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The 1997 True Value 500 was the sixth round of the 1996–1997 Indy Racing League season. The race was held on June 7, 1997, at the 1.500 mi (2.414 km) Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, and it marked the first American open-wheel superspeedway night race.

United States 1997 Texas
Race details
6th round of the 1996–1997 Indy Racing League season
TexasMotorSpeedway.svg
DateJune 7, 1997
Official nameTrue Value 500
LocationTexas Motor Speedway
CoursePermanent racing facility
1.500 mi / 2.414 km
Distance208 laps
312.000 mi / 502.115 km
WeatherDry with temperatures reaching up to 86 °F (30 °C); wind speeds up to 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h) were sighted during the race[1]
Pole position
DriverTony Stewart (Team Menard)
Time1:36.929 (3 laps + pit stop)
Fastest lap
DriverTony Stewart (Team Menard)
Time24.760 (on lap 97 of 208)
Podium
FirstArie Luyendyk (Treadway Racing)
SecondBilly Boat (A. J. Foyt Enterprises)
ThirdDavey Hamilton (A. J. Foyt Enterprises)

Contents

ReportEdit

Key Meaning
R Rookie
W Past winner

QualifyingEdit

3-laps qualifying, with the average speed deciding grid positions. During their 3rd lap, every driver had to enter the pit lane (with a 120 mph speed limit), stop in a designated spot 30 feet short of the start/finish line and make a pit stop. A maximum of 3 crew members were allowed: one jacking the car up and the other two changing only the front and rear right tires. Finally, the driver had to cross the finish line to complete his qualifying attempt.[2]

Pos No. Name Lap 1 Lap 2 Lap 3 Best (in mph) Total time
1 2   Tony Stewart 24.971 24.943 47.015 216.494 1:36.929
2 3   Robbie Buhl 25.738 25.515 46.369 211.640 1:37.622
3 4   Kenny Bräck R 25.499 25.521 46.877 211.773 1:37.897
4 91   Buddy Lazier 25.618 25.638 46.737 210.789 1:37.993
5 6   Scott Goodyear 25.906 25.576 46.526 211.135 1:38.008
6 97   Greg Ray R 25.791 25.746 48.386 209.741 1:39.923
7 51   Eddie Cheever 26.591 26.230 47.243 205.871 1:40.244
8 27   Jim Guthrie R 25.877 25.777 48.969 209.489 1:40.623
9 14   Davey Hamilton 25.539 25.530 50.752 211.516 1:41.821
10 12   Buzz Calkins 26.390 26.315 49.315 205.206 1:42.020
11 5   Arie Luyendyk 25.771 25.882 50.368 209.538 1:42.021
12 22   Marco Greco 25.986 25.950 50.275 208.092 1:42.211
13 30   Robbie Groff R 25.856 25.852 53.043 208.881 1:44.751
14 28   Mark Dismore 26.023 25.641 53.629 210.600 1:45.293
15 21   Roberto Guerrero 26.393 26.375 53.202 204.739 1:45.970
16 17   Affonso Giaffone R 26.161 26.119 53.779 206.746 1:46.059
17 8   Vincenzo Sospiri R 27.437 27.401 52.440 197.073 1:47.278
18 44   Allen May R 26.606 26.578 55.115 203.176 1:48.299
19 40   Jack Miller R 29.131 28.237 51.213 191.238 1:48.581
20 16   Sam Schmidt R 28.290 27.413 1:05.070 196.987 2:00.773
21 1   Billy Boat1 R 25.680 25.467 Unfinished 212.039 No time
22 7   Eliseo Salazar2 25.676 Waved off 210.313 No time
23 10   Johnny Unser3 Did not qualify No speed No time
24 33   Fermín Vélez4 R Did not qualify No speed No time
25 18   Tyce Carlson5 R Did not qualify No speed No time
26 34   Alessandro Zampedri4 Did not qualify No speed No time
  1. ^ Could not complete his qualifying run after missing his pit box.
  2. ^ Entered the pits at the end of the second lap by mistake.
  3. ^ Named for the ride after qualifying, he was allowed to start the race at the back of the field.
  4. ^ Could not qualify because of an engine shortage in Team Scandia, but was allowed to start the race at the back of the field.
  5. ^ Crashed in practice and could not qualify, but was allowed to start the race at the back of the field with a backup chassis loaned by Blueprint Racing.

Failed to qualify or withdrewEdit

RaceEdit

Arie Luyendyk, fresh off his Indy 500 victory, became the first driver to win two IRL races in a row, but it took almost a week to determine. At the start, Marco Greco's engine exploded and trailed oil and metal pieces all over the track, leading to a lengthy cleanup. When the green flag finally fell on lap 20, the Menard cars pulled off, with only Buddy Lazier and Greg Ray being able to keep up. However, the four stayed out too long after everyone else had pitted and lost time on old tires; Tony Stewart ran out of fuel on lap 69 and fell a lap down. By lap 70, a four-way battle for the lead was occurring for the lead, and popular Jim Guthrie assumed it on lap 76, only to lose it five laps later after blewing a tire exiting turn 4. Lazier then took over the lead while Luyendyk worked his way towards the front, having rookie Billy Boat within striking distance, and Stewart rapidly reeling them in.

