IRL: Pep Boys Indy Racing League: Notebook 99-03-26

PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE NOTEBOOK Legendary engine builder Porter thrilled with Hall of Fame induction By Dick Mittman and Paul Kelly indyracingleague.com INDIANAPOLIS, March 26, 1999 -- In another couple months Herb Porter will ...

PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE NOTEBOOK Legendary engine builder Porter thrilled with Hall of Fame induction

By Dick Mittman and Paul Kelly indyracingleague.com

INDIANAPOLIS, March 26, 1999 -- In another couple months Herb Porter will become an auto racing Hall of Famer. But at 84, he isn't living in the past. Engines prepared in Porter's shop on Gasoline Alley in Indianapolis will power the cars of five teams entered in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League MCI WorldCom 200 on March 28 at Phoenix International Raceway. With 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier (Hemelgarn Racing), Scott Goodyear (Panther Racing), second-place finisher in the season-opening TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway, and Jeff Ward (Pagan Racing), who took third at WDWS, driving three of those cars, he'll definitely have drivers challenging for victory. Add Davey Hamilton, who has placed second the last two years in the final Pep Boys Indy Racing League standings, and Andy Michner (Riley & Scott), and Porter has a solid quintet. Ward and Hamilton are driving for new teams. Ward joins the Pagan team, which rejoins the series after an eight-month sabbatical. Hamilton moves from Galles Racing, also taking a temporary leave from competition, to take the seat of the revived Barnhart Racing team. Michner continues with the Brant Racing team out of West Virginia. "Goodyear ought to run good," said Porter, who will stay behind to continue working on last-minute improvements on engines for Indy. "I think Goodyear, Ward and Lazier all will be up there." The goal for Indy is to increase the performance while not compromising reliability, Porter said. "There should be a little more horsepower," he said. The plan at Phoenix is to run the Speedway combination to see how it works. It was announced last week that the crusty Porter, involved with racing since the 1930s, and late driver Eddie Sachs would be inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame at the annual banquet on May 27 at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Indianapolis. "I'm so proud I can't stand it," he said. "I can't go any farther." Porter said friends have been calling him from around the country, and he has purchased 44 tickets for them. "I knew Eddie well," he said of his co-inductee. "He was a good man who got some bad breaks. I worked with Mari Hulman when he drove her sprint car."

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Unisys, Microsoft join Treadway: Global technology solutions companies Unisys and Microsoft have teamed up with Treadway Racing as associate sponsors on the #99 Sprint PCS G Force/Aurora/Firestone driven by Sam Schmidt in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League. "We are thrilled to add Unisys and Microsoft to the Treadway Racing team and bring companies of this caliber into the IRL," said Scott Cronk, vice president of business development for Treadway. "The fast-paced, high-technology platform of Indy-car racing provides an excellent fit for client entertainment for these two technological leaders."

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For a good cause: Pep Boys Indy Racing League driver Steve Knapp and 13-year-old Matthew Bosick will be featured in an upcoming photo spread for an advertisement in Voyageur, a magazine placed in each guest room at all Radisson Hotels. Bosick, an avid motorsports fan, was diagnosed with leukemia in 1997. He has undergone treatment at the Children's Hospital of Denver, the charity partner of Radisson Hotels Worldwide. The ad campaign was designed to increase awareness and contributions to the hospital and its Children's Cancer Center. The photos of Knapp and Bosick, shot March 25 at Phoenix International Raceway, also will be featured in the race program for the Radisson 200 on June 27 at Pikes Peak International Raceway at Colorado Springs, Colo.

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Coach again: Former racing great Gary Bettenhausen isn't Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight, but at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway he's starting to answer to the name "Coach." Last year Bettenhausen took on coaching duties for the first time and helped Sam Schmidt adapt to the Speedway. Gary B. this April and May will turn his coaching attention to rookie John Hollansworth Jr. He has signed on with TeamXtreme, which hopes his expertise will help Hollansworth as it did Schmidt. "I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to being (Bettenhausen's) student for my first Indianapolis experience," Hollansworth Jr. said. Said team manager John Lopes: "We are thrilled to have a driver of Gary's ability to working with Hollansworth. It's a great opportunity for John and the team to be able to learn from someone like Bettenhausen." Bettenhausen, the oldest of three racing sons of the late Tony Bettenhausen Sr., drove in 21 Indy 500s, with a best finish of fifth in 1987. He was fastest qualifier for the 1992 race, but the speed came on the second qualifying day and prevented him from winning the pole. During his career he won 82 USAC races, including six in an Indy car, and two national sprint car titles.

