IRL: Buhl best in practice at Chicagoland Speedway

By David Reininger - motorsport.com JOLIET, Ill. (August 31, 2001) - Robbie Buhl topped the day's speed charts at the brand new Chicagoland Speedway, setting the fastest laps in both the morning and afternoon practice sessions. Buhl's fastest...

By David Reininger - motorsport.com

JOLIET, Ill. (August 31, 2001) - Robbie Buhl topped the day's speed charts at the brand new Chicagoland Speedway, setting the fastest laps in both the morning and afternoon practice sessions.

Buhl's fastest lap was set in the morning session when he averaged 221.002 mph around the 1.5-mile superspeedway. "The car is turning through the corners very well," said Buhl. "I think people already know that the Infiniti engine is making good power, and you can really see that on the track today."

Scott Sharp was second fastest, setting his best lap in the afternoon. "There was a lot of big pack running, which probably helped us to post that time," said Sharp. "Both Robbie (Buhl) and Eddie (Cheever) have been at the top of the charts for both sessions, so we'll have to see for tomorrow.

"No one knows who was fresh tires, who was on what kind of fuel load, who got a tow or didn't, you never know, so it was just an impressive run for Robbie (Buhl). Tomorrow's qualifying will be quite a show and I think there were enough guys working on race setup that it will be a great race on Sunday."

Sharp was fourth fastest in the morning session, turning in a lap just 14 one-hundredths of a second slower than his best for the day, before a clutch problem sent he team to the garage for repairs.

Eddie Cheever, who was third fastest today, thinks the incredible grip provided by the new track will be a factor in Sunday's racing. "There's actually more grip out here than we had at Kansas," said Cheever. "We started the race (at Kansas) not knowing if our tires would be able to withhold all of the heat we'd be putting into them. I don't think that's going to happen here.

"There's an enormous amount of grip here. Most new tracks are historically very smooth, you're not loading the tires up over bumps, like you are at Kentucky. When asphalt is new, it has a lot of friction to it, it's rougher, it hasn't been shined by all the tires. Plus, this track has a little more banking than Kansas.

"With all that grip, you get kind of cocky in the race car, and you will try things that you wouldn't be doing with ten degrees less banking."

Cheever may have summed it all up when he said, "There will be some unbelievable racing here this weekend."

Notes from the Delphi Indy 300 at the Chicagoland Speedway:

Sam Hornish needs to leave the Chicagoland Speedway with a 53-point lead to seal the 2001 Indy Racing League championship. Hornish leads the championship by 45 points over Buddy lazier.

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Two time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk is the guest of Treadway Hubbard Racing this weekend. Luyendyk will be making three autograph appearances at area Meijer stores this weekend.

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Mi-Jack Products, Inc. is sponsoring the No. 34 Conquest Racing entry this weekend. The team requested the number 34 to honor the late Walter Payton. Payton, who wore the number during his days with the Chicago Bears, was a business partner and friend of Mi-Jack President Mike Lanigan.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Sam Hornis
Teams Conquest Racing