WHAT: Fourth Annual VEGAS.COM 500 Ninth of 10 events in 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League season WHERE: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas 1.5-mile paved tri-oval superspeedway WHEN: 11:30 a.m. (PDT) Sunday, Sept. 26, 1999 DISTANCE: 312 ...
WHAT: Fourth Annual VEGAS.COM 500 Ninth of 10 events in 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League season
WHERE: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas 1.5-mile paved tri-oval superspeedway
WHEN: 11:30 a.m. (PDT) Sunday, Sept. 26, 1999
DISTANCE: 312 miles/208 laps
POSTED AWARDS: More than $1 million
CARS: Dallara and G Force chassis; Oldsmobile Aurora and Nissan Infiniti engines; Firestone and Goodyear tires
1998 RACE WINNER: Arie Luyendyk
1998 PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE CHAMPION: Kenny Brack
1999 POINTS LEADER: Greg Ray
ESPN2 (live), 2:30 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 26 Announcers: Bob Jenkins, Arie Luyendyk Pit reporters: Jack Arute, Vince Welch
SpeedVision (live), 3 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 25
Indy Racing Radio Network (live), 2:30 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 26. Pre-race show starts at 2 p.m. Area affiliate is KRLV-AM 1340, Las Vegas. Host: Mike King Analyst: Larry Rice Pit reporters: Mark Jaynes, Doug Rice Backstretch reporter: Jerry Baker
Indy Racing Radio Network (taped), 5-5:30 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 25. Area affiliate is KRLV-AM 1340, Las Vegas. Host: Mike King Analyst: Larry Rice Pit reporters: Mark Jaynes, Doug Rice Backstretch reporter: Jerry Baker
SCHEDULE (all times local):
(Friday, Sept. 24)
7 a.m.: Pep Boys Indy Racing League garage opens 10:15-11:45 a.m.: Practice (Two groups) 1:30-3 p.m.: Practice (Two groups)
(Saturday, Sept. 25)
7 a.m.: Pep Boys Indy Racing League garage opens 9-10:30 a.m.: Practice (Two groups) Noon-1:30 p.m.: PPG Pole qualifications 3:45-4:15 p.m.: Final practice
(Sunday, Sept. 26)
7 a.m.: Pep Boys Indy Racing League garage opens 10:30 a.m.: Cars to grid 11:30 a.m.: Vegas.com 500 (312 miles/208 laps)
(Qualifying, new formula)
Billy Boat, 25.167 seconds, 214.567 mph, Oct. 10, 1998 (Race, new formula)
Eliseo Salazar, 2 hour, 11 minutes, 7.915 seconds, Oct. 11, 1997 Average speed: 142.757 mph
1.5-mile paved oval superspeedway Frontstraight: 2,657 feet Backstraight: 2,187 feet Turns: 1,610 feet Banking: 12 degrees in turns, 3 degrees in backstraight, 9 degrees in frontstretch
Las Vegas Motor Speedway rests eight miles north of downtown Las Vegas, between I-15 and Nellis Air Force base.
The speedway was constructed in the lavish, grand tradition of the entertainment and gambling mecca. The 1.5-mile tri-oval has 102,000 theater-style seats and matching first-class amenities like a food court, a wide variety of concession stands and abundant restrooms. There are 102 luxury suites and 72 pit row suites. Access to the facility is a six-lane off-ramp from I-15, with parking for 65,000 cars.
The Las Vegas track also has a 2.5-mile FIA-approved road course and another 1.3-mile road course inside the oval. The entire complex includes 2.5-million square feet of industrial space, a drag racing facility and a 1/2-mile clay oval for top-level short-track racing.
LVMS is built adjacent to the existing Las Vegas Raceway, which has a 3/4-mile oval, a 2-mile road course, a 3/4-mile go-kart track, an existing NHRA regional drag strip, and motorcross and ATV facilities.
This is the fourth consecutive year the Pep Boys Indy Racing League has competed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The league staged the track's inaugural race on Sept. 15, 1996, won by Richie Hearn. Arie Luyendyk won the pole in 1996. Eliseo Salazar won this event in 1997. Billy Boat won the pole in both 1997 and 1998. Arie Luyendyk won the Las Vegas 500 in 1998, his last career victory before retiring after the 1999 Indianapolis 500.
Three Indianapolis 500 winners are entered in this event: 1999 champion Kenny Brack, 1998 champion Eddie Cheever Jr. and 1996 champion Buddy Lazier.
Two drivers in this race have a strong Vegas connection. Davey Hamilton, fifth in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League point standings, lives in Las Vegas. Hamilton finished second in the most-recent Indy Racing event at Pikes Peak International Raceway and was the series runner-up in both 1997 and 1998. Sam Schmidt, who finished second at this event last year, also lives in Las Vegas.
1998 Pep Boys Indy Racing League champion Kenny Brack or Scott Sharp will become the all-time victory leader in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League if either driver wins the Vegas.com 500. Brack and Sharp are tied with the retired Arie Luyendyk with four career victories. Brack's most recent win was the Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1999. Sharp's most recent win was the Kobalt Mechanics Tools 500 presented by MCI WorldCom in Atlanta on July 17, 1999.
