IRL: Weekly Notes 98-11-19

PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE WEEKLY NOTEBOOK INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 19, 1998 - Notes and quotes from the Pep Boys Indy Racing League: Pennzoil Panther hires chief engineer: Pennzoil Panther Racing recently hired veteran Andy Brown...


INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 19, 1998 - Notes and quotes from the Pep Boys Indy Racing League:

Pennzoil Panther hires chief engineer: Pennzoil Panther Racing recently hired veteran Andy Brown as chief engineer for driver Scott Goodyear in the 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League season.

Brown comes to Pennzoil Panther after serving as chief engineer for the PacWest CART team of driver Mauricio Gugelmin. Brown guided Gugelmin to a fourth-place finish in the 1997 CART point standings and helped Gugelmin lead the most laps in the 1995 Indianapolis 500.

"Andy comes to us with a wealth of experience in open-wheel racing and a keen understanding of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and ovals," said John Barnes, Panther Racing team manager and co-owner. "Andy's philosophy about testing, race strategy and car preparation will continue to build on the momentum the 'Pack' developed in 1998."

Brown also helped to design the Galmer chassis that Al Unser Jr. drove to victory in the 1992 Indianapolis 500, edging Goodyear in the closest finish in "500" history. Brown replaces Damon Chandler, who left the team to pursue other opportunities.

"Seeing a car that I had been involved with win the Indianapolis 500 was a highlight in my career," Brown said. "Now I would like to help Scott pick up that win at Indianapolis that has eluded him and help the 'Pack' get to victory lane on more than one occasion in 1999."

Panther Racing plans an ambitious testing schedule during the offseason, including sessions at Walt Disney World Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Texas Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway with its Pennzoil G Force/Aurora/Goodyear. ***

Meet the stars: 1998 Pep Boys IRL champion Kenny Brack and league standouts Billy Boat, Tyce Carlson and Stephan Gregoire will sign autographs from noon-3 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Brickyard Authentics store in Circle Centre Mall in Indianapolis.

Brack will sign from noon-1:30 p.m., Carlson from noon-1 p.m., and Boat and Gregoire from 1:30-3 p.m. All four drivers will be in town for the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Awards Banquet that night at the Murat Theatre.

The first 500 fans in line for autographs will receive a free Indianapolis 500 diecast car. Free posters of Kenny Brack, compliments of Power Team, are being distributed at the store all this week. Raffles will take place during the autograph session for many prizes, including two tickets to the 1999 Indianapolis 500, gift certificates to Brickyard Authentics and a 1:18 scale diecast replica of the Bowes Seal Fast car that A.J. Foyt drove to victory in the 1961 Indianapolis 500. Fans can enter the raffle this week at Brickyard Authentics. ***

John Paul Jr. to chat on Internet: Pep Boys IRL standout John Paul Jr. will chat live with fans on the World Wide Web on Dec. 3 and 4 in KECO Engineered Coatings' chat room.

Live chats will take place from 4-6 p.m. Dec. 3, and noon-2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. Dec. 4. The chat room can be entered through KECO's Web site, Paul will chat as part of KECO's participation in the 1998 Performance Racing Industry 11th Annual Trade Show Dec. 3-5 at the Indianapolis Convention Center and RCA Dome in Indianapolis. Paul also will sign autographs at KECO's booth, located in Area C #2742-44, during the live Internet chats.

Paul finished 11th in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League point standings in 1998. He won the Lone Star 500 in September at Texas Motor Speedway in the Jonathan Byrd's-VisionAire-Bryant Heating & Cooling G Force/Aurora/Firestone, one of the most popular victories of the season.

KECO provides high-performance coating for engine components, frames, exhaust, headers, lubricity and anti-friction/anti-galling applications are found in all forms of racing, including the Pep Boys IRL. ***

Groff, team finishes second in Baja 1000: Pep Boys IRL driver Mike Groff and teammates Ted Smith and Marty Fiolka finished second in the SCORE Lites class during the Baja 1000 from Nov. 11-14, one of the most prestigious off-road races in the world.

Groff, Smith and Fiolka finished the 1,070-mile desert course from Ensenada, Mexico, to La Paz, Mexico, in 25 hours, 31 minutes, 22 seconds, with superb support from their 10-person crew. Overall race winner Ivan "Iron Man" Stewart finished in 19:08:20, supported by a 120-person crew.

Fewer than half of the 214 entries finished the grueling race, the longest point-to-point race in North America. Fiolka, Infiniti IRL media representative, is a veteran Baja driver but fielded his own team for the first time this year.

Pennzoil was the primary sponsor of the car driven by Groff, Smith and Fiolka. Global Telephone Communications, a telecommunications company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, sponsored Groff in the event. Global is engaged in Internet and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) sales and became interested in the race due to extensive use of GPS systems in the race by drivers and teams. ***

Top drivers to race karts for charity: Twenty open-wheel racing standouts, including Pep Boys IRL drivers Donnie Beechler, Mark Dismore, Stevie Reeves, Tony Stewart and Brian Tyler, will participate in "Thunder at Johansson's," a three-hour enduro go-kart race Jan. 29 at Stefan Johansson's Karting Center in Indianapolis.

Two open-wheel pros, in Indianapolis to compete in "Thunder in the Dome" USAC midget race, will serve as captains on each of the 10 teams. Eight fans will fill out the remaining spots on each team.

Fans can submit bids to become one of the team's drivers during the race on the road course at Johansson's. The minimum bid is $100. All proceeds will be donated to the USAC Benevolent Foundation, which assists drivers, their families and other USAC members during times of need.

Bids can be mailed to: Thunder at Johansson's, USAC, 4910 W. 16th St., Speedway, IN 46224 Entries close Jan. 12. Call USAC at (317) 247-5151 for more information.

Other USAC stars serving as team captains are: Jerry Coons Jr., Roy Caruthers, Rick Treadway, Dave Darland, Dan Drinan, Michael Lang, Jack Hewitt, Tracy Hines, Tony Elliott, Johnny Parsons, Ted Hines, Jason Leffler, Ryan Newman, Kevin Olson and Robbie Rice.

Source: IRL/IMS

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Ryan Newman , Al Unser Jr. , Stephan Gregoire , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Donnie Beechler , Mauricio Gugelmin , Kenny Brack , Rick Treadway , Tyce Carlson , Dave Darland , Tracy Hines , Brian Tyler , Tony Elliott , Dan Drinan , Johnny Parsons , John Paul , Stevie Reeves , John Barnes , A.J. Foyt , Jerry Coons Jr.
Teams Panther Racing