IRL: Texas Trackside Notes

Lone Star 500 Texas Motor Speedway Trackside Notes (09/20/98) Indianapolis 500 veteran Jim McElreath will serve as the honorary starter of today's race. McElreath, a Texan, competed in 15 Indianapolis 500s between 1962 and 1980. His best ...

Lone Star 500 Texas Motor Speedway Trackside Notes (09/20/98)

Indianapolis 500 veteran Jim McElreath will serve as the honorary starter of today's race. McElreath, a Texan, competed in 15 Indianapolis 500s between 1962 and 1980. His best finish was third in 1966.

The Lone Star 500 will be televised on a one-hour delay on ABC at 3 p.m. (CDT) today. Paul Page and Mike Groff will be in the booth, with Gary Gerould and Jon Beekhuis reporting in the pits.

The IMS Radio Network will broadcast the race live at 2 p.m. (CDT) today, with a pre-race show starting at 1:30 p.m. Gary Lee and Larry Rice will be in the booth, with Vince Welch and Mark Jaynes reporting from the pits. Doug Rice will report from the backstretch.

RACE SPECIFICS:

Pit road speed limit is 80 mph.

Six crew members will be allowed over the wall during each pit stop: Four tire changers, one fueler and one air-jack operator.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford, from Fort Worth, is driving the Oldsmobile Intrigue Pace Car.

The race will start on the third time past the flagstand.

Three drivers will carry in-car cameras: #4 Scott Goodyear, #8 Scott Sharp, #97 Greg Ray.

Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary (CARA Charities) will make a $2,500 donation today to Cook's Children's Hospital in Fort Worth. CARA representative Betty Rutherford of Fort Worth, wife of three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Johnny Rutherford, and Keith Young of Young Chevrolet in Dallas will present the check to Dr. Paul Gillette of Cook's.

This donation is part of CARA Charities "Buckle Up Baby" campaign. CARA Charities has contributed more than $100,000 to children's hospitals and clinics throughout the country.

CARA Charities makes a donation to a local children's hospital at all 11 Pep Boys IRL events this season. The organization, formed in 1981, serves the auto racing community through charitable work.

#19 Stan Wattles will start the race today with a new engine in his Metro Racing Systems Riley & Scott/Aurora/Goodyear. His team was forced to change engines after his engine expired during the final practice Saturday, team spokesperson Sylvia Proudfoot said.

Pep Boys Indy Racing League driver Jimmy Kite will serve as a spotter for #97 Greg Ray during today's race. Kite drove the first three races this season for Team Scandia.

Former major league relief pitcher Jeff Russell finished eighth in the Legends race this morning on the quarter-mile track on the front straightaway at Texas Motor Speedway.

Arie Luyendyk's tough weekend got even tougher this morning when the team's fourth and last engine was determined to be low on power. At 12:05 p.m., the Treadway Racing team started its sixth engine change of the weekend, borrowing an engine from Pennzoil Panther Racing, Treadway chief engineer Tim Wardrop said.

ARIE LUYENDYK: "You didn't think it would get this bad, did you? It broke while they were warming it up. That's the third engine we've broke in two days." (Will you get the engine change done in time for the race?): "I don't care. You know how I feel."

The #18 Earl's Performance Products-Parker G Force/Aurora/Goodyear driven by rookie Steve Knapp developed a fuel leak shortly before the race. The team fixed the leak and pushed the car to the grid at 1:39 p.m.

STEVE KNAPP: "They filled up the car with gas and found a fuel leak around a bolt in the cell. I hope it's fixed right. We have a good bunch of guys working on it."

RACE RUNNING:

2 p.m. - Command to start engines by Indianapolis 500 veteran Jim McElreath, a Texas native. Engines fired on all 28 starters. #77 Gregoire stalls as pace laps begin. #77 Gregoire restarted, all 28 cars rolling on pace laps.

At 2:04 p.m., the air temperature was 96 degrees and track temperature 130 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.

First pace lap: #19 Wattles to pits to check engine that was changed overnight. No problems. #19 Wattles returns to track.

Lap 1: GREEN. #1 Stewart takes lead from #11 Boat in Turn 1. #28 Dismore side-by-side in Turn 3 with Stewart for lead. #1 Stewart leads by 0.037 seconds. This is the sixth consecutive Pep Boys IRL event in which the pole sitter has not led the first lap.

