IRL: Homestead Greg Ray fastest in opening practice

MIAMI (April 6, 2001) – Greg Ray turned in the fastest lap in opening practice for Sunday’s Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami presented by 123.com Americatel. Ray toured the 1.5-mile oval at 198.166 mph in the Johns Manville/Menards Oldsmobile in...

MIAMI (April 6, 2001) – Greg Ray turned in the fastest lap in opening practice for Sunday’s Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami presented by 123.com Americatel. Ray toured the 1.5-mile oval at 198.166 mph in the Johns Manville/Menards Oldsmobile in preparation for the million-dollar Indy Racing event, which takes the green flag at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Second, with a lap of 197.740 mph, was Scott Sharp, followed by Phoenix winner Sam Hornish Jr., 197.670 mph. Rounding out the top five in the incident-free day of practice were Eliseo Salazar, a native of Chile who now resides in Miami, 197.244 mph, and Mark Dismore, 196.655 mph.

Ray leads all Indy Racing Northern Light Series drives in pole positions with 10, and will be the driver to be for the MBNA Pole Award in single car qualifying today noon which will set the 26-car field for Sunday’s 200-lap, 300-mile event.

“Friday morning we worked on our race setup, and this afternoon we worked on our qualifying setup,” said Ray, the 1999 Indy Racing League champion. “This is a setup driver’s race track. You have to be on top of it every single lap.”

Sharp, who shared the inaugural Indy Racing title, used an opposite strategy, running his fastest lap in the morning and spending the afternoon working on race setups.

“I’ve really enjoyed running here,” said Sharp, the IRL all-time leader in victories with five. “It’s becoming one of my favorite race tracks.”

Saturday’s schedule also includes a U.S. F2000 National Championship race at 2 p.m. Peter Gray of Scotland was fastest in Friday’s practice with a lap of 114.58 mph on the 1.4-mile modified circuit. The U.S. F2000 competitors will also hold a second 25-lap race at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Saturday’s Homestead-Miami Speedway activities also include an autograph session from 4:30 – 6 p.m., featuring all of the Indy Racing and Formula 2000 drivers, which is free to all ticket holders.

Sunday’s schedule also includes an autograph session for Miami Dolphins alumni, including NFL Hall of Famers Nick Buoniconti and Dwight Stephenson, at 11 a.m., and a Media Challenge at noon.

Unreserved grandstand tickets for Saturday’s practice cost $20, with children 12 and under free. Reserved Sunday grandstand seats range from $25 to $45, with grandstand seats for youth 18 and under are $15 on Sunday if purchased in advance. Weekend paddock tickets are $20, with youth 12 and under free. Parking is free all weekend. For additional information or to order tickets, call (305) 230-RACE, visit any Ticketmaster Ticket Center, or order on-line at www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com.

-JJ O'Malley

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Eliseo Salazar , Scott Sharp , Mark Dismore , Sam Hornish Jr.