IMS Announces IROC Race at the Brickyard
26 November 1997
IROC To Run At Indianapolis Motor Speedway INDIANAPOLIS: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was once a "one event per year" showplace. It is still a showplace, but the tradition of running only the Indianapolis 500 at the greatest race course in the world has passed. The NASCAR Winston Cup series was the first to break the tradition in 1994. Until that time, the Speedway was active only during the month of May each year. The Brickyard 400 NASCAR race continues to hold the record for the highest attendance on the Winston Cup circuit. Both the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400 are sold out a year in advance. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will add a third event to its 1998 racing lineup. The International Race of Champions (IROC) series will run at the famed oval on July 31, 1998. The race will be part of the Brickyard 400 weekend. The Brickyard 400 will be run on August 1, 1998. Speedway president, Tony George commented, "The IROC series will bring great added value to our fans at the Brickyard 400 by having 12 of the best drivers in the world competing on our track." The race will be 40 laps (100 miles). The IROC series features twelve drivers from different racing series. The drivers are placed in identically prepared Pontiac Trans Ams, with pit crews provided by Pontiac and other series sponsors. The IROC series kicks off on February 13, 1998 in Daytona. The second race on the IROC schedule will be contested in Fontana, CA on May 2. The third event be held at Michigan International Speedway on June 13. The IROC champion will be crowned at Indianapolis, the final event in the four race season.
Mark Martin, 1997 IROC ChampionNASCAR star, Mark Martin is the defending IROC champion. He is a three time winner of the prestigious series. Martin and eleven other drivers will compete for the 1998 title which features a purse of more than $750,000. The IROC series will name the remaining drivers in the near future. The roster is sure to include drivers from the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) series. CART drivers have not raced in Indianapolis since 1995 when the Indy Racing League (IRL) was formed. The current CART champion, Alex Zanardi, has never raced at Indy. There are many new faces in CART. Forty percent of current drivers in CART have never raced at Indianapolis.