IRL: WDW race notes

Indy 200 At Walt Disney World Presented by AURORA RACE DAY SATURDAY, JANUARY 27 It was announced today that Indianapolis-based ...

Indy 200 At Walt Disney World Presented by AURORA

RACE DAY SATURDAY, JANUARY 27

It was announced today that Indianapolis-based Indiana Carbon Company joined Tempero-Giuffre Racing as an associate sponsor of the #25 entry to be driven by David Kudrave in the inaugural Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Presented by Aurora. Indiana Carbon Company is a wholesaler of computer-related products.

9: 30 a.m. -- #3 Eddie Cheever was the first driver out for a 15-minute warmup session. 9:33 a.m. -- #4 Richie Hearn rolled on to the track. 9:48 a.m. -- Session over.

According to Robbin Herring, a spokesperson for Della Penna Motorsports, a crew of 12 worked all night to prepare the =9195 Reynard acquired from Pagan Racing for today's race, and the crew was still working on it when the morning warmup started.=20

JOHN DELLA PENNA: "We got a car that never ran before, so we had to go through it and check it out. Also, we had a lot of work in terms of transferring our setup on to that car. All of us worked all night. Nobody went home. Even the guys from Cosworth had three or four of their technicians helping us out with the engine change. They stayed up until 4 or 5 in the morning. We're just going to try to go and set a comfortable pace. If we last, I think we will be there at the end. That's all we can do." RICHIE HEARN: "They made me keep it down to a mininum so I really didn't push it too hard. At the speed I was going, it felt okay. It was comfortable for me in the car. The crew did a great job. It's very similar to the one I had yesterday."

9:50 a.m. update on driver Eliseo Salazar: According to hospital spokesperson Shannon Hage, Salazar is in stable condition, "had a good night" and is recovering well from surgery. Members of the Scandia/Simon Racing team visited Salazar last night. A team spokesman said he was in good spirits but very disappointed that he wouldn't be in the field. "He's an athlete in superb condition," said team general manager and chief engineer Dick Simon, "so everything looks good for a quick recovery. He's anxious to begin the rehab process and is looking forward to being in the race at= Phoenix."

Update on Formula Ford 2000 driver Ron Ignatowski: condition stable, continues to improve.

EDDIE CHEEVER: (after warmup session) "Good. I'm glad USAC gave us a chance to do the warmup laps. It's a brand new car. The engine ran well. They worked last night until three o'clock."

Indianapolis 500 veteran Gary Bettenhausen, out of racing the past year, will make a return to the track next weekend as one of 57 drivers entered in the USAC Silver Crown portion of the Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway. "I won't be satisfied unless I run up front," Bettenhausen said. He's entered in the #12 Terre Haute First National Bank Chevy fielded by Galas Motorsports. The race is the first of a record 12 Silver Crown events on the 1996 schedule.

12:40 p.m. -- Roy Disney, nephew of the late Walt Disney, gave the starting command.

12:48 p.m. -- GREEN FLAG.

Lap 1: #91 Lazier leads field into Turn 1, leads first lap of Indy Racing League history.

Leaders -- #91 Lazier, #5 Luyendyk, #21 Guerrero, #41 Sharp, #12 Calkins.

Lap 3: #4 Hearn now 15th, #3 Cheever now 17th.

Lap 4: #25 Kudrave to pits, out. KUDRAVE: "We believe it's a transmission problem."

Lap 8: #91 Lazier leads #5 Luyendyk by .5 secsond. #4 Hearn now 11th.

Lap 9: #4 Hearn now 10th.

Lap 10: #4 Hearn now ninth. Leaders -- #91 Lazier, #5 Luyendykj, #21 Guerrero, #41 Sharp, #12 Calkins.

Lap 16: #2 Brayton to pits.

Lap 17: Hearn now seventh.

Lap 18: YELLOW, #4 Hearn slid in Turn 2, does one-half spin and hits inside guard rail on back straight, came to a stop at entrance to Turn 3. He had gained 12 positions from his 19th starting spot.

JOHN DELLA PENNA (car owner, #4 Hearn): "We're not really sure what happened. Something broke in the car going into the turn. The car was very comfortable and we were catching up. We'll have to check it out."

Lap 20: Leaders -- #91 Lazier, #5 Luyendyk, #20 Stewart, #21 Guerrero, #41 Sharp, #12 Calkins, #14 Hamilton, #17 Wattles, #9 Gregoire, #90 St. James.

Lap 24: GREEN. #20 Stewart passed #5 Luyendyk at start-finish line on restart for second.

Lap 29: #20 Stewart passes #91 Lazier for lead in Turn 2, first lead change.

Lap 30: Leaders -- #20 Stewart, #91 Lazier, #5 Luyendyk, #21 Guerrero, #41 Sharp.

UPDATE: Hearn was examined and released from the paddock medical center.

