IRL: Texas Goodyear Longhorn 500 preview

GOODYEAR SEEKS IRL GRAND SLAM IN TEXAS AKRON, Ohio, May 10 - In a racing version of the grand slam, Goodyear can sweep the bases with a Pep Boys Indy Racing League win in the Longhorn 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this Saturday. ...

GOODYEAR SEEKS IRL GRAND SLAM IN TEXAS

AKRON, Ohio, May 10 - In a racing version of the grand slam, Goodyear can sweep the bases with a Pep Boys Indy Racing League win in the Longhorn 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this Saturday. Goodyear is currently riding a solid winning streak in the IRL, having captured the season's first three races including the Kenny Brack-led 1-2-3 finish in the Indianapolis 500. In January, Eddie Cheever won the TransWorld Diversified Services 200 in Orlando, Fla., and Scott Goodyear claimed the MCI WorldCom 200 at Phoenix, Ariz., in March. In all three races, Goodyear-equipped cars claimed the majority of the top-10 spots. With a victory, Goodyear would claim win No. 4 to open the season, the first time any tire manufacturer in the IRL would accomplish the achievement. The four-in-a-row feat would also equal Goodyear's previous longest win streak from 1998, when Scott Sharp won at Dover, followed by Brack's three-on-the-trot performance at Charlotte, Pikes Peak and Atlanta. To continue the "four" theme, a Goodyear win would also give the tire manufacturer its fourth consecutive win in IRL night races. Goodyear swept 1998's IRL night races, winning at Texas (Billy Boat), Charlotte (Kenny Brack) and Atlanta (Brack again). "Goodyear's record in the first three events proves that we have the best tire on the track," says Paul Lauritzen, Goodyear's operations manager for the IRL. "After our success at Indianapolis, Goodyear is now looking to extend its winning streak in the Indy Racing League night races. The information we obtained from our Charlotte and Texas tests in April has allowed Goodyear to improve an already competitive tire. "The high-banked track at Texas is one of the most-competitive tracks the IRL visits each year," Lauritzen adds. "The 24-degree banking allows the cars to generate more downforce through the turns and that helps the Goodyear Racing Eagles to develop more grip, a combination that should make for some exciting racing. The recent engine rpm restrictions that the sanctioning body has imposed for this event will slow the cars down and should help make the racing closer." One driver who thinks Goodyear is more than ready for Texas is defending Longhorn 500 winner Billy Boat, who took part in the Goodyear tire tests on April 19-20. "Goodyear has given us a great tire for the high-banked tracks like Texas," says Boat, who holds the Texas track record at 225.979 mph. "The Goodyear Eagles allow us to run hard through the entire fuel cycle without much 'give-up,' and that allows us to race hard and fast and smooth through the entire race. "That's important at a race like Texas, where momentum is everything. The Texas track allows you to run flat-out every lap, and that means you're pushing the car to the limit and the tires to the limit. You have to concentrate on keeping that momentum up, especially through traffic, because if you let up just the slightest amount everyone will catch you or, worse, pass you." Boat adds that he enjoys the night races. "Racing at night seems to help the car, the engine and the tires perform better. The car has more downforce, the engine has more horsepower and the tires have more grip and tend to stay more consistent, which allows us to push the car harder." Boat, who finished third at Indianapolis, will be alongside teammate Brack in the A.J. Foyt stable for Texas. They join IRL points leaders Jeff Ward (Pagan Racing), Phoenix winner Scott Goodyear (Panther Racing), and Orlando winner Eddie Cheever (Team Cheever). Goodyear Eagles are also on the top-10 cars of Kelley Racing teammates Mark Dismore and Scott Sharp and Hemelgarn Racing's Buddy Lazier. Also racing on Goodyear Eagles are Johnny Unser (Hemelgarn Racing), Raul Boesel (Brant Racing), Davey Hamilton (Galles Motorsports Spinal Victory), Roberto Moreno (Truscelli Team Racing) and Steve Knapp (ISM Racing). In addition to the points chase, Goodyear-equipped drivers lead a number of other IRL statistical charts, including earnings and competition laps led. Brack has won $1,508,790 for the season, followed by Ward ($720,650), Boat ($549,600), Goodyear ($435,150) and Cheever ($409,100). After three races Scott Goodyear has led 170 laps, followed by Sharp at 103. Both Cheever and Brack have led 66 laps each in 1999. Altogether, Goodyear-equipped cars have led 451 of the 600 competition laps.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Buddy Lazier , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Scott Goodyear , Raul Boesel , Roberto Moreno , Kenny Brack , Steve Knapp , Paul Lau , Johnny Unser , A.J. Foyt
Teams Panther Racing