IRL: Excite 500 at Texas Motor Speedway may be numbers game

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (Oct. 2, 2000) - Who is going to win the Excite 500 Indy Racing Northern Light Series race on October 15 at Texas Motor Speedway? And, who is going to claim the Indy Racing championship? The public relations gurus have spent...

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (Oct. 2, 2000) - Who is going to win the Excite 500 Indy Racing Northern Light Series race on October 15 at Texas Motor Speedway? And, who is going to claim the Indy Racing championship? The public relations gurus have spent endless hours compiling statistical data on how the drivers in the running compare to each other throughout the season and on the one-and-a-half mile quad-oval at Texas Motor Speedway. Armed with that information, what do a couple of so-called "experts" have to say about the numbers leading into the final race of the season?

Home town favorite Greg Ray is also the favorite of Las Vegas oddsmaker Micah Roberts.

"The way he has been able to dominate when he is right makes him the clear-cut favorite (3 to 1). There is that element of what he can do when he drives like he did in Atlanta. I believe he will win or else one of the two Kelley Racing drivers, Scott Sharp (8 to 1) or Mark Dismore (4 to 1)." Dismore is the defending race champion and Sharp won in Texas in June in the closest race in Indy car history. Las Vegas has posted Ray, Dismore, and Eliseo Salazar (5 to 1) of A.J. Foyt Racing as the top three favorites. Roberts points out Al Unser, Jr. (8 to 1) and Sarah Fisher (30 to 1) are among the most active entries among those testing the wagering waters. So, what about the season championship? Dallas Cowboys Radio Network official statistician Bob Thomas says the numbers point to the #91 car of Buddy Lazier taking home the trophy. In pouring over the numbers, Thomas noted that Lazier may get a good push from Scott Goodyear for the season title despite Lazier's big lead.

The numbers show 56.3% of Goodyear's career top five finishes (or as Thomas says, "touchdowns") were at 1.5-mile ovals, and 25% of his top five finishes have been at Texas Motor Speedway. Lazier is yet to have a top five finish in Texas but does have 26.7% of his top five finishes at 1.5-mile ovals. However, Thomas projects Lazier will come out on top in the three-way competition of Lazier, Goodyear, and Cheever based on the driving experience at Texas Motor Speedway. Lazier has logged 1,168 career laps in Texas, compared to Goodyear's 1027 and 842 for Cheever.

"Buddy Lazier just needs to be steady in the race to keep his position on top, or in football lingo, he needs just a few field goals," Thomas pointed out. "You can apologize to Eddie Cheever for me. I don't see much hope for him from a statistical standpoint-but that's why they play the game!"

So, the best way to know for sure who is going to win is to be at Texas Motor Speedway on race day, because on any given Sunday, anything can happen.

Tickets for the Indy Racing Northern Light Series Excite 500, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly 400, and the Pennzoil World of Outlaws O'Reilly Texas Showdown are on sale now by calling the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500 and online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Mark Dismore , Scott Goodyear , A.J. Foyt , Al Unser