IRL: Paths of Racing Hollansworth Family Will Cross in Texas

PATHS OF RACING FAMILY WILL CROSS THIS WEEKEND IN TEXAS FORT WORTH, Texas - June 7, 1999 -- Race drivers John Hollansworth Sr. and Jr. will cross paths Saturday night, June 12, in Fort Worth, Texas. Their cars, however, will be...


FORT WORTH, Texas - June 7, 1999 -- Race drivers John Hollansworth Sr. and Jr. will cross paths Saturday night, June 12, in Fort Worth, Texas. Their cars, however, will be as different as a cowboy and a city slicker, their racecourses as varied as a longhorn steer and a Guernsey milk cow. In fact, the father's car is some 80 years older in appearance and technology than his son's. John Jr. will drive his Dallara/Aurora/Firestone in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Longhorn 500 presented by MCI WorldCom at the high-banked Texas Motor Speedway on that night. By sheer good fortune, John Sr., driving the 1917 Peerless Green Dragon, will make a stopover that night in Fort Worth as the Great American Race meanders from Marietta, Ga., to Irvine, Calif. As soon as the elder Hollansworth parks his machine, he will make a quick, 20-mile dash to the track to watch his son race for the first time for what now is John Jr.'s home track. The son lives in Dallas and had been a practicing attorney there. "It's going to be great to have my dad there," Hollansworth Jr. said. This is the senior Hollansworth's ninth year driving in the Great American Race. He has scored a third with the Peerless and was fifth last year, 17 seconds out of first. The original Peerless appeared in 1901, and two years later Barney Oldfield began setting all speed marks in the Green Dragon. Hollansworth's car is a reproduction of the 1917 Peerless V8 that averaged 82.74 mph in winning a race in New York. "It's not something I want to drive on the racetrack," Hollansworth Jr. said. The younger Hollansworth is competing in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League this year and leading the Sprint PCS rookie driver standings, all because of what happened last September at Texas Motor Speedway. He has watched all of the races at the track. "Last year I rented a condominium, and brought some (potential) sponsors to the race and watched it from Turn 2," he said. "One of those sponsors turned out to be" Hollansworth Jr. tested recently at Texas Motor Speedway (his father brought his Peerless over, too, and they were on the track together) and had the car set in the wrong gear. This allowed the engine to top out at only 9,900 rpm. "We thought we were 400 short," he said. But since the Pep Boys Indy Racing League has trimmed the rpm limit to 10,000 starting with this event. TeamXtreme was right on target without realizing it. The reduction was made to slice speeds that reached 228 mph in races at the track last year. A gearbox problem in the Indy 500 possibly cost Hollansworth Jr. the coveted Bank One Rookie of the Year Award. Hollansworth Jr. said on about Lap 60 a piece in the gearbox, called the "hockey puck" by the mechanics, slipped out of position. The "puck" allows the gear selector to act properly, but instead the car locked in fourth gear. He drove about 130 laps in that situation, but still finished 13th after completing 192 laps. He qualified 12th at an average speed of 221.698 mph. "It made for a long day," Hollansworth Jr. said about his one-gear problem. "The car hit the rev limiter (then set at 10,300 rpm) about two-thirds of the way down the straights." Still, he expressed only slight disappointment at not being cited as the top race rookie and praised Robby McGehee, who gained the honor for his fifth-place finish. "Robby did a better job," he said. McGehee also will drive for the first time at Texas in his Energizer Advanced Formula Dallara/Aurora/Firestone. Reflecting on his first race of 500 miles in length, Hollansworth Jr. said: "During the course of the run, it definitely was the longest day of my life in the cockpit. It was gratifying to see the checkered flag. I certainly was exhausted at the end, but I didn't notice it until I got out of the car." Hollansworth Jr. may have lost that rookie award, but he maintains his lead in the chase for the Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year award presented to the series' top newcomer at the end of the season. He holds a 43-35 points edge over Scott Harrington, with McGehee third with 30. Overall, Hollansworth Jr. is 12th in the standings, tied with Robby Unser, who won the series rookie honor last season. Hollansworth Jr. ranks ninth in money winnings with $346,400 and is seventh in laps led with 537. "I've got to press on," he said. "This race is going to be real special, especially coming on the heels of the media attention we received at Indy. I'm more confident in the car, more confident with the team. I hope we'll get our first top-10 finish. "Our breakthrough is right around the corner." Hollansworth Jr., who lives about a 40-minute drive from the track, said he put himself in position to give a 100 percent effort to his racing by resigning from his law firm in February. But that didn't mean it was the end to his law work. "It was really odd that four days (June 3) after I was running in the biggest race in the world, I was in court for the last time," said Hollansworth Jr., who will keep his license active both in Texas and Florida. "We did well on the case. Hopefully, it will pay my car rental bill at Indy."


Schedule: The Longhorn 500 presented by MCI WorldCom starts at 6:30 p.m. (CDT) June 12. Qualifying for the PPG Pole on Budweiser Qualifying Night starts at 8:15 p.m. (CDT) June 10. Practice sessions start at 2 and 5 p.m. (CDT) June 10, and 1:45 and 4:45 p.m. (CDT) June 11.


On the air: The Longhorn 500 presented by MCI WorldCom will be televised live at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) June 12 on FOX Sports Net.

SpeedVision will televise PPG Pole qualifying live at 9 p.m. (EDT) June 10.

The Indy Racing Radio Network will broadcast a 30-minute prerace show at 7 p.m. (EDT) June 12, followed by the live race broadcast at 7:30 p.m. The Fort Worth-area IRRN affiliate is KSCS-FM, 96.3.

The IRRN race broadcast also will be available live on the Internet at as part of a partnership between Indy Racing Online and, the world's leading Web broadcast site.

Tickets: Tickets are available for the Longhorn 500 presented by MCI WorldCom on June 12. Call (817) 215-8500 for more information. Ticket information also is available on the World Wide Web at .

Source: IMS/IRL

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby McGehee , Scott Harrington , Robby Unser