Sunday, August 27, 2000

Goodyear leads IRL lineup today




By Tom Groeschen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SPARTA, Ky. — Scott Goodyear has had a bittersweet year, not to mention career, but the veteran Indy driver slept well Saturday night at least.

        Goodyear won the pole for today's Indy Racing League event at Kentucky Speedway, the Belterra Resort Indy 300 (2:30 p.m., ESPN). The IRL qualifying was followed Saturday by an ARCA stock-car race, which was won by pole-sitter Ryan Newman.

        Attendance was 29,464 for the day-long program.

        Goodyear's speedway-record lap of 219.191 mph eased the sting of what has become, for him, a midlife crisis of a season.

        The 40-year-old Canadian is leaving his team, Pennzoil Panther Racing, after the 2000 season. Goodyear stands third in the IRL season points but is winless, which disappoints both him and the wealthy Pennzoil operation. They are parting by mutual agreement.

        “We are focused on the job at hand and will just try to get as many points as possible,” Goodyear said.

        Eliseo Salazar, another Indy veteran, will start No.2 to Goodyear on the front row. Salazar, a 44-year-old Chilean, ran 219.067 mph.

        The pole is Goodyear's first since 1993, when he was in CART.

        Goodyear has two career IRL wins (1999) and also won twice in CART before that series split with the IRL in 1996. But he is best known for several heartbreaking Indy 500 results.

        In 1992, he lost to Al Unser Jr. in the closest Indy 500 finish in history (.043 of a second).

        In 1995, he led the Indy 500 with nine laps remaining before being penalized for passing the pace car on a restart. He finished 14th.

        In 1997, he finished sec ond to Arie Luyendyk after a botched re-start by track officials late in the race. He finished .57 of a second behind Luyendyk, in the third-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

        And now, Goodyear isn't always part of his own operation. The Pennzoil team has held auditions for Goodyear's ride, running more than 1,000 miles at Kentucky Speedway alone in the past month. The IRL hasn't raced since July 15 in Atlanta.

        Among those bidding to replace Goodyear for 2001 are former Indy pole winner Billy Boat and youngster Sam Hornish Jr.

        “It's been great for me, because I didn't have to come here and do the testing,” Goodyear said. “But I'm the guy who has been here all year, so the guys know what I need.”

        Goodyear is unsure whether he will return for a full IRL season. He might race sports cars and run the Indy 500 only, but he's leaving his options open.

        Others to watch today include series points leader Buddy Lazier (seventh) and Eddie Cheever (15th), both former Indy 500 winners.

        Today's race concludes the Kentucky Speedway race season.

        The speedway said more than 55,000 tickets have been sold for today; the track seats 65,989.

        LEAVE EARLY: Fans coming from Cincinnati are advised to leave home by 8 a.m., and certainly no later than 9 a.m.

        ROSE VISITS: The speedway and the IRL will play host to a brunch today from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the garage area.

        Pete Rose will appear at the brunch and sign free autographs, with fans gaining admission with their grandstand ticket plus $10 garage pass. IRL drivers also will sign autographs.

Race lineup
        1. (4) Scott Goodyear, Dallara-Oldsmobile, 219.191.

        2. (11) Eliseo Salazar, G Force-Oldsmobile, 219.067.

        3. (1) Greg Ray, Dallara-Oldsmobile, 219.031.

        4. (15) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Oldsmobile, 217.672.

        5. (14) Jeff Ward, G Force-Oldsmobile, 217.540.

        6. (6) Jeret Schroeder, Dallara-Oldsmobile, 216.554.

        7. (91) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Oldsmobile, 216.546.

        8. (98) Donnie Beechler, Dallara-Oldsmobile, 216.450.

        9. (16) Davey Hamilton, G Force-Oldsmobile, 215.931.

        10. (43) Jaques Lazier, Dallara-Oldsmobile, 215.681.

        11. (12) Buzz Calkins, Dallara-Oldsmobile, 215.681.

        12. (27) Jimmy Kite, G Force-Oldsmobile, 215.681.

        13. (20) Tyce Carlson, Dallara-Oldsmobile, 215.612.

        14. (3) Al Unser Jr., G Force-Oldsmobile, 215.294.

        15. (51) Eddie Cheever Jr., Dallara-Infiniti, 215.191.

        16. (24) Robbie Buhl, G Force-Infiniti, 215.088.

        17. (55) Shigeaki Hattori, G Force-Oldsmobile, 215.071.

        18. (8) Scott Sharp, Dallara-Oldsmobile, 214.951.

        19. (5) Robby McGehee, G Force-Oldsmobile, 214.925.

        20. (18) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Oldsmobile, 214.917.

        21. (7) Stephan Gregoire, G Force-Oldsmobile, 214.456.

        22. (81) Billy Boat, Dallara-Oldsmobile, 213.870.

        23. (88) Airton Dari, G Force-Oldsmobile, 212.465.

        24. (28) Mark Dismore, Dallara-Oldsmobile, 212.440.

        25. (40) Roberto Guerrero, G Force-Oldsmobile, 210.117.

        26. (30) J.J. Yeley, G Force-Oldsmobile, 208.575.

        27. (19) Stevie Reeves, Dallara-Oldsmobile, 207.525.

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