IRL: Phoenix MCI WorldCom 200 Entry Report

NO SHORTAGE OF MOTIVATION HEADING INTO MCI WORLDCOM 200 Pep Boys Indy Racing League field is wide open for Phoenix classic By Ron Green indyracingleague.com PHOENIX, March 17, 1999 - Every team and driver in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League...

NO SHORTAGE OF MOTIVATION HEADING INTO MCI WORLDCOM 200 Pep Boys Indy Racing League field is wide open for Phoenix classic

By Ron Green indyracingleague.com

PHOENIX, March 17, 1999 - Every team and driver in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League has reasons to win the MCI WorldCom 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Kelley Racing and its drivers, Scott Sharp and Mark Dismore, could list a scroll full of reasons why they should or could win this desert classic. Sharp is the defending Phoenix race winner and would like to be the first repeat Pep Boys Indy Racing League winner at one event by driving his Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear into victory circle. He will get his chance March 28. The MCI WorldCom 200, a 200-lap race, begins at 2 p.m. (MST) and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports Net. If recording a repeat win is not enough incentive for Sharp to win, maybe redemption is. Though he finished the recent "Test in the West" at PIR tied for the second-fastest time, Sharp ended the test driving a backup car after the 1-mile oval bit him. In cool conditions, Sharp spun, and his car backed into the Turn 2 wall. The car sustained light rear-end damage. Motivation and momentum, always two key elements to a victory, may put a first-time winner in the MCI WorldCom 200 winner's circle. Dismore, Sharp's teammate at Kelley Racing, is as hungry as a driver can be. In 1998, Dismore led in three races but came up short each time at the checkered flag. At the "Test in the West," Dismore topped the speed charts after the two-day test. He wheeled his MCI WorldCom Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear to a lap average of 175.627 mph (20.498 seconds). That's faster than last year's PPG Pole speed of 172.753 set by Jeff Ward. Another driver with a strong reason to win is Greg Ray. Ray replaced Tony Stewart in the Team Menard seat in 1999 after Stewart completed his transition to full-time stock car racing. Stewart started third and finished second at Phoenix in 1998 in the Menards-Glidden Dallara/Aurora/Firestone, one of the most coveted rides in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League. Under the comparison microscope, Ray is performing well. He tied Sharp at the "Test in the West" with the second-fastest speed and has been fast in Firestone tire testing sessions. Two other favorites to win the MCI WorldCom 200 are local Phoenix favorites. Billy Boat, driving the A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Aurora, was born in Phoenix and lives in nearby Glendale. Boat finished third in last year's race after starting second. Quickly rising to Pep Boys Indy Racing League royalty is Phoenix-born Eddie Cheever. As a car owner and three-time winner in the young series, Cheever is respected. His win in the Indianapolis 500 last year was the obvious feather in his racing career cap. Though Cheever finished 10th in the 1998 Phoenix race after starting 20th, he must be considered a threat. His other two wins have come at the roller coaster Walt Disney World Speedway, including the 1999 season-opening TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200, proving he knows his way around tricky, 1-mile ovals. Pep Boys Indy Racing League reigning champion Kenny Brack made his breakthrough win in 1999 at the superspeedway in Charlotte, but he proved he can win on a 1-mile track when he won at Pikes Peak in the very next race. So you can't count out Brack. And who knows, the MCI WorldCom 200 could yield a surprise winner like it did in 1997. Many along pit road raised an eyebrow when Jim Guthrie put the small-budget Blueprint Racing machine on the front row next to powerhouse Stewart. But his upset victory over Stewart stunned the racing community. Maybe it can happen again.

MCI WORLDCOM 200 NOTEBOOK

Schedule: The MCI WorldCom 200 starts at 2 p.m. (MST) March 28. PPG Pole qualifying starts at 11:20 a.m. March 27. Practice sessions start at 10:45 a.m. and 2:40 p.m. March 26, 8:35 a.m. March 27 and 9:15 a.m. March 28.

***

On the air: The MCI WorldCom 200 will be televised live at 4 p.m. (EST) March 28 on FOX Sports Net, the network's debut Pep Boys Indy Racing League telecast. SpeedVision will televise PPG Pole qualifying at 2 p.m. (EST) March 27. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network will broadcast a 30-minute pre-race show at 3:30 p.m. (EST) March 28, followed by the live race broadcast at 4 p.m. A 30-minute PPG Pole qualifying show will start at 3 p.m. (EST) March 27 on the IMS Radio Network. The Phoenix-area IMS affiliate is KGME-AM Sports Radio 1360, Phoenix.