#1 Stewart has led at least one lap in all 10 races this season, an Indy Racing League record. Stewart also has led in all three Indy Racing League events at Texas Motor Speedway.

Lap 4: #1 Stewart leads by .688 of a second over #28 Dismore.

Lap 5: #5 Luyendyk slows on frontstretch. #99 Schmidt to pits due to electronic control unit. Unit replaced

Lap 6: #1 Stewart leads #28 Dismore by .882 of a second. #5 Luyendyk slowly rolling down inside of backstretch.

Lap 7: #4 Goodyear falls from seventh at start to 16th.

Lap 10: Crew members push #5 Luyendyk to pit stall. Apparent fuel intake problem.

Lap 12: #1 Stewart leads #28 Dismore by 1.529 seconds.

Lap 15: #1 Stewart leads by 3.053 seconds over #28 Dismore.

Lap 16: #6 Hamilton to pits. Outside of right rear tire shredded.

Lap 17: #18 Knapp to pits.

Lap 19: YELLOW. #77 Gregoire did half-spin spun exiting Turn 2, hit wall with left side of car. Driver out of car without assistance. Both rear tires shredded, major left-side damage, minor rear and right-front wing damage.

Lap 20: #97 Ray to pits. Right front tire flat. Apparent damage to right front suspension. Team borrowed front nose piece from #99 Schmidt.

Lap 20: #4 Goodyear reports loose condition, team will correct on next pit stop.

Lap 21: #4 Goodyear and #11 Boat to pits. Four tires, fuel, front-wing adjustment for both.

SAM SCHMIDT: "We had an internal engine problem. It looks like we dropped a valve. We're through for the day. We had a great run. We picked up four or five spots, so it's particularly hard to take."

Lap 24: #40 Miller to pits. #15 Michner, who started 27th, up to 13th.

Lap 25: #6 Hamilton to pits. Fuel only.

ARIE LUYENDYK: "This is one of the worst weekends we've had in a long time. We had to change engines five times. Thanks to John Barnes and Panther Racing for giving us an engine for today's race. The engine ran good at the start, but the fuel pump snapped, and we lost fuel pressure. It's a shame because I moved up a few spots, and things were looking up." (About thoughts of retirement): "I'm not prepared to make a comment right now."

Lap 29: GREEN. #11 Boat, #1 Stewart slows on restart. #28 Dismore takes lead. #1 Stewart missed a shift on restart. #11 Boat reports handling problem to crew.

Lap 30: #28 Dismore leads by .630 of a second over teammate #8 Sharp.

Lap 31: #51 Cheever slow on backstretch, rolls into pits. Cheever out of car, engine cover off. Smoke floating from engine.

EDDIE CHEEVER JR.: "The engine blew up. I'm very disappointed."

Lap 34: #28 Dismore leads #8 Sharp by .348 of a second.

Lap 35: Points leader #14 Brack up to fifth. #91 Lazier, who started 19th, up to sixth.

Lap 40: YELLOW. #43 Steele hits outside wall on front chute. Steele reported to crew that right rear tire failed, sending him into wall. Steele out of car without assistance.

Lap 43: #1 Stewart, #14 Brack, #16 Greco, #10 Paul, #6 Hamilton, #15 Michner, #4 Goodyear, #52 Unser, #8 Sharp, #28 Dismore, #91 Lazier, #23 Guerrero, #35 Ward to pits. #30 Boesel takes lead.

Medical update from Dr. Henry Bock, IRL director of medical services: #77 Stephan Gregoire is suffering pain in his left knee and is receiving ice therapy in the infield medical center. He should be released shortly. #43 Dave Steele was evaluated and released without injury from the infield care center.

Lap 46: #11 Boat to pits. Four tires, fuel and right-front wing adjustment.

Lap 49: GREEN. #30 Boesel leads. His first pit stop was Lap 21. #98 Beechler second, also made pit stop during first caution period.

Lap 51: #8 Sharp took lead from #30 Boesel in Turn 3.

Lap 52: #1 Stewart under #8 Sharp in Turn 3 for lead. Stewart leads #8 Sharp by .574 of a second..

Lap 54: #8 Sharp to pits. Four tires and fuel.

