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1997 Las Vegas 500K

The 1997 Las Vegas 500K was the tenth and final round of the 1996–1997 Indy Racing League. The race was held on October 11, 1997 at the 1.500 mi (2.414 km) Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada.

United States 1997 Las Vegas
Race details
10th round of the 1996–1997 Indy Racing League season
Las Vegas Motor Speedway diagram.svg
DateOctober 11, 1997
Official nameLas Vegas 500K
LocationLas Vegas Motor Speedway
CoursePermanent racing facility
1.500 mi / 2.414 km
Distance208 laps
312.000 mi / 502.115 km
WeatherNight race, dry with temperatures reaching up to 80.1 °F (26.7 °C); wind speeds reaching up to 34 miles per hour (55 km/h)[1]
Pole position
DriverBilly Boat (A. J. Foyt Enterprises)
Time26.035
Fastest lap
DriverBilly Boat (A. J. Foyt Enterprises)
Time26.424 (on lap 19 of 208)
Podium
FirstEliseo Salazar (Team Scandia)
SecondScott Goodyear (Treadway-Shelby Racing)
ThirdRobbie Buhl (Team Menard)

ReportEdit

Key Meaning
R Rookie
W Past winner

QualifyingEdit

Pos No. Name Lap 1 Lap 2 Best (in mph)
1 1   Billy Boat R 26.272 26.035 207.413
2 14   Davey Hamilton 26.373 26.303 205.300
3 2   Tony Stewart 26.327 26.363 205.113
4 3   Robbie Buhl 26.355 26.332 205.074
5 7   Eliseo Salazar 26.391 26.429 204.615
6 5   Arie Luyendyk 26.425 26.411 204.460
7 33   Jimmy Kite R 26.502 26.552 203.758
8 6   Scott Goodyear 26.781 26.537 203.489
9 28   Mark Dismore 26.621 26.543 203.443
10 70   Marco Greco 26.572 26.715 203.221
11 17   Affonso Giaffone R 26.612 26.618 202.916
12 35   Jeff Ward R 26.643 26.820 202.680
13 4   Kenny Bräck R 26.775 26.655 202.589
14 91   Buddy Lazier 26.701 26.752 202.240
15 22   Vincenzo Sospiri R 27.003 26.790 201.568
16 77   Stéphan Grégoire 27.045 26.816 201.372
17 40   Jack Miller R 27.240 26.881 200.885
18 21   Roberto Guerrero 26.933 26.904 200.714
19 27   Jim Guthrie R 26.919 27.801 200.602
20 97   Greg Ray R 27.022 27.065 199.837
21 12   Buzz Calkins 27.382 27.200 198.529
22 99   Sam Schmidt R 27.602 27.241 198.231
23 95   Tyce Carlson R 27.320 27.273 197.998
24 18   John Paul, Jr. 27.593 27.317 197.679
25 19   Stan Wattles R 27.714 27.336 197.542
26 24   Billy Roe R 27.575 27.418 196.951
27 30   Robbie Groff R 27.566 27.574 195.893
28 23   Mike Shank R 28.362 28.137 191.918
29 51   Eddie Cheever1 Waved off No speed
30 9   Johnny Unser2 Didn't qualify No speed
31 10   Paul Durant3 R 27.220 26.975 200.185
  1. ^ Had an engine failure in the last practice session, and tried to qualify in a last-minute effort, only to wave off his attempt. He was allowed to start the race at the back of the field.
  2. ^ Had an engine failure in the last practice session, and a spare was not ready on time. He was allowed to start the race at the back of the field.
  3. ^ Changed to a backup car for the race, following a crash in a practice session after qualifying.

RaceEdit

The race began under cold and windy conditions that caused tire problems, which resulted in two accidents occurring immediately after pit stops. Greg Ray slid into the wall in turn-2 on lap 38, and about 25 laps later Sam Schmidt spun coming out of turn-2 and hit the wall. Buzz Calkins and Jack Miller both ran into debris from Schmidt's car, and all three were out.