*** Tickets: Tickets are available for the MCI WorldCom 200 on March 28. Call (602) 252-2227 for more information. Ticket information also is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.daytonausa.com/pir/

Pep Boys Indy Racing League MCI WorldCom 200 At Phoenix International Raceway March 28, 1999 Official Entry List Car Driver Residence Car Name C/E/T Entrant Chief Mechanic 2 Greg Ray Plano, Texas Glidden/Menards D/A/F Team Menard John O'Gara 2T Greg Ray Plano, Texas Glidden/Menards D/A/F Team Menard John O'Gara 3 Andy Michner Ann Arbor, Mich. Brant Racing R&S MKV R/A/G Brant Racing Mike Anderson 3T Andy Michner Ann Arbor, Mich. Brant Racing R&S MKV R/A/G Brant Racing Mike Anderson 4 Scott Goodyear Carmel, Ind. Pennzoil Panther G Force G/A/G Panther Racing LLC Kevin Blanch 4T Scott Goodyear Carmel, Ind. Pennzoil Panther G Force G/A/G Panther Racing LLC Kevin Blanch 6 Eliseo Salazar Santiago, Chile Nienhouse Motorsports Racing Special G/A/F Nienhouse Motorsports Don Basala 6T Eliseo Salazar Santiago, Chile Nienhouse Motorsports Racing Special G/A/F Nienhouse Motorsports Don Basala 7 Stephan Gregoire Indianapolis Mexmil/Tokheim/Viking Air Tools G/A/F Dick Simon Racing Rich Simon 8 Scott Sharp Carmel, Ind. Delphi Automotive Systems D/A/G Kelley Racing Mike Horvath 8T Scott Sharp Carmel, Ind. Delphi Automotive Systems D/A/G Kelley Racing Mike Horvath 10 John Paul Jr. W. Palm Beach, Fla. Jonathan Byrd's/VisionAire/Firestone G/A/F Jonathan Byrd Cunningham Racing LLC Mark Olson 10T John Paul Jr. W. Palm Beach, Fla. Jonathan Byrd's/VisionAire/Firestone G/A/F Jonathan Byrd Cunningham Racing LLC Mark Olson 11 Billy Boat Phoenix A.J. Foyt Racing D/A/G A.J. Foyt Enterprises Craig Baranouski 11T Billy Boat Phoenix A.J. Foyt Racing D/A/G A.J. Foyt Enterprises Craig Baranouski 12 Buzz Calkins Denver Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat D/A/F Bradley Motorsports Todd Tapply 12T Buzz Calkins Denver Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat G/A/F Bradley Motorsports Todd Tapply 14 Kenny Brack Karlstad, Sweden A.J. Foyt PowerTeam Racing D/A/G A.J. Foyt Enterprises Bill Spencer 14T Kenny Brack Karlstad, Sweden A.J. Foyt PowerTeam Racing D/A/G A.J. Foyt Enterprises Bill Spencer 15 Jaques Lazier (R) Vail, Colo. Tivoli Lodge G Force G/I/G DR Motorsports, Inc. Ron Clark 16 Marco Greco Sao Paulo, Brazil Phoenix Racing G/A/F Phoenix Racing Derren Russell 18 TBA TBA Earl's Performance Ice House Beer PDM Racing G/A/G PDM Racing, Inc. Paul Murphy 18T TBA TBA Earl's Performance Ice House Beer PDM Racing G/A/G PDM Racing, Inc. Paul Murphy 20 Tyce Carlson Indianapolis Blueprint-Immke Racing D/A/F Blueprint-Immke Racing Greg Beck 21 Jeff Ward San Juan Capistrano, Calif. Pagan Racing Dallara Oldsmobile D/A/G Pagan Racing Mitch Davis 25 Davey Hamilton Las Vegas Barnhart Motorsports/Spinal Victory D/A/G