FORT WORTH, Texas, Thursday, June 8, 2000 -- Scott Goodyear sat on top of the Indy Racing world when he departed Texas Motor Speedway last June. And why not? He had won his second race in four starts and held a 19-point lead in...
FORT WORTH, Texas, Thursday, June 8, 2000 -- Scott Goodyear sat on top of the Indy Racing world when he departed Texas Motor Speedway last June. And why not? He had won his second race in four starts and held a 19-point lead in the standings. Then the racing gremlins infested his car. When the season ended, he had slipped to ninth in the final points rundown. Goodyear and the Pennzoil Panther Racing team returns to Texas Motor Speedway this week for the Casino Magic 500 on June 10, and he is feeling good about his situation in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series points chase although he isn't leading. After four races, Goodyear is tied for second with Robbie Buhl behind leader Buddy Lazier. Lazier, second-place finisher in the Indianapolis 500 two weeks ago, holds the top position with 138 points. Goodyear and Lazier follow with 112 each. "I still feel we have a couple of wins in us this year," Goodyear said. "The run to the championship should favor us. I feel comfortable about the races coming up." Goodyear believes he performs best on the 1.5-mile ovals. In six of his first eight Indy Racing starts at Texas, Charlotte, Las Vegas and Atlanta, Goodyear had a second, two thirds and three fourths. His only poor showings were a pair of 22nd-place finishes at Texas and Vegas at the end of 1998. But after his win at Texas last June, he followed with finishes of 16th, 25th, 23rd at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Texas, and added a 12th in April 2000 at Las Vegas. "Though we were not the fastest, we had great pit strategy (at Vegas)," he said. "Then we had an oil fitting break loose (when he was leading). It was sufficient to start oil seeping on the exhaust. It was making smoke and looked a lot worse than it was." Indy Racing officials called Goodyear off the track after 192 laps. Goodyear said it was a correct decision, adding that the other competitors should not be put at risk. Goodyear was most upset with his ninth-place finish at Indy. He was a lap behind when Juan Montoya took the checkered flag. "A lot of people would be happy to finish at Indy in the top 10," he said. "For me, it was a disappointment. "The overall problem this year is finishing and not being competitive. I really was competitive. I think maybe we haven't got a complete handle on the new chassis and tires." The team used a G Force chassis and Goodyear tires last year. This year, Goodyear is driving a Dallara with Firestone tires. Despite the tough adjustment period to the new chassis and tires, Goodyear indicated that rash moves aren't in his game plan for the remaining races this year. "You don't do a banzai move halfway through the race," he said. "That's not the thing to do. "The thing is, you don't want to put yourself out early. You've got to be smart in traffic and not put yourself in jeopardy." Reflecting on last year, he noted he led 52 laps at Atlanta until the alternator failed and led 65 laps last fall at Texas until an accident took him out after 115 laps. That's why he thinks his team doesn't have to do anything differently in the remaining races. "We just had bad luck," he said. "Everything that happened was out of the realm of what the crew did. In my opinion, there was no fault of our own. We did everything right." So now Goodyear needs some good luck in the remaining five races. "I think it (championship) will be very close. You have to be there at the finish, or you won't win it."
CASINO MAGIC 500 NOTEBOOK
Schedule: The Casino Magic 500 starts at 7 p.m. (CDT) June 10. MBNA Pole Qualifying starts at 8:30 p.m. June 8. Practice sessions start at 3 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. June 8, and 1:45 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. June 9.
On the air: The Casino Magic 500 will be televised live on ESPN at 8 p.m. (EDT) June 10. "Indy Racing 2Day" will be televised live at 3:30 p.m. June 10 on ESPN2.
ESPN2 will televise MBNA Pole qualifying at 9:30 p.m. (EDT) June 8.
The Indy Racing Radio Network will broadcast a 30-minute prerace show at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) June 10, followed by the live race broadcast at 8 p.m.
The IRRN race broadcast also will be available live on the Internet at www.indyracing.com as part of a partnership between Indy Racing Online and Yahoo!/broadcast.com, the world's leading Web broadcast site. *** Tickets: Tickets for the Casino Magic 500 are available by calling (817) 215-8500, through Ticketmaster outlets in Texas by calling (214) 373-8000 or (972) 647-5700. Tickets also are available online at www.ticketmaster.com .