IRL: Texas race running

SATURDAY JUNE 7, 1997, RACE DAY USAC allowed systems checks for four cars today. The ...

IRL: Texas race running
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USAC allowed systems checks for four cars today. The #10 Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria Bryant Heating & Cooling entry driven by Johnny Unser ran three laps this morning. Marco Greco ran the #22 Side Play International Scandia Alta Xcel car and Fermin Velez ran the #33 Old Navy Scandia Royal Purple Alta Xcel entry this afternoon and Billy Boat also ran a few laps in the #1 Conseco AJ Foyt Racing machine. The cars of Unser, Greco and Velez ran the checks after changing engines. The check on Boat's car was for a new water pump. "Everything seems fine," said Unser. "With such few laps, you really can't tell much about setup but it all feels comfortable. The only thing I plan to change is my positioning in the cockpit but my confidence level is fine." *** Notes on the True Value 500 field: The combined experience of the 26 starters is 24,405.5 miles of IRL competition, which would represent 16,270 laps around the Texas Motor Speedway. Four drivers have not run 312 miles (the length of the True Value 500) in an IRL race to date Kenny Brack, Greg Ray, Sam Schmidt and Allen May. Seven drivers either tied or got their best IRL starting position to date Tony Stewart (tied, 1st), Robbie Buhl (2nd), Kenny Brack (3rd), Greg Ray (6th), Robbie Groff (13th), Allen May (18th) and Billy Boat (21st). Four drivers have their worst IRL starting position to date Vincenzo Sospiri (17th), Allen May (18th), Dr. Jack Miller (19th) and Eliseo Salazar (22nd). *** Nine of the cars in the True Value 500 field have been used for all four 1997 IRL races. They are: #4 Kenny Brack (driven by Jeff Ward at Walt Disney World and Brack at Phoenix, Indianapolis and Texas) #5 Arie Luyendyk and #6 Scott Goodyear for Treadway Racing, each driving the same car for all four races. #8 Vincenzo Sospiri (driven by Dr. Jack Miller at Walt Disney World, Marco Greco at Phoenix and Sospiri at Indianapolis and Texas). #17 Affonso Giaffone (driven by Danny Ongais at Walt Disney World and Giaffone at Phoenix, Indianapolis and Texas). #27 Jim Guthrie, all four races. #30 Robbie Groff (driven by Jeret Schroeder at Walt Disney World and Phoenix and Groff at Indianapolis and Texas) #33 Fermin Velez, all four races. #10 Johnny Unser (driven by Mike Groff at first three races and Unser at Texas).

Jeff Russell, a two-time All Star as a pitcher with the Texas Rangers whose major league career spanned the years 1983-96, will serve on the crew of Buzz Calkins' #12 Bradley Food Marts G Force/Aurora. Russell pitched for the Indianapolis Indians earlier in his career, but this is his first race. He'll operate the "deadman" valve as a working member of the crew.

Jeff Couture, the left rear tire changer for the #44 SRS/Young Chevrolet entry for rookie Allen May, had a minor incident before the race. "It was a rookie error," Couture said. "I rolled the car over my foot when we pushed it in line. I'll get it looked at after the race. It'll be fine."

Track temperature from Goodyear tire engineers at 7:17 p.m. was 98 degrees.