Barnhart Motorsports, Inc. Brian Nott 25T Davey Hamilton Las Vegas Barnhart Motorsports/Spinal Victory D/A/G Barnhart Motorsports, Inc. Brian Nott 28 Mark Dismore Greenfield, Ind. MCI WorldCom D/A/G Kelley Racing Ron Heck 28T Mark Dismore Greenfield, Ind. MCI WorldCom D/A/G Kelley Racing Ron Heck 30 Raul Boesel Curitiba, Brazil TransWorld Racing/McCormack Motorsports G/A/F McCormack Motorsports Brad McCanless 30T Raul Boesel Curitiba, Brazil TransWorld Racing/McCormack Motorsports G/A/F McCormack Motorsports Brad McCanless 33 Roberto Moreno Monaco Truscelli Team Racing G/A/G Truscelli Team Racing Joe Wanninger 33T Roberto Moreno Monaco Truscelli Team Racing G/A/G Truscelli Team Racing Joe Wanninger 35 Steve Knapp Salem, Wis. Thermo Tech ISM Racing Goodyear Aurora G/A/G ISM Racing Chuck Buckman Jr. 35T Steve Knapp Salem, Wis. Thermo Tech ISM Racing Goodyear Aurora G/A/G ISM Racing Chuck Buckman Jr. 42 John Hollansworth Jr. (R) Dallas Pcsave.com/Lycos/Feed the Children/Dallara D/A/F TeamXtreme Racing, LLC Rob Stark 42T John Hollansworth Jr. (R) Dallas Pcsave.com/Lycos/Feed the Children/Dallara D/A/F TeamXtreme Racing, LLC Rob Stark 44 Robbie Buhl Indianapolis Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/SRS D/I/F Sinden Racing Service Joe Kennedy 44T Robbie Buhl Indianapolis Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/SRS D/I/F Sinden Racing Service Joe Kennedy 50 Roberto Guerrero San Juan Capistrano, Calif. #50 Cobb Racing Infiniti G/I/F Cobb Racing Phil Spano 50T Roberto Guerrero San Juan Capistrano, Calif. #50 Cobb Racing Infiniti G/I/F Cobb Racing Phil Spano 51 Eddie Cheever Jr. Orlando, Fla. Rachel's Gourmet Potato Chips/The Children's Beverage Group D/A/G Team Cheever Owen Snyder 51T Eddie Cheever Jr. Orlando, Fla. Rachel's Gourmet Potato Chips/The Children's Beverage Group D/A/G Team Cheever Owen Snyder 66 Scott Harrington (R) Indianapolis Harrington Motorsports Dallara Infiniti D/I/F Harrington Motorsports Steve Dunlap 66T Scott Harrington (R) Indianapolis Harrington Motorsports Dallara Infiniti D/A/F Harrington Motorsports Steve Dunlap 81 Robby Unser Albuquerque, N.M. Team Pelfrey/Enginetics D/A/F Team Pelfrey TBA 91 Buddy Lazier Vail, Colo. Delta Faucet/Coors Light/Hemelgarn Racing D/A/G Hemelgarn Racing, Inc. Dennis LaCava 91T Buddy Lazier Vail, Colo. Delta Faucet/Coors Light/Hemelgarn Racing D/A/G Hemelgarn Racing, Inc. Dennis LaCava 98 Donnie Beechler Springfield, Ill. Cahill Racing/Firestone/Oldsmobile/Dallara D/A/F Cahill Racing Kevin Hertle 98T Donnie Beechler Springfield, Ill. Cahill Racing/Firestone/Oldsmobile/Dallara D/A/F Cahill Racing Kevin Hertle 99 Sam Schmidt Las Vegas Sprint PCS G/A/F Treadway Racing, LLC Rick Hurford 99T Sam Schmidt Las Vegas Sprint PCS G/A/F Treadway Racing, LLC Rick Hurford Legend: Chassis: D=Dallara, G=G Force, R=Riley & Scott. Engine: A=Oldsmobile Aurora