Lap 55: #28 Dismore slows on track, to pits. Car stalled on exit. Engine refired, Dismore returns to race.

#8 Sharp and #28 Dismore had flat tires before their last stops, team owner Tom Kelley said.

Lap 63: #1 Stewart leads #35 Ward by 1.486 seconds.

Lap 67: #6 Hamilton to pits. Right rear tire flat again. Inside of tire is shredding.

Lap 70: YELLOW. #8 Sharp hits wall between Turns 3 and 4. Car did half spin in turn, left side of car hit outside retaining wall. Sharp moving in car. He climbs from car without assistance, waves to crowd.

Lap 73: #19 Wattles, #15 Michner, #4 Goodyear, #12 Calkins, #30 Boesel, #52 Unser to pits. #4 Goodyear stalls exiting pits.

Lap 74: #40 Miller, #23 Guerrero, #97 Ray, #6 Hamilton to pits.

Lap 75: #1 Stewart to pits. Four tires and fuel. #6 Hamilton returns to pits to change tires, fuel.

Lap 76: #14 Brack, #91 Lazier, #16 Greco, #11 Boat to pits. Two turns of adjustment on front wing for Brack.

JOHN BARNES (Pennzoil Panther co-owner, #4 Goodyear): "It looks like the clutch went away leaving the pits. Scott's car has ran bad all day. As far as the championship goes, it's just one day to the next."

Medical update from Dr. Henry Bock, IRL director of medical services: #8 Scott Sharp was evaluated and released from the infield care center without injury.

Lap 79: GREEN. #10 Paul leads, #35 Ward second.

Lap 80: #1 Stewart slows, enters pits. Engine cover off. #1 Stewart out of car.

TODD CARPENTER (Goodyear IRL group leader): "About the only thing I can say, with the conditions and the heat, the tire can get a little soft with a cut. Maybe that's contributed to the cut resistance."

Lap 85: YELLOW. Debris. #11 Boat to pits to replace blistered front tire.

SCOTT GOODYEAR: "I suspect we are done as far as the championship goes. I'm not sure where everyone else is going to finish. We're not exactly sure of the problem with the car, but we know it was with the drive. I didn't have drive to the wheels. There were no problems with the tires. The temperatures were great, and the pressures were great. The heat was a factor today. The heat made the car very tempermental.

Lap 87: #10 Paul and #35 Ward to pits. #11 Boat, #12 Calkins to pits. #11 Boat takes fuel only.

SCOTT SHARP: "I don't know what happened today. I don't know what caused it, but we cut a tire. I don't know why we cars are cutting so many tires today, but that was it for us."

Lap 93: GREEN. #30 Boesel leads.

Lap 95: #30 Boesel leads #15 Michner by 1.925 seconds.

TONY STEWART: "We just gave away a million dollars."

Lap 99: #30 Boesel leads #23 Guerrero by 2.233 seconds. Guerrero's last lap 219.968 mph.

Lap 100: Leaders - #30 Boesel, #23 Guerrero, #15 Michner, #35 Ward, #52 Unser, #91 Lazier.

GREG RAY: "It was an accident in Turn 2. Boat checked up, and I got into the back of him. There was nothing I could do. That pretty much ends our day. We messed up the front end."

Lap 104: Leaders - #30 Boesel, #23 Guerrero, #15 Michner, #35 Ward, #91 Lazier, #98 Beechler, #52 Unser, #16 Greco, #10 Paul, #14 Brack.

Lap 106: #28 Dismore slows entering Turn 1. Cut right rear tire, team owner Tom Kelley said.

Lap 108: YELLOW. #11 Boat hits wall in Turn 3.

Lap 109: #35 Ward, #6 Hamilton, #30 Boesel, #16 Greco, #18 Knapp, #52 Unser, #14 Brack, #23 Guerrero, #12 Calkins to pits. #30 Boesel first out of pits. #30 Boesel took four tires, fuel, left-front wing adjustments. Four and fuel for #23 Guerrero.

Lap 110: Car owner A.J. Foyt hand-inspecting all tires in pits of #11 Boat and #14 Brack.

A.J. FOYT: "Goodyear brought the hard compound tire. I told them not to bring it. They did anyway, and now we're paying for it."

