Joliet, Ill. (Sept. 2, 2001) -- Eddie Cheever Jr. and Robbie Buhl showed the strength of the Infiniti engine in the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway today, with Cheever placing third in the race and Buhl leading 32 laps, and turning the ...
Joliet, Ill. (Sept. 2, 2001) -- Eddie Cheever Jr. and Robbie Buhl showed the strength of the Infiniti engine in the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway today, with Cheever placing third in the race and Buhl leading 32 laps, and turning the fastest race lap, before retiring early with a gearbox failure.
Starting from the front row, Eddie Cheever Jr. struggled with the handling of his car early in the race, and electrical troubles slowed him down during the pit stops late in the race. Regardless, he was one of the fastest cars on the 1.5-mile oval during the second half of the race. Cheever ran in the top seven for most of the race, eventually finishing third, marking his best finish of the season since winning at Kansas in early June.
Robbie Buhl appeared to be a favorite for the victory during the first half of the race, moving into the lead from his fourth place starting position on lap 59. He turned the fastest race lap of 222.137 mph on lap 73, and led 32 laps. It was the third consecutive race that the No. 24 Team Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Infiniti led. Buhl's hopes for victory ended on lap 99 when he slowed due to an input shaft failure.
The next Indy Racing Northern Light Series event is the season finale on Sept. 16 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Eddie Cheever Jr., No. 51 Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti (Started 2nd, Finished 3rd): "We had the fastest car and the best engine out there but we had an electronic problem on our last two pit stops and the engine kept stalling. I would come into the pits third and come out fifteenth. I would lose ten places and gain ten places, just back and forth and back and forth. I had the best car and it's a sin to finish third with an engine like the one we had. The track is great. It reminds me a lot of Texas where you can run two abreast. I even thought of trying three abreast once but that didn't last long. There's a lot of grip. It was very tight, aggressive, and busy -- like a pack of bumblebees. Coming up on traffic when there is a hundred laps to go is fun. When there are twenty laps to go and you have a car that should have won the race, it's very frustrating."
Dennis Reinbold, Owner, No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing GForce-Infiniti (Started 4th, Finished 22nd): "We had a really good car. The Purex Infiniti-powered car was hooked up today, and we really thought we had the race where we wanted it. We had two good pit stops that gained us track position. Then the bearings on the input shaft just seized up and burned out. When that happens, you're done. Up until then we had a dominant car. The Infiniti motor was awesome, to be able to pull on the other cars like it did. Robbie could run anywhere on the track, with anyone."