OLDSMOBILE DOMINATES DOVER Oldsmobile Tames the "Monster Mile" as IRL Aurora V8 Scores 14th Consecutive Victory in Pep Boys 400K Dover, Del.; July 19, 1998 - Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 engine banked its 14th...
OLDSMOBILE DOMINATES DOVER
Oldsmobile Tames the "Monster Mile" as IRL Aurora V8 Scores 14th Consecutive Victory in Pep Boys 400K
Dover, Del.; July 19, 1998 - Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 engine banked its 14th straight Pep Boys Indy Racing League victory today on Dover Downs International Speedway's high-banked one-mile oval. Scott Sharp scored his second win of the season, took the points lead, and led an Oldsmobile sweep of the top 19 positions in the IRL's debut on the intimidating concrete track. The Pep Boys 400K was the first Indy car race at DDIS since 1969.
Sharp posted his third career IRL victory in Kelley Racing's Oldsmobile-powered Dallara, averaging 99.318 mph over the 400 kilometer contest. He held off runner-up Buddy Lazier at the finish line stripe by .689 seconds. Marco Greco came from a starting spot on the last row of the grid to finish third in Phoenix Racing's IRL Aurora V8-equipped entry.
"I understood after 248 laps why this is the 'Monster Mile,'" said Sharp. "Actually I figured that out after about 40 laps, when I knew I had to hold on for another 208. I really felt it would be a race of attrition. This is a tough place. There weren't many motor problems, and that says a lot about Oldsmobile and the job they've done. It's asking a lot from any engine to hold it wide open over these kinds of bumps for 248 laps.
"I was on the rev limiter almost all day long," Sharp reported. "That's tough on an engine, and I didn't want to wear out my welcome there. I just wanted to take care of the car at the finish, and I didn't know that Buddy was as close as he was."
"With my back injury from Phoenix in '96, I wasn't sure I'd make it," said Lazier, the 1996 Indy 500 champion. "I'm just thrilled that I was able to make it to the finish. We found something, because we were running faster than we qualified all race long. A track like this creates a whole different situation for reliability with the motors, the cars, and the drivers, and it usually finds the weak link. Our car and engine ran flawlessly. We didn't have the speed we needed to win, but it was mighty close."
Twenty-one of the 22 starters in the sixth round of the 11-race IRL series (95% of the field) used Oldsmobile's production-based IRL Aurora V8 engine. Tony Stewart set the absolute speed record at Dover Downs at 185.204 mph in qualifying to capture his third IRL pole of the season and the eighth of his career. Stewart eclipsed the previous DDIS record set by Rusty Wallace in a NASCAR Winston Cup car at 155.898 mph by nearly 30 mph. The field was the second tightest in IRL history as only 1.146 seconds separated the starting lineup.
IRL Aurora V8 engines powered every car running at the finish. Three independent Oldsmobile engine builders were represented on the podium: Brayton Engineering (Scott Sharp, winner); Speedway Engine Development (Buddy Lazier, runner-up); and Roush Technologies (Marco Greco, third).
The "Monster Mile" lived up to its nickname as the race was slowed by eight caution periods that consumed 87 laps. The unforgiving concrete wall devoured eight cars in accidents. Drivers Steve Knapp and Robby Unser were taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation.
IRL Aurora V8 engines led all 248 laps of the Pep Boys 400K - just as they have led all 1,256 laps in 1998 and every racing lap in IRL competition since January, 1997 (a total of 2,829 laps or 3,857 miles). Sharp led a total of 145 laps today.
The next event for the IRL Aurora V8 will be the VisionAire 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., under the lights on Saturday night, July 25. The VisionAire 500 will be televised live on TNN at 9:00 p.m. EDT.
PEP BOYS 400K RESULTS
Top Five Finishers: Driver Entrant Engine Laps 1. Scott Sharp Kelley Automotive Oldsmobile 248 2. Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn Racing Oldsmobile 248 3. Marco Greco Phoenix Racing Oldsmobile 246 4. Davey Hamilton Nienhouse Motorspts Oldsmobile 246 5. Stephan Gregoire Chastain Mtrsprts Oldsmobile 245
Pole: Tony Stewart/Oldsmobile, 185.204 mph (track record) Fastest Lap: Greg Ray/Oldsmobile, 183.468 mph
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