RACE: 82nd Indianapolis 500
DATE: May 24, 1998
WINNER: Eddie Cheever
AVERAGE SPEED: 145.155 mph
WHAT HAPPENED: Former Formula One driver Eddie Cheever won in the first Indy 500 sanctioned by the Indy Racing League. On a restart with five laps to go, Cheever was chased by Buddy Lazier but held off the challenge and won by 3.19 seconds. Steve Knapp was the only other driver to finish on the lead lap and was named rookie of the year. Billy Boat started from the pole in a car fielded by A.J. Foyt, the first Foyt pole at Indy since 1975.
NOTABLE: A rule change allowed cars to return to the garage area to make repairs and re-enter the race; until then, repairs were required to be made in the pit area. Before this year, any car that crossed the entrance to Gasoline Alley was ruled out of the race, as was any stalled car towed to the garage area through escape roads in the infield. The change was made at the request of teams, which argued repairs in the garage were safer and was a fair way to allow more cars to finish the race. The rule prohibited cars from returning to race after the leader had completed 190 laps. The 82nd running also ushered in a compacted two-week schedule, which cut an entire week of practice and qualifying from four days to two.