IRL: Scott Harrington Race Day

Harrington and the CertainTeed No. 66 Were the Story at PPIR Sunday FOUNTAIN, Colo., June 27 - Greg Ray won the race but Scott Harrington and the CertainTeed Building Products Dallara Aurora No. 66 were the stars of the Radisson 200...

Harrington and the CertainTeed No. 66 Were the Story at PPIR Sunday

FOUNTAIN, Colo., June 27 - Greg Ray won the race but Scott Harrington and the CertainTeed Building Products Dallara Aurora No. 66 were the stars of the Radisson 200 Sunday afternoon at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Racing with a broken right leg, torn ligaments and three cracked ribs, Harrington ran in the top 10 all day, in the top five most of the day, in the top three several different times, including just 17 laps from the end, and he was second for nine of the 200 laps. He clearly had the fastest car on the track for many laps, and at different times of the day he blew by the eventual winner and the runner-up, Sam Schmidt, like they were standing still instead of going 160 mph. His second and final pit stop went flawlessly on lap 159 and he was already back to third on lap 169 of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League event, drawing a bead on Schmidt and Ray. However, on lap 183, just 17 laps from the end, he had trouble getting around the lapped car of Scott Goodyear, got caught in some bad air and slapped the wall with the right side of his car in turn four, coming to a stop in turn one and retiring with suspension damage. His drive, his guts and his determination were the story of the day, but he ended up 19th in the official rundown instead of on the podium. Although bitterly disappointed, Harrington is a pro. Instead of going into hiding, he conducted his post-race interviews on a metal folding chair placed on the start/finish line on pit road, his crutches by his side. "The CertainTeed Building Products car was unbelievably hooked up," he declared. "I'm really disappointed because we've all worked so hard, but at least they know that we can do it and we're contenders. "In hindsight I should have bided my time a little more in passing that lapped car. In racing you're learning all the time, so we'll just learn from this I guess. I was trying to lap him and went low, and he came across. I then went up and just caught the marbles, and that was it. I ended up in the wall." One of the brightest spots for Harrington occurred when he passed both Robby Unser and Eddie Cheever on the same lap. "They were expecting me to go low, so I went high and passed them both," he said with a smile. "Darrell [Soppe] and the guys had the CertainTeed car set up so well, it was incredible," he said. "There near the end I was just reeling Ray and Schmidt in. I could just see myself closing on them. It was fabulous. The only thing wrong with the car all day was that it died on pit lane during both of our stops, and it got loose a couple of times. Other than that it was perfect. Our Aurora engine and our Firestone tires were great; we were up to the task." Although Harrington's drive was nothing short of spectacular, his day could have ended on the very first lap. The fifth-place starter, Tyce Carlson, spun in turn four and collected the seventh-place starter, Billy Boat. Harrington started eighth, so his view of that crash was too close for comfort. "It was beyond close," was the way he put it later. "I jumped on the binders, and I don't know how I missed it. I thought sure our race was over at that point. We lost several positions there because I had to get on the brakes so hard, but we made those positions up later." Harrington made his first pit stop for four Firestones and fuel on lap 78, but five laps later the second of the three yellows came out when Mark Dismore spun on pit road because he had no brakes. That was unfortunate timing for the CertainTeed team, because Ray, Schmidt, Davey Hamilton and Kenny Brack were all able to make their pit stops under that yellow instead of green. Harrington dropped to eleventh but he still persevered and had the CertainTeed No. 66 back into the top five by lap 127. He passed Schmidt for second place in turn four just 50 laps from the end, and his second and final pit stop for tires and fuel on lap 159 went flawlessly. Physically, Harrington said his legs and feet weren't too painful in the race, although it hurt when his legs got slapped together when he hit the wall. As he predicted, the pain from his three cracked ribs was the main challenge. An hour after the race he was still trying to get his breath. "We were really good down low, but you had to go down on the bumps to go low, and that wasn't too pleasant with cracked ribs," he said. "We finished fifth at Phoenix, we were quick at Texas, and we were quick here," he added. "We have the personnel and the sponsor; our program is good. I think today we showed that people should never count us out. We're contenders." Harrington is now 21st in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League point standings and second in the standings for the Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year award with 50 points to John Hollansworth Jr.'s 69. The next Pep Boys Indy Racing League race is July 17 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The circuit then moves to the track closest to CertainTeed's headquarters, Dover Downs International Speedway in Delaware, on Aug. 1. A return trip to PPIR is on the schedule for Aug. 29, followed by Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sept. 26 and the season finale for the 11-race series on Oct. 17 at Texas Motor Speedway.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Mark Dismore , Kenny Brack , Sam Schmidt , Scott Harrington , Robby Unser