IRL: Orlando Saturday Qualifying Notes

David Reininger - Motorsport News International Lake Buena Vista, FL (January 23, 1999) - Scott Sharp picked up where he left off yesterday, setting the fastest lap in qualifying for tomorrow's TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200 at Walt ...

David Reininger - Motorsport News International

Lake Buena Vista, FL (January 23, 1999) - Scott Sharp picked up where he left off yesterday, setting the fastest lap in qualifying for tomorrow's TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway. Sharp, who set the fastest lap of the day in Friday's practice sessions, knew he'd have to turn it up a notch after Team Menard driver, Greg Ray set the fastest lap in this morning's practice.

Sharp's qualifying effort came down to just one lap when, on his first lap, he bobbled in turn one, losing the split second that can mean the difference between the pole position and a start further back. "Really, the car was just a little tight. It was a little tighter than I expected it to be in the middle of turn one," said Sharp. "On the second lap, I just drove it hard and hoped that I had enough. I tried to keep the car as free as possible."

Second place qualifier Greg Ray had his Dallara come to a halt on the warmup lane just as he pulled out of the pits for his first qualification attempt. "When we tried to go out the first time we had some shims out of place in the gearbox and I couldn't select any gears," said Ray. "We fixed the problem but because we missed our turn, we only got one lap to qualify. It was all or nothing. If I would have had another lap, we may have been able to make a run at Sharp."

Sharp's pole speed of 171.371 mph sets a new track record for the present IRL formula at Walt Disney World Speedway. Tony Stewart held the previous record at 166.013 mph set just one year ago. It's clear the teams have found a way to increase speeds despite the IRL reducing rev limits from 10,500 to 10,300 rpm for the 1999 season. A reduction in rpms should reduce an engine's power. But eighteen drivers, including rookie John Hollansworth exceeded Tony Stewart's previous record.

"This series is getting so competitive," said polesitter, Sharp, "You have to push the car so much, and you just leave it up to the big guy upstairs."

With a little help from the big guy upstairs in the weather department, the TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200 will take the green flag at 1:00 p.m. EST for 200 laps on the Walt Disney World Speedway tri-oval. ABC-TV will broadcast the race live, with tape delayed coverage on the west coast.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Greg Ray , Scott Sharp