IRL: Wednesday 21 - Indy 500

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21 The "500" Festival issued a statement this afternoon regarding ther fire at Expo Design this morning that destroyed 10 floats for the Monsoon 500 Festival Parade scheduled at Noon Saturday downtown. The statement said...

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21

The "500" Festival issued a statement this afternoon regarding ther fire at Expo Design this morning that destroyed 10 floats for the Monsoon 500 Festival Parade scheduled at Noon Saturday downtown. The statement said that the parade will go on as scheduled with 90 of the 100 scheduled parade units remaining intact. These include 22 specialty units, 14 marching bands, eight giant helium balloons, Hollywood celebrities and four floats which were unharmed. The statement added that billboard-sized float renderings of those floats destroyed in the fire will be created and displayed along the parade route, complete with originally- planned music, celebrities and surprises. Tickets to the nation's largest interactive parade are still available at TicketMaster locations or by visiting the "500" Festival office.

Jimmy Ryser, with special guests Kathi George and Sue Medley, will perform on the FanFest stage 3:15-4:30 p.m. Thursday.

As accurately as records are available, the six Indiana-born drivers in the 1997 field is the fourth largest total in "500" history. The six are Tyce Carlson, born in Indianapolis, resides in Indianapolis; Mark Dismore, born in Greenfield, resides in Greenfield; Steve Kinser, born in Bloomington, resides in Bloomington; Dr. Jack Miller, born in Indianapolis, resides in Carmel; Billy Roe, born in Indianapolis, resides in Gilbert, Ariz.; and Tony Stewart, born in Rushville, resides in Indianapolis. The most Indiana-born drivers in a "500" field was eight in 1922. The 1932 and 1933 fields each contained seven Indiana-born drivers. In all, 47 total "500" drivers were born in Indiana and have started a total of 183 races.

Driver Ralph Liguori and the Lincoln Electric team of Dennis Klingman, Ted Pinnick, Steve Riva and J.B. Winkle won the 38th annual Race Drivers Golf Tournament Monday at Brickyard Crossing. The Spot-On Sportswear and Control Cables team of Wanda Devin, Dee Walters, Debbie Atkerson and Sheri Crandall won the second annual Women's Invitational Golf Tournament benefiting the USAC Benevolent Foundation, a nine-hole scramble event at Eagle Creek.

Doug Boles, director of governmental and corporate affairs for Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, spoke to members of the Indianapolis Public Relations Society today at the Pennzoil hospitality trailer about the economic impact of auto racing on the Indianapolis area. Boles said community efforts to draw racing-related businesses to Indianapolis have raised the total to 300, many small businesses forming a large industry that is centrally located in the U.S. The effort involved offering tax incentives to racing-related businesses. Boles said the "500" brings about $150 million in revenue to the area through jobs, tourism, souvenirs and other avenues. Boles will be the spotter on Race Day for the #21 Pennzoil/Pagan Racing/Infiniti driven by Roberto Guerrero.

C2 Players/Toyota Atlantic champion Mike Shank was named as driver for the new Nienhouse Motorsports team and the wind tunnel model of the Riley & Scott chassis was unveiled this afternoon at the Nienhouse Motorsports hospitality tent. The team plans to debut at Las Vegas with a Riley & Scott car and Oldsmobile Aurora power. "It was difficult to choose between chassis manufacturers since they have all consistently demonstrated race worthiness," said Bob Nienhouse, owner of the team. "The IRL rules are well crafted to provide equality among the chassis manufacturers. However, our relationship with Riley & Scott, the confidence our team has in them, their sterling reputation and significant experience led us to begin our IRL racing with this new chassis."

Arie Luyendyk is honorary chairman of the Leukemia Society's "Racing for Life" program to be held at 6 p.m. at Average Joe's, Mineshaft and Rock Lobster in Broad Ripple. This year's event, held in memory of former Mineshaft employee Stacy McKay, features a celebrity pool tournament, live and silent auction, raffles, virtual reality racing against the drivers and autographs. MACH 5, a band composed of race drivers, will play 9-11 p.m. at Rock Lobster. Last year's donations totaled $11,000.

Lyn St. James served as chief steward and Bob Jenkins as announcer today at the 16th annual Zoopolis 500 for Aldabra tortoises at the Indianapolis Zoo. "Lyn" defeated "A.J.", reversing the 1996 finish. During Community Day at the Speedway, the Lyn St. James Automotive Team conducted car care clinics sponsored by Dreyer Reinbold Infiniti. Three female drivers -- Trish Koger, Carolyn Wright and Alice Ridpath -- gave car care tips to the public. Koger is currently the only female legends driver in Florida and is employed full-time as a NASA engineer.

