Rice Storms to Ninth Place Finish at Richmond's Short Oval RICHMOND, Va. (June 28, 2003) -- Had it not been for rain, Buddy Rice might have finished even better. As it was, he matched his best finish of the season. Rice ran among the top 10 ...
Rice Storms to Ninth Place Finish at Richmond's Short Oval
RICHMOND, Va. (June 28, 2003) -- Had it not been for rain, Buddy Rice might have finished even better. As it was, he matched his best finish of the season.
Rice ran among the top 10 until rain cut short the SunTrust Indy Challenge 44 laps from the end Saturday night at .75-mile Richmond International Raceway. He was scored ninth, matching his best finish of the IRL IndyCar Series season.
"It's too bad the race was stopped early because of the rain," Rice said. "You know it's a bad sign when you see spray coming off the tires of the cars on an oval track. If it hadn't started raining, I think we could have gained a couple more positions."
Rice, who started 13th, ran as high as seventh in the Red Bull Cheever Racing No. 52 Chevrolet-powered Dallara before finishing ninth in the race, which was won by Scott Dixon. In his first race at Richmond's three-quarter-mile track, Rice performed admirably, matching ninth-place finishes earlier this season at Phoenix and Pikes Peak.
"This is a driver's track, and Buddy drove a good race for his first time here," team manager Max Jones said. "The crew did a phenomenal job, moving Buddy forward with each stop. It was a pretty good race for Red Bull Cheever Racing."
In two pit stops, Rice gained four positions. On the first stop, he moved from 13th to 10th place. On the second stop, he went from eighth to seventh.
"The crew couldn't have been any better today," Rice said. "When we came in we picked up spots each time, so it was excellent work by the boys. The pit stops were just superb, that's what helped us move up. Other than that, I think we brought it home again in one piece, so that's a big help."
It was the 12th consecutive race in which Rice has finished - the longest current streak in the Indy Racing League. Sam Hornish Jr. holds the IRL's all-time record for consecutive races in which he was running at the finish at 18.
"We're fairly happy with our finish tonight," Rice said. "It took a little bit to get our car going, to get the tires warmed up and then to get rolling. It kind of hurt us on restarts. Other than that I think the car handled reasonably well."
The race was the first in the Indy Racing League to be halted because of rain since team owner Eddie Cheever Jr. won in 1997 at Walt Disney World Speedway at Orlando, Fla.
Red Bull Cheever Racing will return to the track July 6 for the Kansas Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway.