IROC: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Story Indianapolis, Indiana (July 31, 1998) - Mark Martin won the inaugural IROC race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, clinching his fourth IROC championship. Martin started in twelfth place, last on the...
IROC: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Story
Indianapolis, Indiana (July 31, 1998) - Mark Martin won the inaugural IROC race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, clinching his fourth IROC championship. Martin started in twelfth place, last on the grid. This was the third time in series history that a driver starting last had won.
On the start, Jimmy Vasser took the lead from his pole position. The field stretched out behind him, with Martin beginning his move to the front. By the second lap, Martin had moved into ninth place.
The race was marred by a major incident on the third lap, when Tom Kendall brushed the outside wall in Turn 4, then hit Arie Luyendyk. Luyendyk hit the inside wall hard, becoming the first driver to test the new "PEDS" crash-absorbing barrier. Luyendyk was extricated from his car and transported to Methodist Hospital, where he was reported to be in good condition with a mild concussion.
As the wreck was being cleaned up, Kendall said "Unfortunately, I kind of started the whole mess. I got a little loose, got out of the groove, and got up by the wall."
Several other cars were damaged in the melee. All except Luyendyk and Jeff Burton, who ran into the rear of Jeff Gordon while avoiding Luyendyk's spinning car, were able to continue.
On the restart, Vasser continued his domination at the front, with Al Unser and Randy LaJoie joining him in a three car draft which had drawn ahead of the rest of the field. By the 15th lap, Martin had reached fourth place, leading the second pack of cars. Martin spent the next several laps slowly catching up to the leading trio. On lap 28, Martin had not only caught the draft but had gotten past LaJoie and Unser into second place. He dogged Vasser for the next 19 laps, passing him for the lead on the front straight on lap 37. Martin stretched out a .247 second margin by the end, with a winning speed of 156.386 mph.
The win clinched the 1998 IROC championship for Martin. Martin is the only driver to win four championships, and is also the only driver to have won three in a row.
1. 1 Mark Martin; 2. 6 Al Unser, Jr.; 3. 12 Jimmy Vasser; 4. 11 Randy LaJoie; 5. 5 Terry Labonte; 6. 7 Tony Stewart; 7. 10 Dale Jarrett; 8. 4 Dale Earnhardt; 9. 3 Jeff Gordon; 10. 8 Tom Kendall; 11. 9 Arie Luyendyk; 12. 2 Jeff Burton
Lap Leaders: Vasser, 1-36; Martin, 37-40
Lead Changes: 1 among 2 drivers
Caution Flags: 1, after lap 2
TV: ABC Sports, Saturday, August 1, 4:30 p.m. EDT
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