Auroras Last Pole To Hornish

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The Aurora engine is on its way out of the Indy Racing Northern Light Series, but it’s going out on top.

Sam Hornish Jr., the IRNLS champion, was awarded the Chevy 500 pole on Friday after qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway was rained out and the field was set by points. Hornish will start his No. 4 Dallara-Aurora beside last year’s champion, Buddy Lazier, driver of the No. 91 Dallara-Aurora.

It’s the second time this season that Hornish and Lazier will start first and second after rain washed out a qualifying session. The first time was in August at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill.

The rest of the Top 5 for Saturday’s Chevy 500 is Scott Sharp in the No. 8 Dallara-Aurora, Billy Boat in the No. 99 Dallara-Aurora and Eliseo Salazar in the No. 14 Dallara-Aurora.

Greg Ray, driving the No. 11 Dallara-Infiniti for A.J. Foyt, will start 13th. Ray, of nearby Plano, Texas, is rumored to be on the short list for a ride with Foyt next season. He may need a solid run Sunday to help him.

The Chevy 500 gets the green flag at 4 p.m. (ET) Saturday.

Chevy Unveils 2002 V8: While Texas Motor Speedway crews tried in vain to dry the 1.5-mile oval for IRNLS practice Friday, Chevrolet officials took advantage of the downtime and introduced the public to its 2002 Chevy Indy V8.

Newly crowned champ Sam Hornish Jr. and 2000 titleholder Buddy Lazier were on hand as the first of many drivers who will utilize the new engine next season.

Hornish hopes he can follow in the footsteps of one of his racing idols in a Chevy-powered Indy car.

“Rick Mears scored Chevrolet's first Indianapolis 500 victory in 1988 with Pennzoil,” Hornish said. “I want to follow in his footsteps and put Chevy back in the winner's circle.”

Lazier, too, would like to put Chevy back on top in open-wheel racing.

“I fully intend to be the first driver to win the Indy 500 with the new Chevy Indy V8,” he said. “And I want to win my second IRL championship with Chevrolet power in 2002.”

Chevy has been off the open-wheel racing map since 1993. Before leaving the scene, Chevy dominated Indy-style racing with 86 wins, 80 poles, six Indy 500 wins and five series championships.

“Chevrolet is synonymous with success in American motorsports,” said Steve Shannon, executive director of marketing services for GM Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing. “No other manufacturer can match the number of NASCAR, NHRA, road racing and off-road championships that Chevy has won. Chevrolet anticipates continuing its strong tradition of winning in open-wheel competition next year.”

Firestone Extends IRNLS Agreement: Firestone will continue to supply tires to the IRNLS through 2005 in an agreement announced Friday. In addition, Firestone will supply tires to the Infiniti Indy Pro Series, the support series for the IRNLS.

“There have been 55 Indy Racing League events thus far and Firestone tires have been on the track in every one," said Tony George, IRNLS president and chief executive officer. “The Firestone Racing program has consistently demonstrated it can supply the quality tires needed for our high-speed, oval track competition. We're very appreciative of the steadfast support from Firestone, not just in providing great tires, but also in helping the Indy Racing League put on great shows for fans at the Indianapolis 500 and other events across the United States.

“With Firestone's continuing involvement, we believe our series will continue to grow and prosper, and that we'll have some tremendous competitions in the years ahead. We wanted one tire supplier for safety and cost-control benefits, and we're pleased Firestone is going to be that supplier.”

Firestone has been the exclusive tire supplier to the IRNLS since 2000. Goodyear participated in the series from 1996-1999 but withdrew before the last season.

Race Center

Auto Club 500

@ Auto Club Speedway
Saturday, October 19, 2013
TV Start:
NBCSN

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