Lap 112: Leaders - #15 Michner, #91 Lazier, #10 Paul, #30 Boesel, #35 Ward, #52 Unser, #23 Guerrero, #16 Greco, #14 Brack, #98 Beechler.

3:25 p.m. medical update from Dr. Henry Bock, IRL director of medical services: #11 Billy Boat was evaluated and released from the infield medical center without injury.

Lap 117: GREEN. #91 Lazier passes #15 Michner for lead in Turn 2.

Lap 118: #91 Lazier leads #10 Paul by 1.007 seconds.

Lap 119: #15 Michner falling back due to fuel-pressure problems. Car may be running on seven cylinders, team reported.

BILLY BOAT: "I'm feeling fine. I lost a tire coming off the corner. I was lucky. It did a little bit of damage everywhere. I lost the right front earlier today and saved it. I don't know why we lost the right rear." (In the garage): "Nobody expected to see the tire temperatures we're seeing today. We got out of sequence, and I was trying to play catch-up. So I was running pretty hard on the tires. I didn't expect to see temperatures like that. It's just one of those things."

STEPHAN GREGOIRE: "The car was really very good today. Maybe I wanted it to be more pushy, but it naturally was a very good car. I suspect a tire problem, but I don't know for sure. I would just like to know I lost it so quickly."

DAVE STEELE: "I don't know what happened. I may have run over debris from the last accident. I felt like someone hit me from behind by the way the car reacted. I feel bad for Panther Racing. Those guys really gave me a great opportunity and great car." (About future races with Pennzoil Panther Racing): "Hopefully, we had a pretty good run today while it lasted."

Lap 131: #91 Lazier to pits. #10 Paul takes lead.

Lap 134: YELLOW. #16 Greco and #98 Beechler collide in Turn 2. #18 Knapp, #30 Boesel also involved in incident. Knapp reported that he ran over a piece of debris. #18 Knapp's car suffered left-front wheel damage and minor front-end damage.

Lap 136: #10 Paul to pits. #15 Michner, #12 Calkins, #81 Tyler to pits. Four tires and fuel for #10 Paul. #23 Guerrero takes lead, the first Infiniti-powered car to lead a lap in Indy Racing League history.

Lap 137: #3 Buhl stops on back straightaway due to apparent fuel pickup problem, team spokesperson Becky Brayton said. Later evaluation showed car ran out of fuel.

Lap 141: #23 Guerrero to pits, four tires and fuel. #52 Unser takes lead for first time in Indy Racing League career. Leaders -- #52 Unser, #14 Brack, #10 Paul, #15 Michner, #23 Guerrero.

Lap 143: #6 Hamilton to pits, changed tires due to possible tire-pressure loss. Added fuel.

3:48 p.m. medical update from Dr. Henry Bock, IRL director of medical services: #18 Steve Knapp, #98 Donnie Beechler evaluated and released from infield medical center without injury. #30 Raul Boesel under evaluation in infield medical center, shows no apparent injuries and should be released shortly. #16 Marco Greco has suffered a concussion and will be flown to Parkland Hospital in Dallas for further evaluation. He is awake and alert.

Lap 146: Leaders - #52 Unser, #14 Brack, #10 Paul, #15 Michner, #23 Guerrero, #91 Lazier, #35 Ward, #28 Dismore, #81 Tyler, #19 Watles.

Lap 148: #28 Dismore to pits, four tires and fuel. #11 Boat's car returning to pits from garage.

Lap 149: #14 Brack, #15 Michner to pits. #15 Michner takes fuel only. Four tires, fuel for #14 Brack.

Lap 150: #11 Boat returns to race with large cheer from crowd.

At 4 p.m., the air temperature was 95 degrees and track temperature 138 degrees, according to Goodyear engineers.

Lap 153: GREEN. #19 Wattles slows on backstretch.

Lap 154: #52 Unser leads #10 Paul by .556 of a second.

Lap 156: #52 Unser leads #10 Paul by .084 of a second. #91 Lazier and #35 Ward back on lead lap.

Lap 158: #15 Michner slows in Turn 4.

Lap 160: YELLOW. Tow-in for #15 Michner. Crew reports engine failure.

Lap 161: Cars on lead lap - #52 Unser, #10 Paul, #23 Guerrero, #14 Brack, #35 Ward, #91 Lazier. #6 Hamilton seventh, three laps behind.

