For Immediate Release PPG 'POLE BOX' GIVES UNIQUE STATUS TO LONG TRADITION INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, March 17, 1997 -- As qualifying wound down at the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Presented by Aurora in January, Tony Stewart waited as drivers...
For Immediate Release
PPG 'POLE BOX' GIVES UNIQUE STATUS TO LONG TRADITION
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, March 17, 1997 -- As qualifying wound down at the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Presented by Aurora in January, Tony Stewart waited as drivers challenged his speed of 166.013 miles an hour, tops on the list for the PPG Pole Award. He waited in the PPG Pole Box on pit road, a new procedure unveiled at Walt Disney World by the Indy Racing League designed to provide a location of honor for the award and allow the drama of qualifying to unfold in front of race fans.
The last shot at Stewart was taken by Buzz Calkins, the defending race winner and the driver who outdueled Stewart for victory in the inaugural Indy 200 in 1996. Calkins came up just short at 164.046 and Stewart claimed the honor and a healthy check. The PPG Pole Award provides $10,000 for the pole at each IRL event and a $10,000 bonus for a driver who wins back-to-back poles. The True Value Pole Position Chief Mechanic Award offers $10,000 to the pole-winning chief mechanic. The awards are presented immediately after qualifying.
As the pole changes hands throughout qualifying, the new "top gun" and car go to the PPG Pole Box after United States Auto Club technical inspection.
"It's designed for the media to have access to the polesitter throughout qualifying and to highlight what's happening to the race fans in the stands," said Kurt Hunt, Indianapolis Motor Speedway director, marketing services, who coordinates the program.
The next time that the procedure will be used will be Saturday, March 22 during qualifying for the Indy Racing League Phoenix 200, the fourth race of the 1996-97 IRL season. IRL qualifying will be broadcast live on Speedvision from 2:15 - 3:45 p.m. (EST).