IRL: Pep Boys IRL Weekly Notes 98-06-09

PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE WEEKLY NOTEBOOK INDIANAPOLIS, June 9, 1998 - Notes and quotes from the Pep Boys Indy Racing League: A confident man: It's amazing how winning breeds confidence. Take Billy Boat for example. ...

PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE WEEKLY NOTEBOOK

INDIANAPOLIS, June 9, 1998 - Notes and quotes from the Pep Boys Indy Racing League:

A confident man: It's amazing how winning breeds confidence. Take Billy Boat for example.

Boat had just edged Greg Ray at the True Value 500 on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway for the first victory of his Pep Boys IRL career. During the postrace press conference, reporters asked Boat about his chances of driving the Conseco-A.J. Foyt Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear to victory at the Lone Star 500 on Sept. 20 at TMS.

"We'll win that one," Boat said.

If so, he'll be a lock for the inaugural "Texas Two-Step" Championship and a $100,000 bonus. The driver who earns the most combined Pep Boys IRL points at the two Texas races will earn that big jackpot. The driver earning the second-most points will earn $50,000.

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Double duty for Hamilton, Yeley: Pep Boys IRL drivers Davey Hamilton and J.J. Yeley completed busy weekends with strong finishes in the "Delta Thunder" USAC Silver Crown race June 7 at Memphis Motorsports Park in Millington, Tenn.

Hamilton finished sixth in the 100-lap feature after starting last. Yeley finished 10th after starting second-to-last. Hamilton and Yeley were forced to start from the rear of the field because other drivers qualified their cars, as both drivers were busy practicing and qualifying for the True Value 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Hamilton finished seventh June 6 at Texas, Yeley 19th.

Dave Steele, who made his Pep Boys IRL debut at Phoenix, led every lap of the feature. Fellow Pep Boys IRL rookie Brian Tyler finished fifth. Tyler is second in the USAC Silver Crown national point standings. Steele is fifth, Yeley sixth.

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Engine diversity: Drivers using Oldsmobile Aurora engines may have claimed the first 18 spots in the True Value 500 on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway, but there still was plenty of diversity within the Aurora camp.

Five independent Oldsmobile engine builders were represented in the top six finishers. Katech built engines for winner Billy Boat and third-place Kenny Brack, Brayton Engineering for runner-up Greg Ray and fifth-place Scott Sharp, Speedway Engine Development for fourth-place Scott Goodyear and Team Menard for sixth-place Robbie Buhl.

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Getting a grip: One of the unknowns entering the True Value 500 on June 6 was how racing tires would respond to the freshly paved, reconfigured 1.5-mile quad-oval at Texas Motor Speedway.

Tires produced by Goodyear and Firestone responded quite well, thank you. Just take a look at the numbers.

Tony Stewart won the pole at 224.448 mph - the fastest pole lap ever by a new-formula Pep Boys Indy Racing League car - in his Glidden-Menards Special Dallara/Aurora/Firestone. Stewart then turned the fastest lap ever by a new-formula Pep Boys IRL car, 228.012 mph, on Lap 86.

Billy Boat earned his first Pep Boys IRL victory in the Conseco-A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Greg Ray was second, just 0.928 of a second back in his AT&T Wireless Services Dallara/Aurora/Firestone. Sure tire traction - and a healthy set of nerves -- played big roles in the thrilling, side-by-side racing for the lead between Boat and Ray late in the race.

The wide range of air and track temperatures during the event made the tire performance even more impressive. Air and track temperatures approached 100 and 140 degrees during practice Thursday, while both air and track temperatures dropped into the 80's at the start of the first night race on the 1998 Pep Boys IRL schedule.

"With the repaving and reconfiguration of this track, we knew here was a little gray area coming into this weekend," said Paul Lauritzen, Goodyear operations manager for the Pep Boys IRL. "But we knew enough about the layout and the expected surface that we could plan accordingly with our primary and option tires.

"There is quite a bit of similarity between this track and Indy, in terms of high-speed racing and the need for a proper mix of speed and durability. Obviously, we were correct at Indy, and the teams using our tires have been real happy with the grip of the tires that we've brought here. The drivers tell us they have a lot of confidence in the tires on this new track."

Said Page Mader, Firestone Racing senior project engineer: "Our drivers told us their Firehawks provided consistent performance lap after lap - a big plus when setting up a car for a track that's been changed as much as this one has since last year. Despite the wide range in temperatures, there were no durability problems with our tires."

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Next event: New Hampshire 200, June 28, New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon, N.H. Tickets are available by calling New Hampshire International Speedway at (603) 783-4931.

Source: IMS/IRL

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Greg Ray , Robbie Buhl , Scott Sharp , Billy Boat , Scott Goodyear , Kenny Brack , J.J. Yeley , Dave Steele , Brian Tyler , Paul Lau , A.J. Foyt