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INDIANAPOLIS 500 | NOTES

Winner Will Rack Up Miles in a Hurry

May 25, 1997|SHAV GLICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

INDIANAPOLIS — Whoever wins today's 500 will be busy for the next few days.

After the victory banquet Monday night, where a record $8 million in prize money is expected to be handed out, IRL officials have arranged a whirlwind tour of media interviews.

Starting with a luncheon Tuesday at the Tavern on the Green in New York, the tour flies to Dallas on Wednesday, then will be at the new Pikes Peak track near Colorado Springs, Colo., on June 9-11 and in Orlando, Fla., on June 13-14.

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John Paul Jr., in a wheelchair with his legs in casts, accepted the first Scott Brayton Driver's Trophy during the drivers' meeting Saturday. The award, a check for $25,000 and a crystal trophy from Tiffany's, was for "an Indianapolis 500 entrant past or present who extends the legacy of Scott Brayton."

Paul suffered multiple fractures of both legs in a crash the day before pole qualifying. He is expected to be in a wheelchair for six to eight weeks.

The award was presented by Lee Brayton, Scott's father. Scott Brayton, after winning the pole for last year's 500, was killed in an accident while practicing.

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Allesandro Zampedri and Roberto Guerrero, who were involved in a violent crash while racing for the finish line last year, met for the first time since then when they arrived at the Speedway. Zampedri went through nine surgeries to repair his damaged legs and feet.

"Roberto tried to call me in the hospital several times, but I was not able to talk to anyone at the time," Zampedri said. "He apologized. I really appreciate that. He admitted he made a mistake. He said he did not know he was two or three laps down at the time.

"We shook hands. Now we try to move along. You can't rewind it and try to change it."

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Tom Sneva, 1993 winner who will be part of ABC-TV's crew today, was the first winner to request that his eyeglasses be part of his image on the Borg-Warner Trophy. Sculpted separately out of sterling silver, the glasses were then welded to the two-inch image of Sneva.

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Diapers have been added to the list of parts for IRL Indy cars.

They are oil-absorbent devices that line the undertrays of the cars to contain oil from leaks. It is something that NHRA drag racers have been using for several years in an attempt to cut "oil-down" time that mars live TV shows.

"It's not a new technology, but it's the first time it's been adapted to these cars," said U.S. Auto Club technical director Mike Devin. "It's a material spawned out of the environmental world and it's a real, real thirsty chemical fabric."

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Writes Dan Proudfoot of the Toronto Sun, on the diapers: " . . . a form of diaper, designed to fit within each car and absorb any spilled oil, hardly comes across as a vote of confidence. They're designed to absorb as much as six quarts of oil . . . but these cars hold 16 quarts."

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