GREAT SCOTT! GOODYEAR AND OLDSMOBILE WIN LONGHORN 500 IRL Aurora V8 Wins Fourth Straight Race at Texas Motor Speedway, Sweeps Top 15 Spots, and Notches 23rd Consecutive IRL Victory FORT WORTH - Deep in the heart of Texas, Canadian racer Scott...
GREAT SCOTT! GOODYEAR AND OLDSMOBILE WIN LONGHORN 500
IRL Aurora V8 Wins Fourth Straight Race at Texas Motor Speedway, Sweeps Top 15 Spots, and Notches 23rd Consecutive IRL Victory
FORT WORTH - Deep in the heart of Texas, Canadian racer Scott Goodyear claimed his second win of the season in Pennzoil Panther Racing's Oldsmobile-powered G-Force. Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 engine notched its fourth straight win on the high-banked Texas Motor Speedway oval and scored its 23rd consecutive victory in Pep Boys Indy Racing League competition.
Goodyear, 39, a Toronto native now living in Carmel, Ind., backed up his previous win in Phoenix with a .888-second victory over Greg Ray and took a 19-point lead over Jeff Ward in the championship standings. Sam Schmidt was third in Treadway Racing's Oldsmobile Dallara. Goodyear averaged 151.77 mph over the 500 kilometer distance, a record speed for the four IRL events contested at Texas Motor Speedway. Oldsmobile engines won the pole, powered the top 15 finishers, and led 195 of 208 laps.
The decisive moment for Goodyear came on Lap 166 when he passed Schmidt on the high side for the lead. A late-race caution set up a Texas-style shootout between the three frontrunners.
"When I took the green, all I knew was I was flat-out and that was it," Goodyear reported. "I was running on the rev limiter. I didn't want to shift up to the next gear because I was here to win the race. I ran it as hard as I could. The guys at Speedway Engine Development did a great job because I was on the rev limiter the last 20 laps."
The Longhorn 500 presented by MCI WorldCom was the first race with the new IRL-mandated 10,000 rpm rev limit in effect. As expected, speeds were significantly slower than last year's 228 mph pace.
"The lower rpm definitely slowed the cars down, which is a good thing," said Mark Dismore, who captured his first career IRL pole with a 215.272 mph lap in Kelley Racing's MCI WorldCom Oldsmobile Dallara. "215 mph is plenty fast - we don't need to go any faster as far as I'm concerned."
"Do I want the 300 revs back?" Goodyear asked rhetorically. "I think we put on a great show for the fans today. There were a lot of times we came out of Turn 2 and went down the back straightaway two, three, and four abreast. There's a lot of dicing, a lot of racing going on. It's hard, it's flat out, there's just no coasting. On the last restart, I was flat from the moment I got into top gear to the time I took the checkered flag."
The race began in daylight and ended in darkness, challenging the teams to keep up with the rapidly changing track conditions. "We kept making changes through the pit stops," Goodyear recalled. "On our last stop we made some changes and it was dynamite from that point on. I was pleased to have that car underneath me."
"The new rev limit definitely brought the back of the field closer to the front," said Ray, who rebounded from three consecutive 21st place finishes to finish second in Team Menard's Oldsmobile Dallara. "It makes drivers be patient. The 300 less rpm actually helped our motors. It's just that we have to go back and work with our setups to get everything just right with the new rev limit."
"When they dropped that last green, I think all three of us just put the pedal to the metal," said Schmidt. "I think the cars are very equal. We didn't have time to do anything to prepare for the new rev limit. We had fresh motors ready, so that's what went in here without any changes. As time goes on we'll make adjustments and we'll be running quick again."
Twenty-five of the 26 qualifiers used Oldsmobile engines. The top six finishers represented six independent engine builders: Speedway Engine Development (winner Goodyear), Team Menard (runner-up Ray), Comptech Machine (third-place Schmidt), Roush Technologies (fourth-place Stephan Gregoire), Katech (fifth-place Eliseo Salazar), and Brayton Engineering (sixth-place Robby Unser). Oldsmobile leads Nissan 44-28 in the Engine Manufacturer championship.
The next event for the IRL series is the Radisson 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo., on Sunday, June 27.
LONGHORN 500 TOP 10 FINISHERS
Driver Entrant Engine Laps 1. Scott Goodyear Panther Racing Oldsmobile 208 2. Greg Ray Team Menard Oldsmobile 208 3. Sam Schmidt Treadway Racing Oldsmobile 208 4. Stephan Gregoire Simon Racing Oldsmobile 208 5. Eliseo Salazar Neinhouse Motorsports Oldsmobile 206 6. Robby Unser Team Pelfrey Oldsmobile 206 7. Davey Hamilton Galles Racing Oldsmobile 205 8. Mark Dismore Kelley Racing Oldsmobile 205 9. Buzz Calkins Bradley Motorsports Oldsmobile 205 10. Scott Sharp Kelley Racing Oldsmobile 203
Pole: Mark Dismore/Oldsmobile, 215.272 mph Fastest Lap: Sam Schmidt/Oldsmobile, 215.609 mph