IRL: Pep Boys IRL Weekly Nottebook 98-06-22

INDIANAPOLIS, June 22, 1998 - Notes and quotes from the Pep Boys Indy Racing League: Jack's back: Popular driver Jack Hewitt will return to the Pep Boys IRL at the New England 200 on June 28 at New Hampshire ...

INDIANAPOLIS, June 22, 1998 - Notes and quotes from the Pep Boys Indy Racing League:

Jack's back: Popular driver Jack Hewitt will return to the Pep Boys IRL at the New England 200 on June 28 at New Hampshire International Speedway, driving the Parker Machinery G Force/Aurora/Goodyear in which he made his league debut last month at the Indianapolis 500.

Hewitt and PDM Racing didn't compete in the True Value 500 earlier this year at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Hewitt finished 12th at Indianapolis.

        Hewitt, 46, is the winningest USAC Silver Crown driver in history
and a two-time national champion in that division.  ***

Quick change: Chastain Motorsports and driver Stephan Gregoire will make a temporary switch to a Dallara chassis for the New England 200 on June 28 at Loudon, N.H.

Chastain leased a Dallara from Beck Motorsports because it didn't have enough time to fix its G Force chassis, heavily damaged in a crash early in the True Value 500 on June 6.

"The quickest way to do it was this way," team spokesman Pat Chastain said. "Our G Force was really fast at Loudon last year. We're not jumping ship on that car. It's possible that we'll fix the G Force and take both cars with us to Dover, using the Dallara as a backup.

"I think it's smart to have both cars."

The Pep Boys 400K is July 19 at Dover, Del., the next race on the schedule after the New England 200. The Chastain team was forced to make many changes to adapt to the Dallara, Chastain said. First, the team installed a new bell housing because Beck Motorsports had the car set up for an Infiniti engine. Chastain uses Aurora powerplants.

Then the Chastain crew, led by veteran chief mechanic Darrell Soppe, installed a new wiring harness and dashboard. Gregoire's seat needed extensive modification to fit in the Dallara, and the energy-absorbing padding that wraps around his head was reshaped to fit in the Dallara.

***

New England connection: As the Pep Boys IRL heads to New Hampshire for the New England 200 on June 28 at New Hampshire International Speedway, it will be a sort of homecoming for many league drivers and car owners.

1996 New England 200 winner Scott Sharp is a native of E. Norwalk, Conn. He graduated from Babson College in Babson Park, Mass., majoring in finance and investments.

Last year's winner, Robbie Buhl, graduated from New England College with a degree in business administration.

Davey Hamilton is a former standout in supermodified racing, popular in New England. 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier attended Curry College, just outside Boston.

Driver-owner Stan Wattles has deep roots in New England. He grew up in New Haven, Conn., and got his first taste of racing at age 5 in his father's modified Jaguar during time trials at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.

Wattles attended Eagle Hill School in Hardwick, Mass, North Yarmouth Academy in Maine, The Foreman School in Litchfield, Conn., Northeastern University in Boston and the University of Connecticut at Stamford. He also worked for an automotive research and design company in New Haven and was a teachers' aide at Eagle Hill School.

Dennis and Felicia McCormack, who own the TransWorld Diversified Services-BELOIT-McCormack Motorsports G Force/Aurora/Goodyear driven by Raul Boesel, are natives of Scituate, Mass.

***

Karting for a cause: Pep Boys IRL driver John Paul Jr. will be one of the featured guests June 26 during a kart race in the streets surrounding the New Hampshire state capitol building in Concord, N.H.

The race, featuring Indy-style mini karts, benefits Junior Achievement of New Hampshire. Paul will sign autographs and answer fan questions.

Paul will drive the Jonathan Byrd's VisionAire Bryant Heating & Cooling G Force/Aurora/Firestone in the New England 200, June 28 at New Hampshire International Speedway in nearby Loudon.

"The fans are such a vital part of any racing series," Paul said. "The fans of our series, in particular, are some of the most wonderful race fans you'll ever find. We feel like any time we can take the opportunity to give back to the people who support us, we should make the most of it, especially when we get to work with the wonderful people at Junior Achievement."

The Junior Achievement Mini-Indy Grand Prix is sponsored by New Hampshire International Speedway.

***

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

***

World Wide Web: http://www.indyracingleague.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robbie Buhl , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Raul Boesel , Jack Hewitt , Stan Wattles , John Paul