Six drivers had a shot at winning the '99 Pep Boys Indy Racing League Championship in October's Mall.com 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway. A Third-Place finish was enough for Texas native Greg Ray to win the '99 title and the Pep Boys Million Bonus in the Glidden-Menards Dallara/Aurora/Firestone car (Mark Dismore won the race). Defending series champion Kenny Brack, Sam Schmidt, Scott Sharp, Scott Goodyear, and Buddy Lazier all had a mathematical chance of winning the series championship going into Texas. The $1 million bonus was split evenly between Ray and car owner John Menard. Former IRL champion Tony Stewart drove for team owner Menard in his IRL years, and Ray stepped up to the plate when Stewart moved on to Stock cars. Ray went from a low-budget operation to a generously financed Menard ride. That proved to be just the boost Ray needed to make Victory Lane and numerous podium finishes a familiar sight in 1999-especially in the second half of the 12-race season.
|FINAL TOP 10 |
|POINT STANDINGS |
|1. ||Greg Ray ||293 |
|2. ||Kenny Brack ||256 |
|3. ||Mark Dismore ||240 |
|4. ||Davey Hamilton ||237 |
|5. ||Sam Schmidt ||233 |
|6. ||Buddy Lazier ||224 |
|7. ||Eddie Cheever Jr. ||222 |
|8. ||Scott Sharp ||220 |
|9. ||Scott Goodyear ||217 |
|10. ||Robby Unser ||209 |
Hot Rod Magazine Invades The Busch SeriesOne easy way for a race team to make its way onto the pages of Circle Track is to have one of EMAP Petersen's premiere magazine titles on the hood. Hot Rod Magazine has made numerous appearances on the hood of Joe Gibbs' Winston Cup #18 Pontiac driven by Bobby Labonte, and now the magazine is occupying primary sponsorship duties for three races with BACE Motorsport's #74 Busch Grand National Chevrolet driven by Tony Raines. The new paint scheme debuted at the October race at Lowe's Motor Speedway and was again seen at Rockingham and Miami. Raines brought home a 25th and a 12th-Place finish, respectively. The Miami race had not yet taken place as of deadline.
The Truth About OilThrowing away used motor oil is sort of like discarding perfectly good dishware. Sure, both get dirty, but just like dishes, used motor oil can be cleaned up too. Two companies that are trying to change the way people perceive oil as a disposable commodity are 76 Products and Safety-Kleen. According to 76 Products, used oil doesn't wear out, it just gets dirty. Also, in the United States alone, more than 350 million gallons of used oil (a volume equal to 35 Valdez spills) are improperly disposed of each year. The re-refining process turns used oil back into good-as-new oil that is said to be indistinguishable in terms of lubrication, performance, and protection. Basically, the used oil is treated similarly to crude oil in the refining process.
Would you put crude oil in your engine? Obviously not. The refining process doesn't care whether the gunk going into it has been in the ground for a million years or in an engine for three months. Get the point?
The Mesa Marin Speedway near Bakersfield, California, incorporates the use of re-refined oil into its racing series. The track is helping to raise community awareness that re-refined oil helps prevent damage to the environment and is perfectly acceptable for use in everything from giant construction equipment to street cars to race cars. Racers who use re-refined oil can earn bonuses for winning with re-refined oil in the engine. Safety-Kleen's re-refined products can be found with the America's Choice brand name, and 76 Products go by the Firebird brand name.
The United States generates 1.4 billion gallons of recoverable used oil every year. That's the equivalent of five gallons for every man, woman, and child.
Racing Technology On The StreetThe connection between motorsports and production vehicles in today's automotive world often blurs the line between being a mere marketing image and incorporating true racing technology. Theoretically, major manufacturers supply engines, the racing technology makes them better, and that knowledge can then be applied into the production model. One automaker that utilizes this research and development model is Nissan.
Nissan's commitment to American motorsports can be traced back more than 25 years. Since 1997, its role as an engine supplier in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League under its Infiniti nameplate has allowed the automaker to attack the foreign terrain of American open-wheel racing. Consequently, Infiniti's involvement in the IRL has enabled one of the more exciting cars on the road today to have a direct link to motorsports. As many of you may know, it is Infiniti's ultraluxurious flagship model, the Q45.