EVENT SCHEDULE March 25-28, 1999 (All Times Local, Subject to Change) Thursday, March 25 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. PIR and Indy Racing League Credential Office Open

Friday, March 26 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. PIR and Indy Racing League Credential Office Open 8 a.m. Public Gates Open 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. PIR Ticket Office Open 8 - 8:30 a.m. U.S. F2000 Practice 8:40 - 9:35 a.m. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) Practice 9:40 - 10:35 a.m. Winston West Practice 10:45 - 11:35 a.m. Pep Boys Indy Racing League Practice (First group) 11:35 a.m - 12:25 p.m. Pep Boys Indy Racing League Practice (Second group) 12:35 - 1:30 p.m. NCTS Practice 1:35 - 2:30 p.m. Winston West Practice 2:40 - 3:15 p.m. Pep Boys Indy Racing League Practice (First group) 3:15 - 3:50 p.m. Pep Boys Indy Racing League Practice (Second group) 4 - 6:15 p.m. NCTS Qualifications, Winston West Qualifications, NCTS Practice 6:30 p.m. Track Closes

Saturday, March 27

7 a.m. - 5 p.m. PIR and Indy Racing League Credential Office Open 8 a.m. Public Gates Open 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. PIR Ticket Office Open 8 - 8:25 a.m. U.S. F2000 Practice 8:35 - 9:20 a.m. Pep Boys Indy Racing League Practice (First group) 9:20 - 10:05 a.m. Pep Boys Indy Racing League Practice (Second group) 10:15 - 11:15 a.m. U.S. F2000 Qualifications 11:20 a.m. - 12:50 p.m. Pep Boys Indy Racing League PPG Pole Qualifications 2 p.m. Chevy Trucks NASCAR 150 Race 4 p.m. Winston West 100 Race 6:30 p.m. Track Closes

Sunday, March 28

7 a.m. - noon PIR and Indy Racing League Credential Office Open 8 a.m. Public Gates Open 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. PIR Ticket Office Open 9:15 - 9:45 a.m. Pep Boys Indy Racing League Final Practice 10 - 10:15 a.m. U.S. F2000 Practice Noon U.S. F2000 Race 1:15 p.m. Grid Pep Boys Indy Racing League cars 1:30 p.m. Pep Boys Indy Racing League driver introductions 2 p.m. MCI WorldCom 200 at Phoenix International Raceway (200 laps) 6:30 p.m. Track Closes

MCI WorldCom 200 FAST FACTS WHAT: MCI WORLDCOM 200 Second of 11 races in the 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League

WHERE: Phoenix International Raceway 1-mile paved oval WHEN: 2 p.m. (MST) Sunday, March 28, 1999 DISTANCE: 200 miles/200 laps POSTED AWARDS: More than $1 million

CARS: Dallara, G Force and Riley & Scott chassis; Oldsmobile Aurora V8 and Nissan Infiniti Indy V8 engines; Firestone and Goodyear tires 1998 RACE WINNER: Scott Sharp 1998 PEP BOYS IRL Kenny Brack CHAMPION: CURRENT POINTS Eddie Cheever Jr. LEADER: TV: (Race) FOX Sports Net (live), 4 p.m. (EST), March 28 Announcers: Dave Calabro, Jack Arute, Arie Luyendyk Pit reporters: Vince Welch, Calvin Fish (Qualifying) SpeedVision, 2 p.m. (EST), March 27 Announcers: Dave Calabro, Jack Arute, Arie Luyendyk Pit reporters: Vince Welch, Calvin Fish RADIO: (Race) IMS Radio Network (live), 4 p.m. (EST) March 28. Pre-race show starts at 3:30 p.m. Area affiliate is KGME-AM, 1360, Phoenix. Announcers: Mike King, Gary Lee Pit reporters: Mark Jaynes, Steve Overmyer Turn reporter: Jerry Baker (Qualifying) IMS Radio Network, 3 p.m. (EST) March 27. Area affiliate is KGME-AM, 1360, Phoenix. Announcers: Mike King, Gary Lee Pit reporters: Mark Jaynes, Steve Overmyer Turn reporter: Jerry Baker SCHEDULE (all times local): (March 26) 7 a.m.: Pep Boys IRL garage opens 10:45 a.m.-12:25 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL practice (two groups) 2:40-3:50 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL practice (two groups) (March 27) 7 a.m.: Pep Boys IRL garage opens 8:35-10:05 a.m.: Pep Boys IRL practice (two groups) 11:20 a.m.-12:50 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL PPG Pole qualifying (March 28) 7 a.m.: Pep Boys IRL garage opens 9:15-9:45 a.m.: Pep Boys IRL final practice (all starters) 1:15 p.m.: Pep Boys IRL cars to grid 2 p.m.: Start of MCI World Com 200 (200 miles/200 laps) TRACK RECORDS: (Qualifying) Arie Luyendyk, 19.608 seconds, 183.599 mph, March 23, 1996 (IRL event, turbocharged engine) Jeff Ward, 20.839 seconds, 172.753 mph, March 21, 1998 (IRL event, normally aspirated engine) (Race) Roberto Guerrero, 1 hour, 26 minutes,56.62 seconds, Average speed: 138.020 mph. April 12, 1987 (CART event, turbocharged engine) Scott Sharp, 2 hours, 2 minutes, 18.735 seconds, Average speed: 98.110 mph March 22, 1998 (IRL event, normally aspirated engine) THE TRACK: 1-mile paved oval Width: 56-71 feet Front straightaway: 1,179 feet long Back straightaway: 1,551 feet long Banking: Turns 1-2: 11 degrees; Turns 3-4: 9 degrees Facility opened in 1964 THE RACE: This Pep Boys Indy Racing League event has taken place annually at Phoenix International Raceway since 1996. Arie Luyendyk won in 1996, Jim Guthrie in 1997, Scott Sharp in 1998. Luyendyk sat on the PPG Pole in 1996, Tony Stewart in 1997, Jeff Ward in 1998.

