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The 1998 Dura Lube 200 was the second round of the 1998 Indy Racing League. The race was held on March 22, 1998 at the 1.000 mi (1.609 km) Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona.

United States 1998 Phoenix
Race details
2nd round of the 1998 Indy Racing League season
Phoenix-international-raceway.svg
DateMarch 22, 1998
Official nameDura Lube 200
LocationPhoenix International Raceway
CoursePermanent racing facility
1.000 mi / 1.609 km
Distance200 laps
200.000 mi / 321.869 km
Pole position
DriverJeff Ward (ISM Racing)
Time20.839
Fastest lap
DriverTony Stewart (Team Menard)
Time21.996 (on lap 43 of 200)
Podium
FirstScott Sharp (Kelley Racing)
SecondTony Stewart (Team Menard)
ThirdBilly Boat (A. J. Foyt Enterprises)

ReportEdit

Key Meaning
R Rookie
W Past winner

QualifyingEdit

Grid limited to 28 cars. Positions 1-26 determined by qualifying speed. Positions 27-28 reserved for provisionals (based on entrant points).

Pos No. Name Lap 1 Lap 2 Best (in mph)
1 35   Jeff Ward 20.839 21.242 172.753
2 11   Billy Boat 21.053 20.867 172.521
3 1   Tony Stewart 21.058 20.869 172.505
4 7   Jimmy Kite 20.872 20.896 172.480
5 14   Kenny Bräck 21.404 21.003 171.404
6 15   Eliseo Salazar 21.116 21.023 171.241
7 6   Davey Hamilton 21.198 21.083 170.754
8 8   Scott Sharp 21.112 21.110 170.535
9 91   Buddy Lazier 21.161 21.476 170.124
10 44   J. J. Yeley R 21.258 21.163 170.108
11 21   Roberto Guerrero W 21.225 21.176 170.004
12 3   Robbie Buhl 21.257 21.185 169.932
13 30   Raul Boesel 21.249 21.235 169.531
14 4   Scott Goodyear 21.267 21.340 169.276
15 28   Mark Dismore 21.530 21.274 169.221
16 16   Marco Greco 21.565 21.312 168.919
17 12   Buzz Calkins 21.423 21.320 168.856
18 97   Greg Ray 22.003 21.441 167.903
19 5   Arie Luyendyk W 21.656 21.520 167.286
20 51   Eddie Cheever 21.550 21.560 167.053
21 18   John Paul, Jr. 21.626 21.624 166.482
22 77   Stéphan Grégoire 21.779 21.676 166.082
23 22   Dave Steele R 22.190 21.809 165.069
24 10   Mike Groff 22.185 21.838 164.850
25 99   Sam Schmidt 22.220 21.861 164.677
26 23   Paul Durant 21.974 21.865 164.647
27 20   Tyce Carlson 23.244 23.660 154.879
28 17   Brian Tyler R 23.129 23.158 155.649
Didn't qualify
29 40   Jack Miller 22.398 21.880 164.534
30 53   Jim Guthrie W 22.418 21.898 164.399
31 27   Robbie Groff 21.957 22.062 163.957
32 19   Stan Wattles 22.364 21.997 163.659

RaceEdit

The difference between the fastest and slowest qualifier was the 2nd closest in Indycar history at Phoenix, which, combined with traction problems in turn 2 caused by a dip in the pavement, made for a rough race. Shockingly, neither the defending race champion, Jim Guthrie, nor his previous team Blueprint Racing (with Robbie Groff) qualified. Speeds were up from the previous year, and six cars broke the new-car track record led by surprise pole winner Jeff Ward, who jumped out to the early lead and held it until he encountered gearbox problems. He eventually lost fifth gear and was handicapped on restarts, although once up to speed he was still one of the fastest cars on the track. Eddie Cheever, from 20th starting position, moved into the top 10 by lap 11. Buddy Lazier dropped out early when he lost an engine and crashed in turn 3. On lap 19, John Paul, Jr. started a long sequence of incidents in turn 2 when he spun there.

After Ward's transmission malfunctioned, Tony Stewart took over the lead for almost 100 more laps. In between, Kenny Bräck, Billy Boat and Ward battled for position while Sharp moved up through the field. On lap 32, Sharp's teammate Mark Dismore wrecked in turn 2, and lost some laps before returning to the race, something that would be significant for the outcome of the race. Rookie J. J. Yeley surprised qualifying 10th in his first IRL start, but he spun in turn 2 on lap 46. Davey Hamilton tried to squeeze by on the outside but slid into the wall and then into Yeley. Another first-timer, Dave Steele, was involved in a frightening accident at the same spot on lap 59. Eliseo Salazar spun and collected Steele and Robbie Buhl. Trying to avoid him, Arie Luyendyk touched wheels with Salazar. Luyendyk's car went up and over, and slid through turn 2 upside down. The Dutch had significant damage to his helmet from the pavement but only had a hand burn caused by scraping the asphalt during the spin.

