Greg Ray ...
Greg Ray #2 Glidden-Menards Dallara/Aurora/Firestone
Qualifying Notes/Quotes - Saturday, March 26, 1999 MCI Worldcom 200 Phoenix International Raceway - Phoenix, Ariz.
Greg Ray won his first career Pep Boys Indy Racing League pole in qualifying for Sunday's MCI Worldcom 200, obliterating the Phoenix International Raceway track record in the #2 Glidden-Menards Dallara/Aurora/Firestone. The 32-year-old from Plano, Texas, competing in only his second race with Team Menard, recorded a fast lap of 20.323 seconds, an average of 177.139 mph around the 1-mile PIR oval. That's more than a half-second faster than the previous record for modern-day (normally aspirated) IRL cars set last year by Jeff Ward at 20.839 (172.753 mph). Joining Ray on the front row for Sunday's 4 p.m. EST event, Round Two of the 1999 IRL season, is Mark Dismore, who qualified in 20.616 seconds (174.622 mph). Scott Goodyear qualified third at 20.624 (174.554 mph). Sunday's race will be televised live by Fox Sports Net. Check local listings.
GREG RAY - "This is a great accomplishment for Team Menard, because everyone's worked so hard, and for our sponsors ... Glidden and Menards ... because they deserve to run up front. Personally, this is a big moment for me because this is my first career IRL pole after having qualified second so many times in the past. This is truly great, but in the big picture of the weekend, it's only 1 percent of the equation. We ran two exceptional qualifying laps today. You could have taken me out of the car and it wouldn't have gone any faster. But all bets are off. The race is altogether something else. We'll have to run hard for 200 laps tomorrow in the heat of the day. We'll have our work cut out for us. The good thing is that the car is running consistently. And the team has done an excellent job of making changes to keep up with the conditions this weekend. Yesterday, we started out with some NASCAR (Craftsman Truck Series) rubber on the track, and it was cold and windy in the afternoon. Today was very much like the conditions we had during testing (here at PIR late last month). The pole is great, though. Seems I've always been the bridesmaid (Ray's previous IRL best qualifying runs were seconds at last year's Indy 500 and Charlotte events driving for Tom Knapp Motorsports, and this year's season opener at Walt Disney World in his Team Menard debut). One of the big factors is that (new Team Menard general manager) Tom Knapp and myself have been working together since 1993."