Indianapolis, Indiana - The 25th running of the True Value IROC series will conclude for the fourth consecutive year at the 2.5-mile, world famous, Indianapolis Motor Speedway in one of closest, and diverse, points battles in the series' ...
Indianapolis, Indiana - The 25th running of the True Value IROC series will conclude for the fourth consecutive year at the 2.5-mile, world famous, Indianapolis Motor Speedway in one of closest, and diverse, points battles in the series' history.
The 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup champion, Bobby Labonte leads by one-point over 1999 Indy 500 winner, and current CART FedEx Series points leader, Kenny Brack. Also in close contention, in a tie for third place, are Indy Racing Northern Light Series stand out, Eddie Cheever, Jr., and NASCAR Winston Cup driver, Tony Stewart.
The 40-lap, 100-mile championship race will take the green flag on Saturday, August 4 at 2:00 p.m. (EST). ESPN will broadcast the race on Saturday, August 10 at 7:00 p.m. (EDT).
The four race invitational series began at Daytona in February with NASCAR Winston Cup driver, Dale Jarrett taking his first True Value IROC victory. Jarrett enters the finale in sixth place with a mathematical chance at the crown.
Race two in April resulted in a repeat win for Bobby Labonte at Talladega Superspeedway, followed by Winston Cup teammate, Tony Stewart getting his first victory in round three at Michigan International Speedway in June.
Two-time Indy 500 winner, Al Unser, Jr., will drive again for fellow Northern Light Series driver, Scott Goodyear who is recuperating from a back injury sustained in the 2001 Indy 500 in May. Unser, Jr., finished second for Goodyear in race three at Michigan. The Unser, Jr./Goodyear combination, currently seventh in points, also with a mathematical chance to win the championship, would split the credit. Unser, Jr., was the last open wheel-driver to win the True Value IROC championship in 1988.
Of his run for the championship Labonte said, "I can promise it's going to be a pretty awesome race on Saturday. Had you told me two years ago when I was asked to fill in for Al (Unser, Jr.) at Daytona that I would have had the chance to win the IROC championship and to be able to possibly do it at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I would have never believed it. After winning here last year (Brickyard 400) and having people coming up and asking about what it's like to win at Indy, it is so hard to explain. It was such a phenomenal feeling riding around there and seeing all of those people. But to have the final stage of the True Value IROC Series at Indy seems to be perfect as you have both open-wheel and stock car drivers in the field and Indy represents all of racing so I do not see anyone having a distinct advantage."
The line up for the final event is established by reverse order of the points standings and car colors are assigned by a blind draw. In addition to the draw for car colors, in tribute to the 25th anniversary, True Value IROC officials have added a "wild-card" draw for the pole throughout the four races of the 2001 season. After the car colors are assigned, a car color is drawn and regardless of the assigned drivers position in points, that car will start from the pole.
Labonte drew Jeff Burton's yellow car for the pole position in Saturdays finale at the Brickyard. Burton would have started third according his ninth place position in the points and is not a contender for the 2001 championship.
Rounding out the field is NASCAR Winston Cup competitor (5th) Ricky Rudd, 2000 Northern Light Series champion, (8th) Buddy Lazier, NASCAR Winston Cup driver (9th) Jeff Burton, 2000 NASCAR Busch Series champion, (10th) Jeff Green, and Northern Light Series driver, (11th) Mark Dismore.
The late, reigning 2000 True Value IROC champion, Dale Earnhardt was not replaced after competing in race one at the Daytona 2001 opener where he finished seventh. The 2001 True Value IROC season and championship will be in tribute to Dale Earnhardt.