IRL: League Notes 1999-10-22

PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE NOTEBOOK Kelley switching to Firestone; Sharp helps out Schmidt, Treadway Racing INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 22, 1999 - Kelley Racing will switch to Firestone tires in the 2000 Pep Boys Indy Racing League season, ...

PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE NOTEBOOK Kelley switching to Firestone; Sharp helps out Schmidt, Treadway Racing

INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 22, 1999 - Kelley Racing will switch to Firestone tires in the 2000 Pep Boys Indy Racing League season, team officials announced recently. The team, with drivers Scott Sharp and Mark Dismore, has used Goodyear tires since it joined the series in 1998. "All of us here at Kelley Racing are most excited to begin a relationship with the people at Firestone," team owner Tom Kelley said. "We had a very successful two-year relationship with Goodyear, and we look forward to even more success with Firestone." Kelley Racing has won four races on Goodyear tires since 1998. Sharp won twice in 1998 and once in 1999. Dismore earned his first career Indy Racing victory Oct. 17 in the 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The competition among tire companies is one of the most intense contests in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League. Goodyear drivers won six races this year; Firestone drivers four. The all-time tally is tied, 17-17, since the League started in 1996. Helping out: Kelley Racing driver Scott Sharp will lend a helping hand to Treadway Racing this weekend, driving the team's Sprint PCS G Force/Aurora/Firestone during a private Firestone tire test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sharp is substituting for regular Treadway driver Sam Schmidt, who suffered fractures to both feet in an accident with Sharp at the 500 on Oct. 17 at Texas Motor Speedway. Schmidt remains hospitalized at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. "I am still really regretful for what happened," Sharp said. "I feel really bad for Sam, and I am happy that I am able to help the Treadway team." Said Scott Cronk, vice president of Treadway Racing: "The outpouring of support has just been tremendous. All of the consideration and kindness from the teams has made a strong impact, and it's nice to know that along with good competition, the Indy Racing League demonstrates cooperation and promotes a family-oriented atmosphere. "We couldn't ask for more generosity toward Sam and the team, and we would like to thank Scott Sharp for volunteering his time to help us with our motor and the development this weekend. He is a truly talented driver, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to work with him." Treadway Racing and Kelley Racing will compete in 2000 with Comptech engines and Firestone tires.

On the virtual auction block: Pagan Racing and Conti Racing each are taking a unique approach to selling their 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League cars in preparation for the delivery of new chassis for the 2000 season - they're putting the cars on the virtual auction block. Pagan Racing is auctioning the No. 010 Dallara chassis that Jeff Ward drove to second place at the MCI WorldCom in March in Phoenix and the Indianapolis 500 in May. Yahoo! is the team's primary sponsor, so of course the auction is taking place at Yahoo! Auctions. The location: The auction ends Oct. 24. The opening bid was $100,000. "This car has had some proud finishes under its belt and some great drivers at its helm, including Roberto Guerrero and most recently, Jeff Ward," said Allan Pagan, co-owner of Pagan Racing. "The new owner will receive the car just the way it looks as it rolls off the racetrack, with all its pings and dings, following the last race. "Ultimately, it would make a nice addition to a museum or any historic car collection." Conti Racing is auctioning its primary Energizer Advanced Formula Dallara/Aurora/Firestone driven this season by Bank One Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Robby McGehee. The car, nicknamed "Ernie," is being auctioned at eBay. The location: 5094 The auction ends Oct. 29. The opening bid is $150,000. "Ernie" has an interesting history. A.J. Foyt purchased it new in 1997 and sold it to Greg Ray in 1998. Ray qualified second for the 1998 Indianapolis 500 in the car before selling it to Conti Racing this year. McGehee figures the car has less than 20,000 miles on it. You could call it the equivalent of highway mileage, driving at high speeds for long stretches," McGehee said. "So I guess that would make it a real cream puff." Good-luck charm: Mark Dismore has a new good-luck charm: 13-year-old Chad Johnson. Dismore visited with Johnson for 15 minutes on Oct. 16 at Texas Motor Speedway after PPG Pole qualifications for the 500. Johnson, from Great Bend, Kan., suffers from transverse myelitis, a rare condition that causes paralysis. It is the same illness that struck Cody Unser, daughter of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr., earlier this year. The next day, Dismore earned his first career Pep Boys Indy Racing League victory in the MCI WorldCom Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Hot laps: Delphi Automotive Systems recently boosted its Halfway Award, an award for the driver who leads at the halfway point of every Indy Racing event, to include a year-end bonus of $10,000 for the driver who led at halfway in the most races this season. Pep Boys Indy Racing League season champion Greg Ray was the inaugural winner of the season award this year. Ray and Mark Dismore each won two Halfway Awards this year, but Ray captured the year-end award due to being in second at the halfway point of more races this season than Dismore ... 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year Scott Harrington will have a homecoming of sorts Oct. 23 when he signs autographs at the Louisville Collectors' Car Festival and Custom Car Show in Louisville, Ky. Harrington is a native of Louisville. His CertainTeed Building Products Special Dallara/Aurora/Firestone also will be on display at the show.

Source: IRL

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby McGehee , Greg Ray , Jeff Ward , Scott Sharp , Mark Dismore , Roberto Guerrero , Sam Schmidt , Scott Harrington , A.J. Foyt