Harrington Returns to Texas Determined to Settle the Score FORT WORTH, Oct. 10 - The way Scott Harrington sees it, Texas Motor Speedway owes him one. And the popular young driver of the CertainTeed Dallara Aurora ...
Harrington Returns to Texas Determined to Settle the Score
FORT WORTH, Oct. 10 - The way Scott Harrington sees it, Texas Motor Speedway owes him one.
And the popular young driver of the CertainTeed Dallara Aurora #66 is out to settle the score next Sunday, Oct. 17 in the Mall.com 500 Pep Boys Indy Racing League season finale.
Harrington, who is embroiled in one of the closest battles for a Rookie of the Year Award in motorsports history, had just set one of the fastest times of the day in practice prior to the June 12 race at Texas when a wheel broke on his car while running over 200 mph. He crashed into the turn-two wall, breaking both legs, his right foot and three ribs.
Some of Harrington's bones were broken but his competitive spirit certainly wasn't. As he lay on a bed in the track's infield care center waiting to be transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital, the excruciating pain wasn't the only thing on his mind. He was determined to find out what his lap times were before the crash, and he sent a team member to the infield media center to get the time sheets from that session before he was lifted into the ambulance.
"We were running really well in practice; a lap or so before the crash, out of the corner of my eye, I saw that #66 was second on the scoring pylon," Harrington remembers. "Darrell [Soppe, his team manager] and the CertainTeed crew really had the car hooked up, but nobody remembers that because we didn't even get to run in the race. The way I see it, we'll just have to do it all again so they know, only without the crash this time!"
Although his first experience at Texas Motor Speedway was painful, Harrington still lists it as his favorite of all the mile and a half tracks that the series visits. "It's smooth and it's fast and it's an enjoyable place to run," he says. "I think it's a great race track."
Harrington, who has led the Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year standings off and on all season, really wants that award and its $50,000 prize. He has to finish ahead of Robby McGehee to do it, as McGehee has 138 points to his 137. If both of them have trouble, Jaques Lazier (118 points) and John Hollansworth Jr. (116 points) are next in line. A fifth rookie who is eligible because he ran more than two races this year, Ronnie Johncox, is mathematically out of the running.
"It would mean a whole lot to win the rookie award, both financially and for our morale," Harrington says. "You only have one chance to be the Rookie of the Year. You can win multiple championships during your Indy car career, but you're only a rookie once. It's definitely something we'd like to take home both for Harrington Motorsports and for CertainTeed." Harrington and his father, Gene, who was born in Dallas, co-own Harrington Motorsports.
Although the Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year Award is foremost in Harrington's mind, he also thinks his chances of winning the race are very good. "I think the CertainTeed team has as good a shot as any team out there to win," he says. "I think we should have won a race by now this season, as well as we've been running. This is our last shot to win a race in 1999, so we're going to give it our all. The key to winning is to be there at the end and then to have a car that is running well enough to be up to the task.
"We want to finish; we want to win; and we want to bring home that Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year Award," he vows. "We're going to play it cool and make the same determined effort that we always make. We're a young team and I'm a rookie in Indy cars, but we've learned a lot this year and I really believe it can all come together at Texas in the Mall.com 500."
The race will be broadcast on a same-day/taped-delay basis on ABC at 4 p.m. EDT. The day before the race qualifying will be shown live on SpeedVision at 1 p.m. EDT.