Race: Transworld Diversified Services 200

Track: Walt Disney World Speedway

Date: Sunday, January 24, 1999

Start time: 1:05 PM EST

Weather: Sunny, mild

Serial: #1 of 11 in 1999 season, #25 overall

History: IRL race #4, Indycar race #4 at this track

Config: 1-mile triangular, flat track

Wing package: Short track


Several promising young rookies were present, but it was a race dominated by the IRL veterans. Scott Sharp shattered the existing track record -- set at the very first new-car race in 1997 -- with Greg Ray, in his first race in his new Menard ride, alongside. Unlike years past, practice was very clean with only a few spins and no significant accidents. The field had a different look and some passing of the torch was evident, as several familiar names were absent and some new ones appeared. Last year's winner Tony Stewart, now a full-time NASCAR driver, appeared, but not as a driver; he had launched a new team with his former Menard crew chief Larry Curry, and ex-CART driver Gualter Salles in the seat. Salles was one of three first-timers to start the race, along with John Hollansworth, making the first start for Billy Roe's new Team Xtreme; Treadway's former test driver Jason Leffler had been promoted and was making his first IRl start. Leffler's new teammate was Sam Schmidt, taking the seat of Arie Luyendyk, who had announced his retirement over the winter. Also missing from the field were long-time IRL stalwarts Dr. Jack Miller and Marco Greco. Despite this, the provisional rules came into play for the first time in the past ten races as 29 cars attempted qualifying, and Eliseo Salazar with the reorganized Nienhouse team went home early.

On the start, Sharp was off and away, stretching out a lead over second starter Ray. Donnie Beechler saw a miserable beginning to a short day when his car wouldn't fire on the grid due to a wiring problem; he would retire after a spin. The early laps were marred by cautions as both of the Treadway cars crashed in turn 1 in two separate incidents. Neither driver was hurt but the Treadway team's day was a short one. There were few position changes among the top cars in the first half of the race, but further behind mid-pack starters were moving up including Mark Dismore, Eddie Cheever, John Paul Jr., and Hollansworth. Scott Goodyear was determined to make a good showing and passed Ray for second on lap 44.

A yellow for the stalled car of Scott Harrington (making his first "real" start in the IRL since Indy in 1996) engineered a mass pit stop. Sharp retained his lead, but Buddy Lazier and Cheever both got excellent service and moved up to fourth and fifth respectively. Tyce Carlson (a pleasant surprise in qualifying at 9th starting position) stopped later and led two laps, his first ever laps led in the IRL, but the late stop cost him track positions which he would not regain. During the yellow Stan Wattles (making his first start in a Dallara after being a Riley & Scott stalwart) went behind the wall with a failed halfshaft, and Robbie Buhl was having brake problems. After the green Ray's car wasn't as fast, and Goodyear, Lazier, and Boesel quickly swept by. Meanwhile, Davey Hamilton, making the first start for the reconstituted Galles team, had moved up from 20th starting position to 10th, and Steve Knapp in the PDM car (whose garages in Indy had been flooded out two weeks before the race) was also advancing.

Sharp still led at this point, but around lap 90 his car developed a push. Goodyear began reeling him in and passed for the lead on lap 103, with Cheever quickly taking second. Sharp caught a break when Salles' engine seized in turn 3 and he got tangled up with defending IRL champion Kenny Brack, bringing out the yellow. The green saw the running order as Goodyear, Cheever, Sharp, Lazier, Jeff Ward, Ray, Dismore, and Paul. But that didn't last long as on the restart, in turn 1 Lazier tried to dive under Sharp and they had contact, causing Lazier to spin. Paul spun to avoid, and in the ensuing melee there was contact with Ward and Dismore. All were able to continue; the efficient ISM crew changed Ward's nose without loss of laps, but Lazier and Paul suffered the loss of two and three laps respectively. (Ward said later that the nose change upset his car; they had been making front wing adjustments, but the spare nose didn't have these adjustments!) During this caution, most cars stayed on the track, but the McCormack team decided to play some strategy and pitted Boesel for a top-off.

On the restart, Goodyear used traffic to quickly build up a straightaway lead, while Dismore moved up to 4th and Knapp to 6th. The lead didn't last as Cheever caught and passed Goodyear on lap 142. At this time Ray began to slow, and on lap 157 he was given the black flag for a fluid leak. The gearbox, which had given them trouble during qualifying, had finally failed and Ray was out. On lap 170, Cheever led Goodyear, but they were being stalked by the tandem of Sharp and Dismore and it appeared that the race could end in a Kelley team 1-2. But there were other circumstances yet to be seen. Boesel was flying in the much improved McCormack car, whose sponsor Transworld was also the race's title sponsor, and had moved up to 5th. No one had the fuel to finish, or so it appeared, and on lap 172 Cheever pitted, handing the lead to Goodyear. Dismore pitted next lap, and two laps later Goodyear and Ward pitted and Sharp inherited the lead with Boesel up to second. Sharp held out until lap 180 before he had to pit. Unfortunately for him, on the next lap Hollansworth got in the marbles in turn 3 and crashed, bringing out the yellow with Boesel yet to pit. The caution caught everyone except Boesel, Cheever, Goodyear, and Ward a lap down. Boesel's team decided to stretch their fuel, and Boesel took the green on lap 189 with many lapped cars between himself and Cheever. Unfortunately, they didn't make it; on lap 192 Boesel ran out of fuel and a surprised Cheever was flagged as the winner eight laps later. Cheever was surprised because his radio had failed and he thought that Sharp, who was on the tail end of the lead lap, was the leader. Cheever scored his third IRL win and he became the first driver to win two IRL races at the same track (having won at Disney World in 1997). Of the top 10 finishers, all but Knapp were drivers with at least two years of experience in Indy cars. Goodyear scored a reversal in the tire war with all of the top-10 finishers except Boesel. The 20 cars classed as running at the finish set an IRL record.

