IRL: Eddie Cheever, Robby Buhl lead practice at Pikes Peak

FOUNTAIN, Colo., Friday, June 16, 2000 - Eddie Cheever Jr. and Robbie Buhl recorded the top two practice speeds Friday for Sunday's Radisson Indy 200 and both are on the verge of setting Indy Racing Northern Light Series history. ...

FOUNTAIN, Colo., Friday, June 16, 2000 - Eddie Cheever Jr. and Robbie Buhl recorded the top two practice speeds Friday for Sunday's Radisson Indy 200 and both are on the verge of setting Indy Racing Northern Light Series history. If either driver wins the pole in Saturday's MBNA Pole qualifying at Pikes Peak International Raceway, it will be a first for a Nissan Infiniti-powered car in the Northern Light Series. It would be the same for the race Sunday. Cheever, 1998 Indy 500 champion, turned a lap of 20.772 seconds, 173.310 mph on the one-mile PPIR oval in his #51T Excite@Home Indy Race Car Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. Buhl, who won the season opener at Walt Disney World Speedway using an Oldsmobile engine, produced a lap of 20.834, 172.794 mph in the Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone car. Cheever added an exclamation point to the day by chalking up the third fastest speed of the day in his primary #51 Infiniti-powered car with a lap of 172.654. "It's only for bragging rights," Cheever said about his duel with Buhl, who switched to an Infiniti after the Indianapolis 500. "I couldn't stand to be slower than Robbie." Both Cheever and Buhl are more concerned with winning on Sunday than snatching Infiniti's first pole. Cheever pointed out that historically the Infiniti has done better in the race than in qualifying because of its torque. "We're going to concentrate on having a fast car on race day," Buhl said. "The torque of the engine, I believe, is the strength of this engine." Third fastest driver on the day was the first Oldsmobile-powered car driven by Eliseo Salazar. The Chilean turned a lap of 20.916, 172.117 mph in his Rio A.J. Foyt Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Rounding out the top five were 1999 series champion and defending Radisson 200 winner Greg Ray at 20.917, 172.109 mph in his Conseco/Quaker State/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone and Donnie Beechler at 20.936, 171.953 in his Cahill Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Northern Light Series points leader Buddy Lazier ended the day in 13th in his Delta Faucet/Coors Light/Tae-Bo/Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone machine with a lap of 21.051, 171.013. Al Unser Jr., making his Indy Racing debut at PPIR, ended the day in seventh. Unser Jr. turned a lap of 20.963, 171.731 in his Galles ECR Racing Tickets.com Starz Encore Superpak G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone car. Qualifying for the Radisson Indy 200 is Saturday. The run for the MBNA Pole begins at 2:30 EDT. The Radisson Indy 200 gets the green flag Sunday at 4 p.m. EDT.

RADISSON INDY 200 NOTEBOOK:

Schedule: The Radisson Indy 200 starts at 2 p.m. (MDT) Sunday, June 18. MBNA Pole qualifying starts at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, June 17. Practice sessions continue at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. June 17.

The USAC MCI WorldCom National/Western Midget Car Series will conduct a race at PPIR on June 18 at 11:30 a.m.

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Tickets: Tickets for the Radisson Indy 200 are available by calling (888) 306-RACE.

*** On the air: The Radisson Indy 200 will be televised live on ABC at 4 p.m. (EDT) June 18. "Indy Racing 2Day" will be televised live at 11 a.m. June 18 on ESPN2. ESPN2 will televise MBNA Pole qualifying at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) June 17. The Indy Racing Radio Network will broadcast a 30-minute pre-race show at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) June 18, followed by the live race broadcast at 4 p.m. The IRRN will air MBNA Pole qualifying at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) June 17. The IRRN race broadcast also will be available live on the Internet at www.indyracing.com as part of a partnership between Indy Racing Online and Yahoo!/broadcast.com, the world's leading Web broadcast site.

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Timing and scoring: Live timing and scoring reports from Radisson Indy 200 practice, MBNA Pole qualifying and the race will be available on the Internet at www.indyracing.com.

Autographs: A Northern Light Series driver autograph session for race fans will take place from 4:45-5:45 p.m. (MDT) June 17 in the PPIR garage area.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Robbie Buhl , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Donnie Beechler , A.J. Foyt , Robby Buhl
Teams Dreyer & Reinbold Racing