Lap 35: #20 Stewart leads by the length of the front stretch, 5.4 seconds.

Lap 39: #91 Lazier to pits, crew working on right front upright which was coming loose, 1 1/2-minute stop. stop.

Lap 40: Leaders -- #20 Stewart, #5 Luyendyk, #12 Calkins, #21 Guerrero, #17 Wattles.

Lap 47: #2 Brayton to pits, second stop, tires, fuel, wing adjustment.

Lap 48: #91 Lazier, pole winner, now six laps down.

Lap 51: #12 Calkins to second over #5 Luyendyk. Rookies #20 Stewart, #12 Calkins, now 1-2.

Lap 54: #16 Parsons to pits, engine off, Parsons out of car.

Lap 57: #20 Stewart leads #12 Calkins by .5 second.

Lap 60: #20 Stewart leads #12 Calkins by .1 second, running nose-to-tail. Leaders -- #20 Stewart, #12 Calkins, #5 Luyendyk, #21 Guerrero, #17 Wattles, #54 Buhl, #14 Hamilton, all on lead lap.

Lap 66: #12 Calkins passes #20 Stewart for lead in Turn 2, second lead= change.

Lap 68: #20 Stewart to pits, routine stop.

Lap 69: Leaders -- #12 Calkins, #5 Luyendyk, #17 Wattles.

Lap 70: #12 Calkins, leader, in pits, routine stop.

Lap 72: #5 Luyendyk to pits, stalled in pits, restarted, stalled again, restarted, 57-second stop. #17 Wattles in lead.

Lap 73: #54 Buhl to lead.

Lap 74: #14 Hamilton to lead.

Lap 77: #12 Calkins returns to lead. #91 Lazier in pits, out of car.

PARSONS: "Buddy Lazier hit my right front with his left rear. He didn't see me. I was running slow. He was a lot faster." Reason out: overheating.

Lap 80: Leaders -- #12 Calkins, #20 Stewart, #21 Guerrero, #11 Groff, #17 Wattles.

Lap 81: #91 Lazier, driver getting back in car, Hemelgarn team took part from Gregoire's car to repair #91 machine.

Lap 84: #3 Cheever to pits. #9 Gregoire out of race, gearbox.

GREGOIRE: "The gearbox is broken. As I was leaving the pits, I didn't have any power. It's very disappointing."

Lap 93: #12 Calkins leads #20 Stewart by 17.3 seconds, #21 Guerrero by 22.3 seconds.

HEARN: "I was setting my own pace out there and I was surprised I was running as good as I was. I'm feeling really sad for the team and the guys who worked all night to get the car ready. Today was a gamble and we really went for it. The track is very challenging. The car was working good but it came around very violently...not a normal thing. It was almost like I spilled fluid or something broke. I've never driven a car at that speed but it's a risk you have to take."

UPDATE: #91 Lazier out after 61 laps, brakes.

LAZIER: "I've been having a problem all day with steering. It's an upright problem. It just doesn't want to turn. It's very upsetting. It was a good weekend up to then."

Lap 100: Leaders -- #12 Calkins, #20 Stewart, #21 Guerrero, #17 Wattles, #33 Alboreto, #14 Hamilton, #54 Buhl, #41 Sharp, #5 Luyendyk, #75 O'Connell.

Lap 106: #12 Calkins leads #20 Stewart by 15.2 seconds, only two cars on lead lap.

Lap 120: #12 Calkins leads #20 Stewart by 13.9 seconds, followed by #21 Guerrero, #17 Wattles, #33 Alboreto.

Lap 127: #2 Brayton black flag, out of race, handling.

BRAYTON: Right from the start, it was loose...I just couldn't make it work. I'm just happy to be back with Menard."

Lap 130: Leaders -- #12 Calkins, #20 Stewart, #21 Guerrero, #17 Wattles, #33 Alboreto, #14 Hamilton, #5 Luyendyk, #54 Buhl, #75 O'Connell, #3 Cheever.

Lap 133: #20 Stewart, in second, to pits, four tires, fuel.

Lap 137: #5 Luyendyk to pits, stalled, fuel intake valve problem, driver out of car, out, gearbox.

LUYENDYK: "On my first pit stop, I gassed it and it wouldn't start. The second time, there were no gears. We were here for the win so I'm very disappointed."

Lap 143: #21 Guerrero, running second, to pits, stalled, restarted. #12 Calkins, leader, in pits,

Lap 147: SECOND YELLOW, #17 Wattles, running fourth, spun coming off Turn 2, hit inside wall.

Wattles treated for sprained thumb and released from paddock medical center.