Longtime Speedway public-address announcer Tom Carnegie was presented with a bronze statue by Rick Galles and the Galles Racing team in the Trackside Conference Room today as an honor from the team. The statue is a bronco rider and is called "Monday Mornin'", by Curtis Fort. "When a team recognizes my love for racing, it makes me feel proud," Carnegie said. "The fact it was sculpted just for me is a thrill."

At 9:29 p.m. Tuesday, Peter Joseph Hofmann was born at Methodist Hospital, the son of Tony and Ruth Ann Hofmann of the Speedway Trackside Report staff.

Trackside Conference Room/Press Room Quotes: JEFF WARD: "We've had meetings with (Johnny) Rutherford and (Eddie) Cheever and they tell you horror stories to try to scare you, such as turbulence, breathing methanol in the back of the pack...things to be prepared for. In high school, when you're a freshman, you're always picked on. Here it's an honor to be a rookie and do well." (about continuing with Cheever): "Discussions are going on. They're happy so far."

GREG RAY: "In the past, the rookie meeting was brief. I know it's hard to tell a rookie what to do but yesterday Eddie (Cheever) described the feelings, smells, the speed and duration of the race with very valuable comments. I really appreciated it. It was a fun meeting." (about Carb Day): "Mostly working through traffic, scrubbing tires, simulate race times, do fuel calculations, make pit stops. It's all totally new to us. I'll try to prepare myself mentally and physically." (about Race Day strategy): "It's going to be about how fast you go and still have an engine together after the race."

DR. JACK MILLER: (about the race): "I'm not nervous. I'm more excited. It's hard to describe driving 200 miles per hour and Turn 1...it's something you have to experience. I've experienced speed. Now, I want to experience turbulence. This (track) is where I feel at home. Speed is relative. On a one-mile oval, you're always turning. Here, you have a little time to relax but you have to concentrate on the next corner. To me, it's easier here than Phoenix or Orlando."

CLAUDE BOURBONNAIS: (about longest race he's done previously): "I've done the 24 Hours of LeMans, which was quite an experience, but this is different too...you don't have a different driver. Before, (at leMans), you have eight hours with two hours of rest." (about Race Day): "I'd like to take it easy at the start and maybe the first half of the race." (about media attention): "Indy is one of a kind. I think it's pretty addictive. That's why everybody wants to come back." (about ovals): "I have quite a lot of experience in oval racing, but not superspeedway. I've done Indy Lights, etc., so it's not totally new to me." (about response to his success in Canada): "Yes, especially Quebec and Montreal. The press has followed it closely. I'm only the third Quebec driver to race here."

STEVE KINSER: (running another race Sunday after the 500): "If we win this race (500) we probablly won't go anywhere. Right now we are looking toward tomorrow and getting back out on the race track. We've got the car back together and we'll see how the motor performs, shake everything down and make a few laps. And we'll be ready on Sunday. We've had big support, especially around Indiana and across the country from all the open-wheel midget and sprint people. It's been great. I don't think is any happier to be here or to have the opportunity to be here than myself. They had a big banner (last night at a sprint-car program at Lernerville Speedway, Sarver, Pa.) and had all the fans go by and sign it on both sides and gave it to me at the end of the race. Physically, I won't have any problems. Mentally, it's going to be hard."

The $70,000 Coors Indy Pit Stop Challenge quarterfinals, semifinals and final are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. on Carburetion Day, with eight teams competing for the $40,000 top prize. The #77 Chastain Motorsports entry has been withdrawn from the field and has been replaced by the #44 Sinden Racing Services entry. The #14 AJ Foyt Enterprises entry has been withdrawn and replaced by the #52 FirstPlus Team Cheever entry. Teams will change four tires and simulate a fuel-hose connection for five seconds in all remaining rounds. The matchups:

QUARTER-FINALS - 1:30 p.m. Carburetion Day

Heat 1 #22 Team Scandia Driver: Marco Greco Sao Paulo, Brazil #44 Sinden Racing Service Driver: Steve Kinser Bloomington, IN Heat 2 #27 Blueprint Racing Driver: Jim Guthrie Albuquerque, NM #52 FirstPlus Team Cheever Driver: Jeff Ward San Juan Capistrano, CA Heat 3 #5 Treadway Racing, LLC Driver: Arie Luyendyk Scottsdale, AZ #51 FirstPlus Team Cheever Driver: Eddie Cheever, Jr. Tampa, FL

Heat 4 #4 Galles Racing International Driver: Kenny Brack Karlstad, Sweden #42 Team Sabco Driver: Robby Gordon Cornelius, NC

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Eddie Cheever , Jeff Ward , Arie Luyendyk , Mark Dismore , Jim Guthrie , Roberto Guerrero , Kenny Brack , Billy Roe , Lyn St. James , Steve Kinser , Jack Miller