LUYENDYK WINS LAS VEGAS 500K; BRACK CLAIMS SEASON TITLE LAS VEGAS, Oct. 11, 1998 - Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk scored his first Pep Boys Indy Racing League victory of the 1998 season Sunday in the Las Vegas 500K, while...
LUYENDYK WINS LAS VEGAS 500K; BRACK CLAIMS SEASON TITLE
LAS VEGAS, Oct. 11, 1998 - Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk scored his first Pep Boys Indy Racing League victory of the 1998 season Sunday in the Las Vegas 500K, while Kenny Brack clinched the series championship by finishing 10th and earned the Pep Boys Million bonus. Luyendyk finished the 208-lap race 0.926 of a second ahead of second-place Sam Schmidt. Luyendyk earned $120,200 for the victory in the Sprint PCS-RadioShack-QUALCOMM G Force/Aurora/Firestone.
The win provided redemption for Luyendyk and the Treadway Racing team. Luyendyk had not won a race since the True Value 500 in June 1997 at Texas Motor Speedway and did not finish at five events this year. His previous best finish this season was fourth at the VisionAire 500 in July at Charlotte, N.C.
"You get a lot of self-doubt when you have bad races," said Luyendyk. "When you have a day like today, it makes up for all the other misery. We weren't necessarily the fastest car. I think we were a little bit better on response."
Schmidt, from Las Vegas, earned a career-best finish in the Best Western Gold Crown Racing Special Dallara/Aurora/Firestone.
Luyendyk led the race five times on the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway oval for 88 laps. He took the lead for good on Lap 169 from John Paul Jr. Buddy Lazier finished third and Paul fourth, both on the lead lap. 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr. and Pep Boys Indy Racing League rookie Brian Tyler finished fifth and sixth, respectively, one lap down. Brack, driving the Power Team Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear owned by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, won the series championship and Pep Boys Million by 40 points, 332-292, over runner-up Davey Hamilton, who finished 19th Sunday.
"All in all, we had a good season," said Brack. "We had our ups and downs. This is my biggest success. I've won many races, many championships, but this is the biggest achievement for me so far."
Brack started sixth but slid backward quickly. Still, he was able to hang on to finish six laps behind Luyendyk at the finish.
"I think it was an electronic box," said Foyt of Brack's problems. "Why it came back and started to run, I can't answer that. It wouldn't run over 9,200 rpms, and the electronic box controls that."
Hamilton's Reebok Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear had handling problems from the start. His race ended on Lap 124 when he and Roberto Guerrero collided and hit the Turn 2 wall. Both drivers were uninjured.
Tony Stewart, the 1996-97 Pep Boys Indy Racing League champion, finished third with 289 points in his final full-time season in the league. Stewart encountered problems from the start of the race, falling from second to last in the first five laps of the race.
His team replaced all of the electrical components in his Glidden-Menards-Special Dallara/Aurora/Firestone, and Stewart returned to finish 14th, 30 laps down.
Pole sitter Billy Boat led the first 27 laps of the race before Jeff Ward took the lead. Boat finished 26th after crashing on Lap 51. He was unhurt.