Contact: Rick Voegelin High Performance Communications FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AURORA V8 WINS FIFTH STRAIGHT IRL RACE Oldsmobile Powers Top 15 Drivers and Leads Every Lap; Aurora Engines Have Perfect Reliability in ...
Contact: Rick Voegelin High Performance Communications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AURORA V8 WINS FIFTH STRAIGHT IRL RACE
Oldsmobile Powers Top 15 Drivers and Leads Every Lap; Aurora Engines Have Perfect Reliability in Samsonite 200
Fountain, Colo.; June 29, 1997 -- Tony Stewart drove Team Menard's Aurora-powered Indy car to victory today in the inaugural Indy Racing League Samsonite 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Stewart's victory extended Oldsmobile's IRL winning streak to five straight races.
The production-based Indy Aurora V8 swept the top 15 finishing positions and led every racing lap at PPIR. The Aurora V8 had a perfect reliability record in the 200-mile race, with no reported engine problems by teams using Oldsmobile engines. Twelve cars were running at the finish -- all powered by Aurora V8s. Ten cars were eliminated in accidents.
An announced crowd of 38,100 spectators saw Tony Stewart score his first career IRL victory in the series' debut at mile-high Pikes Peak International Raceway. Aurora racer Stephan Gregoire was runner-up, and series points leader Davey Hamilton was third.
"I knew I had a good enough car to be there at the end," said Stewart. "The motor ran flawlessly all day. All the pieces were there -- we just needed Lady Luck.
"To come into the '97 season with a new engine and chassis package, and to be halfway through the season and have a race with no engine failures is pretty remarkable," Stewart added. "It shows the commitment that Oldsmobile and Nissan have made to this series, and how hard everyone is really working to make these reliable and fast engines."
Aurora V8 engines dominated the event, leading all 200 laps. Stewart led 193 circuits, the most laps led by a driver in a single IRL race. Oldsmobile engines have now led every racing lap in IRL competition in 1997 -- a total of 957 laps (1361 miles). Oldsmobile leads the IRL Manufacturers Championship with 55 points, the maximum number of points available.
Stewart, the pole winner at Orlando, Phoenix, and Fort Worth, started on the outside front row in Team Menard's Aurora-equipped Glidden-Menards Special. Scott Sharp put A.J. Foyt's Aurora-powered Conseco Indy car on the pole with a fast lap of 176.117 mph, making PPIR the fastest one-mile oval on the IRL circuit and extending the Indy Aurora V8's perfect qualifying record to five straight poles. Sharp was admitted to Penrose Hospital after a first-lap accident in which he sustained a sub-dural brain hemorrhage.
Twenty of the 22 starters (90% of the field) used Indy Aurora V8 engines -- including the 18 fastest qualifiers. Pagan Racing, the latest team to switch to Oldsmobile, qualified driver Roberto Guerrero fifth on the grid in his first race with Aurora power. The two Infiniti drivers in the Samsonite 200 field qualified 19th and 20th.
The next event for the Indy Aurora V8 will be the inaugural Charlotte 500K at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, on July 26, 1997.
IRL SAMSONITE 200 RESULTS
Driver Entrant Engine Laps Status 1. Tony Stewart Team Menard Aurora 200 Running 2. Stephan Gregoire Chastain Motorsports Aurora 200 Running 3. Davey Hamilton A.J. Foyt Ent. Aurora 200 Running 4. Eddie Cheever Team Cheever Aurora 200 Running 5. Buzz Calkins Bradley Motorsports Aurora 200 Running 6. Vincenzo Sospiri Team Scandia Aurora 200 Running 7. Scott Goodyear Treadway Racing Aurora 200 Running 8. Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn Racing Aurora 198 Running 9. Affonso Giaffone Chitwood Motorsports Aurora 196 Running 10. Robbie Groff McCormack Motorsports Aurora 193 Spin 11. Mark Dismore Kelley Automotive Grp. Aurora 192 Running 12. Eliseo Salazar Team Scandia Aurora 190 Running 13. Marco Greco Galles Racing Aurora 190 Running 14. Kenny Brack Galles Racing Aurora 179 Accident 15. Arie Luyendyk Treadway Racing Aurora 163 Accident 16. Jack Miller Arizona Motorsports Infiniti 141 Accident 17. Greg Ray Knapp Motorsport Aurora 108 Accident 18. Roberto Guerrero Pagan Racing Aurora 85 Accident 19. Billy Boat PDM Racing Aurora 83 Accident 20. Jimmy Kite Team Scandia Aurora 39 Accident 21. Johnny Unser Byrd-Cunningham Racing Infiniti 23 Accident 22. Scott Sharp A.J. Foyt Ent. Aurora 0 Accident
Lap Leaders 1. Tony Stewart Aurora 193 2. Stephan Gregoire Aurora 5 3. Arie Luyendyk Aurora 1 4. Scott Goodyear Aurora 1
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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 29-Jun-1997