ALL-OLDSMOBILE SHOW AT IRL DURA LUBE 200 Scott Sharp Leads IRL Aurora V8 Sweep as Oldsmobile Powers Entire Field at Phoenix International Raceway Phoenix, Ariz.; March 22, 1998 -- Oldsmobile couldn't lose in...
ALL-OLDSMOBILE SHOW AT IRL DURA LUBE 200
Scott Sharp Leads IRL Aurora V8 Sweep as Oldsmobile Powers Entire Field at Phoenix International Raceway
Phoenix, Ariz.; March 22, 1998 -- Oldsmobile couldn't lose in the Dura Lube 200 at Phoenix International Raceway, the second round of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League series. The entire field of 28 drivers took the green flag with Oldsmobile engines after the lone Nissan Infiniti entry failed to qualify. Scott Sharp extended Oldsmobile's winning streak in IRL competition to 10 straight races with a victory on the fast PIR one-mile oval in Kelley Racing's Delphi Automotive Systems Indy car.
"The motor ran really well," said Sharp after scoring his second career IRL victory. "We had a fuel pickup problem in practice, but once we got that straightened out, the engine ran just like it did when we tested here -- really fast. We had every bit of horsepower we needed in the race."
Sharp held off Team Menard driver Tony Stewart in a three-lap dash to the checkered flag after the final yellow flag. Billy Boat was third across the finish line stripe in A.J. Foyt's entry.
Sharp returned to the winner's circle after sitting out five races last season. "I dreamed about coming back this way," Sharp confided. "Winning today validates the faith that [car owner] Tom Kelley had in me. I've had more lows than highs since my last win, so this is a great way to rebound."
Four independent Oldsmobile engine builders were represented in the top four finishers in Phoenix: Brayton Engineering (Sharp, winner); Team Menard (Stewart, runner-up); Katech (Boat, third); and Speedway Engine Development (Stephan Gregoire, fourth).
Seventeen cars were running at the finish; seven were involved in accidents. Two engine-related problems were reported among the 28 Oldsmobile-powered entries (7 percent).
"We congratulate Scott Sharp and the Kelley Racing Team for putting the IRL Aurora V8 in the winner's circle for the tenth straight race," said Dennis Weglarz, Oldsmobile Specialty Vehicle manager. "And we salute GM Motorsports and the independent engine builders who have made a monumental effort to meet the demand for IRL Aurora V8 engines. When Oldsmobile committed its support to the IRL series, we never expected that we would supply the entire field."
The Dura Lube 200 was the final warm-up before the Indianapolis 500, the crown jewel of the IRL series. An open test session will be held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 14-18 in preparation for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" on May 24.
"Indy is the biggest race in the world," said Boat. "We needed a good finish to gain momentum. A.J. is very focused on winning Indy five times."
After winning the Indianapolis 500 in its first appearance, Oldsmobile will be aiming for a repeat performance at the Brickyard.
DURA LUBE 200 RESULTS
Top Five Finishers: Driver Entrant Engine Laps 1. Scott Sharp Kelley Racing Oldsmobile 200 2. Tony Stewart Team Menard Oldsmobile 200 3. Billy Boat A.J. Foyt Ent. Oldsmobile 200 4. Stephan Gregoire Chastain Mtrsprts Oldsmobile 199 5. Jeff Ward ISM Racing Oldsmobile 199
Pole: Jeff Ward/Oldsmobile/172.753 mph Fastest Lap: Tony Stewart/Oldsmobile, 163.66 mph
Lap Leaders 1. Tony Stewart Oldsmobile 127 laps 2. Scott Sharp Oldsmobile 30 3. Jeff Ward Oldsmobile 25 4. Billy Boat Oldsmobile 12 5. Eddie Cheever Oldsmobile 6
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