FOUNTAIN, Colo., Aug. 29, 1999 - Greg Ray took a 44-point lead in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League point standings after holding off Davey Hamilton to win the Colorado Indy 200 presented by Deloitte & Touche Sunday at Pikes Peak ...
FOUNTAIN, Colo., Aug. 29, 1999 - Greg Ray took a 44-point lead in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League point standings after holding off Davey Hamilton to win the Colorado Indy 200 presented by Deloitte & Touche Sunday at Pikes Peak International Raceway. "Winning an Indy-car championship is a big, big deal," Ray said. "It would be a big, big step in my life, for me and my family." Ray, from Plano, Texas, took the points lead from Scott Goodyear after winning the PPG Pole and the race. Ray leads Goodyear, 246-202, with two races remaining this season. Mark Dismore finished third in the MCI WorldCom Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear, while Buddy Lazier was fourth in the Delta Faucet-Coors Light-Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Sam Schmidt rounded out the top five in the Sprint PCS G Force/Aurora/Firestone. Ray led four times for 146 laps on the 1-mile tri-oval, taking the lead for good on Lap 181 when Dismore made his final pit stop. Ray was forced to snake through lapped traffic while Hamilton and Dismore closed in on the rear of his Glidden-Menards Dallara/Aurora/Firestone. Hamilton pulled to within .407 of a second of Ray in his Galles Racing Spinal Conquest Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear with one lap to go as they passed the lapped Schmidt. But Ray pulled away slightly on the final lap to win by .445 of a second. He earned $159,000 for his league-leading third victory of the season, averaging 135.450 mph. The victory secured a season sweep of the two Indy Racing events at PPIR this season for Ray. He edged Schmidt by .120 of a second in the Radisson 200 on June 29. "At the end, it was deja vu all over again, with Davey right behind me," Ray said. "I passed Sam in (turns) 1 and 2, which I didn't want to do. I got both left-side tires below the white line, but it was what I thought I had to do to win." A quick pit stop on Lap 164 put Hamilton into contention for his first Indy Racing victory. But he had to settle for his fourth career runner-up finish. "There were a few times I had a run, but he had something to block me," Hamilton said of Ray. "I gave it all I had. It was a fun race." The point standings were jumbled considerably after this race. Ray jumped from second to first, while Goodyear fell out of the lead for the first time since the Indianapolis 500 in May. Goodyear finished 21st in the 24-car field after a lengthy pit stop to repair a loose plug on a water line in the Pennzoil Panther G Force/Aurora/Goodyear. Indianapolis 500 winner Kenny Brack remained third at 199 after finishing 10th in the A.J. Foyt Power Team Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Lazier jumped from ninth to fourth at 185, while Hamilton climbed from a tie for 10th to fifth. The next Indy Racing event is the Vegas.com 500 on Sept. 26 at Las Vegas.
GREG RAY (Winner): "I've said it all year long: This Glidden-Menard group has done a great job. Our race strategy is getting better. Our pit stops are getting better. I have a large amount of confidence in the car and in the team." (About the track): "You really have to push it here all race long. You can be five seconds ahead of someone, come up on traffic and see them close right in on you." (About last few laps of race): "I think I pulled some 20-second laps, and they told me that was way more than we needed to do. At the end, it was deja vu all over again, with Davey (Hamilton) right behind me. I had to back up on Sam (Schmidt) because I didn't want to get next to him and create a hole for Davey to come in. I passed Sam in (turns) 1 and 2, which I didn't want to do. I got both left-side tires below the white line, but it was what I thought I had to do to win. I was thinking points and the championship because a lot of our competition had trouble in the race." (About having lead in championship race): "I don't want to think about that much. I've always enjoyed being the underdog rather than the one everyone is going after." (About approach in final two races of season): "That's the whole thing: Don't drive different, don't think different." (About dominating series recently): "We're not doing anything different now from then. Things are just going our way. From Phoenix on, I felt we were capable. But there are 15 teams that are capable of winning any weekend. It feels good. I feel like we could have won every race this year. Like I said before, I'm not doing anything different than I did in January. I know who I am. I try not to be influenced by what people write. I just want to stick to my guns." (Was the car better at this race or your June win at PPIR?): "It was very similar. I think I had to change the car a lot more today with the sway bars. The wind changed a lot. Here the wind is a big factor. It really changes the way the car reacts from one end to the other." (About the championship chase): "Winning an Indy-car championship is a big, big deal. It would be a big, big step in my career and a big, big step in my life, for me and my family."
DAVEY HAMILTON (Second): "It was a fun race. After that last pit stop, we thought we had something for him (Greg Ray). The Galles team did a great job in the pits." (About ability to catch Ray but not pass him): "That was the deal. In clean air, I could go flat out around here. There were a few times I had a run, but he had something to block me. I gave it all I had. It was a fun race. I hope we were still going." (About racing between Ray and Mark Dismore at the end of the race): "I didn't play much defense today. I was playing offense. I was going for Greg because I needed to win today." (About Greg Ray): "He's tough. They've got it together. In this sport, you can get in that zone." (About being the only driver to finish in the top five at every PPIR Indy Racing event): "Maybe I better have a weekly show here. I like 1-mile ovals. It's my background from short-track racing." (About Goodyear tires): "I was really happy with the Goodyears. They brought a different tire from last time here. I wasn't thrilled about it, but when we got it out there I was happy." (About Ray's big lead in the middle of the race): "I knew he was tough. I usually don't like yellows. When you get it going, I like to keep it going. I like green-flag pit stops because the Galles team is so good at it." (About last two races of the season): "It's going to be a shootout. Right now, for myself, finishing second in the championships the last two years, I want to fight back. But we've got two really tough racetracks left."