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On the sidelines: Panther Racing co-owner and NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh will miss the MCI WorldCom 200 on March 28 as he recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery March 25. Harbaugh is one of the owners of the Pennzoil Panther G Force/Aurora/Goodyear driven by Scott Goodyear. Harbaugh recently signed with the San Diego Chargers for the 1999 NFL season.

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Family ties: Four-time Indy winner A.J. Foyt, now a Pep Boys Indy Racing League team owner, and driver Mark Dismore will have a special interest in the F2000 race Sunday that precedes the Pep Boys Indy Racing League's MCI WorldCom 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. Hoping to earn starting positions in the race will be Foyt's son Larry and Dismore's son, "Little Mark." Young Dismore is a rookie challenger. Qualifiers Saturday seek to top 1998 champion David Besnard's one-lap speed record of 128.571 mph. Besnard has moved to the Toyota Atlantic series. The 50-lap race starts at noon Sunday and among those expected to run for the checkered flag are Canadian Marc Antoine Camirand, Jonathan Bottoms of Buffalo, N.Y., and Ryan Hampton of Glendora, Calif.

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Booth and track: Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk will try to avoid rooting for driver Sam Schmidt on Sunday when he acts as television color commentator for FOX Sports Net during the Pep Boys Indy Racing League MCI WorldCom 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. Schmidt replaced Luyendyk in the Fred Treadway Racing Sprint PCS G Force/Aurora/Firestone for all but this year's Indy 500. They will be teammates in that world-famous event as the Flying Dutchman drives in his final open-wheel race. Luyendyk also will be the Treadway team's driving coach. "If you get the car set up right, it makes the track very exciting," he said of the PIR oval. "If you don't have the car set up well, it is a nightmare." Schmidt has won two F2000 races and finished second in a Shelby Can Am race at PIR. "I feel like I am out for retribution following our performance at (Walt Disney World Speedway in the season opener)," he said, "but the bottom line is that I need to be conservative and run a smart race." Schmidt qualified seventh at the season-opening TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200, but an early crash dropped him to 27th in the final race rundown.

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Rookie getting on track: Pep Boys Indy Racing League rookie Robby McGehee wrapped up two days of testing recently at Atlanta Motor Speedway. McGehee, a graduate of the U.S. F2000 series, spent the two days gaining valuable driving time in the 1998 Dallara chassis that his team purchased from Pep Boys Indy Racing League standout Greg Ray. Although this was his first time in an Indy Racing League car at Atlanta, McGehee is no stranger to the track. He recorded one of his two victories in 1998 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the U.S. F2000 race Aug. 29, 1998. "I like Atlanta," McGehee said. "It's like a favorite golf course when you do well on one you tend to like it more than others." McGehee is driving for Conti Racing, which formed a Pep Boys Indy Racing League effort in late February and is headquartered in Pittsboro, Ind. The team plans to compete in a limited schedule of races, starting at the VisionAire 500 on May 1 at Charlotte, N.C.

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Passing the test: Scott Harrington may be a rookie in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League, but he enters the MCI WorldCom 200 this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway with a winning record at the 1-mile desert oval. Harrington won a Can Am race in 1994 at PIR and looks forward to returning to the track with his family-owned Harrington Motorsports team. "Phoenix is one of my favorite tracks," Harrington said. "My wife, Traci, is from just west of there, on the border of Arizona in Blythe, Calif., and we always have to go to her favorite Mexican restaurant, Amapola in Blythe, on a racing trip to Phoenix." Harrington has benefited from a comprehensive testing program during the offseason and at the "Test in the West" in late February at Phoenix International Raceway. The advise and expertise of veteran crew chief Darrell Soppe also has been a big help. "The guy is just awesome," Harrington said of Soppe. "It's nice to work with somebody who wants to win as badly as you do. We work well together, and I have the utmost respect for him. "He's the kind of guy who can make the difference in the race. We ran on full fuel tanks and on empty tanks, and the car still ran well. He's phenomenal."

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On the Net: Treadway Racing has launched its 1999 site on the World Wide Web at http://www.treadwayracing.com . The site will provide team news, profiles, features, live race statistics and secure credit-card transactions for Treadway Racing merchandise ? Pep Boys Indy Racing League standout Greg Ray is writing monthly columns for CBS Sportsline. The first installment can be found at http://cbs.sportsline.com/u/racing/auto/irl/1999/rayfeature.htm ? 1998 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Billy Boat also has launched a World Wide Web site, http://www.billyboat.com . Surfers can find extensive information about Boat's racing career and his exploits this season as driver for A.J. Foyt Racing, including video clips.

Source: IRL/IMS

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Buddy Lazier , Jeff Ward , Davey Hamilton , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Scott Goodyear , Sam Schmidt , Steve Knapp , David Besnard , Scott Harrington , Ryan Hampton , Paul Kelly , A.J. Foyt
Teams Panther Racing