IRL: Pikes Peak Qualifying

27 June 1999

OLDSMOBILE MOTORSPORT REPORT: Saturday, June 26, 1999

RAY IS KING OF THE HILL IN PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY QUALIFYING

Oldsmobile Reigns as Greg Ray Wins Second Pole; 
IRL Aurora V8 Powers 24 of 25 Qualifiers for Radisson 200

FOUNTAIN, Colo. - Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 was on top of the world
again today at mile-high Pikes Peak International Raceway as Greg Ray
put Oldsmobile's production-based racing engine on the pole for the
24th consecutive Pep Boys Indy Racing League event. In the thin air at
the high-altitude one-mile oval, Ray turned a lap at 176.005 mph in Team
Menard's Glidden Oldsmobile Dallara to capture his second career IRL pole.

    In the first event conducted at PPIR with the Pep Boys Indy
Racing League's new 10,000 rpm rev limit in effect, Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora
V8 maintained its perfect pole qualifying record. Rookie John Hollansworth,
Jr. will start on the outside of the front row after qualifying Team
Xtreme's Compucom Oldsmobile Dallara at 175.859 mph. Mark Dismore, pole
winner at the preceding event at Texas Motor Speedway, was third fastest at
175.106 mph in Kelley Racing's MCI WorldCom Oldsmobile Dallara. Sam Schmidt
will start on the outside of the second row after qualifying Treadway
Racing's Sprint PCS Oldsmobile Dallara at 175.072 mph.

    Twenty-four of the 25 qualifiers used Oldsmobile engines. Eddie
Cheever, the only Infiniti driver in the field, qualified 11th at 173.185
mph.

    Ray was the first driver on the track when the qualifying session began
as the air temperature hit 95 degrees and the track temperature soared to
140 degrees. "I was the first car out, and I wasn't very happy about
that," reported Ray, 32, of Plano, Texas. "Starting first and then watching
the other guys try to knock me off the pole, it was a long qualifying
session.

    "We made a lot of changes to deal with the double whammy of the
higher altitude and the lower rpm limit," added Ray, who captured his
fourth front-row starting spot in five races. "The Team Menard engine shop
has been working hard, but there has been a lot to deal with in a short
time. This is a very demanding track, and the light air at this altitude
creates less downforce and certainly less oxygen for the driver to
breathe."

    Ray and Hollansworth made it an all-Texas front row at PPIR.
Hollansworth, 35, of Dallas, earned the highest qualifying position of his
short four-race IRL career.

    "That was the best lap we'd run here, and I thought we had a shot at
the pole," said Hollansworth, the leader in the Rookie of the Year
standings. "The track was about 10 degrees warmer in qualifying than it was
in practice. We had the car planted solid in Turns 1 and 2 this morning,
but I had a huge push in qualifying. I either had to lift or take off the
right side of the car on the wall - so I decided to lift!

    "My team has a good one-mile setup," Hollansworth noted. "We didn't
have a chance to show it in Orlando and Phoenix because we had some
unrelated problems, but the car was fast off the trailer here and we've
dialed it in a little more. The only testing I did here was to drive a
rental van around the track in the rain the night before practice.

    "I'm using a Brayton-built Oldsmobile engine, and it's
performing flawlessly," Hollansworth noted. "It's a consistent part of the
package; Brayton Engineering has bent over backward to work with us, and
we're grateful for that."

    This was the first race at PPIR with the IRL's new 10,000 rpm rev limit
in effect, a 500-rpm reduction since last season when Billy Boat won the
pole with a 178.571 mph lap in A.J. Foyt's Oldsmobile powered Dallara. Jim
Wright, general manager for Brayton Engineering, described the changes he
made in engine specifications for the high-altitude race: "We raised the
compression ratio, advanced the camshaft timing, and lengthened the intake
trumpets to compensate for the higher elevation," Wright revealed.
 
    The Radisson 200 will start at noon MDT on Sunday, June 27. The
200-mile, 200-lap race will be televised live on Fox Sports Net and
broadcast on the Indy Racing Radio Network at 2:00 p.m. EDT.

RADISSON 200 TOP FIVE QUALIFIERS

Driver               Entrant                Engine        Speed
1. Greg Ray          Team Menard            Oldsmobile    176.005 mph
2. John Hollansworth Team Xtreme            Oldsmobile    175.859
3. Mark Dismore      Kelley Racing          Oldsmobile    175.106
4. Sam Schmidt       Treadway Racing        Oldsmobile    175.072
5. Tyce Carlson      Blueprint-Immke Racing Oldsmobile    175.012

                  

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