May 17, 1997 in Sports

Indy Changes Rules

Compiled From Wire Services

The Indy Racing League eliminated a controversial qualifying rule, but kept a potentially bigger obstacle to the return to the Indianapolis 500 of some of the biggest stars in auto racing.

After this season, the IRL no longer will guarantee up to 25 of the 33 starting spots in the race to series regulars.

But it still will require all teams to use chassis and engines built by IRL suppliers, which would force the rival Championship Auto Racing Teams to either replace their entire fleet or buy extra cars to use only at Indianapolis.

Johnny O’Connell, who replaced injured Scott Sharp earlier in the week, dislocated the arch of his left foot when he crashed during practice for the Indianapolis 500.

O’Connell, who was 29th in his rookie Indy 500 last year, joined the A.J. Foyt team on Tuesday and had his best lap of practice at 212.922 mph shortly before his crash.

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