1997 Indy 200 at Walt Disney World

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United States   1996–1997 Walt Disney World
Race details
3rd Round of the 1996–97 Indy Racing League.
Track diagram of Walt Disney World Speedway layout
Date January 25, 1997
Official name Indy 200 at Walt Disney World
Location Walt Disney World Speedway
Course Permanent racing facility
1.000 / 1.609 km
Distance 149 laps, 149.000 mi / 239.792 km
Scheduled Distance 200 laps, 200.000 mi / 321.869 km
Weather Mixture of dry weather and rain; temperatures reaching up to 75.2 °F (24.0 °C) along with wind speeds reaching up to 20 miles per hour (32 km/h)[1]
Pole
Driver United States Tony Stewart United States Team Menard
Time 21.685
Fastest Lap
Driver United States Tony Stewart United States Team Menard
Time 22.579 (on lap 5 of 149)
Podium
First United States Eddie Cheever United States Team Menard
Second United States Mike Groff United States Byrd-Cunningham
Third Canada Scott Goodyear United States Treadway Racing

The 1997 Indy 200 at Walt Disney World was the third round of the 1996–1997 Indy Racing League. The race was held on January 25, 1997 at the 1.000 mi (1.609 km) Walt Disney World Speedway in Bay Lake, Florida. It was the first race with the new chassis and 4000 cc naturally aspirated engines. It did not make the scheduled 200 laps; it was called off on lap 149 due to heavy rain.[2]

Report[edit]

Key Meaning
R Rookie
W Past winner

Qualifying[edit]

Pos No. Name Lap 1 Lap 2 Best (in mph)
1 2 United States Tony Stewart 21.760 21.685 166.013
2 5 Netherlands Arie Luyendyk 21.888 21.823 164.964
3 12 United States Buzz Calkins W 22.037 21.945 164.046
4 1 United States Scott Sharp 22.011 21.980 163.785
5 51 United States Eddie Cheever 22.070 22.012 163.547
6 6 Canada Scott Goodyear 22.218 22.041 163.332
7 14 United States Davey Hamilton 22.048 22.172 163.280
8 4 United States Jeff Ward R 22.132 22.317 162.660
9 27 United States Jim Guthrie R 22.185 22.190 162.272
10 33 Spain Fermín Vélez R 22.379 22.272 161.638
11 91 United States Buddy Lazier 22.418 22.313 161.341
12 22 Brazil Marco Greco 22.671 22.470 160.214
13 18 United States John Paul, Jr. 22.563 22.585 159.553
14 10 United States Mike Groff 22.591 22.790 159.355
15 30 United States Jeret Schroeder R 23.247 23.565 154.859
16 17 United States Danny Ongais 23.834 23.765 151.483
17 21 Colombia Roberto Guerrero Didn't qualify No speed
18 40 United States Jack MillerR Didn't qualify No speed
19 77 France Stephan Gregoire Didn't qualify No speed
  • † Guerrero, Miller and Gregoire didn't qualify, but were allowed to start the race at the back of the field.

Failed to qualify or withdrew[edit]

Race[edit]

For the first time in over thirty years, a field of normally aspirated Indy car engines fired up and rolled off the grid. Unfortunately, that grid consisted of only 19 cars, due to engine and parts shortages. Polesitter Tony Stewart ran away and hid from the start, but there was tight racing with Buzz Calkins in hot pursuit, and Scott Sharp, Mike Groff and several others just behind.

The race was very clean with only one accident, which occurred on lap 100 when rookie Jeret Schroeder spun into the wall in turn 1, and Arie Luyendyk was forced into the inside wall trying to avoid him. Neither driver was injured but both were out. After that caution, Calkins and Eddie Cheever gradually reeled in Stewart, with Calkins taking the lead when Stewart pitted on lap 130. Calkins was on his way to repeat his IRL-inagurating triumph of a year ago, but on lap 141 his engine began smoking, and two laps later he coasted to the pits with a broken engine.

Stewart assumed the lead and appeared to be the race winner when the yellow was thrown for rain on lap 146. But as he crossed the line to take the yellow, Stewart's car broke an oil line and spun into the wall, continuing a string of IRL near-misses for him. Eddie Cheever inherited the lead and, when the red flag came three laps later, the veteran driver had his first Indy car victory after seven years of effort. Cheever accomplished a unique feat: he won the race without leading a lap under the green flag.

Pos No. Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Laps Led Points
1 51 United States Eddie Cheever Team Cheever 149 1:33:30.748 5 4 35
2 10 United States Mike Groff Byrd-Cunningham Racing 149 + 0.866 sec 14 0 33
3 6 Canada Scott Goodyear Treadway Racing 149 Running 6 0 32
4 1 United States Scott Sharp A. J. Foyt Enterprises 149 Running 4 0 31
5 91 United States Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn Racing 149 Running 11 0 30
6 27 United States Jim Guthrie R Blueprint Racing 148 + 1 lap 9 0 29
7 14 United States Davey Hamilton A. J. Foyt Enterprises 148 + 1 lap 7 0 28
8 22 Brazil Marco Greco Team Scandia 147 + 2 laps 12 0 27
9 33 Spain Fermín Vélez R Team Scandia 147 + 2 laps 10 0 26
10 2 United States Tony Stewart Team Menard 146 Accident T3 1 131 28
11 12 United States Buzz Calkins W Bradley Motorsports 144 Engine 3 14 24
12 5 Netherlands Arie Luyendyk Treadway Racing 97 Accident T1 2 0 23
13 17 United States Danny Ongais Chitwood Motorsports 94 Suspension 16 0 22
14 30 United States Jeret Schroeder R McCormack Motorsports 93 Accident T1 15 0 21
15 40 United States Jack Miller R Arizona Motorsport 85 Suspension 18 0 20
16 4 United States Jeff Ward R Galles Racing 63 Gearbox 8 0 19
17 21 Colombia Roberto Guerrero Pagan Racing 56 Fuel Pump 17 0 18
18 18 United States John Paul, Jr. PDM Racing 46 Oil Pump 13 0 17
19 77 France Stephan Gregoire Chastain Motorsports 2 Fuel Pump 19 0 16

Standings after the race[edit]