IRL: Infiniti Motorsports Texas preview

GARDENA, Calif. (Sept. 6, 2001) -- Formula One veteran Johnny Herbert and 1999 Indy Racing champion Greg Ray will join Infiniti regulars Robbie Buhl and Eddie Cheever Jr. in driving the Infiniti Indy 35A V8 engine in the Indy Racing season finale...

GARDENA, Calif. (Sept. 6, 2001) -- Formula One veteran Johnny Herbert and 1999 Indy Racing champion Greg Ray will join Infiniti regulars Robbie Buhl and Eddie Cheever Jr. in driving the Infiniti Indy 35A V8 engine in the Indy Racing season finale at Texas Motor Speedway on Sept. 16.

"I couldn't imagine a better group of drivers and teams to be fielding the Infiniti engine," said Steve Kight, director of marketing, Infiniti Division, and director of motorsports, Nissan North America, Inc. "Johnny Herbert's international appeal and F1 success, and the championship-winning experience of Greg Ray and A.J. Foyt complement our already strong lineup of Indy 500 champion Eddie Cheever Jr., and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Robbie Buhl."

The addition of Herbert and Ray to the Infiniti roster at Texas is the first time since the 1997 Indianapolis 500 that Infiniti has had more than three cars in a race.

Entered as the driver of the No. 36 G Force/Infiniti/Firestone car, Johnny Herbert will make his oval-racing debut with the Heritage Motorsports team owned by the Mecom and Rathmann families.

A native of Brentwood, England, the 37-year-old Herbert raced F1 for 12 years before retiring at the end of the 2000 season. He earned three career Grand Prix victories. Herbert also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1991 and spent this season racing in the American Le Mans Series.

Greg Ray, from Plano, Tex., will join Texan team owner A.J. Foyt in a one-race appearance with the No. 11 Harrah's/Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone car. Ray has enjoyed an extremely successful Indy Racing career, winning five victories, 14 pole positions and the 1999 series championship. He most recently drove for Team Menard, winning the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway this season, before his release in mid-August.

Infiniti, which entered the Indy Racing League in 1997, introduced an all-new version of the Infiniti Indy engine earlier this year. The 35A engine started showing its winning potential when Robbie Buhl challenged for victory at the Indianapolis 500 with the No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force.

Eddie Cheever Jr. drove the No. 51 Cheever Indy Racing Dallara to victory at Kansas Speedway on July 8, giving Infiniti its first victory with the 35A engine, and its second series victory. In addition to leading 104 laps en route to that landmark victory, the powerplant also led laps at the Texas, Kentucky, St. Louis, and Chicago races this season.

"Since Eddie's victory in July, it has been a whirlwind effort for the Infiniti Motorsports group," Kight said. "On one hand, we were intensely focused on continuing the development of the engine; on the other hand, we were approached by a number of teams that wanted to purchase our engine. While we would prefer to have ninety days to put an engine package together for a new team, we did our best, and in less time than that, we were able to provide engines to the two teams on the top of our list, Foyt Racing and Heritage Motorsports."

The Indy Racing Northern Light Series season finale at Texas Motor Speedway will be televised live on ESPN at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) Sunday, Sept. 16.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , A.J. Foyt
Teams Dreyer & Reinbold Racing