Although the next generation of Infinity-powered IRL cars (to debut in 2000) will utilize a 3.5L engine derived from Nissan's LeMans efforts, the Q45's 4.1L, 32-valve, DOHC V-8 laid the foundation for Infiniti's '97-'99 IRL engine program. The IRL's revised rules for the 2000 season call for a 3.5L engine, and the best candidate Nissan has in that category is its race-bred 3.5L. Now, the research and development from Infiniti's 4.0L engine is being transferred onto the 3.5L. Eddie Cheever's '99 Infinity proved that the car could run up front multiple times during the '99 season.
The rear-wheel-drive, 266hp Q45 seamlessly combines luxury and power. It pampers like a luxury car should, then it goes on to accelerate, corner, and stop as a true performance car-with room for five. The engine delivers silky smooth power coupled to an electronically controlled, four-speed automatic transmission. The 4,043-pound Q45t (the "t" designates the optional touring package) journeys from 0 to 60 in the neighborhood of 7.7 seconds and completes a quarter-mile in 15.8 seconds at 90 mph. Advanced technology has been engineered into many aspects of this car, from the engine to the drivetrain to the suspension.
What does this rolling monument to technology cost? The Q45t will lighten your wallet by $50,425.
Local HeroesAllan Taylor from Satsuma, Alabama, began racing at the age of 13. With help from his dad, the 16-year-old now races in the Pure Stock class at various dirt tracks throughout the state, but has done exceptionally well at the Mobile Dirt Track. In 1998, he was the Rookie of the Year and second in points there. With part of the '99 season to finish (as of this printing), Allen has won seven features and is second in points.
Goodbye, GoodyearGoodyear Tire & Rubber has announced that it will not return as a race-tire supplier to Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) and Indy Racing League (IRL) series for 2000, and has chosen instead to concentrate its efforts on other forms of racing.
"Our long-standing commitment to racing has made this an agonizing decision," says Stu Grant, Goodyear's general manager for global race tires. "However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify the significant capital and resources the company devotes to CART and the IRL. Our decision is based, in part, on open-wheel racing's present state of affairs in North America and the ongoing split between CART and the IRL. Like many suppliers, we are certainly disappointed that no reconciliation between the two groups is in sight and therefore believe it is in the best interests of our shareholders, customers, and the racing division to take a sabbatical from the CART and IRL series."
Firestone, by default, will be the exclusive tire supplier for CART and the IRL. Goodyear's history goes way back in open-wheel racing. The company has won 29 Indianapolis 500s. Its first win came with Howdy Wilcox in 1919, and it has won 28 races since A.J. Foyt's '67 win. Those years were 1967-68, 1972-95, and 1998-99. Goodyear has also won two consecutive Indy Racing League tire-manufacturer championships. Goodyear Eagle Radials were on 13 IRL race winners in the past two years-7 in the 11-race '98 season and 6 in the 10-race '99 season.
Exide Shortrack SeriesExide announced a major sponsorship program with the second tier of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series (NWRS) as title sponsor of the ShorTrack Series by NASCAR. Exide will provide short-track competitors across the nation with an opportunity to race for regional and national recognition, as well as a substantial point fund. Exide will contribute $1,000 per NWRS track, with $500 going to the Exide ShorTrack Series track champion, $250 for second, $150 for third, and $100 for fourth. The company will also contribute $2,500 to each regional champion and $5,000 to the national champion. Additionally, Exide will continue to post $55,000 into the regional and national point fund for the NWRS. The NWRS, a nationwide network of nearly 100 dirt and asphalt short tracks, has nearly $1.5 million in posted awards. Other Exide ShorTrack Series sponsors include Anheuser-Busch, CV Products, Hoosier, NAPA, Edelbrock Holley Carburetors, 76 Products, Champion Spark Plugs, Cintas Uniforms, and Featherlite Trailers.