The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on June 19, 2000 · Page 32
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 32

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Monday, June 19, 2000
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038 MONDAY, JUNE 19, 2000 THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR ll ao.ncK3 .Z-J Schedule expanding for IRL By Curt Cavin STAFF WRITER FOUNTAIN, Colo. - The Indy facing League has announced an expanded schedule for the $001 season, and It might keep growing. - League founder and president Tony George unveiled a 12-race package that is more compact in jterms of calendar time. But he aid the seven-month journey jmight Include stops at up to Jhree more sites, including the league's first international trip i- to Germany. f The season will begin March 18 at Phoenix International ; Raceway and end Sept. 30 with a second race at Texas Motor Speedway. Six events will be at I Midwest tracks. S "We think 12 is a good num-jber (of dates), but I think you 'could see 14 or 15 before it's all over," George said at Pikes Peak International Raceway, which i received another June race, set I for June 17, a week after the i first Texas trip (June 9). George announced dates for (six new venues, including the two new tracks announced ear-jlier this spring (Kansas Speed-jway on July 8 and Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 2). J The IRL will go to Homestead, ;Fla. (April 8); Richmond, Va. (June 30); Madison, 111. (Aug. 1 26), and the new 1.33-mile track I in Nashville, Tenn. (July 21). The I Richmond and Nashville races j will be Saturday night events. I The tracks in Homestead and 'Madison are being dropped as I Championship Auto Racing J Teams sites after this season. I Richmond is a three-quarter- mile oval that plays host to two l-NASCAR Winston Cup races a year, and its race is contingent i on a successful test by Panther J Racing on June 27. ! The 2001 schedule also in-1 eludes return trips to Indianapo-! lis (May 27) and Kentucky ' Speedway (Sept. 16). i George said four tracks re-vmain possible for 2001: Atlanta, ."Las Vegas, Germany and Mil-Vwaukee. i Noticeably absent from the IRL schedule is Walt Disney World Speedway, a 1-mile track -George has promoted since starting his league In 1996. He said a suitable date could not be found for 2001. 2001 IRL schedule (All Indianapolis times) Sunday, March 18 Phoenix, ABC, 4 p.m. Sunday, April 8 Homestead, Fla., ESPN, Noon Sunday, May 27 Indianapolis, ABC, 11 a.m. Saturday, June 9 Fort Worth, Texas, ESPN, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 17 Fountain, Colo., ABC, 1 p.m. Saturday, June 30 Richmond, Va., ESPN, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 8 Kansas City, ESPN, 1 p.m. Saturday, July 21 Nashville, Tenn., ESPN, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26 Madison, III., ESPN, 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2 Joliet, III., ABC, 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16 Sparta, Ky., ESPN, 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept 30 Fort Worth, Texas, ABC, TBA mm A . 7 H urn i Hmmmwmum"V. -vrE IB Associated Press Headed for victory lane: Eddie Cheever drives past the fans after winning the Radisson 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. It vaulted Cheever into first place in the IRL points standings. Infinities long wait ends as Cheever delivers win Engine manufacturer gets its 1st IRL victory after 4 years of trying and 34 lost races. By Curt Cavin STAFF WRITER FOUNTAIN, Colo. Nissan's two Infiniti engines dominated Sunday's Indy Racing League race at Pikes Peak International Raceway, although only one made it to the finish. Fittingly, it was Eddie Cheever's. The driver who labored through a failure-filled season with Infiniti last year gave the engine manufacturer its first Indy-car victory with an easy drive In the Radisson 200. Before an accident on the next-to-last lap, Cheever led by three-quarters of a lap on the 1-mile oval. His primary competition In the 200-mile event came from Robbie Buhl, the other driver using an Infiniti power plant. Buhl led the first 61 laps before the engine blew. "Today, I really believe (we) had an advantage," said Cheever, who ended Inflnitl's string of 34 defeats dating to the beginning of the 1997 season. Cheever said he could have accepted seeing Buhl beat him to victory lane, but Cheever wasn't exactly telling the truth. Buhl's team joined Infiniti only last month and, until Sunday, hadn't experienced an engine failure. Cheever had endured blown engines while leading last year at Indianapolis and Las Vegas. Without question, much of the blood, sweat and tears shed by Infiniti director Frank Honsowetz and engine builder Ed Pink were involved in Cheever's car. The affable driver was so moved by Sunday's victory that he was initially speechless after climbing from the car. "I am so happy and so honored to win," said Cheever, who also You may sit in seat Either way, you can nr vlctt thn PnnBarn TioMltniittA Rnv ftf?IA Fnr Ci itn DapLonn fj51l.wtkuv em r.. - e .