Lap 164: #6 Hamilton, #14 Brack, #10 Paul, #52 Unser to pits. Four tires and fuel, minor adjustment to front wing for #14 Brack. Four tires, fuel for #52 Unser. Fuel only for #6 Hamilton.

Lap 165: GREEN. #23 Guerrero takes lead. Did not pit.

Lap 167: #23 Guerrero leads #35 Ward by 1.573 seconds.

Lap 168: #23 Guerrero leads #35 Ward by 1.622 seconds. #91 Lazier third, 1.867 seconds behind leader.

Lap 169: #52 Unser fifth, 6.060 seconds behind leader.

Lap 170: #35 Ward, running second, turned lap of 223.816 mph, fastest of race.

Lap 171: #35 Ward second, .556 of a second behind #23 Guerrero. Turned lap of 224.243 mph, fastest of race.

Lap 175: #35 Ward stalks leader #23 Guerrero, pulling to within two carlengths.

Lap 176: #23 Guerrero leads #35 Ward by .153 of a second.

Lap 179: #23 Guerrero leads #35 Ward by .464 of a second. #91 Lazier third, 1.032 seconds behind leader.

Lap 181: Five cars on lead lap -- #23 Guerrero, #35 Ward, #91 Lazier, #10 Paul, #52 Unser.

Lap 182: #23 Guerrero, #35 Ward side-by-side in Turns 2, 3, 4. Guerrero low, Ward high.

Lap 183: #23 Guerrero, #35 Ward side-by-side entire lap. Ward leads at line by .024 of a second.

Lap 184: #35 Ward clears #23 Guerrero exiting Turn 2.

Lap 188: #35 Ward leads #23 Guerrero by .387 of a second.

Lap 190: #11 Boat to pits, four tires and fuel.

Lap 191: #23 Guerrero to pits, fuel only.

Lap 192: #91 Lazier to pits. #35 Ward to pits. Four tires and fuel for #91 Lazier, #35 Ward. #10 Paul takes lead. #10 Paul can finish race without fuel stop, team co-owner Jonathan Byrd said.

Lap 198: YELLOW. #6 Hamilton suffered apparent failure of right rear tire on front straightaway. No contact with wall. Car stops in infield grass. Crew pushes car to pits, car in pits perpendicular to wall. #6 Hamilton returns to race after tire change, big cheer from crowd.

RICK GALLES (Team manager, #6 Hamilton): "That's the first time I've entered the pits that way. What can I say? We're running for the championship."

Lap 200: Leaders -- #10 Paul, #52 Unser, #23 Guerrero, #35 Ward, #14 Brack, #91 Lazier, #3 Buhl, #19 Wattles, #28 Dismore, #6 Hamilton. #3 Buhl, #6 Hamilton, #19 Wattles to pits. Three tires and fuel for #6 Hamilton.

Lap 203: GREEN. #10 Paul leads. #10 Paul, #52 Unser only cars on lead lap.

Lap 204: #35 Ward passes #10 Paul, back on lead lap. #10 Paul leads by 1.100 seconds over #52 Unser.

Lap 206: #18 Knapp returns to race.

Lap 207: #10 Paul leads #52 Unser by 1.479 seconds.

Lap 208: #10 John Paul Jr. wins the inaugural Lone Star 500 by 1.577 seconds over #52 Robby Unser. First career Pep Boys IRL victory. Four cars on lead lap at finish: #10 Paul, #52 Unser, #35 Ward, #23 Guerrero. Fourteen cars running at finish.

Billy Boat is the unofficial winner of the Texas Two-Step Championship with 73 points. He earns a $100,000 bonus. Kenny Brack was second in the Texas Two-Step and earns a $50,000 bonus. Both drive for A.J. Foyt Enterprises

POST-RACE QUOTES:

BOB NIENHOUSE (Owner, #6 Hamilton): "Goodyear is a leader in motorsports, and one bad race is not a reflection on that leadership. I am proud to be associated with Goodyear and look forward to racing on their tires in Las Vegas."

BILLY BOAT: "I've got to give credit to the guys. I blew the front tire, saved it, then blew the right rear and knocked the corner off the car. The guys put the car back together in the garage, and we only lost about 30 laps. It was a frustrating day overall, but at least we salvaged something out of it."

