IRL: Las Vegas race to determine championship

For Immediate Release Schedule & Entry List Follow INDY RACING LEAGUE TO DETERMINE IRL CHAMPION AT LAS VEGAS ON OCT. 11 INDIANAPOLIS, October 1, 1997 -- The Indy Racing League will end...

For Immediate Release Schedule & Entry List Follow

INDY RACING LEAGUE TO DETERMINE IRL CHAMPION AT LAS VEGAS ON OCT. 11

INDIANAPOLIS, October 1, 1997 -- The Indy Racing League will end its 1996-97 season -- the first with all new chassis and engines, under the lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 11. The race will feature a heated battle for the IRL championship between drivers Tony Stewart of Team Menard (254 points), and Davey Hamilton of AJ Foyt Power Team Racing (244 points). Stewart and Hamilton talked about their race-day strategy.

"I have nothing to lose at this point," said Davey Hamilton. "Tony has the lead and I know I have to do well. I'm going to go as hard as I can to win the race. Tony is tough. I'd rather be 10 points in front of him than 10 behind, but with the way that the IRL points are structured, I can pass him (points-wise). All year, Tony has been extremely fast. He's won the most poles and led the most miles, but we're going for it (the win), and let the cards fall where they may."

"We're going into it with the attitude we've had all year, we'll be trying to win," said Tony Stewart. "If you win the race, the points take care of themselves. We go out with that attitude each race, and that's how we got into the position we're in now. Davey has been consistent all year. We know he'll be consistent, we know he's going to be up front, it's just a question of where he will be up front. We have to do our job and stay up there in front with him."

Thirty-one drivers are listed on the entry form and include 1997 Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk, and former Indy Racing League race winners Eddie Cheever, Jr., Buzz Calkins, Jim Guthrie, Buddy Lazier and Robbie Buhl.

Other IRL veterans vying for a spot in the Las Vegas field are Scott Goodyear, Eliseo Salazar, Johnny Unser, John Paul, Jr., Roberto Guerrero, Mark Dismore, Marco Greco and Stephan Gregoire.

Indy Racing League rookies Billy Boat, Kenny Brack, Paul Durant, Affonso Giaffone, Stan Wattles, Vincenzo Sospiri, Billy Roe, Robbie Groff, Jimmy Kite, Dr. Jack Miller, Jeff Ward, Tyce Carlson, Greg Ray and Sam Schmidt are also listed on entries.

The Las Vegas 500k race weekend begins with IRL practice on Wednesday, October 8, followed by PPG Pole qualifying on Thursday, October 9 from 8 - 9:30 p.m. (PDT), to be aired live on Speedvision. Final IRL practice will be on Friday, October 10. The Las Vegas 500k will be run on Saturday, October 11 at 7 p.m. (PDT), and will be live on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. The race will air via tape-delay on Sunday, October 12 on ABC at 4 p.m. (EDT). Race tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling the Las Vegas Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-644-4444.

..IRL97-62..

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Buzz Calkins , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Jeff Ward , Davey Hamilton , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Jim Guthrie , Roberto Guerrero , Kenny Brack , Billy Roe , Sam Schmidt , Tyce Carlson , Stan Wattles , Johnny Unser , John Paul , Vincenzo Sospiri , Jack Miller