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The 1997 VisionAire 500 was the eighth round of the 1996–1997 Indy Racing League. The race was held on July 26, 1997, at the 1.500 mi (2.414 km) Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.

United States 1997 Charlotte
Race details
8th round of the 1996–1997 Indy Racing League season
Charlotte Motor Speedway diagram.svg
DateJuly 27, 1997
Official nameVisionAire 500
LocationCharlotte 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 90.5 °F (32.5 °C); wind speeds reaching up to 6 miles per hour (9.7 km/h)[1]
Pole position
DriverTony Stewart (Team Menard)
Time24.866
Fastest lap
DriverBilly Boat (A. J. Foyt Enterprises)
Time25.292 (on lap 9 of 208)
Podium
FirstBuddy Lazier (Hemelgarn Racing)
SecondBilly Boat (A. J. Foyt Enterprises)
ThirdScott Goodyear (Treadway Racing)

Contents

ReportEdit

Key Meaning
R Rookie
W Past winner

QualifyingEdit

Pos No. Name Lap 1 Lap 2 Best (in mph)
1 2   Tony Stewart 24.986 24.866 217.164
2 5   Arie Luyendyk 25.245 25.172 214.524
3 1   Billy Boat R 25.543 25.419 212.440
4 14   Davey Hamilton 25.454 25.424 212.398
5 91   Buddy Lazier 25.478 25.514 211.948
6 27   Jim Guthrie R 25.782 25.661 210.436
7 21   Roberto Guerrero 25.736 25.688 210.215
8 6   Scott Goodyear 26.065 25.787 209.408
9 77   Stéphan Grégoire 25.967 25.799 209.310
10 28   Mark Dismore 25.827 25.808 209.237
11 70   Marco Greco 25.823 25.861 209.116
12 22   Vincenzo Sospiri R 26.236 25.833 209.035
13 33   Jimmy Kite R 25.865 25.891 208.776
14 7   Eliseo Salazar 25.891 25.961 208.567
15 51   Eddie Cheever 25.929 25.911 208.406
16 17   Affonso Giaffone R 26.045 26.074 207.333
17 31   Greg Ray R 26.120 26.054 207.262
18 4   Kenny Bräck R 26.089 26.062 207.198
19 40   Jack Miller R 26.413 26.193 206.162
20 30   Robbie Groff R 26.328 26.333 205.066
21 18   John Paul, Jr. 26.883 26.577 203.183
22 10   Mike Groff 27.548 27.187 198.624
23 99   Sam Schmidt1 R Didn't qualify No speed
  1. ^ Didn't qualify after breaking a cam sensor in practice, but was allowed to start the race at the back of the field.

Failed to qualify or withdrewEdit

RaceEdit

Buddy Lazier beat rookie Billy Boat to take his second IRL victory in the first-ever Indy car race at this long-time stock-car racing venue. The race was dominated by Tony Stewart at the beginning, but his car developed handling problems after pitting during a caution period on lap 75 and was out of contention thereafter. Lazier stayed out during the caution and assumed the lead, but had to make a green-flag stop on lap 93 and fell a lap down.

Mark Dismore moved up steadily through the field but blew an engine at full speed going down the front stretch on lap 99; he spun the car harmlessly into the infield in turn 1. Boat, Roberto Guerrero and Jimmy Kite (in only his second IRL start) swapped the lead until Guerrero touched wheels with points leader Davey Hamilton in turn 2 and both cars spun into the wall. Neither driver was hurt, but his resulting 16th-place finish cost Hamilton the points lead. Lazier unlapped himself on the subsequent caution and joined the duel with Boat and Kite; the latter's race ended when his car pushed up into the wall exiting turn 4.

After the caution, Lazier took the lead and tried to pull away from Boat, but got caught behind Scott Goodyear who was trying to stay on the lead lap. While Lazier made several high-risk pass attempts (including two runs through the grass in the quad-oval), Boat caught him and briefly assumed the lead, but then Goodyear conceded and Lazier moved back in front for the final 11 laps. In the last few laps, Kenny Bräck and Eddie Cheever staged a furious duel for fifth as they picked through traffic, with Bräck coming out on top.

Pos No. Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Laps Led Points
1 91   Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn Racing 208 1:55:29.224 5 58 35
2 1   Billy Boat R A. J. Foyt Enterprises 208 + 3.301 sec 3 38 33
3 6   Scott Goodyear Treadway Racing 207 + 1 lap 8 1 32
4 17   Affonso Giaffone R Chitwood Motorsports 206 + 2 laps 16 0 31
5 4   Kenny Bräck R Galles Racing 206 + 2 laps 18 0 30
6 51   Eddie Cheever Team Cheever 206 + 2 laps 15 0 29
7 2   Tony Stewart Team Menard 205 + 3 laps 1 74 31
8 77   Stéphan Grégoire Chastain Motorsports 202 + 6 laps 9 0 27
9 70   Marco Greco Galles Racing 202 + 6 laps 11 0 26
10 7   Eliseo Salazar Team Scandia 200 + 8 laps 14 0 25
11 18   John Paul, Jr. PDM Racing 198 + 10 laps 21 0 24
12 27   Jim Guthrie R Blueprint Racing 197 + 11 laps 6 0 23
13 30   Robbie Groff R McCormack Motorsports 189 Half shaft 20 0 22
14 10   Mike Groff Byrd-Cunningham Racing 176 + 32 laps 22 0 21
15 33   Jimmy Kite R Team Scandia 163 Accident 13 11 20
16 14   Davey Hamilton A. J. Foyt Enterprises 141 Accident 4 0 19
17 21   Roberto Guerrero Pagan Racing 141 Accident 7 26 18
18 99   Sam Schmidt R LP Racing-PCI 114 Engine 23 0 17
19 28   Mark Dismore Kelley Racing-PDM 97 Engine 10 0 16
20 22   Vincenzo Sospiri R    Team Scandia 70 Engine 12 0 15
21 5   Arie Luyendyk Treadway Racing 67 Handling 2 0 14
22 31   Greg Ray R Knapp Motorsports 30 Engine 17 0 13
23 40   Jack Miller R Arizona Motorsports 13 Electrical 19 0 13

Race StatisticsEdit

  • Lead changes: 13 among 6 drivers

Standings after the raceEdit