TRUE VALUE 500 RACE RUNNING: All cars started. Second parade Lap #1 Boat to pits, quick in-and-out stop. Lap 1: YELLOW, #22 Greco smoking into Turn 1 on start, slid in own oil to low side, no contact. #33 Velez to pits, engine off, pushed to garage, engine problem. GRECO: "At the last minute, we had to put a different engine in that I'm not used to. Unfortunately, we had problems and it blew. I'm very disappointed." Lap 12: #34 Zampedri to pits. #21 Guerrero to pits, fuel only. Lap 19: GREEN. #2 Stewart keeps lead through Turn 1. #91 Lazier to second past #3 Buhl in Turn 3. Lap 23: #2 Stewart leads #91 Lazier by .1 of a second. Lap 24: YELLOW, #40 Miller slowed, stopped on backstretch, tow-in. JEFF SINDEN (owner, #40 Miller): "Jack said the ignition just went dead." Lap 26: #34 Zampedri to pits, fuel, left front wing adjustment. Lap 27: #40 Miller engine restarted in pits, returned to pit exit, stopped, pushed back to pit. Lap 28: GREEN. Lap 29: Leaders #2 Stewart, #91 Lazier, #4 Brack, #3 Buhl, #97 Ray. Lap 33: #2 Stewart leads #91 Lazier by .2 of a second. Lap 35: #34 Zampedri back to pits, crew looked under car for debris, returned to track. Lap 39: YELLOW, #44 May spun, hit outside wall in Turn 2 slid down track, #16 Schmidt spun and hit outside wall going low to avoid May. Both cars out. OWEN SNYDER (chief mechanic, #44 May): "The car's back end came around on him. He was running quick...212s to 213s. That's the quickest we've run all weekend. We're not sure what happened yet." Lap 46: #40 Miller behind the wall. Lap 48: GREEN. #2 Stewart holds lead over #91 Lazier. Lap 52: Leaders #2 Stewart, #91 Lazier, #3 Buhl, #97 Ray, #5 Luyendyk. Lap 54: #4 Brack slowed to pits, crew takes sidepods off. Lap 60: #2 Stewart in traffic, passes #21 Guerrero, #34 Zampedri, #91 Lazier trapped behind. Lap 63: #97 Ray to pits. MILLER: "I'm not sure what happened. I think it's electrical. It just died. We changed the box, then it started and it just died again." Lap 67: #91 Lazier, in second, to pits, four tires, fuel. #6 Goodyear to pits, four tires, fuel. #4 Brack returned to track, brackets holding oil lines repaired. Lap 69: #2 Stewart slowed to pits, out of fuel, fueled, restarted, returned to track. #3 Buhl to pits, four tires, fuel. #7 Salazar leads. Lap 73: #14 Hamilton leads. Medical Update from Columbia Infield Care Center: Allen May had a contusion to the right elbow. Sam Schmidt had a contusion to left knee. Both were released. MAY: "We were running fine. Owen asked me to back off of Giaffone a little bit. We had a push in it. When I got down low, it just snapped around. But I'm okay." (On his first IRL race): "Short." #17 Giaffone to pits, crew removed debris from left sidepod. Lap 76: Leaders #27 Guthrie, #1 Boat, #14 Hamilton. SCHMIDT: "The car was loose at first but the last five laps, it was coming into greatness. I was catching Allen when I saw smoke and the spotter said to go inside and I got below the yellow (line) and lost it. There was so much smoke I couldn't see the yellow line." Lap 80 #2 Stewart ninth. Lap 82 YELLOW, #27 Guthrie had right rear tire go down out of Turn 4, slid down front straight, hit outside wall, stopped on low side of track at pit exit. Guthrie was treated and released from the Columbia Infield Care Center with a bruised left knee. Lap 85: Leaders to pits #3 Buhl, #1 Boat, #2 Stewart, #14 Hamilton left pits in that order. Lap 86: #17 Giaffone electrical fire, stopped on low side of Turn 4, out of car. GIAFFONE: "A header broke which led to a fire and it caused our retirement." Lap 87: #30 Groff takes his first lead in an IRL race. Lap 88: Leaders #91 Lazier, #1 Boat, #14 Hamilton, #12 Calkins, #30 Groff. Lap 93: GREEN. Lap 97: Leaders #91 Lazier, #1 Boat, #14 Hamilton, #12 Calkins, #30 Groff. Lap 100: #12 Calkins slowed to pits, motor problem. CALKINS: "I blew a head gasket. The motor overheated. It was the end of our day." Lap 112: #2 Stewart, one lap down in fifth, just behind leader #91 Lazier. Lap 116: #2 Stewart unlapped himself by passing #91 Lazier on low side in Turns 3 and 4. #91 Lazier leads #1 Boat by 14.4 seconds. Lap 118: #5 Luyendyk to pits, four tires, fuel. Lap 120: #91 Lazier to pits. Lap 121: #1 Boat leader, #2 Stewart second. Lap 131: #1 Boat leads #2 Stewart. GUTHRIE: "It happened real fast and caught me off guard. It snapped right around. I really had a good run going. It was great to get back in the lead after Indy. I feel bad for the team." Lap 134: #1 Boat, leader, in pits, four tires, fuel. #2 Stewart, in second, in pits. Lap 135: #14 Hamilton to pits, four tires, fuel. Lap 137: YELLOW, oil in deceleration lane in Turn 3. #4 Brack in pits, leaking fluid. BRACK: "I don't know what happened...something in the engine." GARY ARMENTROUT (chief mechanic, #4 Brack): "It was something in the engine. I really don't know what. Maybe the fuel pump. It was just a bang and when he got to the pits, there was fluid everywhere." Lap 143: GREEN/YELLOW ON RESTART, #18 Carlson, #6 Goodyear spun to grass on front straightaway, #6 Goodyear drove across grass to pit, changed tires, refueled, returned to track. #18 Carlson towed across grass to pit. Lap 146: #6 Goodyear returns to pits, loose carbon fiber. Lap 149: GREEN. #8 Sospiri passed leader #91 Lazier to get lap back. #18 Carlson reported to have lost a cylinder, returned to track. JIM DRINAN (crewman, #18 Carlson): "We lost a cylinder and had a misfire in the engine. We were trying to eliminate more problems so we checked and changed the spark plugs." Lap 150: #91 Lazier, #2 Stewart repassed #8 Sospiri. Lap 154: #2 Stewart high #91 Lazier low, side-by-side complete lap. Lap 155: #2 Stewart high, #91 Lazier low, side-by-side, complete lap. Lap 156: #2 Stewart edged ahead of #91 Lazier on high side, Turn 2, to get lap back, only other car on lead lap. Lap 157: #91 Lazier slowing in Turn 3, to pits, smoking, out, engine problem. LAZIER: "I don't know exactly what happened. I had a lap on everyone. The thing broke when we were in 1 and 2. We were in good shape. We were right where we wanted to be. This track is really a lot of fun. I'm really disappointed. We were really perfect. The car seems to keep their balance. It's really physically demanding with the banking." #2 Stewart leads, followed by #14 Hamilton, #30 Groff, three cars on lead lap. Lap 168: YELLOW, #3 Buhl slowed, smoking off Turn 4, to pits, out. BUHL: "We had a great car. We started losing power then the engine blew...very disappointing." Lap 170: Leaders pit. Lap 172: #51 Cheever Jr., made multiple stops to adjust tire pressure. Lap 175: #30 Groff to pits, smoking, out of car. Lap 180: Leaders #2 Stewart, #1 Boat, #14 Hamilton. Stewart turning laps at 215-plus. GROFF: "The engine blew up. That's about it. Don't know what else to say." Lap 193: #2 Stewart turned lap at 212.5. Lap 196: #2 Stewart leads #1 Boat by 13.6 seconds. Lap 206: YELLOW, #2 Stewart lost engine down front straightaway, hit wall in Turn 2. Lap 208: #1 Boat leads AJ Foyt teammate #14 Hamilton across line under yellow to win True Value 500 in his second-ever Indy Racing League start. Stewart was examined and released from the Columbia Infield Care Center. 13 cars running at finish. At 11:45 p.m., it was announced that two official protests had been filed by Treadway Racing on behalf of #5 Arie Luyendyk, stating the team feels the car won the race and that #6 Scott Goodyear finished ahead of #51 Eddie Cheever Jr., and the protests were accepted for review by USAC Chief Steward Keith Ward.

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