IRL: WDW Fast Facts

Indy 200 at Walt Disney World FAST FACTS WHAT: Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway Presented by Aurora 1998 Indy Racing League Series event no. 1 WHERE: Walt Disney World Speedway, Lake Buena ...

Indy 200 at Walt Disney World FAST FACTS

WHAT: Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway Presented by Aurora 1998 Indy Racing League Series event no. 1

WHERE: Walt Disney World Speedway, Lake Buena Vista, Fla. One-mile oval Located just inside the main gate of Walt Disney World

WHEN: Saturday, January 24, 1998, 12:30 p.m. EST

DISTANCE: 200 Laps, 200 Miles

POSTED AWARDS: $1.1 million

CARS: Dallara, G-Force and Riley & Scott chassis, Oldsmobile Aurora V8 and Nissan Infiniti Indy V8 engines

TICKETS & GENERAL INFORMATION: (407) 939-8252 (WDWS); (407) 839-3900 (Ticketmaster) Website: www.indyracingleague.com

TV: Speedvision, Friday, January 23, Noon EST (Live) Indy Racing League Indy 200 qualifying with commentators Gary Lee, Derek Daly and Calvin Fish

ABC Sports, Saturday, January 24, 12:30 p.m. EST (Live) Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway Presented by Aurora with commentators Paul Page, Tom Sneva, Jack Arute and Gary Gerould

RADIO: IMS Radio Network, Saturday, January 24, 12:30 p.m. EST (Live) Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway Presented by Aurora with commentators Bob Jenkins, Gary Lee, Vince Welch, Mark Jaynes and Bob Lamey

SCHEDULE of EVENTS: Wednesday, January 21 Noon The 200 Drive for Kids, Charity Golf Outing - Osprey Ridge Benefiting the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Women and Children

Thursday, January 22 9 a.m. Track opens to public 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Indy Racing League practice 1- 2 p.m. US F2000 practice 2:15 - 3:15 p.m. IRL practice 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. US F2000 Single Car qualifying (Top 20 positions) 8 p.m. IRL Indy 200 qualifying draw Downtown Disney Pleasure Island

Friday, January 23 8 a.m. Track opens to public 9 - 10:40 a.m. IRL practice 11 - 11:30 a.m. US F2000 qualifying race (20 laps for last 16 positions) Noon - 2 p.m. IRL single car qualifying 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. US F2000 race (50 laps) 4 - 4:30 p.m. IRL final practice 4:45 - 5:45 p.m. IRL Autograph Session Infield Garage Area

Saturday, January 24 8 a.m. Track opens to public 11:30 a.m. Opening ceremonies and Driver introductions 12:40 p.m. Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway Presented by Aurora (200 laps) 3 p.m. Joie Chitwood's Chevy Thunder Show 9 p.m. Victory Party - Downtown Disney Pleasure Island

IRL OFFICIAL TRACK RECORDS:

Qualifying: Buddy Lazier, 19.847 sec., 181.388 mph (using old engine/chassis formula) Tony Stewart, 21.685 sec., 166.013 mph (with new IRL engine/chassis formula)

Race: Buzz Calkins, 1 hour, 33 minutes, 30.748 sec., avg. speed 128.325 mph

TRACK FACTS: Walt Disney World Speedway (WDWS) is an oval speedway with turns banked from 7 to 10 degrees. The front straight is 910 feet long, while the mid-straight is 1,023 feet and the back straight is 572 feet. WDWS opened in 1996 by hosting the first-ever Indy Racing League event, the inaugural Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway presented by Aurora, on January 27. The speedway is located adjacent to the main entrance of Disney's Magic Kingdom, with temporary seating for 45,000 spectators. In addition to the Indy 200 IRL event, WDWS stages the Chevy Trucks Challenge, a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event, a US F2000 race, and new for 1998, USAC Silver Crown Series competition.

IRL ITEMS OF INTEREST:

Defending Indy 200 at Walt Disney World presented by Aurora champion Eddie Cheever will start the 1998 season with a new team. Cheever was in the right place at the right time last year to take the win at WDW Speedway. He was declared winner after the race was red flagged due to heavy rain after 149 laps.

If 1996-97 IRL Series Champion Tony Stewart leads 96 laps of the Indy 200, he will be the first IRL competitor to have lead 1,000 laps of IRL competition. Stewart currently leads the all-time laps lead list with 904.

Several new teams will debut at the Indy 200. Among them is Panther Racing, which features sponsor Pennzoil and driver Scott Goodyear. The team is co-owned primarily by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jim Harbaugh, Indianapolis television producer Terry Lingner and Indianapolis businessman Gary Pedigo. Other new teams include Kelley Racing, owned by Tom Kelley of Fort Wayne, Ind., and ISM Racing, which will field a car for Jeff Ward. Kelley Racing's drivers for 1998 include Mark Dismore and Scott Sharp. Sharp drove for A.J. Foyt in 1997.

Davey Hamilton will drive for Nienhouse Motorsports on the 1998 IRL circuit. Hamilton finished a close second to Tony Stewart in the 1996-97 IRL championship. Nienhouse Motorsports is, technically speaking, another new team on the circuit. Rick Galles recently sold his team to Chicago businessman Bob Nienhouse. Galles will continue to run the team out of his Albuquerque, N.M., shop, and his son Jamie will be team manager.

Look for A.J. Foyt's 1998 driver Billy Boat to be a major contender throughout the season. Boat, a Phoenix, Ariz., resident, earned a full-time ride with Foyt's team based on a number of strong performances

Florida native Stan Wattles and his Stuart, Fla.-based Metro Racing team will field an all-American-made car at the Indy 200, with an Indianapolis-built Riley & Scott chassis riding on Goodyear tires and powered by an Indy Aurora V8 engine. This is the first such "all-American" car to compete in the IRL. Wattles, a Sewall's Point, Fla., resident, and the Metro team recently logged 2,320 miles in just 20 days of testing at various IRL tracks.

Open wheel veteran Raul Boesel has joined McCormack Motorsports for the 1998 IRL season. The nine-time Indianapolis 500 veteran will drive a G-Force Oldsmobile Aurora with Goodyear tires. Boesel's best Indy 500 finishes were third in 1989 and fourth in 1993. He spent the past six seasons driving in the CART series, and finished 10th in the 1997 CART championship points driving for Patrick Racing.

Notable modifications have taken place on the IRL cars for 1998, particularly in the airbox and cockpit areas, to enhance driver safety. The airbox has been raised by two inches, giving the driver more protection in the head area. Additional crushable material has been added to the side pods and padding in the seats and head rests will help absorb energy in the event of a crash as well. Modifications to the bell housing, gearbox and attenuator for enhanced safety continue as well.

In addition, a vertical fin has been added to the engine cowl to provide a more visible place for the car number. This addition has been named the "fan fin," as it will allow for easier identification of the cars from the grandstands.

Despite the many changes at other IRL teams, Team Menard, the 1996-97 season champions with driver Tony Stewart, will start the new year with basically the same personnel as last year. Stewart and teammate Robbie Buhl drive cars No. 1 and 3, respectively, with G-Force chassis, Aurora Indy power and Firestone tires. Stewart won his first IRL race last June at the Samsonite 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Buhl captured his first IRL victory last August at the Pennzoil 200 at New Hampshire Int'l Speedway.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Buzz Calkins , Buddy Lazier , Jeff Ward , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Scott Goodyear , Raul Boesel , Calvin Fish , Tom Sneva , Derek Daly , Stan Wattles , A.J. Foyt