Fountain, Colo. (August 29, 1999) - Greg Ray, driving for Team Menard, led 146 of the 200 laps, including the last 19, to win today's Colorado Indy 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Coming into this event second in the point standings, Ray...
Fountain, Colo. (August 29, 1999) - Greg Ray, driving for Team Menard, led 146 of the 200 laps, including the last 19, to win today's Colorado Indy 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Coming into this event second in the point standings, Ray gained bonus points for the pole and for leading the most laps to vault ahead of Scott Goodyear by a 44 point advantage in the battle for the championship.
Ray crossed the finish line less than a half second ahead of second place finisher Davey Hamilton in the Galles Racing Spinal Conquest car. "You really have to push it here all race long," said Ray. "You can be five seconds ahead of someone, come up on traffic and see them close right in on you."
Hamilton, who finished second for the fourth time in his career, stayed behind Ray, trying to gain an advantage in traffic. "It was a fun race," Hamilton said. "We just got behind him and I thought maybe, in lapped traffic, we'd get a few shots at him, but he was a little faster today in traffic. I was a little faster in clean air, but we didn't have enough of it. We're happy to come home second."
After the race, Hamilton said he thought he had the fastest car on the track. "In open air I could almost go flat out around here and catch him fairly fast. I thought that I really had something for him, but as soon as I'd get in dirty air, it would shove the front end a little bit and I'd have to lift coming off the corners. There was a few times I had a run on him, he (Ray) said 'I hope I wasn't too bad on blocking you', but I would've done the same thing to him. That's racing. We were down to the end and he wanted it and I wanted it and every time I had a run, he had something to block me."
Mark Dismore, driver of the Kelley Racing MCI WorldCom entry, finished third, his career best.
"At the end, there were a couple of times I had a run on Greg and Davey, but they aren't stupid and they didn't leave the door open for me," Dismore said. "Everything we did today was just the right thing to do and it put us in a position to win at the end. I wish we were still out there, at least until I was in the lead."
Finishing fourth and moving into fourth place in the championship was Buddy Lazier, of Vail, Colo., in the Delta Faucet/Coors Light No. 91. "We had a really strong car," Lazier said. "My car ran great. But we ran out of fuel. There's just no two ways about it. I was dead stick all the way around. I was able to get it bump started going down the back straight-away, but there was air in the lines and the car wouldn't run. Bump starting it took me like 15 or 20 seconds to get it going, so we threw away what we had worked hard all day for. I had a great race car at the end. That's what's so disappointing, it's our home track, I had a fast car, I think we could have challenged had we not run out of gas.
Sam Schmidt, who finished fifth today in the Sprint PCS entry, has finished in the top-five in four out of the last five races. Starting from the outside of the front row, Schmidt led early in the race before handling problems dropped him to eighth. "It really was the best we had," said Schmidt. "Our car got really loose in the corners. I had to slow the pace down a little too much. It killed us."
"It's kind of sad to be disappointed with a top-five. Last year we would have killed for it. But we'll take it and go on to Vegas."
Round nine of the ten event Indy Racing League championship will be held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 26, 1999.