The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on May 28, 1990 · Page 4
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 4

Indianapolis, Indiana
Issue Date:
Monday, May 28, 1990
Page 4
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S-4 THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR MONDAY, MAY 28, 1990 500 MILE RACE Team Penske feels bad vibes after showing By MARK ROBINSON STAR STAFF WRITER There were plenty of vibrations in the Team Penske camp at Sunday's Indianapolis 500, but they weren't the type the Beach Boys once made a hit song about. For the second year in a row, "Team Perfection" was locked out of Victory Lane, despite the addition this season of defending champion Emerson Fittipaldi. Emmo did nail down third place and Rick Mears took home fifth, two laps behind winner Arie Luyendyk. Still, whenever a Penske entry doesn't take the checkered flag, team owner Roger Penske considers it a disappointment. "It sure is," Penske admitted from Mears' garage in Gasoline Alley. "We didn't have Rick's car right. Emerson's car led 130-some laps and was really running away, but that's not the whole race." Then there was Danny Sullivan, the third team entry. Starting from ninth position, the 1985 "500" champion was running as high as seventh place when his right-rear wheel bearing snapped early Into Lap 20. Sullivan's Marlboro Penske '90Chevy then took a beeline into the Turn 1 wall, earning him a short trip to Methodist Hospital for a CAT scan after the impact sent his right-front tire ricocheting off his helmet. The 40-year-old Sullivan returned to Gasoline Alley following the race to assure all he was fine. "I've got a bad headache, which you can Imagine after taking a wheel on the head," he said with a painful smile. "But everything's OK. I've got a clean bill of health." Fortunately, Sullivan said he was alerted to a potential problem on the previous lap by, of course, a vibration. "I got the vibration in Turns 3 and 4," he said. "I radioed (to his pit) and said it was kind of mild. As I went down the straightaway, I said, 'It's getting worse,' so I slowed down as much as I can you can't Just jump on the brakes. I went down on the apron and it just exploded." , Sullivan credited car designer Nigel Bennett for placing a rib in the sides of the chassis tubs for saving him from further injury. The ribs were added specifically this year after Sullivan suffered a fractured arm in a Turn 3 practice crash last May. "Nigel said that if we had a problem (with the wheel bearing), it was probably in the car when we wheeled it out on the track (Sunday)," Sullivan said. "It Just took however many laps it was to heat it up and cause the failure." Though he didn't win, Brayton glad Arie did By BONNIE BRITTON STAR WEEKEND EDITOR When Scott Brayton and Arie Luyendyk meet again, Brayton could gloat to his former Simon Racing teammate that he moved up 18 spots In Sunday's "500" Mile Race while Arie Improved by only two. But he won't. Brayton. in the No. 22 Am-waySpeedway Winning Spirit, moved from 26th place to eighth while Luyendyk moved up the two that count, from third to first. "It's great to see a former teammate, who hasn't won (in an Indy car) before, win, and win here," Brayton said. The driver from Coldwater, Mich., in his 10th season of Indy-car racing, seemed genuinely pleased at Luyendyk's fortune. And why not? He wasn't Marlon Brando-lng as he walked back to his hospitality tent. There was no talk of "I coulda been a contender." "Hey. I had the highest finish for a non-Chevy. I feel like 1 won," said the uncomplaining Brayton, who turned in a steady performance in Dick Simon's 1990 LolaCosworth the highest finishing Cosworth In the race. Handling problems early In Penske admitted Sullivan's mishap sparked concern of a potential problem within the two remaining team cars in the race. "When Rick's car was over-steering, we were watching the right rear to be sure something wasn't wrong with it," said Penske. "We never found anything and Emerson didn't see anything, but we were very cautious of that. "In fact, a couple times (Mears) said he had a vibration and we pitted early to change. It might have been just the balance, so we changed tires Just to be sure we didn't have that problem." Mears' early handling problems forced him to fall from his second starting position in the Pennzoil PenskeChevy into seventh. It was one of the few times the three-time "500" victor and his Penske crew appeared baffled in their years at the speedway. "The track conditions were totally different," Mears said. "We've never had a looseness like that all month. "The car went .really loose and we started losing all the positions," he added. "We started making changes on the (pit) stops. After the second stop, I was able to lean on it fairly good . . . but then we had the blistering problem." The tire blistering dilemma that halted Fittipaldi's bid to repeat as champion also affected Mears' attempt to climb back into the hunt. Just when he conquered the looseness and was able to run at speed with the leaders, his tires began to blister. "After the second (tire) change, we got the car where it was halfway planted and I could lean on it a little bit," Mears said. "That's when it blistered and It started going loose again. "It's frustrating but you can't dwell on that when you're driving." It didn't help Mears in his bid to catch the pacesetters that only one yellow flag came out during the last 130 laps. "It's like one of those days when you're going to work and you catch all the red lights instead of the green ones," Mears quipped. "We're disappointed, but if you compare it to what happened to us last year, we did better than last year," said Penske, referring to 1989 finishes of 23rd, 24th and 28th by his cars. "We finished two (this year) and Danny had a wheel bearing go on his car. It was Just a tough day." With most teams, placing