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1998 Indy Racing NEWS

  • 1998 IMS News
  • 1998 IRL Schedule
  • 1998 IRL News


  • 1998 IMS NEWS FLASHES!

    proposed f1 track at IMS Dec 2, 1998 - F1 is coming to Indy. Click to US Grand Prix for all the information!

    Oct 21, 1998 - Gordon Johncock, two-time Indy 500 winner, is named to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Gordo won 23 IndyCar races in his career and was the series champion in 1976.

    Sep 24, 1998 - A rumor of a oral agreement between IMS and Formula One to bring an F1 race here for September 2000 was announced today in the Indianapolis Star. The Speedway denies that any agreement has been reached. However, it has been determined that Indianapolis' main competition for an F1 race, Las Vegas, dropped out of contention. Does IMS want to spend the 15 million to add the roadcourse to the existing track? Evidently so. However are they willing to pay the F1 ransom (rumored to be between 10 & 26 million)? And if they do, can they sell enough tickets to pay for it?

    August 1, 1998 - Jeff Gordon wins the Brickyard 400. The first person to do it twice. Not only did he collect $637,625 for the race, he also wins the Winston No-Bull $1 million bonus prize . This gives him a total of $1,637,625 - THE LARGEST PAY OUT IN AUTO-RACING HISTORY!

    July 31, 1998 - Mark Martin wins the Inaugraul IROC @ INDY race and the 1998 IROC Championship. He pocketed $225,000 for winning the 4-race series. A new energy-absorbing wall buffer was tested by Arie Luyendyk after he spun head on into it at 160 mph after being hit by Tom Kendall. He suffered a minor concussion. Someday, these wall buffers may be placed on all the walls.

    June 15, 1998 - Speedway President, Tony George, proposes plan to FIA for holding an American Formula One race at the speedway for the year 2000. If they decide to go for it, Tony will build a road course to run thru the middle of the speedway's huge infield. It will include the main straightaway and the first turn, although they will run the opposite direction that normal. Tony says he has the cash to do this, but needs to get started on it now if its to be completed in time. He also said that this would be the largest attendance of any F1 race in the world. (Come on Bernie!!)

    May 24, 1998 - Eddie Cheever wins the 82nd Indy 500 and collects 1.4 million in prize money! (Over 8 million in total prize money for this year's event.) Steve Knapp wins rookie of the year.

    May 21, 1998 - Scott Goodyear and his Panther Racing Team win the Pit Stop competition and collects $40,000 in prize money.

    May 16, 1998 - Billy Boat wins the pole!

    May 6, 1998 - IMS has received permission to broadcast a weak tv signal of live coverage. This will allow people sitting within IMS to view the coverage on their portable tv's!!

    May 1998 - The Pace Car for this year's 500:

    Vette Pace Car
    1998 Chevrolet Corvette

    April 10, 1998 - Sad news. Mrs. Mary Fendrich Hulman, the matriarch of IMS, died at age 93 today. Tony, president of IMS, is her grandson. She was the person who would state the famous words, "Gentleman, start your engines" at the beginning of races up until last year when she became too ill. Now her daughter, Mari Hulman George, starts the races.

    Jan 1998 - They are always spending big bucks to improve the speedway. This new annoucement is especially cool. The main control tower at the start/finish line is being replaced after 40 years. The new one will be a combination of the old pagoda style:

    Old Pagoda Tower
    (1913-1956)

    and the current one:

    Current Tower

    The new one is going to be 90 feet taller than the current one and the square footage is almost 13 times more! Construction is to begin late in 98 and be finished in time for the 2000 Indy 500.
    Here is a picture of how it will look.

