Indy Racing League

The 1997
Indy 500

Race Report & Placings

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LUYENDYK WINS DELAYED 500

 

Report by James Beckett

ARIE LUYENDYK, driving a G-Force/Oldsmobile for the Treadway team, won the 1997 Indianapolis 500 (May 27th) in what was the third closest finish in '500' history writes James Beckett.

The 1990 Indy winner took the lead seven laps from the finish of the rain delayed race, to head home his teammate Scott Goodyear by only .57 of a second.

Luyendyk had been at the head of the field four times prior to his winning charge. Taking the lead for the final time from his teammate Goodyear, also at the wheel of a G-Force/Oldsmobile.

A late caution period sealed Luyendyk's second victory. When the green flag was waved at the start/finish line for the final 2.5 miles of racing, yellow caution flags remained visable at all marshal points preventing Goodyer making a final last gasp bid for honours.

Jeff Ward, making his Indy 500 debut, finished a fine third in his FlrstPlus Team Cheever entry. Ward, born in Scotland, led the field for forty-nine laps and only handed over the lead with eight of the two hundred laps remaining.

Luyendyk commented in 'Victory Lane' following his triumph, "I had to work a lot harder today than I did in 1990. It was alot more difficult today, therfore, more gratifying. I ran this thing hard all day."

Goodyear was obviously disappointed to not cross the line first, "I'm not here for second so it doesn't feel good at all. If I had to lose, I guess I have to lose to my teammate."

The 1-2 finish for Treadway was the first formation team finish since 1962, when Leader Card drivers Rodger Ward and Len Sutton crossed the line in first and second positions.

Indy Racing League officials were pleased to see the race run its entire course, the event postponed for two days because of bad weather for only the third time in its history.

With only fifteen laps run on Monday, prior to the rain, Tony Stewart became only the second driver in history to lead the race on two seperate days', and his wish to win an IRL race failed to materialise despite leading the race for sixty-four laps.

Stewart however did make it to the finish. Twenty-two drivers did not.

Five of the thirty-five starters were out before a lap was completed.

Alessandro Zampedri, making his return following his crash in the '96 race, suffered an oil leak on his Dallara on the pace lap, while Sam Schmidt's Dallara caught fire before the green flag fell.

The entire row, consisting of Stephan Gregoire, At fonso Giaffone and Kenny Brack were eliminated in a bizarre accident in Turn 4 as the cars approached the start line. Brack, trying to heat his tyres, who in turn took out Gregoire.

Claude Bourbonnais was another early retirement who failed to start Tuesday's restarted event.

NASCAR driver Robby Gordon retired with his car on fire, Mark Dismore crashed in Turn 4 and Roberto Guerrero's steering failed all before the twenty-fifth lap.

However the Oldsmobile and Nissan engines continued running, and thirteen cars made it to the finish - some however being quite a number of laps behind.

Of several crashes, Paul Durant's was the worst. The Conseco AJ Foyt driver hit the wall in Turn 3 and suffered a broken pelvis. He was removed from the car and taken to the Medical Centre also with slight concussion.

Seven drivers led the race including 1996 winner Buddy Lazier, the Indy champion guiding his Hemelgarn car to a fourth place spot.

Mike Grof f's twelfth placing allows him to continue at the head of the IRL points table, ahead of Davey Hamilton, with the series moving onto the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for a race under floodlights on June 7th.

ends.

FINISHING POSITIONS

Driver

1. Arie Luyendyk

2. Scott Goodyear

3. Jeff Ward

4. Buddy Lazier

5. Tony Stewart

6. Davey Hamilton

7. Billy Boat

8. Robbie Buhi

9. Robbie Groff

10. Fermin Velez

11. Buzz Calkins

12. Mike Groff

13. Lyn St.James

14. Steve Kinser

15. Dennis Vitolo

16. Marco Greco

17. Vincenzo Sospiri

18. Johnny Unser

19. Tyce Carison

20. Dr.Jack Miller

21. Paul Durant

22. Billy Roe

23. Eddie Cheever

24. Eliseo Salazar

25. Greg Ray

26. Jim Guthrie

27. Roberto Guerrero

28. Mark Dismore

29. Robby Gordon

30. Claude Bourbonnais

31. Stephan Gregoire

32. Affonso Giaf tone

33. Kenny Brack

34. Sam Schmidt

35. Alessandro Zampedri

Car

G-Force/Oldsmobile

G-Force/Oldsmobile

G-Force/Oldsmobile

Dallara/Oldsinobile

G-Force/Oldsmobile

G-Force/Oldsmobile

Dallara/Oldsmobile

G-Force/Oldsmobile

G-Force/Oldsmobile

Dallara/Oldsmobile

G-Force/ Oldsmobile

G-Force/Nissan

Dallara/Nissan

Dallara/Oldsmobile

Dallara/Nissan

Dallara/Oldsmobile

Dallara/Oldsmobile

Dallara/Nissan

Dallara/Oldsmobile

Dallara/Nissan

G-Force/Oldsmobi le

Dallara/Oldsmobile

G-Force/Oldsmobi le

Dallara/Oldsmobile

Dallara/Oldsmobile

Dallara/Oldsmobile

Dallara/Nissan

Dallara/Oldsmobile

G-Force/Oldsmobile

G-Force/Oldsmobile

G-Force/Oldsmobi le

Dallara/Oldsmobile

G-Force/Oldsmobile

Dallara/Oldsmobile

Dallara/Oldsmobile

Laps

200

200

200

200

200

199

199

199

197

195

188 Rt. Half Shaft

188

186 Accident T4

185 Accident T4

173

166 Gearbox

163

158 Oil Pressure

156 Accident T2

131 Accident T3

111 Accident T3

110 Accident T3

84 Timing Chain

70 Accident T2

48 Water Pump

43 Engine

25 Steering Gear

24 Accident T4

19 Fire

9 Engine

0 Accident T4

0 Accident T4

0 Accident T4

0 Engine

0 Oil Leak

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