PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE NOTEBOOK Many league standouts nominated for U.S. F2000 Hall of Fame By Dick Mittman and Paul Kelly indyracingleague.com INDIANAPOLIS, April 15, 1999 - Pep Boys Indy Racing League regulars Greg Ray, Sam Schmidt and...
PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE NOTEBOOK Many league standouts nominated for U.S. F2000 Hall of Fame
By Dick Mittman and Paul Kelly indyracingleague.com
INDIANAPOLIS, April 15, 1999 - Pep Boys Indy Racing League regulars Greg Ray, Sam Schmidt and Steve Knapp, and Mike Borkowski, who passed his Indianapolis 500 rookie orientation test last week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, are among the first candidates for newly announced U.S. F2000 National Championship Hall of Fame. The inaugural class will be revealed before the series' second race April 30 at Lowe's Motor Speedway at Charlotte, N.C. U.S. F2000 is a support series for the Pep Boys Indy Racing League that weekend.
"One of the most satisfying things we do in F2000 is chart the progress of our alumni," said Dan Anderson, series co-promoter. "The new Hall of Fame recognizes the best of the best to come out of the series, be it driver, team owner, mechanic or official."
Ray won the SCCA Pro Racing ACC championship in 1992. Knapp captured the U.S. F2000 title in 1996, while Schmidt was fourth in the series that year. Borkowski earned the SCCA Pro Racing crown in 1994.
Other Hall candidates are Alex Barron and Greg Moore, both now driving in CART, and USAC driver Robby Flock.
The Pep Boys Indy Racing League recently became the title sponsor of the U.S. F2000 racing series' Oval Crown for the 1999 season. The Road To Indy Oval Crown is a separate championship within the U.S. F2000 series, which has a 14-event schedule in 1999. Five of the events take place on oval tracks as support races to Pep Boys Indy Racing League events, and those five events will determine the Road To Indy Oval Crown Champion.
Lots of laps: Drivers competing in the Open Test from April 10-13 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway turned 3,324 laps, totaling 8,310 miles. This total does not include the two days of rookie orientation preceding the test where nine drivers had to drive 80-plus laps each to qualify for participation in the Indianapolis 500 next month.
The nine newcomers are: Mike Borkowski, Nick Firestone, Wim Eyckmans, John Hollansworth Jr., Ronnie Johncox, Jaques Lazier, Robby McGehee, Jeret Schroeder and Dave Steele.
No horsing around: Gene Harrington, who owns the car son Scott drives in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League, has lived in Louisville, Ky., since 1951. Guess which race he hasn't attended? Yep, the Kentucky Derby.
"But I've been to thousands of car races," he said.
The senior Harrington will miss the famed horse race again this year. The race always is held on the first Saturday in May. That's May 1 this year, and he will be at Lowe's Motor Speedway trying to help his son improve on his fifth-place finish in the MCI WorldCom 200 on March 28 at Phoenix.
He'll be there: John Hollansworth Sr. thought he would miss his son's first Pep Boys Indy Racing League race at their hometown track, Texas Motor Speedway, on June 12, because he would be competing in the Great American Race driving his 1917 Peerless.
But then he got some good news. When he received his schedule, one of the stopovers was at Fort Worth, just down the highway from the track, on June 12. A lot of hoopla is planned in downtown Fort Worth when all of the antique cars arrive.
"I told them to forget about me," said Hollansworth, 67. "I'm going straight to the racetrack."
John Hollansworth Jr. is one of the top rookies in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League, driving the pcsave.com-Lycos-Feed the Children Dallara/Aurora/Firestone.
New pole winner: When the Pep Boys Indy Racing League comes later this month to Lowe's Motor Speedway at Charlotte, N.C., one thing is certain: There will be a new PPG Pole winner.
Tony Stewart, driving for Team Menard, captured the first two PPG Poles at Charlotte with speeds of 217.164 mph (1997) and 220.498 (1998). Stewart now is a full-time Winston Cup driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, and he could set a record of sorts (and keep his streak at the track intact) by capturing the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 scheduled for the night of May 30.
Carlson lends helping hand: Pep Boys Indy Racing League driver Tyce Carlson spent a recent afternoon racing with some of Indiana's business leaders at a meeting of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The next day, he helped raise funds for educating future Indiana business leaders. Instead of meeting in a board room, the Chamber group of 20 CEO's from throughout Indiana convened at the Stefan Johannson Karting Center in Indianapolis. Carlson addressed the group about racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, then joined them in some races on the popular indoor karting track before returning to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Open Test.
The next day, Carlson participated in a golf outing and fundraiser hosted by the Indiana State University Chapter of the American Marketing Association. Held at a golf course near Terre Haute, Ind., the outing raised scholarship funds for DECA students from Clay and Vigo Counties in Indiana.
In addition to Carlson, the golf outing included Indianapolis Colts star Marshall Faulk.
Carlson recorded the fastest speed at the final day of the Indianapolis 500
Open Test on April 13, 225.683 mph, in his Blueprint-Immke Dallara/Aurora/Firestone.
Groff back on track: Veteran Mike Groff returned to the Pep Boys Indy Racing League on April 13 when he participated in the Indianapolis 500 Open Test in the pcsave.com-Lycos-Feed the Children Dallara/Aurora/Firestone normally driven by rookie John Hollansworth Jr.
It took Groff only 12 minutes to get the car up to nearly 219 mph.
Groff drove in the first three races of last season, with a best finish of seventh at Walt Disney World Speedway. He has made four starts in the Indianapolis 500, with a best finish of 12th in 1997.
Hot laps: Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt is loaning some of his racing trophies, helmets, firesuits, photos and memorabilia for a tour in the Winning Streaks Bar and Grill located in Harrah's resort properties throughout the country. Each tour stop will include interactive displays that will feature Foyt and the Pep Boys Indy Racing League. Harrah's is a sponsor of Foyt's two-car Pep Boys Indy Racing League team ? Defending Indianapolis 500 champion Eddie Cheever Jr. will participate in an Internet chat session in his team's World Wide Web site, www.teamcheever.com, from 7-8 p.m. (EDT) May 3. Cheever will discuss many topics, including his results at the VisionAire 500 on May 1 at Charlotte, N.C., and preparations for the Indianapolis 500 on May 30 ? A handful of Pep Boys Indy Racing League teams will test on the 1.5-mile oval at Texas Motor Speedway in the next week. Scheduled to test at TMS are defending league champion Kenny Brack, Billy Boat, Buddy Lazier, Scott Sharp, Mark Dismore, Davey Hamilton and rookie John Hollansworth Jr. TMS plays host to two Pep Boys Indy Racing League events this year, the Longhorn 500 on June 12 and the Lone Star 500 on Oct. 17 ? An Indy Racing Fantasy League is available for Pep Boys Indy Racing League fans on the Internet. Fans select a dream team of Pep Boys Indy Racing League drivers and score points based on their drivers' real-life performance. The contest is free. See http://irlinsider.adnetweb.com/irlfanleague/ for more information.