SHARP TAKES POINTS LEAD AFTER WINNING PEP BOYS 400K DOVER, Del., July 19, 1998 - Scott Sharp took the Pep Boys Indy Racing League points lead for the first time this season after holding off Buddy Lazier to win the inaugural Pep Boys...
SHARP TAKES POINTS LEAD AFTER WINNING PEP BOYS 400K
DOVER, Del., July 19, 1998 - Scott Sharp took the Pep Boys Indy Racing League points lead for the first time this season after holding off Buddy Lazier to win the inaugural Pep Boys 400K on Sunday at Dover Downs International Speedway. Sharp, from E. Norwalk, Conn., led 145 of 248 laps on the 1-mile, high banked concrete oval in the Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. His average speed was 99.318 mph in a race slowed by seven caution flags for 99 laps. 1996 IRL co-champion Sharp edged 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion Lazier by .689 of a second, as the hard-charging Lazier locked up his brakes at the finish line to avoid hitting the back of Sharp's car. It was the third career IRL victory for Sharp and his second this season, as he also won the Dura-Lube 200 in March at Phoenix.
Sharp earned $128,550. Marco Greco finished a career-best third and Davey Hamilton fourth.
"I'm proud to be the winner," Sharp said. "I figured out it was the 'Monster Mile' after about 40 laps. I knew it was going to be a race of attrition. I had a few close calls, but I was fortunate to stay away from the mess.
"The crew did a great job. We weren't the quickest in practice, and we weren't the quickest out there today. I think Tony (Stewart) had a quicker car."
But Sharp took a 202-194 lead over Stewart in the points after defending league champion Stewart finished eighth, 28 laps down in the Glidden-Menards Special G Force/Aurora/Firestone. Stewart led Sharp in the points, 167-150, entering this event. Pole sitter Stewart led three times for 85 laps, but he spent many laps in the pits late in the race after his car's rear end developed a problem on Lap 170. He also had to make three quick pit stops early in the race so the crew could tape his dashboard, which fell into his lap, back to the front of the cockpit.
"It was just a tough race for everybody," Stewart said. "They (crew) worked their butt off to get us back into this race. That's what it takes to win championships."
Sharp, who started fourth, took the lead for good on Lap 203 with a low pass of Lazier in Turn 1. After the final restart on Lap 217, he extended his lead to 4.046 seconds over Lazier on Lap 233. But Lazier sliced through traffic over the last 15 laps in the Hemelgarn Racing-Delta Faucet-Coors Light Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear to pull to within less than a lap at the finish.
The next Pep Boys IRL event is the VisionAire 500 on July 25 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. …DDIS98-14… Media Contacts: Mai Lindstrom,