IRL: Las Vegas Pagan Pennzoil Review

Subject: Pennzoil IRL Report - Las Vegas Pennzoil Race Report Indy Racing League Las Vegas 500 Las Vegas Motor Speedway October 11, 1997 For More Information Contact: Al Larsen Cohn & Wolfe ...

Subject: Pennzoil IRL Report - Las Vegas

Pennzoil Race Report Indy Racing League Las Vegas 500 Las Vegas Motor Speedway October 11, 1997 For More Information Contact: Al Larsen Cohn & Wolfe Guerrero Walks Away from Breath-Taking Flip The late race goals for Pennzoil Pagan Racing took a drastic turn during the final laps of the Las Vegas 500k Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In one spectacular moment, the team went from thinking about its second straight top 10 finish, to hoping for the well-being of its driver, Roberto Guerrero. Guerrero ended his 1996-97 Indy Racing League (IRL) campaign with a terrifying flip and roll down the back straightaway of the 1.5 mile oval. But seconds after the car came to rest, Guerrero put the team at ease by climbing from his 1997 Dallara to stand and examine what was left of his ride. Guerrero was taken to the infield care center for an evaluation by medical personnel, which revealed only a bruised right ankle and knee. Thirty minutes after arriving, the 38-year old Guerrero walked out of the hospital with wife Katie, and returned to the transporter to meet the media, fans and his crew. "They tell me the accident was pretty spectacular, but it actually wasn't too bad because I didn't really hit anything solid. I just kind of landed backwards and slid, so it wasn't so bad," Guerrero said. "It was interesting when we first touched. I felt the nose come up and for a moment I thought it was just going to come back down. But, the next thing I knew, I was looking at the sky. That's when it got interesting." The race had a promising start for Guerrero, who quickly moved from 18th to eighth and looked like a contender in the early stages of the season finale. But 30 laps into the 208-lap event, Guerrero made a green flag pit stop out of sequence after suspecting a tire problem. Later, the California-veteran received a drive-through penalty for a pit stop violation which left him two laps down with half of the race remaining. In the final 100 laps, Guerrero mounted a charge, earning one of his two laps back. The combination of speed, strategy and good pit work vaulted Guerrero into ninth, with his sights set on the eighth place car of Marco Greco. But then came one of the wildest rides of Guerrero's career. At the moment he made his move on Greco exiting turn two, Greco ran out of fuel, leaving his car without power and directly in front of Guerrero's bright yellow Pennzoil machine. As the two cars touched wheels, Guerrero was launched skyward. The car landed upside down and skidded on its roll bar toward the infield grass. As it slid from asphalt to turf, it flipped and spun airborne again, throwing pieces of the car in every direction. It eventually came to a stop upside down halfway down the back straightaway. Following the cleanup, Eliseo Salazar went on to record his first IRL win, while Tony wrapped up his first IRL series championship. Guerrero settled for a 14th place finish in the race and a seventh in the final series standings. ###

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Eliseo Salazar , Roberto Guerrero