IRL: End of year awards on the line at Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2000 - While the main focus during the Excite 500 will be on the battle for the Northern Light Cup, there will be a showdown for many other awards in the final event of the 2000 Indy Racing Northern Light...

FORT WORTH, Texas, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2000 - While the main focus during the Excite 500 will be on the battle for the Northern Light Cup, there will be a showdown for many other awards in the final event of the 2000 Indy Racing Northern Light Series season.

Points leader Buddy Lazier, second-place Scott Goodyear and third-place Eddie Cheever Jr. are the only drivers eligible for the Northern Light Cup awarded to the season champion, which includes a $1-million bonus from series sponsor Northern Light.

Lazier must finish 13th or better to clinch the title, as he has a 38-point lead over Goodyear and 40-point lead over Cheever.

Five rookies are mathematically eligible for the RaceSearch.com Rookie of the Year Award and a $50,000 bonus. It's a tight race, as Airton Dare leads the standings with 124 points, while Jeret Schroeder is right behind in second with 122.

Sam Hornish Jr. is third with 107 points, while Sarah Fisher is fourth at 105. Shigeaki Hattori rounds out the rookies eligible for the award with 83 points.

Another $50,000 bonus is up for grabs in the WorldCom "Long Distance" year-end award competition. The driver who has improved their starting position the most in the most number of races this season will earn the big bonus.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. has the inside track on the WorldCom bonus, as he won the "Long Distance" Award this season twice, during his victory in the Vegas Indy 300 in April at Las Vegas and the Midas 500 Classic in July at Atlanta.

Robbie Buhl, Buddy Lazier, Jaques Lazier, Billy Boat, Hattori and Stephan Gregoire each have won the award once. If one of these drivers ties Unser with two awards, the driver with the higher position in the final point standings will earn the $50,000 bonus.

Mechanical excellence will be rewarded this weekend, too, as the Pennzoil Chief Mechanic of the Year will earn a $25,000 bonus. The chief mechanic for the Northern Light Cup winner will earn the award. Eligible mechanics are Dennis LaCava (B. Lazier), Kevin Blanch (Goodyear) and Owen Snyder III (Cheever).

One year-end award was decided before this event. Greg Ray secured the MBNA Pole Award and a bonus of $30,000 for winning four MBNA Poles this season. No other driver has more than one pole.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Robbie Buhl , Shigeaki Hattori , Buddy Lazier , Billy Boat , Airton Daré , Scott Goodyear , Jeret Schroeder , Jaques Lazier  , Sam Hornish Jr.