two in the top five would mean it's time for celebration. At Team Penske, it's time to regroup. Scott Brayton finishes in performance in the 500-Mile the race dispelled any notion of a higher spot. The quick race "was a hell of a lot of hard work," he said, because it wasn't until about the 50th lap that "I got control of the car back. It wanted to swap ends" it was loose until then, and "I knew if I was going to crash, I was going to crash there." Turns 1 and 4 gave Brayton trouble at the start, then later in the race, it was the middle of three. This was Brayton's second-best "500" finish (sixth in 1989) and his only back-to-back top 10 finish at the speedway since his 1981 rookie year. He practiced, but didn't attempt to qualify In 1982. Often Jinxed by mechanical problems in "500" starts, Brayton said he was happy to have four wheels rolling at the end. The 31 -year-old Brayton said he hoped this performance might 9 a - 1 fH .Si" STAR PHOTO KRISTIN ENZ0R eighth place, his second-best Race. He was sixth last year. put him "in line for a Chevro let." Told that Bobby Rahal, finished behind Luyendyk, complained that Brayton him up for a lap around who had held Lap 190, Brayton said, "We got into some traffic. It wasn't that I was blocking him, I Just didn't want to run Into the fence, and I couldn't pull over and park it." Brayton said the same thing happened to him for the last four laps when "Jim Crawford held me up. Crawford was fast in the straightaway but soft In the turns." Punching it at the end to maybe move up a position wasn't worth it. Brayton said he preferred going to Milwaukee to taking a big chance. Generally. "I'm pleased," said the son of former Indy-car driver Lee Brayton. "I think I can win here sometime. I ran as fast as I could. We outraced a lot of people today." T ;r; WW 1 mm hi nun' imwiwmn""- i1 rim iBtn Cogan's car in wrong class despite 9th-place showing By DAVE GARLICK STAR STAFF WRITER There were two classes of cars running in Sunday's Indianapolis 500 the 1990 models and the others. Kevin Cogan had one of the others and, wasn't happy about it, despite starting 1 5th and finishing ninth in his Tuneup MastersGranatelll Buick. "It was like running a Camel Light compared to a GTP (model)," said Cogan, who is currently participating in the bigger GTP in the IMSA series. "It was simply a different class of cars out there today. "We really weren't competitive, and it's not any fun to come here and not be competitive." Still, it would have appeared to be a good day for Cogan. In past years, he has had awful days In Indianapolis. For example: In 1982, he began in the middle of Row 1 but started a crash just after the green flag fell. In 1986, Cogan held the lead before Bobby Rahal beat him on a restart late in the race. Last year, he had a terrible crash In the race's second lap. This year, Cogan had the top finish among the 10 Buicks that started the race. Of the 15 cars that were not 1990 models, Cogan was second only to rookie Eddie Cheever, who finished seventh in a 1989 Penske. The "500," however, is not a two-class race, and finishing nine laps behind winner Arie Luyendyk didn't please Cogan. "It was dangerous out there for us," Cogan said. "I felt for more than half of the race that I was going to crash. Late in the race, there was a spin exiting the turns; the car was very difficult to control. "Tom (teammate Sneva) had the same problem. When a few other things came up, he Just parked his. I was afraid a few times out there. It wasn't much fun at all out there, not at all." STAR PHOTOS KEITH PRITCHARD Danny Sullivan hits the Turn 1 wall (top) after his right-rear wheel bearing snapped in Lap 20. The impact sent the right-front wheel flying and it glanced off the driver's helmet. Emergency crews (left) help Sullivan out of the PenskeChevy and prepare to move the disabled car off the track. Sullivan was taken to Methodist Hospital for a CAT scan, but he soon returned to Gasoline Alley, saying his only problem was a "bad headache." In the Team Penske pit (below), chief Roger Penske discusses theace with driver Rick Mears. The Penske team finished with Emerson Fittipaldi in third place, Mears in fifth and Sullivan in 32nd. STAR PHOTO JAY ALLEY Not that he has anything against car owner Vince Granatelli or his crew. "We had fantastic pit stops today. I'll bet if you checked, we had to be among the top one or two," Cogan said. "The crew worked hard all month; they were fantastic. If we had the right equipment we could compete here." But that was the rub. His car simply couldn't keep up with the leaders. "I told them after the race that it was a very difficult day." said Cogan. "Without the right equipment, I'm not going to do it again. This isn't the place to come with a car that is not competitive." What's worse, Sunday's race left Cogan in bad shape for an IMSA race he is supposed to drive in today in Limerock, Conn. A substitute driver qualified Cogan's car in last place. He also has a feeling he may be tired today. "My neck is stiff, there was a lot of bumping," he said. "I'm going to be sore for my race tomorrow; It's going to be tough to drive." TEAMMATE DIdler Theys was happier finishing 1 1th than was Cogan in the No. 9 slot. The second-year driver from Belgium was 20th last year and the Improvement pleased since Theys started 20th Sunday. "I learned a lot more this year because I ran all day," said Theys, who was In a year-old PenskeBuick. "This place Is all experience." Theys didn't have as much trouble with his car as did his teammates. "The car ran well all day, and after the first half of the race our pit stops were better." said Theys. "I was able to move up some under the yellow, but we were able to pass a lot of cars during running. I learned to run behind others, how to pick the best draft. "I'm looking forward to next year right now." 4

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