Pennzoil Panther Racing and Scott Goodyear Finish 7th in First Pep Boys IRL Season Indianapolis -- Pennzoil Panther Racing and Scott Goodyear put the troubles of the Las Vegas 500K weekend behind them Sunday evening and are using the 7th...
Pennzoil Panther Racing and Scott Goodyear Finish 7th in First Pep Boys IRL Season
Indianapolis -- Pennzoil Panther Racing and Scott Goodyear put the troubles of the Las Vegas 500K weekend behind them Sunday evening and are using the 7th place finish in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League series championship as the foundation for a successful 1999.
Goodyear and the Panther "Pack" unloaded the #4 G Force/Aurora/Goodyear with high hopes for the season ending Las Vegas 500K. Unfortunately, a faulty gearbox in session one and a fire in the engine compartment in session two left the team with only a handful of practice laps heading into qualifying day.
On qualifying day, Goodyear was able to qualify the car in the 15th starting spot with an average speed of 208.655 mph. Goodyear's teammate, rookie Dave Steele qualified 26th at 201.178 mph.
During the race, Goodyear charged from 15th starting spot to high of 2nd during the middle portions of the race. But on the restart at lap 120, Goodyear was forced high while trying to pass Buzz Calkins going into turn one. The car got up in the grey and Goodyear had to get out of the throttle to avoid hitting the turn one wall. Unfortunately, the charging Jeff Ward didn't see Goodyear's sliding car and collided into the back of the Pennzoil Panther G Force ending Goodyear's day in the turn two wall. Goodyear was unhurt.
"This just wasn't our weekend. The Pennzoil Panther 'Pack' did a fantastic job getting the car in a position where we were competitive during the race and we were running in 2nd place when we ran out of fuel due to a faulty computer," Goodyear said. "The car was running well in traffic and was particularly strong after we had run about 15 laps on a fuel load."
Dave Steele suffered through a similarly frustrating weekend. The #43 Pennzoil Panther G Force was running in 21st when a severe understeer eventually caused Steele to brush the turn four wall ending his weekend.
"I have to thank Scott, the Panther 'Pack'" and Pennzoil for affording me the opportunity to run here at Vegas," said Steele, who drove for Panther at Texas Motor Speedway in September. "We struggled a bit this weekend, but I am looking forward to coming back and continuing to participate in the Pep Boys IRL."
While the year ending race was a frustrating experience for the Pennzoil Panther team, the year itself was pretty successful considering the team didn't exist a year ago. Consider the following:
* A 7th place finish in the year long battle for the Pep Boys IRL season championship. * Goodyear led four races for a total of 153 laps during 1998. * Goodyear had six top ten finishes in 1998. * Goodyear had seven top ten starts in 1998.
Team manager and co-owner John Barnes is looking forward to testing during the off-season to prepare for the 1999 Pep Boys IRL.
"We have a lot of testing planned for this winter which is something we weren't able to do last year since we were a new team," Barnes said. "I think we will come to Orlando for the season opener as prepared as anyone and I would hope we can get that first win toward the Pep Boys IRL championship at Walt Disney World."