Cheever had moved into the lead prior to this yellow, but lost a lap when his crew got the left and right rear tires reversed on a pit stop, and he never managed to make up the lap. Then, Stéphan Grégoire moved into second place behind Stewart. Buzz Calkins was picking up his lap times, and after a caution for Paul Durant's blown engine on lap 106, he made up a lap and joined the lead pack, but he got hit by debris when Paul, Jr. wrecked on lap 133 and had to put for a new nose, losing again a lap. At this point, Stewart still led, with Bräck pursuing him but being unable to catch the leader. Pit strategy came into play on lap 169 when Sam Schmidt spun in turn 2. All cars on the lead lap cars pitted with the exception of Sharp, who decided to gamble on fuel.

After the green flag on lap 174, Sharp quickly opened up a 3-second lead in traffic but then had to slow to conserve fuel. On lap 186, Bräck got caught in a four wide pass in the back stretch dogleg and he touched wheels with Mike Groff. Both crashed hard and Groff had to be cut out of his car. Groff was taken to the hospital, examined, and released. The resulting long caution allowed Sharp to conserve fuel. The green waved with 2 laps to go. Between the leaders was Dismore, many laps down but running fast. Dismore bogged down at the start and held up Stewart and Boat. The race would end in that order: despite the controversy that erupted following the race, Dismore claimed to not have received any "team orders", but he was fined $5,000 for "unsportsmanlike conduct". Sharp was also fined $15,000 and docked 7 points for "failing to meet the fuel tank capacity requirement", as his car held more fuel than allowed.[1] Grégoire's unsponsored car logged its second consecutive fourth-place finish, and Ward finished fifth. Schmidt, with an underfunded team, managed his best finish ever in the IRL with a 7th place despite two spins. Scott Sharp got his second IRL victory; his first in the new cars.

Pos No. Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Laps Led Points
1 8   Scott Sharp Kelley Racing 200 2:02:18.735 8 30 43
2 1   Tony Stewart Team Menard 200 + 2.366 sec 3 127 43
3 11   Billy Boat A. J. Foyt Enterprises 200 + 3.280 sec 2 12 37
4 77   Stéphan Grégoire Chastain Motorsports 199 + 1 lap 22 0 32
5 35   Jeff Ward ISM Racing 199 + 1 lap 1 25 33
6 4   Scott Goodyear Panther Racing 199 + 1 lap 14 0 28
7 99   Sam Schmidt LP Racing 198 + 2 laps 25 0 26
8 30   Raul Boesel McCormack Motorsports 197 + 3 laps 13 0 24
9 12   Buzz Calkins Bradley Motorsports 197 + 3 laps 17 0 22
10 51   Eddie Cheever Team Cheever 196 + 4 laps 20 6 20
11 97   Greg Ray Knapp Motorsports 192 + 8 laps 18 0 19
12 3   Robbie Buhl Team Menard 187 + 13 laps 12 0 18
13 20   Tyce Carlson Immke Racing 186 + 14 laps 27 0 17
14 14   Kenny Bräck A. J. Foyt Enterprises 185 Accident 5 0 16
15 10   Mike Groff Byrd-Cunningham Racing 177 Accident 24 0 15
16 28   Mark Dismore Kelley Racing 175 + 25 laps 15 0 14
17 17   Brian Tyler R Treadway Racing 168 + 32 laps 28 0 13
18 7   Jimmy Kite Team Scandia 129 + 71 laps 4 0 12
19 18   John Paul, Jr. PDM Racing 126 Accident 21 0 11
20 16   Marco Greco Phoenix Racing 122 + 78 laps 16 0 10
21 23   Paul Durant CBR Cobb Racing 99 Engine 26 0 9
22 22   Dave Steele R RSM Marko 59 Engine 23 0 8
23 15   Eliseo Salazar Riley & Scott Cars 58 Accident 6 0 7
24 5   Arie Luyendyk W Treadway Racing 58 Accident 19 0 6
25 44   J. J. Yeley R Sinden Racing Services 45 Accident 10 0 5
26 6   Davey Hamilton Nienhouse Motorsports 45 Accident 7 0 4
27 21   Roberto Guerrero W    Pagan Racing 44 Transmission 11 0 3
28 91   Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn Racing 9 Accident 9 0 2

Race StatisticsEdit

  • Lead changes: 6 among 5 drivers

Standings after the raceEdit