1998 IROC
Race Start* Finish Notes
Daytona 10 12 Crashed on the 12th lap while leading
Drove the #11 Teal car
Fontana 1 12 Finished 5 laps down
Drove the #11 Yellow car
Michigan 1 5 Led 44 of 50 laps
Unfortunately, they were the first 44 laps
Indianapolis 5 10 Triggered a multi-car accident on the 3rd lap
Drove the #8 Green car

* Grid positions for the first race are determined by a random drawing. In subsequent races, the starting grid is the inverted finishing order of the prior race.

Championship: 11th
Car: Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am
 
Daytona Race Recap: Tommy Kendall and Jeff Gordon, the eventual winner of the 1998 IROC seaon opener, were involved in an incident in the opening stages of the race.
    ”I feel bad about Tommy because I’m a big Tommy Kendall fan,” Gordon said. “I tucked in behind him and had a heck of a draft going. I wanted to push him toward the front. I nudged him a little bit and that got him sideways. The last thing I wanted to do was that. I really feel bad for Tommy Kendall.”
    ”I got a bit of a lead on the two lines of traffic,” Kendall said. “I chose to go to the low line, and the high line started catching up and tried to move around me. The silver car behind me (Gordon) tried to keep up with the high line, and kept pushing and pushing me. That got me sideways. I saved it once and then it went straight into the outside wall.”

IROC Daytona (1998)IROC Daytona (1998)
Damage from the crash
(Left photo credit: Callahan Racing Photo Museum)

 


 

Pre-Race California: “I love the track, it’s dynamite. The new generation IROC cars are really nice to drive. The fact that I have done so well in the cars is proof of that. If they were difficult or had any weird quirks, I think the Winston Cup drivers would have a bigger advantage.”

IROC Fontana (1998) IROC Fontana (1998)
Left: Ready to race in California; Right: Talking with Mark Martin
(Credit: IROC Racing)

 


 

Post-Race Michigan: “I held them off (Burton and Martin) as long as I could. Nobody showed their nose down low in (turns) three and four and now I know why. I thought if they could have done that, they would have done it earlier. It was single-file racing and I was hoping that was all they had, but when they tried (to pass low) they just went right by me. It’s just a part of my continuing education.”

 


 

Indy Pre-Race Press Conference
    On his first appearance at the Speedway: “I have run most of my laps around here in the tour bus of the Museum. I’ve come to a number of 500 races through the years and watched these guys race here. I was having as much fun as I have had anywhere in IROC. Here you have to be precise in the corners. After practice, I tried to make a left turn into Victory Circle. The yellow shirt said, ‘Son, you have to win that.’ If he’d have let me on, I would have headed to the airport and headed for the Bahamas.”
    Chances of winning the race: “It will be a heck of an accomplishment. I would be proud of it. I enjoy the challenge of learning these cars.”
    The possibility of IROC returning to road courses: “Personally, I’d love it. It would be more in the spirit of what this series was meant to be. I would like to see them on the nastiest road course you can find.”
    Job prospects for 1999: “I’m working on a long-term contract with IROC (laughing). I wouldn’t have chose this (unemployment). Instead of hanging out at courses and making phone calls, I’m enjoying my time off. I have an interest in Indy cars. That’s either here or … We all know a seat with Bobby Rahal has opened. That’s been my dream. Everyone’s eyes are glazed over it. Everyone says I am too tall to fit in the car. No one has committed to a test to see if I fit.”
    On road racing: “I love road races, and because I can’t control getting into Indy cars I would have done my own team if I would have stayed in Trans-Am. I’d have had my own team. I’ve helped build three teams.”
    The future of road racing in the United States: “We have differences as to what is driving the road-race series. It’s like a football game. Each team keeps fumbling. No one knows where they want to go. It’s a total logjam. It will never go away completely. You have people (fans) that love that type of racing.”
    The possibility of conducting an IROC race at a short track like Bristol: “It would be good experience. We’d get used up pretty good.”
    About the huge salary that Michael Schumacher will earn in Formula One from Ferrari: “I can accept that better than watching an overweight pitcher on TV who makes $8 to $10 million. I think it’s great. They (Formula One) are the biggest. When Senna passed away, they shut down the financial market. It’s hard to understand the impact that F1 drivers have, even in South America.”
    About the start of this IROC race and his strategy: “Bring it on. I’m going to try to hold my position, and if I can make a shot for it, I will when I can.”

Indy Post-Race: In the fourth turn of the third of forty laps, Tommy Kendall lost control of his car and crashed, triggering an accident which accumulated seven of the twelve car field and took forty minutes to clear.
    ”I had a decent start. Al Jr. got around me. I tried to get around the opening shuffle. I went high up in Turn 4. I’ve seen it happen on TV during the ‘500’ so many times, and I didn’t understand why they didn’t turn. You can’t I tried to keep it up along the wall. I just couldn’t. I couldn’t think of anything else. I wasn’t interested in the rest of the race. I’m sorry Arie got tangled up in my mess.”

IROC Indy (1998)  IROC Indy (1998)  IROC Indy (1998)
(Credit: IROC Racing)

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