For Immediate Release STEWART CRUISES TO POLE AT DOVER, SHATTERS TRACK RECORD DOVER, Del., July 18, 1998 - Tony Stewart wasted little time claiming the PPG Pole at the Pep Boys 400K, taking the top spot with a track-record lap of...
For Immediate Release
STEWART CRUISES TO POLE AT DOVER, SHATTERS TRACK RECORD
DOVER, Del., July 18, 1998 - Tony Stewart wasted little time claiming the PPG Pole at the Pep Boys 400K, taking the top spot with a track-record lap of 185.204 mph Saturday on the first lap of qualifying at Dover Downs International Speedway.
None of the 20 subsequent qualifiers came close to Stewart's lap, which obliterated the track record of 155.898 set by Rusty Wallace in a NASCAR Winston Cup car in May 1998. Stewart covered the 1-mile concrete oval in 19.438 seconds in the Glidden-Menards Special G Force/Aurora/Firestone for his third pole of the season and eighth of his Pep Boys Indy Racing League career.
Davey Hamilton qualified second in the Reebok-Nienhouse Motorsports G Force/Aurora/Goodyear at 182.482.
"I'm not too concerned about leading the most laps or the first lap," Stewart said. "I'm interested in leading the last one. I'm in a mode this year where I want to lead the last 10 laps.
"I feel everyone will be careful at the start because we haven't driven here before. They'll be waiting for the field to string out. And while they're doing that, I'll try to string myself out."
The 248-mile, inaugural Pep Boys IRL race at Dover Downs starts at noon (EDT) Sunday. It's the sixth of 11 races of the 1998 season.
Mark Dismore qualified a career-best third at 182.334 in the Kelley Automotive Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. His Kelley Racing teammate, Scott Sharp, qualified fourth at 181.873 in the Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Sharp entered this event second in the Pep Boys IRL point standings, 17 behind Stewart.
Steve Knapp, 1998 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year, qualified fifth at 181.525 in his debut in the Earl's Performance Products-Parker Machinery G Force/Aurora/Goodyear fielded by PDM Racing.
The 22-car starting field is the second tightest in Pep Boys IRL history, as only 1.146 seconds separated the starting lineup.
"I don't think passing will be a big issue," Stewart said. "It won't bother me being two- or three-wide. If I can find a hole, I'll go through it. I'm pretty convinced this will be one of the best 1-mile races of the year."
Eliseo Salazar suffered a broken right leg, right arm and pelvis after hitting the outside wall in Turn 4 during the morning practice in the Reebok R&S MK V Riley & Scott/Aurora/Goodyear. Salazar is in stable condition at Kent General Hospital in Dover. Scott Harrington will replace Salazar in the race.
Broadcast schedule: The Pep Boys 400K will be televised live on CBS at noon (EDT) Sunday. The IMS Radio Network will broadcast the race live at noon (EDT) Sunday, with a prerace show starting at 11:30 a.m.
Pep Boys 400K tickets: Tickets for the Pep Boys 400K are available by calling Dover Downs at (800) 441-7223 or (302) 734-7223.
World Wide Web: http://www.indyracingleague.com