- , IHDY RACING UHGUI Radisson 200 (Top finishers) Equipment Driver 1. Eddie Cheever Dl 2. Airton Dare GA 3. Scott Sharp DA 4. Mark Dismore DA 5. Donnie Beechler DA 6. Eliseo Salazar GA 7. Jeret Schroeder DA 8. Stephan Gregoire DA 9. Jaques Lazier GA 10. Al Unser Jr. GA Chassis: G-G-Force, D-Dallara Engines: A-Aurara, l-lnfiniti Series points leaders: Cheever 176, Buddy Lazier 168, Sharp 159, Scott Goodyear 156, Dismore 155. gave the Oldsmobile Aurora program its first IRL victory in '97. "I feel bad for Robbie Buhl . . . but I feel really good for Eddie," said Pink, whose California-based operation has made the Infiniti engine smaller, lighter and more reliable in recent months. When Buhl qualified second on Saturday, he predicted an Infiniti would win its first race soon. He had a 6-second lead when his engine expired. Cheever, however, has provided proof of the engine's toughness, having led the most laps this season (1,207). Cheever was so at ease in the second half of Sunday's race that he needed self-motivation to maintain his pace. His rearview mirror was always devoid of contenders. ? ? v 10, row 7, section 17. Or you may make a difference in these games. - r-.- . . , ,,t'f-V "I acted like I was doing an engine test (by myself)," he said. Cheever took the lead from Scott Sharp on lap 134. Stephan Gregoire, thanks to a fuel gamble, assumed the lead for 17 laps before Cheever passed him with ease on lap 172. After the last-minute accident of Donnie Beechler and Al Unser Jr., Cheever had to drive under the debris left in the first turn before accepting the checkered flag before an announced crowd of 30,000. Beechler was trying to pass Sharp for third place on lap 198 when they encountered Unser, who was a lap down. Beechler had a strong run off the fourth turn but was forced to the high line. Three cars didn't fit in the first turn. Beechler and Unser touched wheels, sending both hard to the outside wall. Neither driver was Injured. Beechler settled for fifth place, Unser 10th. "If it was anyone's fault, it was mine," Beechler said. "I should have backed off." Rookie Airton Dare delivered his best finish of the season in second. Sharp finished third and Kelley Racing teammate Mark Dismore was fourth. Cheever's victory vaulted him from third to first In the points race. In the first three years of racing at Pikes Peak, the race winner has gone on to win the championship. "That's one tradition I don't want to break," he said. Notes The victory was the fourth of Cheever's career, and he became the sixth different winner in as many IRL races this season. . . . Former points leader Buddy Lazier had an engine failure on the first lap and finished last. He fell to second in points, eight behind Cheever. . . . Defending league and race champ Greg Ray crashed trying to pass Dismore on lap 96. He finished 20th and is 19th in points. . . . Ryan Newman won the U.S. Auto Club midget race. stand at center court. Call Ticket-aster at 239-5151 l Game InfnvmalL,. m.ii ft 1 t ibaa I f "-8 if Castroneves scores -his 1st CART victory Brazilian driver wins race at Detroit after mechanical problems knock out Montoya. Associated Press Hello Castroneves likes to drive hard, but he earned his first CART victory by being conservative. The daring Brazilian steered away from trouble, stretched his fuel supply and beat Italy's Max Papis by 4.415 seconds Sunday in the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit. "Now they know who Helio Castroneves is," said Castroneves, who has won at all levels on three continents since beginning his career In go-carts at age 12. "1 knew it would come, but you're still pulling your hair." Castroneves, the seventh winner in seven FedEx championship races this season, took the lead when pole sitter Juan Montoya went out with a broken drive shaft on the 62nd lap of the 84-lap race and steadily pulled away over the 2.3-mile, 14-turn road course. It was the fourth time this season that Montoya, the sensational Colombian who won the points series as a rookie last year and took the Indianapolis 500 last month, has been unable to finish. Canadian Paul Tracy, this season's points leader going Into the Detroit race, was pulled