Las Vegas, NV (October 8, 1998) - Tony Stewart took a couple of fast laps around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway today in an Indy 500 winning car. But it wasn't a sleek Dallara or G Force that currently runs in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League....
Las Vegas, NV (October 8, 1998) - Tony Stewart took a couple of fast laps around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway today in an Indy 500 winning car. But it wasn't a sleek Dallara or G Force that currently runs in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League. Stewart toured the track as a passenger in Dario Resta's 1916 Indianapolis 500 winner. The four cylinder Peugeot, built in 1913, competed in races all over the world including the prestigious Vanderbilt Cup races in the U.S.
Lindley Bothwell Sr., the father of the car's current owner, Lindley Bothwell Jr., brought the 1916 winner to the Speedway in 1948 and made an attempt to qualify for the Indy 500. Although the speed posted was twenty miles an hour faster than it had run in 1916, the thirty five year old car was clearly outclassed by newer models.
Stewart will be back behind the wheel of his Dallara race car tomorrow as practice begins for Sunday's Las Vegas 500.. This will be Stewart's last regular season start in an Indy car. He makes the jump to a full time Winston Cup ride with Joe Gibbs Racing next season. "It's going to be hard, this being the last race," Stewart said. "This is the second time this year that I've had to run my last race in something that I hate to get out of. We had to get out of the sprint and midget cars earlier this year too. It was kind of an emotional night getting out of that car so I can imagine what it's going to be like on Sunday when I get into this thing for the last time."
Stewart still enjoys a mathematical chance at winning the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Championship. He is third in the point standings behind leader Kenny Brack and Davey Hamilton. Stewart is 41 points behind Brack, who only needs to finish eighth to clinch at least a tie in the championship.
Brian Tyler's Team Pelfrey entry is sporting a wild new paint job this weekend. The yellow car has a blue wave of water rolling up on the engine cover to highlight the team's new sponsor Baytan. Baytan is a new sunless tanning product used by the cast of Baywatch. JoAnna Connell, Baywatch's make-up artist, was on pit lane as the car was unveiled for the media.
"We're looking to make a big a splash in racing as we can," said company President and CEO, Philip Archer. "We were a guest of Team Pelfrey at Dallas and we put this deal together in just three weeks." Team Pelfrey hopes that Baytan will sponsor their efforts in the Indy Racing League in 1999. Baytan was an associate sponsor on Allan Kulwicki's Hooters sponsored Winston Cup car.
Steve Knapp comes to LVMS with 40 laps experience on the 1.5 mile superspeedway. Forty laps was the length of Knapp's rookie test held earlier this year. Knapp expects to run a lot of laps in tomorrow's practice sessions. "I know what I want done to the car after three laps," said Knapp. "The extra track time is to see how the car and tires hold up on the long runs. Plus, it's always good to really know the track."
While driving the pace car today, Knapp admitted that even laps in a street car helps to learn the track. "When I enter turn three, the pace car will load up at the same point the race will. I know where I'll be able to turn in and hold it through the turn.
Pep Boys Indy Racing League drivers will sign autographs at the Fremont St. Experience right after the Pit Stop Competition.
Shelby American's World Headquarters will hold their Grand Opening on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. at the LVMS Industrial Park. Shelby American is located at the entrance to the Speedway. Festivities include the first factory-sponsored, all Shelby car show, a Chili Cook Off and tours of the factory.