1, 1999 GREG RAY TAMES THE "MONSTER MILE" DOVER, Del. - Greg Ray mastered the "Monster Mile" today, scoring his second win of the season in Team Menard's Glidden Oldsmobile Dallara in...
OLDSMOBILE MOTORSPORT REPORT: Sunday, August 1, 1999 GREG RAY TAMES THE "MONSTER MILE"
DOVER, Del. - Greg Ray mastered the "Monster Mile" today, scoring his second win of the season in Team Menard's Glidden Oldsmobile Dallara in the MBNA Mid-Atlantic 200. Ray reprised his winning performance last June on the Pikes Peak one-mile oval by beating Buddy Lazier to the finish line by .731 seconds on Dover Downs International Speedway's high-banked concrete speed bowl. Ray led an Oldsmobile sweep of the top 20 finishing positions.
Ray, a 32-year-old racer from Plano, Texas, started third, and had resigned himself to a second-place finish until he passed Mark Dismore on a late-race restart. "It was really pretty simple," Ray recalled. "On the restart they all got bottled up on the high side. I came off Turn 2 low and passed about seven or eight cars. My engineer said that was the move of the race.
"Dismore was the guy to beat," he declared. "Getting around him was the pass for the race."
Dismore and his Kelley Racing teammate Scott Sharp had qualified their Oldsmobile Dallaras on the front row and dominated the first half of the 200-lap marathon. Sharp led the first 34 laps but lost a tire and encountered the wall. Dismore then took charge for the next 87 circuits. But Dismore and Stephen Gregoire, running third and second respectively, tangled on lap 189 and were out of contention.
Buddy Lazier benefited from their misfortune, posting a runner-up finish at Dover for the second straight year in Hemelgarn Racing's Oldsmobile Dallara.
"It was grueling, it was tough," said Lazier, who worked his way from 17th to second place on a stifling 90-degree afternoon. "I'm thrilled to be second. It's still the first loser, but we'll try harder next year.
"My engine was amazing," Lazier added. "My last laps were 181 mph, which is way quicker than we qualified. My engine was as good at the end as it was at the beginning."
Kenny Brack's third-place finish in Dover duplicated his results in the preceding event in Atlanta. "It was a good run, but we didn't quite have what it took," explained the reigning IRL and Indy 500 champion. "We had a little luck, too. Guys who were faster fell to the wayside, and we made no mistakes today. The engine ran good, but my top gear ratio was a hair short and I hit the rev limiter early when I was running in the draft."
Billy Boat, Brack's teammate at A.J. Foyt Enterprises, finished fourth in his Harrah's Oldsmobile Dallara. Sam Schmidt was fifth in Treadway Racing's Sprint PCS G-Force.
Ray's victory extended Oldsmobile's IRL winning streak to 26 straight races. Twenty-three of the 22 starters used IRL Aurora V8 engines. All 13 car running at the finish relied Oldsmobile power, and Oldsmobile engines led all 200 laps. The only Infiniti in the field started 19th and finished 21st. The "Monster Mile" lived up to its fearsome reputation, devouring six cars in accidents - but without any driver injuries.
Ray jumped from fifth to second in the championship standings, just 2 points behind leader Scott Goodyear. Brack is third in the race for the Pep Boys Million, 12 points behind Ray.
"There are ten guys who can win this championship," Ray noted. "All these guys are pretty friendly, but they're going to get very serious about that $1 million payoff."
After a four-week break, the chase for the IRL title will resume at Pikes Pike International Raceway in Fountain, Colo., on Sunday, August 29.
RACE SUMMARY: Track: Dover Downs Intl. Speedway, 1.0-mile oval, Dover, Del. Winner: Greg Ray, Team Menard Glidden Oldsmobile Dallara Margin of Victory: .731seconds Average Speed: 114.258 mph
Top Five Finishers: Pos./Driver/Engine Laps 1. Greg Ray/Oldsmobile 200 2. Buddy Lazier/Oldsmobile 200 3. Kenny Brack/Oldsmobile 200 4. Billy Boat/Oldsmobile 200 5. Sam Schmidt/Oldsmobile 200
Pole: Mark Dismore/Oldsmobile, 182.639 mph Fastest Lap: Mark Dismore/Oldsmobile, 182.325 mph
Manufacturer Results: Aurora Infiniti Laps Led 200 0 Starters 22 1 Running at Finish 13 0 Winning Oldsmobile Engine Builder: Team Menard
POINT STANDINGS: (After 7 of 10 events) Driver/Engine Wins Points 1. Scott Goodyear/Olds 2 193 2. Greg Ray/Olds 2 191 3. Kenny Brack/Olds 1 179 4. Jeff Ward/Oldsmobile 0 170 5. Scott Sharp/Olds 1 169
Manufacturer Wins Points 1. Oldsmobile 7 77 2. Nissan 0 49