Pole sitter Billy Boat did not stay up front very long; Jeff Ward quickly took charge until he began having engine problems and then Mark Dismore moved into the lead. Affonso Giaffone took the lead on lap 100, but during a pit stop on lap 116 a wheel was not tightened properly and it came off as Giaffone pulled back onto the track, damaging the suspension and undercarriage. Giaffone would finish, but well back.

Several drivers then dueled for the lead until Salazar took over; the veteran driver led most of the rest of the way and survived a two-lap sprint with Scott Goodyear after a late caution to win. The caution occurred when Roberto Guerrero touched wheels with a slower car and suffered a frightening accident; the car became airborne and then barrel-rolled through the infield grass on the backstretch. It was the first time an IRL car had been upside down during a live run, and the safety systems worked as planned: Guerrero walked away with minor injuries.

Both of the championship contenders, Stewart and Davey Hamilton, had problems; Stewart won the title owing to the points lead that he had coming in. This race marked the first competition for the new Riley & Scott chassis, with Stan Wattles taking one to an eighth-place finish. Eliseo Salazar took home his first IRL victory as Tony Stewart clinched the 1997 championship.

Pos No. Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Laps Led Points
1 7   Eliseo Salazar Team Scandia 208 2:11:07.000 5 70 36
2 6   Scott Goodyear Treadway-Shelby Racing 208 + 1.204 sec 8 5 33
3 3   Robbie Buhl Team Menard 208 Running 4 12 32
4 27   Jim Guthrie R Blueprint Racing 208 Running 19 9 31
5 28   Mark Dismore Kelley Racing-PDM 208 Running 9 45 30
6 33   Jimmy Kite R Team Scandia 208 Running 7 0 29
7 14   Davey Hamilton A. J. Foyt Enterprises 207 + 1 lap 2 1 28
8 19   Stan Wattles R Metro Racing Systems 206 + 2 laps 25 0 27
9 77   Stéphan Grégoire Chastain Motorsports 204 Gearbox 16 0 26
10 70   Marco Greco Galles Racing 204 + 4 laps 10 0 25
11 2   Tony Stewart Team Menard 204 + 4 laps 3 0 24
12 18   John Paul, Jr. PDM Racing 201 + 7 laps 24 0 23
13 24   Billy Roe R Roe Racing 198 + 10 laps 26 0 22
14 21   Roberto Guerrero Pagan Racing 197 Accident 18 0 21
15 17   Affonso Giaffone R Chitwood Motorsports 193 + 15 laps 11 16 20
16 23   Mike Shank R Nienhouse Motorsports 191 + 17 laps 28 0 19
17 35   Jeff Ward R SRS-ISM Racing 168 Overheat 12 41 18
18 30   Robbie Groff R McCormack Motorsports 168 + 40 laps 27 0 17
19 9   Johnny Unser Hemelgarn Racing 142 Engine 30 0 16
20 4   Kenny Bräck R Galles Racing 139 Suspension 13 6 15
21 51   Eddie Cheever Team Cheever 129 Engine 29 0 14
22 22   Vincenzo Sospiri R    Team Scandia 114 Mechanical 15 0 13
23 1   Billy Boat R A. J. Foyt Enterprises 97 Electrical 1 3 14
24 95   Tyce Carlson R IZ Racing 96 Ignition 23 0 11
25 5   Arie Luyendyk Treadway-Shelby Racing 72 Engine 6 0 10
26 10   Paul Durant R Byrd-Cunningham Racing 62 Mechanical 31 0 9
27 99   Sam Schmidt R LP Racing-PCI 60 Accident 22 0 8
28 12   Buzz Calkins Bradley Motorsports 60 Accident 21 0 7
29 40   Jack Miller R Arizona Motorsports 59 Accident 17 0 6
30 97   Greg Ray R Knapp Motorsports 35 Accident 20 0 5
31 91   Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn Racing 4 Mechanical 14 0 4

Race StatisticsEdit

  • Lead changes: 13 among 10 drivers

Standings after the raceEdit