IRL: /US-FF2000: U.S. F2000 Alumni presence felt at Indy 500

FAIRFIELD, N.J. (May 14, 2001)—As in years past the U.S. F2000 National Championship has made it’s presence felt at “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, the Indianapolis 500. With two days of qualifying completed and only “Bump ...

FAIRFIELD, N.J. (May 14, 2001)—As in years past the U.S. F2000 National Championship has made it’s presence felt at “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, the Indianapolis 500. With two days of qualifying completed and only “Bump Day” remaining until the 85th running of the Indy 500, five alumni and three drivers with affiliations to U.S. F2000 have qualified for the 85th running of the Indianapolis 500. The top qualifying U.S. F2000 graduate for the Indy 500 is Greg Ray. On MBNA “Pole Day”, Ray was the 18th car on track to attempt to qualify for the race. On his second lap, in the 221 mph range, the team waved off believing more speed could be had later in the day. On his second attempt, in the late afternoon, Ray ran a four-lap average of 225.194 mph. The speed was good enough to capture second place on the grid, and is Ray’s fourth consecutive front-row start at Indianapolis. In his five appearances at “the Brickyard”, Ray’s best finish is 18th, in 1998. Sam Hornish Jr. came to Indy having won the opening two rounds of the 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series. Using this momentum, Hornish Jr. became the second highest U.S. F2000 alumni qualifier. Going faster than he had gone throughout practice. Hornish Jr., posted a four-lap average of 223.334 mph. This speed was originally good for sixth place on the grid, but was moved down to 13th by the end of the day. Last year, in his rookie appearance at the Speedway, he qualified 14th and finished 24th. Starting alongside Hornish Jr. on row five will be Robby McGehee. After an initial attempt in the 220 mph range in the morning, on which he waved off, McGehee posted a four-lap average of 222.607 mph in the afternoon. For McGehee, who was recently inducted into the U.S. F2000 Hall of Fame, it will be his third consecutive Indy 500 start. In 1999, McGehee captured the Bank One Rookie of the Year award, after finishing an impressive fifth place. Last year, he led two laps before finishing 21st. Jon Herb became the first U.S. F2000 alumni to qualify for the 2001 Indy 500. As the 12th driver on track to attempt to qualify, Herb posted a stellar four-lap average of 222.015 mph. The speed put Herb fifth on the grid at the time, but as qualifying progressed he shuffled down to 18th. Herb is the highest non-CART rookie in the field. Joining the four alumni in the field on day one were two drivers with affiliations to U.S. F2000. Arie Luyendyk, the father of current U.S. F2000 star Arie Luyendyk Jr., made a great return to the Speedway after a one-year absence. As the first driver on track, Luyendyk posted a four-lap average of 224.257 mph. The speed remained the quickest, until the sixth driver to qualify bettered it. At the end of the day the speed was good enough for sixth place. Mark Dismore, the father of former U.S. F2000 star Mark E. Dismore, looked to be in contention for the pole after his teammate posted the quickest time early on. On his first attempt to qualify, he waved off after posting a lap in the 221 mph range. On his second attempt, Dismore posted a four-lap average of 224.964 mph. The speed put Dismore fourth in the field for his sixth Indy 500. On day two of qualifying Jeret Schroeder became the fifth U.S. F2000 alumni to qualify for the Indy 500. Schroeder posted a four-lap average of 222.786 mph, to currently start 28th. Joining Schroeder in the field on day two was Davey Hamilton. Hamilton, who posted a four-lap average of 221.696 mph, is racing for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in 2001. Schmidt is a former U.S. F2000 star, who was inducted into the U.S. F2000 Hall of Fame in 2000. With only “Bump Day” remaining, numerous cars and drivers are still looking for the speed to make the 33-car field. U.S. F2000 alumni looking to play a part are Steve Knapp, a three-time starter and the 1998 Rookie of the Year, Corey Witherill, a rookie in the IRNLS and CART FedEx Championship Series super-subs Alex Barron and Memo Gidley. “Bump Day” for the 85th running of the Indianapolis 500 will be May 20, 2001. The U.S. F2000 National Championship resumes its training of the world’s best young drivers, May 19, 2001, at Watkins Glen International, with Rounds Four and Five of the 2001 schedule.

-www.usf2000.com

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby McGehee , Jon Herb , Davey Hamilton , Arie Luyendyk , Mark Dismore , Memo Gidley , Jeret Schroeder , Alex Barron , Sam Schmidt , Steve Knapp , Sam Hornish Jr. , Arie Luyendyk Jr.