IRL: California: Infiniti Motorsports race report

Rookie Redon finishes third with Infiniti power at California FONTANA, Calif. (March 24, 2002) - Rookie Laurent Redon drove his Infiniti-powered car to a third-place finish in the thrilling Yamaha Indy 400. The race had a record number of 34...

Rookie Redon finishes third with Infiniti power at California

FONTANA, Calif. (March 24, 2002) - Rookie Laurent Redon drove his Infiniti-powered car to a third-place finish in the thrilling Yamaha Indy 400. The race had a record number of 34 lead changes, making an exciting debut for the Indy Racing League at California Speedway.

Pole-sitter Eddie Cheever Jr. and third-place starter Tomas Scheckter were both in serious contention for the victory captured by Sam Hornish Jr.

In the No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti, Cheever led a total of ten times for 33 laps. In the last stint of the race, he was racing back and forth for the lead with Jaques Lazier when the engine broke on lap 191 of the 200-lap race.

Driving the No. 52 Red Bull Infiniti, Tomas Scheckter led for the first time in the Indy Racing League, taking the lead five times for a total of 28 laps. He also turned the fastest lap of the race on lap 73 at 222.559 mph. Scheckter's day ended with an accident on lap 164.

In his first race with Infiniti power Shigeaki Hattori, in the No. 12 EPSON/NISMO Infiniti, went out of the race on lap 147 with mechanical problems.

Round four of the 15-race Indy Racing League Championship is the inaugural event at Nazareth Speedway, the Firestone Indy 250 on April 21. The race will be televised live on ABC. For ticket information visit www.nazarethspeedway.com.

LAURENT REDON, NO. 34 MI-JACK/CONQUEST RACING DALLARA/INFINITI/FIRESTONE:

"It was really a tough race. We were really quick and had a good car. We had a good fight at the end to stay in front of Gil de Ferran. I just had to keep the low line. It was such close racing. I am really happy for the Mi-Jack/Conquest team. The Infiniti engine was really good. It was really quick for us today."

BERNARD DUDOT, INFINITI MOTORSPORTS, INDY RACING PROGRAM MANAGER:

"We are very pleased with the third place finish by Laurent Redon. This is quite an achievement for a rookie driver and the relatively new team of Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing. Obviously, we need to go back and take a look at the Cheever engines. We have a lot of work ahead of us to be ready for Indy."

EDDIE CHEEVER JR., NO. 51 RED BULL CHEEVER RACING DALLARA/INFINITI/FIRESTONE:

"I had Jaques, and then I didn't, and then I did. We kept going back and forth. Hornish wasn't even in contention because he was in our dirty air. The Red Bull Cheever Racing car was good today. I think I could have run Jaques down. It's all a question of being in the right position. We were playing with each other. I broke an engine with 18 miles to go. I'm disappointed because I really wanted to do well here in California. It's a good lesson for Indy. The Infiniti engineers have to go back and fix the problem. I am happy to see that at least one Infiniti finished in the top three with Laurent Redon's third place finish. Today could have been our first win of the year. I would have even been happy with a top three. Oh well."

TOMAS SCHECKTER, NO. 52 RED BULL CHEEVER RACING DALLARA/INFINITI/FIRESTONE:

"The race was unbelievable. Everything was going perfect. It was good racing the whole way through: me and Hornish, me and Lazier. It was unfortunate because I was looking forward to the last 20 laps. Eddie and I both had a good chance to do well in this race. Eddie could have won. I was cheering for him when I was in the medical center."

MEMO GIDLEY, NO. 24 TEAM PUREX/AVENTIS DREYER & REINBOLD RACING GFORCE/INFINITI/FIRESTONE:

"It's tough to hop into a car in even a perfect situation and even tougher to adapt during the race. We didn't have many laps in the car, but we moved up six spots on the grid and took the checkered, which was important for the team. We worked on making the car better and we're just hampered by radio communications early on. It was great to work with everyone on the team. Everyone did their jobs, and I met a lot of talented guys."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Eddie Cheever , Shigeaki Hattori , Gil de Ferran , Laurent Redon , Sam Hornish Jr. , Jaques Lazier
Teams Conquest Racing