MARK DISMORE (Third): "No complaints. We had a bit of an understeer problem." (About trying to pass Ray and Hamilton): "Greg and Davey aren't dummies, so they weren't going to leave the door open. Like Davey said, it was a fun race. I wish we were still out there, at least until I was in the lead. I'm happy. It's great to be on the podium. This really pushes us forward in the points championship. We had some understeer today. I couldn't really do much in the straights. I'm really proud of my guys. They gave me a great car today. The hard work seems to be paying off finally.
BUDDY LAZIER (Fourth): "We kept making the car better and better. We ran out of fuel. I was dead stick coming into the pits. We threw away what we worked all day for." (Was Greg Ray the fastest?): "There were many other strong cars, but he looked like the one you had to get by. We were a little off for a race or two, but we've been strong all year. We've just been falling a little short, but we're still in the championship hunt." (About fuel problem): "We had a strong car. It was running better and better. We ran out of fuel. There was air in the line."
SAM SCHMIDT (Fifth): "It really was the best we had. Our car got really loose in the corners. The guys did a great job with the car, and the Sprint PCS team did awesome with the fuel mileage." (About handling problem): "It was just about halfway through the first run. We just got a little loose in the middle of the corner. I had to slow the pace down a little too much. It killed us." (About last two races of season): "We've got nothing to lose. We've got to win a race now. We wanted to win this one and lead the whole thing. We'll take a top-five and go on to Vegas and see if we can win there."
SCOTT GOODYEAR (21st): "We had a good race car by the end of the day. I'm not sure if it was a winning car, but it was driveable. After we got the fitting replaced, I had a car I could take all over the track. So from that standpoint, we really made some progress. And that is where we wanted to be. The Pack did a great job today keeping me out there. I was just trying to make time and stay out of the way so I wouldn't affect the outcome of the race." (About championship): I'm disappointed, but at this point we've got to take it race by race. Keep in there and aim for the win."
TOP 10 IN PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE POINT STANDINGS: 1. Greg Ray 246 2. Scott Goodyear 202 3. Kenny Brack 199 4. Buddy Lazier 185 5. Davey Hamilton 180 6. Robby Unser 179 7. Eddie Cheever Jr. 177 Scott Sharp 177 Jeff Ward 177 10. Mark Dismore 176
.This was the third career Indy Racing victory for Greg Ray. It was the seventh victory for Team Menard, a league record. .Greg Ray became the third driver in Indy Racing League history to win two consecutive races. Arie Luyendyk achieved the feat in 1997, and Kenny Brack won three straight races last season en route to the season championship and Pep Boys Million. .This was the third victory of the season for Greg Ray, more than any other driver in the league. Scott Goodyear has two victories. .Greg Ray will win the Pep Boys Million as season champion if he finishes third or better in each of the last two events of the season, the Vegas.com 500 on Sept. 26 at Las Vegas and the Lone Star 500 on Oct. 17 at Fort Worth, Texas. .Thirteen drivers are still mathematically eligible to win the season championship with two races remaining. .Davey Hamilton finished second for the fourth time in his 32 career Indy Racing starts. He has finished in the top five in all four Indy Racing events at Pikes Peak International Raceway. .This was the quickest race in Indy Racing League history, as it took 1 hour, 28 minutes, 35.633 seconds to complete 200 laps. The previous record was 1 hour, 29 minutes, 28.676 seconds, set at the 1999 Radisson 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. .Mark Dismore finished third, an Indy Racing career best. His previous best was fifth in 1997 at Las Vegas and in 1998 at Orlando, Fla. .Greg Ray has led 408 laps this season, more than any other Indy Racing driver. Scott Goodyear is second with 265. .Sam Schmidt and Greg Ray both have led at least one lap in the last six Pep Boys Indy Racing League events. .Buzz Calkins was running at the finish for his 10th consecutive race, extending his Pep Boys Indy Racing League record. .Twenty-one cars were running at the finish, a league record. The previous best was 20 at the 1999 TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200 in January at Orlando, Fla., and at the 1999 Radisson 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. .A Team Menard driver has led 469 of the 800 laps in the four Indy Racing events at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Tony Stewart led a total of 214 in 1997 and 1998, while Greg Ray has led 255 in two races this year. .Scott Goodyear lost the Pep Boys Indy Racing League points lead for the first time since the Indianapolis 500 in May. .Davey Hamilton recorded the 12th top-five finish of his Indy Racing career, tying Scott Goodyear for the league record. Hamilton also recorded his 21st top-10 finish, extending his league record.