David Reininger - Motorsport News International Ft. Worth, TX (September 20, 1998) - John Paul Jr. won the Lone Star 500 at Texas Motor Speedway today, his first win after a fifteen year drought. Paul won the 500 mile Indy car race at Michigan...
David Reininger - Motorsport News International
Ft. Worth, TX (September 20, 1998) - John Paul Jr. won the Lone Star 500 at Texas Motor Speedway today, his first win after a fifteen year drought. Paul won the 500 mile Indy car race at Michigan in 1983 after passing Rick Mears on the last turn of the last lap.
"It's very gratifying to get a chance to win another race after 15 years. To be with a team like Jonathan (Byrd) has been very rewarding. It's difficult to get all the ingredients together," said Paul. "On any given day, you have to pull together the car, team, all the elements, and we did today."
"I think the driver has a little bit to do with it too," car owner Jonathan Byrd added.
Paul survived two close encounters with other cars in deep trouble. Early in the race, flying debris from Dave Steele's delaminating tire destroyed the right side mirror on Paul's car. Paul drove the rest of the race without the mirror. "I ripped the pieces off, piece by piece, so they wouldn't black flag me for having a jagged mirror," said Paul.
Paul was nearly collected by the spinning car of Davey Hamilton when his tire exploded on lap 197. Paul saw Hamilton's right rear tire start to come apart. Thinking that a tire failure would send Hamilton's car to the outside wall, Paul moved all the way down to the infield grass. When the tire exploded, Hamilton's car started to the outside but quickly moved back across the track, missing Paul by a few inches.
Paul took the lead for good on lap 192 when Jeff Ward made a final pit stop. Ten laps earlier, Ward had been in a side by side duel with Roberto Guerrero in the under-powered Nissan Infiniti car. Ward was faster but Guerrero guarded the fast way around the track, taking the inside line.
Guerrero made his stop on lap 191. "It really came down to fuel strategy," said Guerrero. "It's always a gamble, and we gambled the wrong way."
Robby Unser finished second, followed by Jeff Ward and Roberto Guerrero in forth.