ROBBY UNSER: "We didn't have tire problems all day. We fought a push all day. We had a good car. I have to hand it to the crew. The guys worked hard all year. They deserve this finish. I am very thankful for a good run. This is my best career finish and a am leading the rookie points. I am very thankful."

JONATHAN BYRD (Car owner, #10 Paul): "This second one is even more special. It's been the harder you work, the sweeter the victory. The Firestone tires were obviously great. We never had a blistered tire. We had enough tires to finish another whole race." (About Byrd's son serving as Paul's spotter): "That's the world's first 280-pound right-side mirror." (About Paul): "It was a pleasure to just watch a professional out there work."

JOHN PAUL JR.: "Well first of all, I'm very relieved to win my first IRL race. To come on board with the team after Indianapolis, we've been competitive from the start. It's very gratifying to get a chance to win another race after 15 years. To be with a race team like Jonathan (Byrd) has is very rewarding. It's difficult to get all the ingredients together. On any given day, you have to pull together the car, team, all the elements, and we did today. I'm looking forward to today and the future. We're looking for many great things. I can't wait to get to Las Vegas." (About Firestone tires): "Ever since the first race at Indy, there hasn't been a race where the tires haven't stayed under me." (About heat): "I was ready to go again. I had a water bottle on board, but I just wanted to concentrate on driving the car. (About right rearview mirror being damaged from car by debris): "I ripped the pieces off, piece by piece, so they wouldn't black-flag me for having a jagged mirror." (About the car's handling): "We drove every lane today. It was perfect. Yesterday morning, we ran 222 by ourselves without a tow." (About car owner Jonathan Byrd's cafeteria business): "I hope to be able to go over to the cafeteria and serve some food this week."

DAVEY HAMILTON: "It's hard for the driver to go slow. We had a quick car all day, but we couldn't keep tires under the car. The casing came apart on the right rear. Goodyear has a great tire and reputation, but something happened today. We went through five tires, and the last one was critical by the end of the race." (About the championship): "We're still in it. Today we lost a little, but so did a lot of the leaders. We lost ground to Kenny (Brack) going into Las Vegas and that hurts, but we've got to stay focused and do our job. We'll see how things shake out in Vegas.

JEFF WARD: "I was the fastest guy on the track. I got caught with a blistered right rear tire. I was in position to get my lap back from John Paul right before the yellow, which would've brought us around to the front. That would've set us up for a hell of a finish. If we run like this at every race next year, we'll win the championship. I tried to conserve tires, but it's tough when you know you're fast. My hat's off to John. It's great for him to win, and it's great for the series for another guy to win. I just wish it had been me."

BUZZ CALKINS: "We were absolutely loose at the start. We kept decreasing stagger by lowering tire pressures. Also, we took three turns out of the front wing, which tightened the car from the midpoint through the exit of the corners. As a result, the car was halfway decent at the end of the race. We broke after one lap at Atlanta, then crashed here big-time Sept. 10. So this was my first real long run in this Dallara. That was very positive."

BUDDY LAZIER: "We had a good fast car today. I got caught on yellows. That happens to everyone. If it wasn't for the caution I might have had a shot at the race. It was a fun day, a very fun day. We were able to manage our tires pretty well. We listened to the advice from Goodyear, and it paid off." (On points race): "We have dropped out of more than half of our races. You can't contend for a championship with races like that. We have had bad racing luck."

ROBBIE BUHL: "We had a great race car in traffic all day. They could pull us around in traffic. We had a fuel miscalculation and ran out, and that really hurt us. We cut a tire early and lost a lap. We managed to make that up. It was the fuel calculation that put us back." (On tires): "Our Firestone tires ran great all day. We didn't have any problems."

KENNY BRACK: "I stayed conservative all day because of the tires. I pushed it a little harder at the end, but we just didn't have it. I felt it was a race of survival, and that's not how I like to race. We could only go as fast as possible without pushing the tires. We did a good job, all in all. No blowouts." (About the championship): "It was good for the championship. We lengthened our lead, which helps to eliminate our risk."

