Hornish top Chevy driver in Texas IRL Qualifying FORT WORTH, Texas, June 5, 2003 - Sam Hornish Jr. is the fastest Chevy qualifier for Saturday night's Bombardier 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. After thunderstorms shortened the schedule to a ...
Hornish top Chevy driver in Texas IRL Qualifying
FORT WORTH, Texas, June 5, 2003 - Sam Hornish Jr. is the fastest Chevy qualifier for Saturday night's Bombardier 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. After thunderstorms shortened the schedule to a single practice session before qualifying began under the lights, 21 drivers made qualifying runs on the high-banked 1.5-mile oval. Hornish was the fastest of the six Chevrolet-powered drivers at 212.498 mph, placing him 16th on the grid. Vitor Meira was 17th, followed by Robbie Buhl, Buddy Lazier, Buddy Rice and Sarah Fisher. Tomas Scheckter won the pole with a lap of 219.300 mph with Ganassi Racing's Toyota-powered G Force.
Hornish returned to the track where he won his second IRL championship in last year's Chevy 500 season finale. "Qualifying was about what we expected," he said. "We thought we would get a little more speed, but we needed another lap to get it wound up. We were a little off on the gears, but we didn't think we had a real good shot at the pole so we've been working on our race setup. That's been our strong point this year, and we'll continue to work away on it.
"This year is a lot about patience and finishing races," Hornish continued. "The thing that keeps us going is knowing how hard Chevrolet is working. You can't fault someone for not being quite right on. We had a good run at Indianapolis and good runs at other places. We think the next two races may be ones where we have a chance to shine. The Chevy engineers continue to find new stuff, we're still in the championship hunt. If we get where we need to be, we'll be a force to be reckoned with."
Vitor Meira, who won the pole at the Chevy 500 last September, was announced this week as the driver of the Team Menard Chevrolet Dallara. He was the second fastest Chevy driver, qualifying 17th at 212.142 mph.
"The team gave me back the opportunity, and I'm going to try my best here at Texas and all year long," Meira said. "At this track you don't have a lot to do in qualifying: you take all the downforce off and see what happens. I'm hoping the race is going to be much better for us."
Robbie Buhl will start his Purex/Aventis Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet Dallara from 18th on the grid after qualifying at 211.726 mph.
"We knew we were going to struggle here," Buhl conceded. "As a team, we have to not make any mistakes - the driver, the guys making pits stops, the electronics and the gearbox. We have to race against ourselves, do the best job we can and be around at the end. Our goal is to know that we are doing everything at 110 percent, so that's our focus. We have to run the best race we can run right now. Sooner or later we'll close the gap and be at the front."
BOMBARDIER 500 QUALIFYING SUMMARY: Pos./Driver/Engine/Speed 1. Tomas Scheckter, Toyota, 219.300 2. Scott Dixon, Toyota, 218.654 3. Tora Takagi, Toyota, 218.027 4. Tony Kanaan, Honda, 217.149 5. Felipe Giaffone, Toyota, 216.755
16. Sam Hornish Jr., Chevrolet, 212.498 17. Vitor Meira, Chevrolet, 212.142 18. Robbie Buhl, Chevrolet, 211.726 19. Buddy Lazier, Chevrolet, 211.565 20. Buddy Rice, Chevrolet, 211.476 21. Sarah Fisher, Chevrolet, 210.915
CHEVY DRIVER QUOTES:
BUDDY LAZIER, Hemelgarn Racing Delta Faucet Chevrolet Dallara, qualified 19th at 211.565 mph: "When the sun goes down here in Texas, it loosens the car a little bit and speeds up the car a little bit. The car doesn't like the humidity; it doesn't make the motor run harder and it doesn't help the drag. But the cool temperatures help. I was flat out, the car is really good, we just keep working to make things better. It's just a matter of continuing to progress. There are some things just around the corner, things that aren't going to help us right now, but the future looks bright. Three or four months from now I think we will be in a lot better position."
BUDDY RICE, Red Bull Cheever Racing Chevrolet Dallara, qualified 20th at 211.476: "It was flat all the way around. The car is what it is, and it ran pretty much what it ran in the practice session. We'll have to wait and see, concentrate on our race setup and make sure we have a solid car for a solid finish. We'll have to be aggressive on the car setup, and we spent a lot of time running in traffic to get an idea of where we'll be."
SARAH FISHER, GMAC Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet Dallara, qualified 21st at 211.476 mph: "Qualifying wasn't close to what we expected. We had a sensor problem that made the engine run richer than we wanted to run. I know that we don't have the package to put the car on the pole, but at least we want to be in contention. We'll need to be in the draft all the time to survive. Starting last, who knows? We just need to get to the end."