IRL: Kansas Friday Report

By David Reininger - Motorsport.com Kansas City, Kan. (July 6, 2001) - Eddie Cheever topped both the morning and afternoon practice sessions at the brand new Kansas Speedway in preparation for Sunday's Ameristar Casino Indy 200. Cheever shaved...

By David Reininger - Motorsport.com

Kansas City, Kan. (July 6, 2001) - Eddie Cheever topped both the morning and afternoon practice sessions at the brand new Kansas Speedway in preparation for Sunday's Ameristar Casino Indy 200. Cheever shaved nearly two tenths of a second off his morning time to end the day with a best lap of 216.973 mph (25.2197 seconds).

"This is a great circuit, it's as flat as a table," said Cheever, who, along with Robbie Buhl are the only two drivers using the Infiniti engine. "This is a world-class facility. For the longest time we've always considered Texas as our second track after Indy. I think this place will give Texas a good run for the money."

Despite just two cars in the field powered by Infiniti engines, both of them ended up atop the day's speed charts. "We just came from a very slow track at Richmond and our engine ran incredibly well," said Cheever. "We're on the fast track here and running well again. This engine has been very competitive for the last five races."

Robbie Buhl, who also set his fastest lap in the afternoon session, averaged 216.623 mph (25.2605 seconds) around the 1.5-mile superspeedway.

Although Cheever and Buhl both compete with the Infiniti powerplant, Cheever runs the Dallara chassis, which has won all seven Indy Racing Northern Light Series race this season, while Buhl competes in the G Force chassis, which is built in England.

Mark Dismore, who was two miles per hour slower than Cheever was third fastest in his Oldsmobile-powered Dallara. "We're just struggling a little bit," said Dismore, whose Oldsmobile engines are prepared by Ilmor Engineering. "It's extremely frustrating. We're in a situation where we have everything we need to win races, but we're struggling."

Eliseo Salazar was fourth, followed by Dismore's teammate Scott Sharp in fifth.

Series points leader Sam Hornish was seventh on the day after turning a lap at 213.611 mph (25.6166 seconds). "It's pretty fast, pretty smooth," reported Hornish regarding the new track. "I think it's going to make for some good racing. We'll have to see what happens when we get all the cars out there on the track at the same time."

Hornish, who drives the Pennzoil Panther Dallara, is always a threat for the pole position. "We're not quite as fast as we'd like to be, but we are going to try some stuff for tomorrow, and hopefully we'll be up there. We'll probably just change the gearing and a couple of other small things, but that's about it."

Notes from the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 at the Kansas Speedway:

After earning victories at Pikes Peak and Richmond, Buddy Lazier is looking to become the second driver in Indy Racing League history to score three consecutive wins. Kenny Brack accomplished the feat at Loews Motor Speedway, Pikes Peak and Atlanta in July and August 1998.

***

Heritage Motorsports has withdrawn their No. 35 entry driven by Jeff Ward. Ward indicated that lack of sponsorship is not the primary reason for the team missing this weekend's race. A press release issued by the Heritage Motorsports said the team was currently involved in reorganization. Ward is currently seventh in Indy Racing points.

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Arie Luyendyk is back in the Treadway-Hubbard Racing pits this weekend. Luyendyk, who drove the Meijer sponsored car for Treadway-Hubbard at the Indianapolis 500, is scheduled for several personal appearances around the Kansas City area this weekend.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Jeff Ward , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Mark Dismore , Kenny Brack , Sam Hornis