IRL: Phoenix qualifying

AURORA V8 WINS PHOENIX 200 POLE Oldsmobile Sweeps Top Ten Spots, Powers 17 of 20 Qualifiers Phoenix; March 22, 1997 -- Oldsmobile's production-based Indy Aurora V8 won its second consecutive pole in the Indy...

AURORA V8 WINS PHOENIX 200 POLE

Oldsmobile Sweeps Top Ten Spots, Powers 17 of 20 Qualifiers

Phoenix; March 22, 1997 -- Oldsmobile's production-based Indy Aurora V8 won its second consecutive pole in the Indy Racing League series today in qualifying at Phoenix International Raceway for the Phoenix 200. Tony Stewart led the 20 qualifiers with a speed of 170.012 mph in Team Menard's Aurora V8-powered G-Force chassis. Seventeen of the 20 qualifiers -- including the 10 fastest drivers -- used the new 4.0-liter Indy Aurora V8, which is based on the 32-valve DOHC engine that is available exclusively in the Aurora luxury performance sedan.

Other Top Ten Aurora qualifiers included (in order): 2. Jim Guthrie (169.484 mph --fastest rookie) 3. Scott Goodyear (166.044) 4. Arie Luyendyk (165.784) 5. Buzz Calkins (164.032) 6. Robbie Buhl (163.964) 7. Sam Schmidt (163.837) 8. Eddie Cheever, Jr. (163.510) 9. Marco Greco (163.495) 10. Kenny Brack (163.436)

Other Aurora qualifiers included John Paul, Jr. Jeret Schroeder, Davey Hamilton, Fermin Velez, Billy Roe, Jack Miller, and Stephan Gregoire. Aurora racers Scott Sharp and Affonso Giaffone did not make qualifying runs, and will start at the back of the grid. Three drivers used the Infiniti Indy engine: Roberto Guerrero (11th), Buddy Lazier (14th), and Mike Groff (17th).

Tony Stewart, pole sitter at the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World, collected his second $5,000 contingency award from Oldsmobile for winning the Phoenix 200 pole with Team Menard's Indy Aurora V8-powered G-Force chassis. "We made a couple of changes before qualifying, and I was surprised when we improved as much as we did," said Stewart. "It feels good to come out here with a new car and engine package. I have no concerns about the motor tomorrow. We've had no engine problems at this race or during the test when we ran a simulated 200-mile race -- knock on wood. We're just working on the car setup."

Rookie Jim Guthrie was the surprising second fastest qualifier in Blueprint Racing's Dallara powered by an Indy Aurora V8 built by NAC Engines. "The engine, car, and I have run a total of 640 miles," Guthrie reported. "We hope it will go 200 more tomorrow. The engine has been rebuilt several times with special attention to the bottom end; it's run 118 miles since the last overhaul."

The Indy Aurora V8 won the pole, won the race, and led every lap at the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World on January 25, the first event contested under the IRL's new engine formula. The Phoenix 200 is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. Eastern (2:00 p.m. local time) on Sunday, March 23, and will be televised live on ABC Sports.

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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 22-Mar-1997

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Buzz Calkins , Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Jim Guthrie , Scott Goodyear , Roberto Guerrero , Kenny Brack , Billy Roe , Sam Schmidt , Fermin Velez , John Paul , Jack Miller