Hampton, Ga. (April 27, 2001) -- Cheever Indy Racing's busy testing schedule with the new Infiniti Indy 35A engine, which included a total of five days and over a thousand miles since the Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami on April 8, has paid off in ...
Hampton, Ga. (April 27, 2001) -- Cheever Indy Racing's busy testing schedule with the new Infiniti Indy 35A engine, which included a total of five days and over a thousand miles since the Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami on April 8, has paid off in qualifying for the zMax 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Eddie Cheever Jr. qualified third for the event, marking his best qualifying effort ever in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series.
The condensed schedule, which combined practice and qualifying into one day, did not give teams much chance to work on their setups for qualifying. Regardless, Cheever was quick all day in the No. 51 Excite@Home Infiniti, running in the top three in both practice sessions. Cheever earned his second-row starting spot with a 215.776 mph lap.
Robbie Buhl, in the No. 24 Team Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Infiniti, will start the zMax 500 from 19th place, qualifying with a 211.549 mph lap.
The zMax 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be televised live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. (EDT) April 28. The "Indy Racing 2Day" pre-race show will air on ESPN2 at 6:30 p.m. A live timing and scoring report for the race will be available on the Internet at www.indyracing.com.
Eddie Cheever Jr., No. 51 Excite@Home Dallara-Infiniti: "We've been working really hard with the new Infiniti 35A to get it up there. There's no touching Menards around here in qualifying - they've got something that nobody else has - but we're very happy with the Infiniti engine. Scott Goodyear (#52 Cheever Indy Racing Dallara-Infiniti driver for the 2001 Indianapolis 500 and test driver for the Infiniti Indy engine program) came down to Atlanta with us two weeks ago to do some testing for durability and we put over 600 miles on the 35A. We did a lot of preparation for this race and Scott was instrumental in helping us develop our qualifying set-up. Thanks to him, we've made a lot of progress. We haven't qualified this well for a long time. It's nice to start up front, but I couldn't really care less where I start. I'm interested in where I finish. There's a lot more money in that."
Robbie Buhl, No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing GForce-Infiniti: "Unfortunately, it hasn't been the smoothest day. We missed a lot of the first session, and played catch up for the rest of the day. As competitive as it is here, you can't miss any time. We are all working hard. We just got to keep our heads down and keep going. It will work eventually, we just need to stay on it."
Steve Kight, director of marketing and motorsports, Infiniti Division: "The testing we've completed since we first received the Infiniti 35A in March is finally paying off. We are very pleased with Eddie's third place qualifying effort. We hope to see similar results tomorrow."
<pre> QUALIFYING RESULTS
1 2T Ray, Greg D/O/F 24.7406 218.265 2 35 Ward, Jeff G/O/F 24.9834 216.144 *3 51 Cheever Jr, Eddie D/I/F 25.0260 215.776 4 28 Dismore, Mark D/O/F 25.1092 215.061 5 55 Hattori, Shigeaki D/O/F 25.2490 213.870 6 4 Hornish Jr, Sam D/O/F 25.2814 213.596 7 14 Salazar, Eliseo D/O/F 25.3079 213.372 8 12 Calkins, Buzz D/O/F 25.3118 213.339 9 91 Lazier, Buddy D/O/F 25.3145 213.316 10 10 McGehee, Robby D/O/F 25.4106 212.510 11 88 Dare, Airton G/O/F 25.4121 212.497 12 99 Hamilton, Davey D/O/F 25.4139 212.482 13 8 Sharp, Scott D/O/F 25.4220 212.414 14 3 Unser Jr, Al G/O/F 25.4591 212.105 15 21T Giaffone, Felipe G/O/F 25.4656 212.051 16 92 Wattles, Stan D/O/F 25.4664 212.044 17 98 Boat, Billy D/O/F 25.4680 212.031 18 15 Fisher, Sarah D/O/F 25.4782 211.946 *19 24 Buhl, Robbie G/I/F 25.5260 211.549 20 32 Andre, Didier G/O/F 25.6427 210.586 21 7 Gregoire, Stephan D/O/F 25.7040 210.084 22 9 Schroeder, Jeret D/O/F 25.7885 209.396 23 11 Miller, Jack D/O/F 25.7918 209.369 24 16 Witherill, Cory G/O/F 25.7931 209.358 25 6 Herb, Jon D/O/F 25.7990 209.310 26 30 Erwin, Brandon G/O/F 26.0660 207.166 27 31 Mears, Casey G/O/F 26.2209 205.943