    Upcoming Pagoda Tower


    1998 IRL Schedule


    Jan 24 - Indy 200 @ Walt Disney World Speedway - TONY STEWART WON
    Mar 22 - Dura-Lube 200 @ Phoenix Int'l Raceway - SCOTT SHARP WON
    May 24 - Indy 500 @ Indianapolis Motor Speedway on ABC - EDDIE CHEEVER WON
    Jun 06 - True Value 500 @ Texas Motor Speedway on CBS - BILLY BOAT WON
    Jun 28 - Pennzoil 200 @ New Hampshire Int'l Speedway on ABC - TONY STEWART WON
    Jul 19 - Dover Downs Int'l Speedway - SCOTT SHARP WON
    Jul 25 - Visionaire 500 @ Charlotte Motor Speedway on TNN - KENNY BRACK WON
    Aug 16 - Radisson 200 @ Pikes Peak Int'l Raceway on ABC - KENNY BRACK WON
    Aug 29 - Atlanta Classic 500 @ Atlanta Motor Speedway - KENNY BRACK WON
    Sep 20 - True Value 500 @ Texas Motor Speedway on CBS - JOHN PAUL JR WON
    Oct 11 - Las Vegas 500k @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway on TNN - ARIE LYENDYK WON

    1998 IRL NEWS FLASHES!

    Nov 21 - 1998 - 1998 Pep Boys Indy Racing League champion Kenny Brack and car owner A.J. Foyt were the biggest winners Saturday night at the league's annual awards banquet, as points fund bonuses totaling $2.7 million were presented to drivers and teams at the Murat Theatre. Brack and Foyt shared the evening's biggest award, the Pep Boys Million, a $1 million bonus for winning the season championship.

    Oct 19 - Two new teams to join the IRL for the 1999 season: Scott Harrington will be driving for his fathers team, rookie Greg Gordon will drive for Truscelli Team Racing.

    Oct 11 - Kenny Brack and A.J. Foyt's Power Team win the Pep Boys IRL 1998 Championship. Robby Unser wins the Rookie of the Year honors.

    1998 Top Ten Points Leaders

    1. 332 - Kenny Brack
    2. 292 - Davey Hamilton
    3. 289 - Tony Stewart
    4. 272 - Scott Sharp
    5. 262 - Buddy Lazier
    6. 252 - Jeff Ward
    7. 244 - Scott Goodyear
    8. 227 - Arie Luyendyk
    9. 222 - Eddie Cheever
    10. 219 - Marco Greco

    Oct 12Coors Brewing Company and the Pep Boys Indy Racing League announced today a new sponsorship agreement for racing events beginning with the 1999 season. Coors Light will become the first-ever Official Beer of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League and the Official Beer of the Indianapolis 500.

    September - It appears that with the loss of New Hampshire, the IRL will be running a second race at Pikes Peak in 1999. Also, the Charlotte race has been moved to May 1!

    May 6, 1998 - Longtime USAC standout Jack Hewitt will drive for PDM Racing in the 1998 Indianapolis 500, team owner Paul Diatlovich announced today. Said Hewitt: "I've got the opportunity because (IMS president) Tony George has brought Indy-style racing back to America. Right now there are more boys-next-door than there's been in a long time."

    Hewitt, from Troy, Ohio, won the USAC Silver Crown national championship in 1986 and 1987. He is the winningest Silver Crown driver in USAC history, with 20 victories. He also has 42 career USAC sprint-car victories, tied for third (with Pancho Carter) on the all-time list. He is one of the winningest drivers ever with the All Star Circuit of Champions winged sprint car series, with 58 wins.

    He is also one of the most popular drivers in all of short-track racing, a man who has scores of adoring fans that follow his every step. He says "I don't know if I'll be the fastest guy at Indy, but I can guarantee you that no driver will make a greater effort to reach out to the fans."

    March 22, 1998 - Scott Sharp wins the Phoenix 200 in a competitive field. This was about the most exciting race you could ever see! We're talking FIVE wide!!, Ari sliding along UPSIDE DOWN!!, and an entire wheel assembly flying throught the air and right towards Scott Goodyear's face! It missed him by a fraction. Ari was ok, his helmet deeply scarred but he did hurt his hand when he instinctively reached out to protect his head. Although it looked terrifying, Ari just said "It was cool!" Unfortunately, due to the "Provisional Qualifying", last years champion, Jim Guthrie, didn't get to compete once again this year.

