Report by James
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
1. Arie Luyendyk
3. Jeff Ward
7. Billy Boat
8. Robbie Buhi
12. Mike Groff
22. Billy Roe
25. Greg Ray
188 Rt. Half
70 Accident T2
48 Water Pump
24 Accident T4
0 Accident T4
0 Accident T4
0 Accident T4
0 Oil Leak
and graphics designed and laid out by David Coveney