from the competition late In the race for a pit-lane violation,, his third In three races. Rookie Oriol Servia of Spain, starting 12th, finished third, Just ahead of Scotsman Dario Fran-chittl, winner of last year's Detroit race. Castroneves was ecstatic with his win. At times during his victory lap he could be seen pumping both arms in the air, hands completely off the wheel. Instead of pulling into the pit lane, Castroneves stopped on the straight part of the road in front of the pits and jumped out of the red-and-white Marlboro car. Still wearing his helmet, Castroneves leaped up on the high cyclone fence and shook the wire In joy. He finally jumped down, ran across the road, leaping over a concrete barrier and into the arms of crew members. Moments later, he ran up on the victory stand, sliding on his knees and pumping his arms toward the sky. "I did it. I did it," Castroneves said through tears. "I don't believe, but I believe it, actually." The 25-year-old gave the resurgent Team Penske its 101st win, but the first at Detroit since Tracy drove for the team in 1994. Just like 1999, when he also won the pole, this was Montoya's race to lose. A year ago, he led 58 laps before a collision with Franchittl caused him to finish 17th. This time he lasted 61 laps. "The drive shaft broke," Montoya said. "We didn't know exactly what the problem was when I came in, It was the drive shaft. It felt like a loose tire. . "We had a great car and I thought we had it in our pocket." Audi sweeps Le Mans Audi swept to its first victory in the Le Mans 24-Hour race Sunday, taking the top three places after leading almost from begin Fitness Challenge I Gan ning to end. This was the first 1-2-3 finish In the endurance classic since Peu-geot's victory in 1993. On a second day of searing heat, Italy's Emmanuele Pirro completed the victory, sharing the 368-lap drive with Germany's Frank Biela and Denmark's Tom rvnsiensen. Audi was competing In only its second Le Mans race, after--a third-place finish last year. It benefited from the absences,,, of last year's winner, BMW, as well as Mercedes and Toyota. One lap back was the team of France's Laurent Alello, Britain's Allan McNish and Monaco's Ste-phane Ortelli. Two laps farther back came Italy's Michele Alboreto and Rinaldo Capello and Germany's Christian Abt in the third Audi. ; The fourth-place team, the Courage of Sebastien BourdalS, Olivier Grouillard and Emmanuel Clerico, finished 24 laps behlnd.- Mario Andretti's attempt to win Le Mans in his eighth try was thwarted when his Panoz had overnight mechanical problems. The Indy-car and Formula One racer, sharing driving duties with David Brabham and Jan Maghus-sen, finished 16th. Cadillac's return to Le Mans after a 50-year absence was marred by the retirement of Christophe Tlnseau's car within four laps because of a fire caused by a suspected oil leak. Another Cadillac with a French crew ran smoothly In fourth, behind the Audis for much of Sunday before Its rear suspension broke. The car lost an hour in. the pits and limped home in 20th place. Two other Cadillacs finished 22nd and 23rd. - Schumacher wins Top Fuel Tony Schumacher claimed his second Top Fuel victory of -the season, defeating veteran .Joe Amato at the 36th annual Pontjac Excitement Nationals in Kirkers-ville, Ohio. Schumacher's Exide Batteries dragster pulled away for the victory when the parachute on Ama-to's machine mistakenly deployed near midtrack. Schumacher covered the quarter-mile in 4.648 seconds at a top speed of 31(?,1,5 mph. Tony- Pedregon (Funny Car), Mark Pawuk (Pro Stock), Angelle Seeling (Pro Stock Motorcycle) and Randy Daniels (Pro Stock Truck) also were winners at the race, the 11th of 23 events In the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Pedregon used a holeshot start to hold off Jerry Toliver for . his first Funny Car victory of the season. Pedregon covered the distance in 4.893 at 316.08. Pocono 500 postponed Rain and fog caused postponement Sunday of the Pocono 500. The race, only the second NASCAR event postponed in. 27' years at Pocono International Raceway, was rescheduled for today (TNN, 9 a.m.) Rusty Wallace, who set a track qualifying record with a run .Friday at 171.625 mph, has the pole. Drake 1st in Terre Haute-"- Jay Drake won Sunday's Terre Haute National Open, the nation's richest nonwlng sprint car race. He led all 40 laps on the &-"ile dirt Terre Haute Action TrackTto beat Jon Stanbrough. Recording Artist Troy Home and patches for Girl Scouts Cj vs. N.Y. LIBERTY mmmmmmmmmmmm www.wnba.com www.consecofleldhouse.com VS. SACRAMENTO MONARCHS

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