Fin St  Qual  Car  C/E/T    Driver            Entrant  Laps     Status  Laps Pts
        Spd    #                                                         Led
 1 13 166.991  51  D/A/G Eddie Cheever       Cheever    200     Running   40  50
 2  4 169.731   4  G/A/G Scott Goodyear      Panther    200     Running   36  40
 3  6 168.350  35  G/A/G Jeff Ward           ISM        200     Running       35
 4  1 171.371   8  D/A/G Scott Sharp         Kelley     200     Running  103  37
 5  3 170.197  30  G/A/F Raul Boesel         McCormack  199     Running   19  31
 6 10 167.707  28  D/A/G Mark Dismore        Kelley     199     Running       28
 7 17 166.374  18  G/A/G Steve Knapp         PDM        198     Running       26
 8 20 165.077   9  G/A/G Davey Hamilton      Galles     198     Running       24
 9 14 166.736  11  D/A/G Billy Boat          Foyt       198     Running       22
10  8 167.824  91  D/A/G Buddy Lazier        Hemelgarn  198     Running       20
11 19 165.244  10  G/A/F John Paul Jr.       Byrd-C'ham 197     Running       19
12  9 167.801  20  D/A/F Tyce Carlson        Blue-Immke 197     Running    2  18
13 12 167.069  50  G/I/F Roberto Guerrero    Cobb       197     Running       17
14 24 161.421  33  G/A/G Brian Tyler         Truscelli  195     Running       16
15 21 164.066  81  D/A/F Robby Unser         Pelfrey    195     Running       15
16 25 161.117   7  G/A/F Stephan Gregoire    Simon      194     Running       14
17 11 167.247  12  D/A/F Buzz Calkins        Bradley    194     Running       13
18 27 Prov.     3  R/A/G Andy Michner        Brant      191     Running       12
19 18 166.282  42  D/A/F John Hollansworth   Xtreme     179    Crash T3       11
20 26 161.435  44  D/I/F Robbie Buhl         Sinden     175     Running       10
21  2 170.697   2  D/A/F Greg Ray            Menard     163     Gearbox       11
22  5 168.563  14  D/A/G Kenny Brack         Foyt       106    Crash T3        8
23 23 162.565  22  D/A/F Gualter Salles      Curry/Card  91    Crash T3        7
24 16 166.559  19  D/A/G Stan Wattles        Metro       54     Running        6
25 28 Prov.    66  D/I/F Scott Harrington    Harrington  49      Engine        5
26 22 163.994  98  D/A/F Donnie Beechler     Cahill      15  Suspension        4
27  7 168.122  99  G/A/F Sam Schmidt         Treadway    14    Crash BS        3
28 15 166.605   5  G/A/F Jason Leffler       Treadway     2    Crash T1        2

Car #44 qualified 24th, but changed cars after qualifying. By rule, the car was moved to 26th starting position.

Time of race: 01:41:15
Average speed: 118.538 MPH
Margin of victory: 5.148 sec

Laps under green: 152 of 200 laps (76.0%)
Caution flags: 7 for 48 laps (24.0%)
#1: lap 3, crash (Leffler), T1, 7 laps
#2: lap 15, crash (Schmidt), BS, 7 laps
#3: lap 27, spin (Beechler), BS, 2 laps
#4: lpa 53, blown engine (Harrington), FS, 7 laps
#5: lap 108, crash (Brack, Salles), T3, 12 laps
#6: lap 120, spin/crash (Dismore, Lazier, Paul, Ward), T1, 6 laps
#7: lap 182, crash (Hollansworth), T3, 7 laps

Red flags: 0 for 0 minutes

Lead changes: 10; number of race leaders: 5
St: Sharp 1-55
#1: Carlson 56-57
#2: Sharp 58-102
#3: Goodyear 103-110
#4: Boesel 111-117
#5: Goodyear 118-141
#6: Cheever 142-173
#7: Goodyear 174-177
#8: Sharp 178-180
#9: Boesel 181-192
#10: Cheever 193-200

C/E/T finish averages (# started / avg finish):
Dallara: 16 / 15.9
G-Force: 11 / 12.2
Riley & Scott: 1 / 18.0
Aurora: 25 / 13.9
Infiniti: 3 / 19.3
Firestone: 15 / 18.5
Goodyear: 13 / 9.8