IRL: Orlando Qualifying Day

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Friday, Jan. 28, 2000 - Greg Ray is starting the first race of the 2000 Indy Racing League season in the same spot that he finished the 1999 season - on top. Ray was awarded the top starting spot for the Delphi Indy 200...

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Friday, Jan. 28, 2000 - Greg Ray is starting the first race of the 2000 Indy Racing League season in the same spot that he finished the 1999 season - on top.

Ray was awarded the top starting spot for the Delphi Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway after persistent rain forced the cancellation of qualifying. The 26-car field was set based on 1999 Indy Racing League entrant points. Drivers without 1999 entrant points will start at the back of the field based on their fastest practice lap from Thursday. Team Menard, which fields the Conseco-Menards Dallara/Aurora/Firestone for Ray, won the entrant championship in 1999 with Ray behind the wheel.

"The advantage of starting up front is that you know what the race pace is," Ray said. "And it's very hard to pass on this track. It's a compromising racetrack."

The Delphi Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway is scheduled to start at noon (EST) Saturday with live coverage on ABC.

Jeff Ward will start alongside Ray in the front row in the Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing G Force/Aurora/Firestone. Mark Dismore will start third in the Bryant Heating & Cooling-On Star Dallara/Aurora/Firestone.

Defending event champion Eddie Cheever Jr. will start sixth in the Team Cheever Riley & Scott/Infiniti/Firestone.

Al Unser Jr. faces a long climb through the field in his Indy Racing League debut. He will start 24th in the Galles ECR Racing Tickets.com G Force/Aurora/Firestone. Unser earned his spot in the field through his fastest practice lap of 164.564 mph on the 1-mile tri-oval, as Galles ECR Racing is a new team and scored no entrant points last season.

Stephan Gregoire, who will start 13th, set the pace again in practice Friday morning before the rain came. Gregoire was fastest at 168.374 in the Dick Simon Racing-Mexmil-Tokheim-Viking Air Tools G Force/Aurora/Firestone. He led practice Thursday at 169.284.

-IRL/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Stephan Gregoire , Jeff Ward , Mark Dismore , Dick Simon , A.J. Foyt