The Callahan Report: Kenny Brack, Foyt Win the Indianapolis 500
30 May 1999By Terry Callahan
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
INDIANAPOLIS: The complection of the 1999 Indianapolis 500 changed continuously. Running in front was not necessarily the place to be. Several of the toughest competitors fell from the race while running in the top five. Patience was the key to winning the world's richest auto race. At least patience was the key until the final 50 laps.
Kenny Brack, the defending Indy Racing League champion, used a cool head to land himself in victory lane at the 1999 Indianapolis 500. His cool head was a sharp contract to his hot foot as the competition stepped up to challenge.
Brack wasn't the leader when there were two laps remaining. He was chasing a strong running Robby Gordon. As Gordon exited turn three, ready to take the white flag, he ran out of fuel. He shot into the pits and watched Brack move on to his first Indianapolis 500 victory.
Brack's car owner is A.J. Foyt, a four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. Brack drove the same, familiar "number 14" into victory lane that Foyt made famous throughout his racing career at Indy.
"Im out of words," car owner Foyt said tearfully. "We worked so hard to achieve this."
Brack, born in Sweden, made a name for himself last year by winning three Indy Racing League events in a row. He led the most laps and thought he was in great shape until Gordon came on so strong at the end.
"I didnt know what kind of (fuel) tank he had. I didn't think he could do all those laps," Brack said of Gordon's run.
From the outset, it looked like a storybook ending was in store for Arie Luyendyk. He charged into the first turn as the green flag dropped. He led the Indianapolis 500 for nearly 40 laps before the other drivers in the race decided that Luyendyk had held the spotlight long enough. Greg Ray and Kenny Brack stepped up to be Luyendyk's toughest challengers.
Arie Luyendyk, who announced earlier this year that the 1999 Indy 500 would be his final race, saw his career at Indianapolis end on lap 114. He crashed out of the Indy 500. Luyendyk closed quickly on Tyce Carlson and made a move to the inside in turn three. There was no room as Carlson held his line into the turn. Luyendyk bobbled and then spun and hit the wall hard.
"I feel stupid I should have known better. I went under Tyce (Carlson) and I had to slam on the brakes and it upset the car and it made me spin out." said Luyendyk, a two-time winner. "My car was unbelievable. It was the most fun in an Indy 500 I have ever had."
"I think back to 1994 when Emerson Fittipaldi was leading and lost it late in the race," continued Luyendyk. "I know how he feels now. Its going to be a long Summer thinking of how it could have been."
Other drivers who dropped out while running up front included Greg Ray, who crashed in the pits. Defending Indy 500 winner, Eddie Cheever, switched to Infiniti engines this year. He drove from 16th to the front quickly. His engine expired while he was leading late in the race.
Tony Stewart, who immediately jumped on a plane to participate in the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600, ran as high as fifth. He finished the race in ninth place. His racing day is less than half over.
The worst incident of the day occurred in the pits. A crew member for driver Robby McGehee was hit by one of the race cars on pit road. Steve
Freed is listed in critical, but stable condition at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
1. Kenny Brack
2. Jeff Ward
3. Billy Boat
4. Robby Gordon
5. Robby McGehee
6. Robbie Buhl
7. Buddy Lazier
8. Robby Unser
9. Tony Stewart
10. Hideshi Matsuda