IRL: Pikes Peak Aurora report 97-06-29

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



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.


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

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Buzz Calkins , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Scott Goodyear , Roberto Guerrero , Jimmy Kite , Kenny Brack , Johnny Unser , Vincenzo Sospiri , A.J. Foyt , Jack Miller