PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE NOTEBOOK Indianapolis 500 veteran Crawford to help Brant Racing develop car By Paul Kelly indyracingleague.com INDIANAPOLIS, April 8, 1999 - Indianapolis 500 veteran Jim Crawford has been signed by Brant ...
PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE NOTEBOOK Indianapolis 500 veteran Crawford to help Brant Racing develop car
By Paul Kelly indyracingleague.com
INDIANAPOLIS, April 8, 1999 - Indianapolis 500 veteran Jim Crawford has been signed by Brant Racing as a car development consultant for the rest of the 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League season. Crawford competed in eight Indianapolis 500's, with a best finish of sixth in 1988. He led eight laps in 1988. He started fourth in the 1989 Indianapolis 500, his best starting spot. Andy Michner drives the Brant Racing Riley & Scott/Aurora/Goodyear. "As one of only a couple of teams planning to use the car and the Speedway this year, we need all hands on deck," Brant Racing team manager Mark Scott said. "Jim and I enjoyed a tremendous relationship as driver-chief mechanic in the 1980s, and I think he'll be a tremendous asset to the team, especially Andy, Bob Riley and myself." *** Testing, testing: 1998 Indianapolis 500 champion Eddie Cheever Jr. recently tested at Atlanta Motor Speedway, hitting 220 mph unofficially on the 1.5-mile quad-oval with his new Infiniti engine. "It's a great track to run at, but it's also a hard track," Cheever said. "Drafting and traffic can play a critical factor in how well you run. I'm sure we will do a lot of testing here this year." Cheever recently switched from Oldsmobile Aurora to Nissan Infiniti power for his The Children's Beverage Group Dallara car, which uses Goodyear tires. Pep Boys Indy Racing League drivers will race at the track July 17 in the Atlanta 500 Classic. .Scott Goodyear turned an unofficial lap of 221 mph - faster than the track record - to lead the speed charts during testing April 1 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. The official track record is 220.498 set by Tony Stewart in 1998. Pep Boys Indy Racing League drivers will compete on the 1.5-mile oval during the VisionAire 500 on May 1, the first night race of the year. Pole Night qualifying is April 30. Goodyear leads the Pep Boys Indy Racing League point standings in the Pennzoil Panther G Force/Aurora/Goodyear. "Tire tests are certainly different from an all-out qualifying speed run," Goodyear said. "With the proper qualifying setup, we could see a pole speed of 225 mph when we return later this month. Goodyear has an excellent tire for here and we should see a great race when we come back in a few weeks." .Andy Michner showed promise during testing April 1 at Lowe's Motor Speedway at Charlotte, N.C., heading toward an unofficial lap of approximately 222 mph on the 1.5-mile oval before the right-rear pushrod failed on his Brant Racing Riley & Scott/Aurora/Goodyear. Michner guided the car to the pits without incident. The team clocked the lap from the turn four exit, where Michner's pushrod failed. The pushrod failure also damaged the gearbox and other parts, ending the team's test. Still, Michner appeared to be headed toward a lap faster than the track record, 220.498 set by Tony Stewart in 1998, if his car stayed intact through the start-finish line. .Rookie Robby McGehee tested recently at Atlanta Motor Speedway, unofficially averaging around 212 mph on the 1.5-mile quad-oval. McGehee plans to make his Pep Boys Indy Racing League debut with Conti Racing at the VisionAire 500 on May 1 at Charlotte, N.C. He also is participating in the Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. *** Teeing off: Pep Boys Indy Racing League driver Scott Harrington, an avid golfer, recently added Titleist as an associate sponsor for his Harrington Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. Titleist makes golf balls, clubs and golf apparel. Harrington is still searching for a primary sponsor, but his career-best fifth-place finish in the MCI WorldCom 200 on March 28 at Phoenix is helping his efforts. "We've had tons of phone calls since Phoenix; lots of people called to congratulate us," Harrington said. "The number of calls has picked up on people inquiring about assisting the team too, which is always good." ***
Find that car: Pennzoil Panther Racing is offering a reward for the intact return of the team showcar that was stolen April 1 in Burlington, Ontario. The Halston Regional Police in Ontario have set up a hotline for tips and information at (905) 825-4747 ext. 2316. The reward is an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the Indianapolis 500, an estimated value of $4,000. The showcar was in Canada as part of an announcement of an Indy 500 promotional giveaway sponsored by Pennzoil and Sunoco. The car was to be displayed at Sunoco gas stations throughout Ontario to promote the Indy 500 giveaway. "I guess I have more fans in Canada than I thought," Goodyear said, tongue in cheek. "I didn't realize that winning the Phoenix MCI Worldcom 200 would create a frenzy big enough to steal the showcar."
Treadway adds sponsor: Mall.com, Inc. has joined Treadway Racing as an associate sponsor. Mall.com, an Austin, Texas-based start up Internet shopping enabler, will use the high technology Pep Boys Indy Racing League platform to drive impressions and people to its Internet shopping site. Treadway Racing fields a full-time Pep Boys Indy Racing League car for Sam Schmidt and also will field a car for two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk at this year's 500, his Indy farewell. Hot laps: Adrian Payne recently joined the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Pep Boys Indy Racing League staff as Web applications developer. Payne, 29, from Brownsburg, Ind., will work on a variety of Internet projects for the league and Speedway Jim Freudenberg was named April 6 as general manager of Kelley Racing, which fields Pep Boys Indy Racing League cars for Scott Sharp and Mark Dismore. Freudenberg comes to Kelley Racing after serving as general manager of MCI Racing. He also has worked in the management of Formula One events in Montreal and Phoenix, and in the management of CART events at Vancouver, British Columbia, Detroit and Homestead, Fla.
Heather Handley recently was hired to coordinate the public relations program for the Nissan Infiniti Indy V8 program. Handley replaces Marty Fiolka, who recently became director of marketing for Eilbach, an Irvine, Calif.-based company specializing in street and racing suspension components. Handley performed public-relations duties for A.J. Foyt driver Billy Boat in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League in 1998.