Jun 14, 1999
A Wild Night in TexasBy JR Nerad
You can't say the Indy Racing League isn't entertaining. The most recent race, the Longhorn 500 at ill-fated Texas Motor Speedway, at times seemed like a parody of an open-wheel race. Scott Goodyear was the winning driver, holding off Greg Ray by just 0.888 seconds, but his victory seemed the least of the story. Early in the race tire blistering caused many of the teams to pit early. Billy Boat was the first to come in to have his blistered right rear tire changed. Then Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack came in just one lap later. By the 25th lap, four drivers, all running Goodyear tires, had come in as rear tire problems surfaced.
The bizarre tire problems prompted race officials to throw a yellow on lap 26, allowing drivers to pit to check their rubber. Things went from bad to worse when the leaders pitted on the 28th lap under caution, and Buddy Lazier, also beset with tire problems, ran into the back of Robby Unser's car and spun in the first turn.
That was just the beginning of the carnage. Crashes and restarts punctuated most of the race. Yet another of many caution flags flew after Robby Unser's pit stop on lap 156. As he exited the pits and headed into the first turn one of his wheels came off, giving the leaders a chance to make their final pit stops.
On lap 180, Tyce Carlson crashed into the outside of the second turn and slid across the track. This fairly typical mishap was complicated by the fact that when the pace car pulled onto the track to slow the field, it collided with Donnie Beechler's car, sending the Olds Alero, which was being driven by three-time Indy winner Johnny Rutherford, careening onto two wheels.
With no pace car to guide them, Goodyear (the driver, not the tire company) paced the field himself for several caution laps, and then he was able to hold off Greg Ray for the victory.
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