STAN WATTLES: "We absolutely needed this one as a moral booster. We earned this one all the way through, all the way up to the time of the race and all the way through the race. It wasn't easy. The car was pretty good, even with a halfshaft hanging out of the side. That was pretty unnerving. I didn't know about it at the time, but the crew pulled it out and showed me. It's the old saying, 'God looks after fools, drunks and race car drivers.' It's true. I didn't think I'd make it through that one. It was a good run. Texas has been good to us. Hopefully, this is part of an upward swing for the team. We'll keep at it and keep working at it. It doesn't come easy, but if it did, everyone would be doing it."

BRIAN TYLER: "We were looking for a top-five finish. I felt it vibrate through (turns) 1 and 2 and just shut it down. I knew it (engine) was going to go."

MARK DISMORE: "We had lost two laps because of a puncture, then we came in and lost laps. Then after that point, the whole team just fell into a groove. That's what we did, and we ended up 10th. It's too bad. We had a great car early, an awesome, awesome car.

ROBBY UNSER: "We've worked hard for this all year long. I can't say enough about my team. They really deserved this. The good Lord has put me with a team that has a strong desire to win, and I'm very thankful. Congratulations to Jonathan and J.P. No one deserves it more. My hat's off to my guys. I didn't have a car all day until the end, and we brought it in then. I thank God that I'm with a team like Team Cheever. I didn't know people had tire problems today. I did have a push all day, but we had a good balance at the end. We had great tires at the end." (About the Unser name in IRL): "It's very important for me to put the Unser name in the winner's column for this season. I think the IRL is a great series with good teams and a lot of strong guys. More than once I found myself running two-wide, inches off another guy, and you don't see that very often in open-wheel racing." (About his cousin, Al Unser Jr.): "It's eating him up that he can't run at Indy and that he can't race against his cousin. They have to come to us, and they know it. And I think that's hard for them."

ROBERTO GUERRERO: "I'm sure glad to be back. I really enjoy working with (team owner) Price (Cobb)." (About the car): "The chassis was working really well, and that always helps." (About race): "It really came down to the fuel strategy. It's always a gamble, and we gambled the wrong way. We can't complain. We ran competitively all day. We got the checkered flag. That was the goal, and the rest was a bonus."

TODD CARPENTER (Goodyear lead engineer for the IRL): "Goodyear tire engineers worked with the various race teams throughout the event to adjust pressures and find the proper setup in terms of overall car balance. It was a challenge throughout as the track heat made it difficult to find a good balance with the tires and chassis. Obviously, we're disappointed with our tire performance today. Some teams had continuing problems; others did well with the tires throughout the day. Coming into this race, Goodyear had been the winning tire in seven of nine races, and eight of the top 10 drivers in the IRL points race were on Goodyear tires. That's proof that our tires have been on the mark this season, but today was not our day. We'll come out very determined to give our teams the tires they need in the season finale."

ROBERTO GUERRERO: "Today we were actually leading the race and in a position to win it. It was a great day for us. We have a brand-new engine coming for next season. It is going to be lighter and smaller. It will have the same capacity but will be physically smaller. Hopefully it will be even more powerful."

BILLY BOAT: "I have to give credit to the A.J. Foyt/Conseco team. The Texas team walked away with first and second places (in the Texas Two-Step Championship)." (On coming back out after several laps in pit): "Those five positions we gained by going back out were pretty critical for the Two-Step." (On tires): "I don't think anybody expected to see the heat we were generating with the tires today. Goodyear is a fantastic company. They just got caught off here today. They just didn't expect the heat. We weren't blistering the tires, but the heat was, you might say, de-laminating the tires. They were just coming apart. We saw a little bit of blistering in practice, but you don't run as many laps in practice to build up the kind of heat you need to see blistering." (On prize money from Two-Step): "$100,000 is not bad to take home. It all goes into the same prize money fund as any prize money we get, and then it is divided up." (On the Pep Boys IRL): "It is good to see new faces in victory lane. A lot of new guys contended for the win today, and that says a lot for the series. I think it will only get stronger and stronger." (On the season finale at Las Vegas): "Now we want to go to Vegas and try to win the championship for A.J. Foyt Racing (with teammate Kenny Brack)."

