STEWART WINS POLE FOR TRUE VALUE 500 WITH RECORD-SETTING LAP FORT WORTH, Texas, June 5, 1998 - Tony Stewart recorded the fastest pole speed ever by a new-formula Pep Boys Indy Racing League car, 224.448 mph, on Friday to win the pole for...
STEWART WINS POLE FOR TRUE VALUE 500 WITH RECORD-SETTING LAP
FORT WORTH, Texas, June 5, 1998 - Tony Stewart recorded the fastest pole speed ever by a new-formula Pep Boys Indy Racing League car, 224.448 mph, on Friday to win the pole for the True Value 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Stewart then wasted no time picking up the pace during the final practice, which followed qualifying. He turned an unofficial lap of 225.696 on the newly reconfigured 1.5-mile quad-oval - the fastest ever by a new-formula IRL car - in the Glidden-Menards Special Dallara/Aurora/Firestone.
Qualifying was postponed to Friday afternoon due to heavy rain Thursday night.
Stewart, from Columbus, Ind., earned the seventh PPG Pole of his Pep Boys IRL career and his second this year. The pole also helped to ease the sting of a last-place finish for Stewart last month at the Indianapolis 500.
"There's not that much anxiety about running fast out here," Stewart said. "It's a tribute to what they have done to this track. I was thinking about what I was going to have for lunch while I was out there - the track is that beautiful.
"Winning the pole makes the team feel like we're back on the right track. Indy was Indy, and that's behind us now. We just go forward from here."
Billy Boat will start beside Stewart on the front row for the 208-lap, 312-mile (500 kilometers) race, scheduled to start at 8 p.m. (CDT) Saturday. Boat's qualifying speed was 223.547 in the Conseco-A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear.
Robbie Buhl, Stewart's teammate, will start third at 223.104 in the Johns Manville-Menards Special Dallara/Aurora/Firestone. Defending event champion Arie Luyendyk was fourth at 221.166 in the Sprint PCS-RadioShack-QUALCOMM G Force/Aurora/Firestone.
1998 Indianapolis 500 champion Eddie Cheever Jr. struggled in the Rachel's Potato Chips Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear during qualifying, as his 214.985 was good for only 20th in the 28-car field.
Stewart's pole speed in the Glidden-Menards Special Dallara/Aurora/Firestone was faster than the four-lap qualifying average of 223.503 set by Billy Boat last month at the Indianapolis 500. Stewart's practice lap was faster than the previous fastest lap, Boat's first qualifying lap of 224.573 last month at Indianapolis.
The fastest pole speed in IRL history is 236.986 by Arie Luyendyk at the 1996 Indianapolis 500. The fastest lap is 239.260 by Luyendyk during practice for the 1996 Indianapolis 500. IRL cars used turbocharged engines in 1996. The league switched to normally aspirated engines in January 1997.
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