IROC: IROC at Indy to decide the final champion of the century
6 August 1999Tinton Falls, NJ - August 6, 1999 will be decision day for the last True Value IROC championship of the century. For a second year, the True Value International Race of Champions finale will be hosted by the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. ABC Sports will broadcast the final race (next day) on Saturday, Aug.7th at 4:30 p.m. (Eastern Time). Defending IROC champion Mark Martin trails seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt by 20 points in the chase to the 1999 True Value IROC crown. Martin is Earnhardt's only contender according to the point's shake down.
Martin won the inaugural IROC at Indy last year and claimed his record fourth True Value IROC Championship. In doing so, he broke his three-time championship record and set a three-time consecutive championship record. Martin's IROC championships came in '94, '96, '97, and '98. Ironically, Martin's nemesis in '95 -Dale Earnhardt! The True Value International Race of Champions (IROC) organizers invite a dozen of the worlds best drivers from various auto racing series based on championship caliber performance. The four-event series awards points for finishing positions in each race. At the end of the fourth event the points are tallied and an IROC Champion is named. The total purse is $760,000 with $225,000 being awarded to the series champion. All IROC race cars are equipped with Goodyear Eagle radial tires and specially finished with brilliant DuPont ChromaSystem colors.
Earnhardt has been unstoppable this year in the True Value IROC series. He has won all three races, (Daytona, Talladega, Michigan) and would like to be the first to sweep the four race series with a win at Indy. But, does he have a cushy enough points lead to run hard for the race win without risking the championship? And, what of Martin's chances for winning a fifth IROC championship this year? Be sure to tune in to the next exciting episode of "The True Value International Race of Champions".
Martin's only chance for the championship is to win the race and gain bonus points for leading laps: Five bonus points for most laps led, three bonus points for second most laps led, or two bonus points for third most laps led. There are five scenarios and they play out thus: 1) Martin wins the championship if; he wins the race and gains two bonus points, Earnhardt gains no bonus points and finishes dead last (12th). Martin would tie Earnhardt at 71 points and win according to the IROC tiebreaker rule. Tie breaker rule: In the event that two or more drivers are tied in points at the end of the series, the tie will be broken by the driver with the highest finishing position in the final race. 2) Martin wins the championship if; he wins the race and gains three bonus points, Earnhardt gains no bonus points and finishes 11th or 12th (last). 3) Martin wins the championship if; he wins the race and gains five bonus points; Earnhardt gains no bonus points and finishes ninth or worse! !
. 4) Martin wins the championship if; he wins the race and gains five bonus points; Earnhardt gains two bonus points and finishes no better than 11th. 5) Martin wins the championship if; he wins the race and gains five bonus points; Earnhardt gains three bonus points and then finishes last. What of the other 10 drivers in the series? Winning the championship is out of the question. So, the focus becomes winning the race, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and leading as many laps as possible to gain positions in the final points standing.
Half the field (six) are Indy winners; 1999 Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack, 1998 Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr., 1998 IROC at Indy winner Mark Martin, 1998 & 1994 Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon, 1996 Brickyard 400 winner Dale Jarrett, and 1995 Brickyard winner Dale Earnhardt. All would love to repeat in victory lane at Indy. The winingest driver in IROC history, two-time Indy 500 winner, Al Unser Jr., said, "I think it's great there will be an IROC winner to go into victory lane at Indianapolis. Any time you spend in victory lane at Indianapolis is a special time." (Al Unser Jr. has been missed in the IROC this year. He had to pull out of the series due to his daughter Cody's sudden illness less than a week before the first race at Daytona). That leaves six drivers hungry for their first Indy win; Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Adrian Fernandez, Bobby Labonte, Greg Moore, and Rusty Wallace. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway represents a dream come true to most ! in the sport of auto racing on all levels, fans, owners, drivers, crewmen, etc. IROC represents the unification of the racing world's best, in equalized machines. It is a rare and welcome natural that the crowning event of the True Value International Race of Champions takes place at the world's most famous speedway.
IROC is sponsored by True Value Hardware Stores, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., and DuPont Automotive Finishes. Note: The IROC web address is www.irocracing.com.