RACE NOTES: Kelley Racing teammates Mark Dismore and Scott Sharp were the top two drivers on the speed charts during the annual "Test in the West" Feb. 26-27 at Phoenix International Raceway. Dismore was fastest at 175.627 mph in his MCI WorldCom Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Sharp was second at 175.593 in his Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Greg Ray tied Sharp for second at 175.593 in his Menards Dallara/Aurora/Firestone. 1998 Pep Boys Indy Racing League Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year Robby Unser is scheduled to make his Phoenix International Raceway debut with Team Pelfrey. Unser, son of three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser, made his league debut at the Indianapolis 500 last May. Jaques Lazier, younger brother of 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier, is scheduled to make his Pep Boys Indy Racing League debut at this event with DR Motorsports. Pep Boys Indy Racing League standout Billy Boat lives in Glendale, a Phoenix suburb. Pep Boys Indy Racing League points leader Eddie Cheever is a Phoenix native. Cheever, who now lives in Orlando, Fla., won the season-opening TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway on Jan. 24 in his Rachel's Gourmet Potato Chips-Children's Beverage Group Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. If the numbers are any indication, watch for strong finishes from Stephan Gregoire and Buzz Calkins at this event. Both have finished in the top 10 in all three Indy Racing League events at PIR, and Gregoire has an average finish of 5.3, tops among all drivers with three career Indy Racing League starts at PIR. CART and Formula One veteran Roberto Moreno is scheduled to make his Pep Boys Indy Racing League debut with Team Truscelli Racing at this event. Prominent actors Jason Priestley and Grant Show are the grand marshals for this event. Priestley is best known for his role in the FOX hit, "Beverly Hills 90210," while Show formerly starred in the FOX hit, "Melrose Place." Both participate in road racing. SERIES NOTES: FOX Sports will broadcast a Pep Boys Indy Racing League event for the first time at this race. This event will be televised live at 4 p.m. (EST) March 28 on FOX Sports Net. It's the first of nine league race telecasts on either FOX Sports or FOX Sports Net this year. The FOX broadcast team includes Dave Calabro, Jack Arute, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, Vince Welch and Calvin Fish. Team Pelfrey unveiled Worldwide PetroMoly Inc. as the sponsor of its Dallara/Aurora/Firestone driven by 1998 Pep Boys Indy Racing League Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year Robby Unser. Worldwide PetroMoly Inc. manufactures, markets and distributes high-performance lubricants for use in all types of motor vehicles, compressor engines and railroad locomotives. Here's more proof of the highly competitive racing in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League: a race winner hasn't started on the front row since Billy Boat won in June 1998 at Texas Motor Speedway from the No. 2 starting spot. The winners of the eight races since then have started third or lower.

Source: IRL/IMS

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Buzz Calkins , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Jeff Ward , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Jim Guthrie , Scott Goodyear , Jaques Lazier  , Roberto Guerrero , Raul Boesel , Donnie Beechler , Roberto Moreno , Kenny Brack , Calvin Fish , Sam Schmidt , Bobby Unser , Steve Knapp , Tyce Carlson , Scott Harrington , Jason Priestley , Robby Unser , John Paul , Dick Simon , A.J. Foyt
Teams A.J. Foyt Enterprises , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing , Phoenix Racing