JEFF WARD: "Our team did a great job again today, and we were up front once again. We had a few tire problems and had to pit under green. So at the end I was just trying to pass anyone in front of me. When I saw the white flag, I thought I was leading. But the next time around I didn't get anything, and I knew we were in trouble. I found the right balance about the middle of the race, and I thought today was going to be our day. There have been a lot of races I thought we had the car to beat. Today I could drive anywhere on the track, but we just didn't get it done."

POST-RACE NOTES:

Kenny Brack leads the Pep Boys Indy Racing point standings by 31 points entering the season finale, the Las Vegas 500, on Oct. 11 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Brack must finish seventh or better to claim the championship and the Pep Boys Million, even if second-place Davey Hamilton wins the PPG Pole and the race, and leads the most laps. The only other driver mathematically eligible for the title is Tony Stewart, 43 points behind Brack.

Robby Unser finished a career-best second. It was the best finish in open-wheel racing by an Unser this season.

Kenny Brack became the second Pep Boys Indy Racing League driver to surpass $1 million for season earnings. Eddie Cheever Jr. is the other driver with more than $1 million in earnings this year.

Christy Whalen, who built the gearbox for winner John Paul Jr., started her racing career on press row at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Roberto Guerrero finished fourth, tying his career-best Indy Racing League finish. He also was fourth in the 1996 Las Vegas 500.

Roberto Guerrero's fourth place is the second-best finish by an Infiniti-powered car in Indy Racing League history. The best was second by Mike Groff in the 1997 Indy 200 at Orlando, Fla.

PEP BOYS MILLION CHAMPIONSHIP SCENARIO:

If Davey Hamilton wins at Las Vegas with five bonus points:

Kenny Brack must finish seventh or better to win the title, not counting any bonus points he scores.

If Davey Hamilton wins at Las Vegas with three or four bonus points:

Kenny Brack must finish eighth or better to win the title, not counting any bonus points he scores.

If Davey Hamilton wins at Las Vegas with one or two bonus points:

Kenny Brack must finish ninth or better to win the title, not counting any bonus points he scores.

If Davey Hamilton wins at Las Vegas with no bonus points:

Kenny Brack must finish 10th or better to win the title, not counting any bonus points he scores.

If Tony Stewart wins at Las Vegas with five bonus points:

Kenny Brack must finish 15th or better to win the title, not counting any bonus points he scores.

Davey Hamilton would be eliminated from title contention.

If Tony Stewart wins at Las Vegas with four bonus points:

Kenny Brack must finish 16th or better to win the title, not counting any bonus points he scores.

Davey Hamilton would be eliminated from title contention.

If Tony Stewart wins at Las Vegas with three bonus points:

Kenny Brack must finish 17th or better to win the title, not counting any bonus points he scores.

Davey Hamilton must finish in second place, with four bonus points, to win the title. Brack must finish 18th or worse, not counting any bonus points he scores.

If Tony Stewart wins at Las Vegas with two bonus points:

Kenny Brack must finish 18th or better to win the title, not counting any bonus points he scores.

Davey Hamilton must finish in second place, with three bonus points, to win the title. Brack must finish 19th or worse, not counting any bonus points he scores.

If Tony Stewart wins at Las Vegas with one bonus point:

Kenny Brack must finish 19th or better to win the title, not counting any bonus points he scores.

Davey Hamilton must finish in second place, with two bonus points, to win the title. Brack must finish 20th or worse, not counting any bonus points he scores.

If Tony Stewart wins at Las Vegas with no bonus points:

Kenny Brack must finish 20th or better to win the title, not counting any bonus points he scores.

Davey Hamilton must finish in second place, with one bonus point, to win the title. Brack must finish 21st or worse, not counting any bonus points he scores.

4:30 p.m. medical update from Dr. Henry Bock, IRL director of medical services: #16 Marco Greco is talking, alert and in stable condition at Parkland Hospital after suffering a concussion. He will undergo a CAT scan.

The next Pep Boys Indy Racing League event is the Las Vegas 500 on Oct. 11 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It's the final event of the 1998 season.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Stephan Gregoire , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Scott Goodyear , Roberto Guerrero , Jimmy Kite , Raul Boesel , Donnie Beechler , Kenny Brack , Steve Knapp , Dave Steele , Stan Wattles , Keith Young , Jim McElreath , Robby Unser , John Paul , John Barnes , A.J. Foyt , Johnny Rutherford
Teams Panther Racing