Dover, DE (July 19, 1998) - Scott Sharp won his second Pep Boys Indy Racing League event of the season this afternoon at Dover Downs International Speedway. Sharp won earlier this season in the Dura-Lube 200 at the Phoenix International Raceway.
Dover, DE (July 19, 1998) - Scott Sharp won his second Pep Boys Indy Racing League event of the season this afternoon at Dover Downs International Speedway. Sharp won earlier this season in the Dura-Lube 200 at the Phoenix International Raceway. Sharp led 145 of the 248 laps today, taking the lead for good on lap 203.
"I wasn't sure going into today's race how it would go. We just tried to stay out of trouble today, and a few times it was really close," said Sharp "The guys got us through some difficult circumstances. I've just got to thank the guys. A couple of times it got a little hairy out there for me, but I just didn't want to take any chances. We had a little bit left in the car at the end in case anybody got too close."
The race was stopped eight times with 87 laps run under yellow conditions. Six of the caution periods were for accidents.
After a trouble free start, the field raced for 22 laps before the Monster Mile began to take its toll. Jeff Ward, driving the ISM Racing entry, tagged the outside wall in turn four causing heavy damage to the right side of his car.
"Something in the front right suspension snapped, and I went straight into the wall," Ward said. "It's one of those things that happens so quick there's not much you can do. The car held up well, though. It was a hard hit, and I'm fine."
Both Scott Goodyear and Jack Miller spun while trying to avoid debris and contact with Ward's car as it slid down the banking. Ward and Miller were finished for the day while Goodyear reported to the pits for repairs. Goodyear rejoined the race and finished sixth.
In four separate incidents, single car accidents knocked Sam Schmidt, Robby Unser, Steve Knapp and Arie Luyendyk out of the race. Steve Knapp was airlifted to Kent General Hospital with evidence of a slight concussion. Robby Unser was also taken to Kent General for x-rays of his foot and ankle. Schmidt and Luyendyk were uninjured.
Eddie Cheever and Greg Ray were involved in an incident as the pair raced off turn two. Neither driver was injured but both cars suffered extensive damage.
"There was a pile of slow cars ahead of us, and I went past Greg and was going straight on the track when I got hit," Cheever said. "I don't know what happened to him."
Greg Ray's view, from the cockpit of the Conseco car, was a bit different. "I had a run on Davey (Hamilton) on the inside, which is really the only place you can pass here safely when you're all running the same speed. I got around him and into a little traffic. Eddie obviously got a little draft on me and was going around the high side. I was already committed. I had my foot flat on the floor. I went down as low as I could go. I remember when he hit me, he still had a lot of room on the outside. He just didn't give me any room."
The Pep Boys Indy Racing League heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for its next race on Saturday night, July 25th. Cars are due on track for practice in four days. Leo Mehl, Executive Director of the IRL, was pleased with survival of the basic cars, he acknowledged that the teams "will be working late" to prepare for the next race.