David Reininger - Motorsport News International Fountain, CO (August 16, 1998) - Kenny Brack, driver of the A. J. Foyt Power Team Dallara Aurora, won his second consecutive Pep Boys IRL race this season at Pikes Peak International Raceway today.
David Reininger - Motorsport News International
Fountain, CO (August 16, 1998) - Kenny Brack, driver of the A. J. Foyt Power Team Dallara Aurora, won his second consecutive Pep Boys IRL race this season at Pikes Peak International Raceway today. Brack's previous win came three weeks ago at the VisionAire 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Brack finished today's 200 mile event in just under an hour and a half, the quickest IRL race in the leagues history.
The race was only slowed three times for caution periods. A total of twenty eight laps were run under yellow,
The last caution period came on lap 118 when leader, Jeff Ward, hit the wall between turns one and two. "I believe we cut a tire," Ward said. "I got high in turn four to pass traffic and I think that's where I cut the tire. The front end began to shake violently and I lifted to try to clear the marbles off the tires. As soon as I did that, I felt the tub hit the ground in turn one, then I was in the wall. It's pretty disappointing because we had such a good race car today."
Ward led three times in the race for a total of 97 laps.
All the front runners made their pit stops before the green reappeared on lap 130. With seventy laps to run to the finish it became apparent that the race would be an economy run for some.
"We started saving fuel about fifteen to twenty laps into the last run," Brack said. "I figured it was going to be close. We were kind of hoping there would be a couple of yellows."
"I could have ran quicker, but I tried to save fuel, and then I went to sixth gear pretty early. It came down to strategy at the end. I wasn't over nine-five, nine thousand five hundred revs the last five to six laps."
Brack ran out of fuel off the last turn, his engine quit and he coasted under the checkered flag. "The other people had the same problems, but we came out the best."
John Menard's duo of Robbie Buhl and Tony Stewart settled for second and third today after both drivers made late race splash and go stops for fuel. "Three gallons of fuel and we would have finished one-two," said team manager Larry Curry.
Buhl passed Brack for the lead with eleven laps to go but had to pit six laps later. Stewart was next to stop for service, one lap later,
"I didn't want to risk not finishing, so we made the decision not to run out of fuel," said Stewart. "We're pretty happy, We had by no means the dominant car. But at times, we had the best car."
Stephan Gregoire equaled his IRL career best with a fourth place finish today. "I lost a lap very early in the race so that hurt me," Gregoire explained. "Unfortunately the car was not handling very good at the beginning."
Gregoire reported a push on entry and a loose condition on exit to the turns. Between changes made during the pit stops and moving the roll bars in the car, Gregoire had enough to hold off Davey Hamilton in a duel at the end.
Hamilton finished fifth, his fifth consecutive top-ten finish. Hamilton led thirty eight laps but started to fade in traffic. Brack took the lead from Hamilton with thirty five laps to go.
"We had a right front tire in that last set that vibrated so bad that it was tough to hang on," Hamilton reported. "I knew I had a lot more speed but when I got in traffic is where it would really hurt me. Because it would take air off and then it would really start hopping. If it wasn't for that I think we had a great shot at winning the race".
Donnie Beechler finished tenth, the highest placing rookie. Beechler's previous best was 19th at Charlotte three weeks ago. "We just hung in there," Beechler said. "We had to come in for a splash and go. But that only cost us one spot". Beechler expects to compete in the final three rounds of IRL competition this season.
The Pep Boys IRL Series moves to Atlanta Motor Speedway for a Saturday night race under the lights in two weeks time. Atlanta will host round nine of the eleven race series.