    Jan 24, 1998 - Tony Stewart wins the Indy 200 in Orlando. There were quite a few yellows in the first half of the race, but no one was injured. The track seemed to be especially slippery after the morning rain. There was some excellent racing in the second half, especially by Buddy Lazier who looked like he was riding the razors edge... and apparently went over it as he lost control and the lead and hit the inside wall backwards.

    Jan 1998 - The IRL now has a Title Sponsor; Pep Boys! They will be bringing alot of money and advertising to the series including a million dollar prize for the series championship. They are also sponsoring a car. Reebok, who also is sponsoring a team, was competing with Pep Boys to be the series sponsor. As a side note, CART has replaced their PPG series sponsorship with FedEx.

    Pep Boys is the nation's leading automotive aftermarket retail and service chain with 698 stores in 33 states and DC. The company employs more than 24,000 people nationwide, with total annual sales in excess of $1.8 billion.

    "This is a landmark day in the history of the Indy Racing League," said Tony George. "Pep Boys was founded in 1921, just 10 years after the first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Both Pep Boys and the Indy Racing League are rapidly expanding companies, building on our heritage. We are proud to be associated with Pep Boys," he said.

    And with this comes a new IRL logo:

    Pep Boys Indy Racing League

    Things IRL Drivers are doing

    1998 - Tony Stewart and Arie Luyendyk are running in the 4 race IROC series.

    1998 - Tony Stewart is running alot of the Busch series races in anticipation of running NASCAR in 1999.

    Feb 98 - Arie Luyendyk's GT1 team won the 24 hours of Daytona in his Ferrari.

    August IRL News Article


    IRL REBOUNDING FROM TWO BIG HITS
    By Brian Hilderbrand
    Las Vegas Sun

    LAS VEGAS (Scripps Howard News Service 08-07-1998 18:38 EDT) -- The Indy Racing League lost one of its original tracks this week and faces losing one of its brightest stars at the conclusion of this season.

    New Hampshire International Speedway on Tuesday declined to renew its contract with the IRL and 27-year-old Tony Stewart is leaving the series after this season for a full-time ride in NASCAR's Winston Cup Series.

    Neither move, Stewart said, will hurt the fledgling open-wheel series.

    "That race is always poorly promoted, it wasn't the (fault of the) IRL," Stewart said during a break in tire testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

    "I don't think you can say it's bad for the IRL when we're running at Atlanta and Texas and Charlotte and Dover and Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Las Vegas. We're running at some really, really nice facilities now so I don't think it's going to hurt us."

    Stewart, a former USAC midget, sprint and Silver Crown champion, will make his final regular IRL start on Oct. 10 at LVMS. Beginning next year, Stewart will limit his Indy-car racing to the Indianapolis 500.

    Despite being one of the only stars to be created by the IRL and certainly its most recognizable driver, Stewart said his departure won't have a devastating effect on the series.

    "It's not going to hurt it a bit," he said. "They've got a lot of talent in this series and there are a lot of talented guys that will be coming into the series so I'll be an afterthought shortly."

    About the only thing that is hurting the series, according to Stewart, is what he feels is unwarranted criticism directed at the series by many open-wheel racing fans.

    "The criticism, you've got to take with a grain of salt," he said. "You ask 10 different people the same question and you'll get 10 different answers and they're all opinions.

    "In my opinion, the IRL has been a success from day one. All you've got to do is look at the facts: the series is in its third year now and look at the venues that we're going to, we've got a title sponsor and we're running for a million-dollar point championship.

    "I don't know how you can't call it a successful series already. People who say it's not a successful series really don't know what they're talking about."

    Drivers in the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) Series have been shut out of the Indianapolis 500 for the past three years as a result of IMS president and IRL founder Tony George's formation of the new league. But the upstart IRL still suffers from a lack of recognition -- and fan support -- despite annually competing in the world's premier open-wheel race.

    That, Stewart said, will change in time.

    "There are a lot of people who aren't very open-minded about the IRL," he said. "A lot of people are scared of change and don't like change and it's going to take time. But the IRL is not going to go away, it's going to survive.

    "People have got to realize that and quit arguing and griping about (the split) and realize they've got two good Indy-car series to watch on TV. I don't know what people are whining about."



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