During a caution around lap 140, the scoring problems began. After Lazier and Stewart had had a furious wheel-to-wheel duel, Luyendyk inexplicably dropped out of the top 10 in the electronic scoring system, which was not properly counting his laps and those of several other drivers, including Scott Goodyear. Tyce Carlson and Goodyear got bottled up on a restart on lap 143, made contact, and spun into the quad-oval infield. Lazier retired on lap 157 with engine failure and Stewart and Boat appeared to be on the lead lap by themselves. Stewart set off to lap the field, which he appeared to have done by lap 180.

On lap 190, Stewart, in traffic, handed the lead to Luyendyk by waving him, thinking the Dutch driver was a lap down. Stewart, thus, was scored as the leader in the final laps, and appeared to have nearly a one-lap lead over Billy Boat. However, as he crossed the line with two laps to go, the engine blew. His car spun in turn 1, and crashed into the outside wall. Boat caught up, appeared to take the lead and, due to the scoring error, race officials showed him the checkered flag as the winner of the race. While Boat and his legendary car owner A. J. Foyt were celebrating in victory lane, Luyendyk stormed in, claiming he had won the race and demanding an explanation from the officials. He was intercepted by Foyt, who slapped Luyendyk, told him to leave and shoved him to the ground before security separated the two and led Luyendyk away. The incident was not shown live in the broadcast, as it happened right after the interviews, but was caught on camera by the TV crew. Foyt and Luyendyk were fined $20,000 and $14,000 respectively, for unsportsmanlike behavior.

The race tape was reviewed and it was determined that Luyendyk was right; he had finished on a lap by himself and had actually completed more laps than the scheduled race distance, being declared the official winner the following day. The results was revised back to the proper ending lap, shuffling the entire top 10. Foyt, however refused to return the trophy and retains the original to this day. A duplicate was awarded to Luyendyk. The outcome of this race had far-reaching implications for the IRL far beyond the race itself. From the beginning of the IRL until this time, USAC performed the timing and scoring of IRL races, as well as other functions such as technical inspection. The following week, in the wake of the Texas scoring scandal, the restart problems two weeks earlier at Indianapolis and the ensuing bad publicity, USAC was immediately removed from sanctioning the series, putting that organization completely out of Indy car racing after 42 years. The league switched to in-house sanctioning starting with the next event.

Official resultsEdit

Pos No. Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Laps Led Points
1 5   Arie Luyendyk Treadway Racing 208 2:19:48.166 11 20 35
2 1   Billy Boat R A. J. Foyt Enterprises 207 + 1 lap 21 10 33
3 14   Davey Hamilton A. J. Foyt Enterprises 207 + 1 lap 9 4 32
4 6   Scott Goodyear Treadway Racing 207 + 1 lap 5 0 31
5 2   Tony Stewart Team Menard 206 Engine/Contact 1 100 33
6 51   Eddie Cheever Team Cheever 206 + 2 laps 7 5 29
7 7   Eliseo Salazar Team Scandia 204 + 2 laps 22 3 28
8 97   Greg Ray R Knapp Motorsports 204 + 4 laps 6 0 27
9 8   Vincenzo Sospiri R Team Scandia 204 + 4 laps 17 0 26
10 10   Johnny Unser Byrd-Cunningham Racing 203 + 5 laps 23 0 25
11 28   Mark Dismore Kelley Racing-PDM 203 + 5 laps 14 0 24
12 34   Alessandro Zampedri    Team Scandia 201 + 7 laps 26 0 23
13 21   Roberto Guerrero Pagan Racing 201 + 7 laps 15 0 22
14 18   Tyce Carlson R PDM Racing 184 + 24 laps 25 0 21
15 30   Robbie Groff R McCormack Motorsports 173 Engine 13 3 20
16 3   Robbie Buhl Team Menard 167 Engine 2 0 19
17 91   Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn Racing 157 Engine 4 57 18
18 4   Kenny Bräck R Galles Racing 118 Water Leak 3 0 17
19 12   Buzz Calkins Bradley Motorsports 98 Head Gasket 10 0 16
20 17   Affonso Giaffone R Chitwood Motorsports 82 Engine Fire 16 0 15
21 27   Jim Guthrie R Blueprint Racing 81 Tire/Contact 8 6 14
22 44   Allen May R Sinden Racing 36 Accident 18 0 13
23 16   Sam Schmidt R Blueprint Racing 36 Accident 20 0 12
24 40   Jack Miller R Sinden Racing 24 Electrical 19 0 11
25 33   Fermín Vélez R Team Scandia 1 Illness 24 0 10
26 22   Marco Greco Team Scandia 0 Engine/Spin 12 0 9

Race StatisticsEdit

  • Lead changes: 14 among 9 drivers

Standings after the raceEdit