WATTLES: "It was just a rookie mistake. I just got fresh tires. My crew chief warned me to watch it. As I came out of the warmup lane, still had the steering wheel cocked just a little bit, I saw the pack coming through the corner and I got on it. The tires broke loose and I just looped the car. But, man, it was a good time. The track was fantastic and I can't wait for the next one at Phoenix. And then, man, I'm goin' to the =91500.'"=20

Lap 150: Leaders -- #12 Calkins, #20 Stewart, #54 Buhl, #33 Alboreto, #21 Guerrero.

Lap 152: GREEN.

Laurie Gerrish, crew chief, #12 Calkins reports car getting two miles per gallon, has fuel to go distance.

Lap 153: #12 Calkins leads #20 Stewart by 1.5 seconds.

Lap 155: #12 Calkins leads #20 Stewart by 2.8 seconds.

Lap 162: #12 Calkins leads #20 Stewart by 4.1 seconds.

Lap 170: #12 Calkins leads #20 Stewart by 2.8 seconds. Leaders -- #12 Calkins, #20 Stewart, #54 Buhl, #33 Alboreto, #21 Guerrero.

Lap 178: THIRD YELLOW, #14 Hamilton, in sixth place, went high in Turn 2, hit wall, slid along wall to exit of Turn 2.

HAMILTON: "Things were looking so good. I was taking it easy. I just wanted to finish. Something broke on the right side."

Lap 180: Leaders -- #12 Calkins, #20 Stewart, #54 Buhl, #33 Alboreto, #21 Guerrero, #41 Sharp, #3 Cheever, #75 O'Connell, #11 Groff, #14 Hamilton.

Lap 185: GREEN. #20 Stewart passed #21 Guerrero (lapped car) on restart, is directly behind #12 Calkins, leader.

Lap 187: #12 Calkins leads #20 Stewart by 2.9 seconds.

Lap 188: #12 Calkins leads #20 Stewart by 3.4 seconds.

Lap 190: FOURTH YELLOW, #3 Cheever, #41 Sharp contact in Turn 1, #3 Cheever into wall, #20 Stewart ran over debris, grazed outside wall, in avoiding incident and safety trucks.

SHARP: "Tight track...feel bad for the guys. A.J. (Foyt) gave me a good ride. (About the accident): "I got held up in Turn 3 by a slower driver, so then I drafted behind the #3 car. I thought he saw me when I went into Turn 1. I thought he was going to give me some racing room. I guess he didn't see me."

CHEEVER: "I'm disappointed I spent so much time going into walls backwards this weekend. I am really upset right now but it was a great event and it was fun to be here. It was a race car I'd never driven before today. We were gaining on it. I'd like to congratulate my teammate Tony. He had a great= run."

Lap 194: GREEN. #12 Calkins leads #20 Stewart by .1 second, nose-to-tail.

Lap 195: #12 Calkins leads #20 Stewart by .1 second, nose-to-tail.

Lap 196: #12 Calkins leads #20 Stewart by .3 second.

Lap 197: #12 Calkins leads #20 Stewart by .5 second.

Lap 198: #12 Calkins leads #20 Stewart by .6 second.

Lap 199: #12 Calkins leads #20 Stewart by 1 second.

Lap 200: #12 Calkins wins unofficially by .8 second over #20 Stewart. #54 Buhl third=20

CALKINS, IN VICTORY LANE: "Now that I've won the Walt Disney World 200, I'm goin' to Indy."

Time of Race: 1 hour, 33 minutes, 30.748 seconds. Average Speed: 128.325 miles per hour Margin of Victory: .866 second

POST-RACE QUOTES: MICHELE ALBORETO: "It's my first race. I'm new and I finished fourth and I'm happy. I had a boost leak so I lost power. But I'm very happy. It was a good day."

LYN ST. JAMES: "We were constantly working on the car. It started out okay and then we lost it as each tire set went on. And then we got it back right there at the end. We had to make an unscheduled pit stop to change the setup on the car. Beyond that, it was busy." (About the track): "Yes, it's a tough track. You have no place to relax. It's tough. I hope the fans had a great time."

MIKE GROFF: "We survived. This was an 11th-hour situation. It's great to be back with A.J. Honestly, the deal came together Wednesday night. I only had about 100 laps in the car and I had no experience in traffic (here). We came together with Jeff Sinden's guys (the Sinden Racing Services "rent-a-crew" from Indianapolis) so we had a short amount of time with them, but we were starting to work well together. We had trouble with one of our pit stops with a right front wheel nut and we lost three laps. After we got that, everything started coming together."

ROBERTO GUERRERO: "We expected more. My first pit stop, I made a mistake (by stopping in the wrong pit). We changed tires and the car wouldn't handle. The first half of the race, it ran loose. We forgot that we qualified with a lot of stagger in the car. So, we were chasing it. It was a long day but I stayed out of trouble. The car is in one piece. I'm not happy but looking around, I'm happier than others."