If Greg Ray wins the Vegas.com 500, he will tie Kenny Brack for most consecutive victories at three and set a league record with four wins in one season. Ray became the third driver in league history to win two consecutive races. Arie Luyendyk achieved the feat in 1997, and 1999 Indianapolis 500 champion Brack is the only driver in Indy Racing history to win three consecutive events. Brack won at Charlotte, Pikes Peak and Atlanta on the way to his 1998 Pep Boys Indy Racing League title.
Greg Ray enters this event as the series points leader. Ray took the points lead for the first time from Scott Goodyear after winning the Colorado Indy 200 on Aug. 29 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Ray has a 44-point advantage on Goodyear, 246-202, with two races remaining in the 1999 season. 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League champion Kenny Brack remains in third only three points behind Goodyear. Buddy Lazier jumped from ninth to fourth in the standings, with 185 points, after a fourth place finish in Colorado. Hamilton also made a significant move in the points, from a tie for 10th to fifth, after a second-place finish at PPIR. Ray will win the Pep Boys Million as season champion if he finishes third or better in each of the last two events of the season. Thirteen drivers are still mathematically eligible to win the season championship.
Greg Ray needs a lead of 56 points or greater after this event to clinch the Pep Boys Million as season champion. He leads second-place Scott Goodyear by 44 points entering this event.
Greg Ray and Sam Schmidt both have led at least one lap in the last six Pep Boys Indy Racing League events. Ray leads all drivers in total laps led this season at 408.
Greg Ray broke the league record for consecutive top-five starts, previously held by 1996-97 Pep Boys Indy Racing League champion Tony Stewart, at the MBNA Mid-Atlantic 200 on Aug. 1 at Dover, Del. Ray added one more after claiming the PPG Pole at Pikes Peak International Raceway in August. Ray's record nine consecutive top-five starts began in 1998 at Las Vegas where he started fourth. Of the nine top-five starting positions, Ray has earned three poles, three second-, one third- and two fourth-place starting positions.
Four drivers are in a fierce battle for Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year honors. Scott Harrington leads the standings with 121 points, with Robby McGehee second at 110, John Hollansworth Jr. third at 110 and Jaques Lazier fourth at 92.
All engines in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League are required to operate at a maximum of 10,000 rpm. Leo Mehl, executive director of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League, made this announcement at a press conference during the Indianapolis 500. The rule was instituted for the Longhorn 500 presented by MCI WorldCom on June 12 at Texas Motor Speedway and continues throughout the remainder of the 1999 season. This follows the reduction in rpm from 10,500 in 1998 to 10,300 at the beginning of 1999. The required reduction in rpm, controlled by a "rev limiter," will result in reduced speeds produced by the Indy Racing cars without jeopardizing handling. Engine revs are controlled electronically by Pep Boys Indy Racing League technical officials. Teams are not capable of manipulating the "rev limiters." One official can program an engine's electronic control unit in approximately five minutes.
The Suspension & Wheel Management System (SWEMS) is required on every car competing in the Vegas.com 500. The system was used for the first time during the 83rd Indianapolis 500. Pep Boys Indy Racing League officials, along with car constructors Dallara, G Force and Riley & Scott, have worked vigorously to minimize the possibilities of wheel assemblies becoming detached during high-speed accidents. The SWEMS principle utilizes multiple restraints attached at multiple points to a car's chassis and suspension. The restraints are made of FIA-approved Zylon.
STATISTICS: 1999 Pep Boys IRL point standings 1. Greg Ray 246 2. Scott Goodyear 202 3. Kenny Brack 199 4. Buddy Lazier 185 5. Davey Hamilton 180 6. Robby Unser 179 7. Jeff Ward 177 Scott Sharp 177 Eddie Cheever Jr. 177 10. Mark Dismore 176 11. Billy Boat 174 12. Sam Schmidt 172 13. Buzz Calkins 147 14. Stephan Gregoire 123 15. Scott Harrington 121
1999 MBNA laps led leaders 1. Greg Ray 408 2. Scott Goodyear 265 3. Scott Sharp 207 4. Sam Schmidt 173 5. Mark Dismore 120
1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League winners 1. Greg Ray 3 2. Scott Goodyear 2 3. Eddie Cheever Jr. 1 Kenny Brack 1 Scott Sharp 1
1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League money leaders 1. Kenny Brack $1,782,490 2. Jeff Ward $907,250 3. Greg Ray $861,750 4. Billy Boat $770,500 5. Scott Goodyear $725,850 6. Eddie Cheever Jr. $663,900 7. Buddy Lazier $662,250 8. Scott Sharp $630,900 9. Mark Dismore $602,950 10. Sam Schmidt $572,500
1999 PPG Poles 1. Greg Ray 3 2. Mark Dismore 2 3. Scott Sharp 1 Arie Luyendyk 1 Billy Boat 1
1999 wins by chassis 1. Dallara 6 2. G Force 2
1999 wins by engine 1. Aurora 8
1999 wins by tire 1. Goodyear 5 2. Firestone 3