JOHNNY O'CONNELL: "We had a really super day. We came here to learn and we came here to finish. After running the race, I still don't have 500 miles in the car. This is an eight-day-old car. And the deal came together at the end of November. I think they did a great job.=20

JOHN PAUL JR.: "It was just thrilling. I was just toodling around the race track. I just wanted to finish. It's hard to believe that we just started on Thursday...not much time. I just wanted to learn while we went along. Hopefully, we'll go to Phoenix and get some practice first." (Yes, he said, "toodling.")

BUZZ CALKINS: (about making racing history): "I think you're going to see the IRL take off after this. It was a pretty good show. In my very first race, I wasn't expecting this. This was the first time we had pit stops so I was pleased to see them go so well. I went into this race and knew if everything went well, we would be in the show. The lapped cars that everyone thought were going to be such a problem weren't. I think after today you've seen that we were very competitive. People were expecting havoc and that did not happen. This is 2 =BD times longer than any race I've ever done. "= (about his father, Brad): "My dad seems pretty happy. He's more together than I thought he'd be." (About his start in racing): "I started in go-karts at 15 years old, then did Formula Ford 2000s for two years, then part of a year of Barber Saab Series until I had an accident. I went back and did another year there, then three years of Indy Lights. When I was little, I wanted a little dirt go-kart but my dad bought me a racing one and I did well with that. I moved up from there." (About the biggest thrill of his racing career): "I'll let you know at the end of it." (Is he ready to be a star?): "I'm still in shock. I'll let you know."

BRAD CALKINS: "With this win, I hope there'll be some guys out there signing sponsorships. Without the IRL, we wouldn't have been running at all. When you saw the racing today, you saw a great show."

A spokesperson for the Della Penna Motorsports team said, after examining Richie Hearn's car, the team found that a sway bar adjuster broke.

TONY STEWART: (about avoiding the last accident): "I hit everything that was there. There was nowhere to go. I just didn't have anywhere to go. I didn't know I had a cracked wing. I had a lot of understeer at the end. I had my hands full. I was bouncing off the walls and jamming gears. It was like a Saturday night at a midget race. It was hard to tell where everybody was going. I was happy to see a yellow flag fall without a car between us (him and Calkins). I felt we had a good car at the end until I hit the wall. We built the car with a bit of understeer. We were starting to get loose ... something I have not experienced. We started tight and got loose." (About the last restart): "On the restart, we tried to get a good run. There was so much debris on the race track and I played it safe." (About changing the sway bars): "They just showed me this morning where they were. They told me to turen up the boost and I called back and asked which button was for the boost. We stayed with the adjustments of the sway bars the way they were." (About IRL): "This is what it's about. I don't think any of these guys would be here if it hadn't been for IRL."

JOHN MENARD: "We are really happy for Tony. I think we have it close to figured out. A lot of things were going on out on the track. He showed so much poise. One more notch and we'll be in winner's circle. "

ROBBIE BUHL: "I got my first 200-lap race in. I was just happy to be up front. I was proud to be a part of the team. I didn't know who all dropped out." (About accidents): "We were giving ourselves some margin out there and not take too many risks...only when you have to. We had a pretty clean race." Go back to sixth palce at Long Beach in 1993. I kept my nose clean. Today was more enjoyable to me. I ahd a good car. I could concentrate on the race."

A.J. FOYT: (about IRL): "I have to agree with them. I was a little ol' Texan boy when (Cary) Agajanian's father flew me to California. I'd never been on an airplane, no less that far. I had just come out of supermodifieds and he gave me a chance. That's what this series is going to do for other drivers. This series is going to give all types of drivers the chance to race. Look at the first three finishers. They came from different types of racing."

CARY AGAJANIAN (Executive Vice President, IRL Division): "There's a lot of young drivers out there and now they have seen what Tony Stewart has done. They know there's hope for them. I have seen a lot of sprint and midget drivers walking up and down the pits the last few days knowing they will get a chance. There's also a lot of Atlantic and Lights drivers who just don't get a chance and now they will have an opportunity here. There's nothing wrong with expanding this sport by adding more teams and race drivers."

TONY GEORGE: (about his biggest fears and surprises today): "Weather's always the biggest fear when you're trying to put on a race. I don't watch the weather in May and August and I didn't watch the weather down here. There weren't really any big surprises either. After being down here in and out over the last couple of months watching some of these guys test, the dedication that they have, the work ethic they have, I was convinced they were professionals and capable of doing the job if given the opportunity. I think they all performed very well and I couldn't be more pleased with the effort. "

JACK LONG (Executive Director, IRL): "One thing we've been saying is that there's a pool of talent. We're not just talking midgets, sprinters. We're talking about that there's a bigger pool of talent in this country of drivers who can get cars around race tracks, road course guys, it doesn't matter. Whatever the genre, there's plenty of opportunity to tap into that pool."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Eddie Cheever , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Richie Hearn , Dick Simon