Rookie Scheckter Takes Infiniti to Sixth at Miami HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 2, 2002) - In his open-wheel racing debut, Tomas Scheckter charged from the back of the field to claim sixth place in his Infiniti-powered Red Bull Cheever Racing car at...
Rookie Scheckter Takes Infiniti to Sixth at Miami
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 2, 2002) - In his open-wheel racing debut, Tomas Scheckter charged from the back of the field to claim sixth place in his Infiniti-powered Red Bull Cheever Racing car at the Indy Racing League season opener in Miami.
Scheckter, who started third, dropped to the back of the field after taking several unscheduled pit stops early in the race to repair damage caused by an altercation with teammate Eddie Cheever Jr. The accident put Cheever out of the race on lap three, while Scheckter continued to finish sixth.
Robbie Buhl was strong all day in the Team Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Infiniti. He was on his way to a fourth-place finish, but then retired with six laps remaining due to an engine failure. He finished 12th in the final race standings.
Laurent Redon was in the top-ten early in the race, but struggled with poor handling which dropped him back to a 15th-place finish in his debut with Infiniti.
The Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway is next on the 15-race Indy Racing League schedule. The March 17 race will be televised live on ABC at 4 p.m. (Eastern).
TOMAS SCHECKTER, NO. 52 RED BULL CHEEVER RACING DALLARA/INFINITI/FIRESTONE:
"First of all I need to apologize to Eddie about our coming together at the beginning of the race. At the start of the race there were cars everywhere around me on the straights. I was behind Eddie, and one of the Penske cars made a move on him. It created a gap for me. I tried to follow the Penske car. I went over the white line, to try to avoid Eddie. We made slight contact, and I got a bit sideways. Unfortunately he went into the wall and I carried on. We had some damage to the car and went to the back when we made the repairs. From there on I just pushed as hard as I could. The Red Bull Cheever Racing crew gave me a good car. They worked very hard this weekend. I was glad we were able to finish sixth in my first race. Everything worked well with the Infiniti engine. It lasted and that's what we want. (ABOUT IRL RACING) It was crazy. Especially with the restarts when so many cars are packed together. You're breaking sideways into the first corner and you have cars left and right of you. It was so exciting. It was really good racing."
ROBBIE BUHL, NO. 24 TEAM PUREX DREYER & REINBOLD RACING GFORCE/INFINITI/FIRESTONE:
"We definitely had what we wanted. We were looking at a top-five finish today. Obviously we came up short of that. Everything was good with the car. We didn't have what Hornish had with his car. We just wanted to be running at the end of this thing and we didn't quite do that. We'll stick with our plan for Phoenix. We tested well there. The goal is obviously to win, but first we need to be running at the end."
LAURENT REDON, NO. 34 MI-JACK/CONQUEST RACING DALLARA/INFINITI/FIRESTONE:
"The beginning was pretty good. The car felt okay. Then for some reason we got a big push, a very big push. So we lost our advantage from the beginning of the race when we were in the top seven. The car was better for the last part of the race. We need to understand the car better for the race. The plan for Phoenix will be to look more at the race setup than the qualifying. That's for sure."
EDDIE CHEEVER JR., NO. 51 RED BULL CHEEVER RACING DALLARA/INFINITI/FIRESTONE:
"I was going down the back straight and de Ferran got a run on me and passed me going into the turn. As I was going around close to de Ferran, Scheckter came in too deep and his right front wing hit my left tire and he knocked me off into the wall. We talked about this until I was blue in the face. Take your time, we said to him. I would be just as angry right now if he had done that to somebody else, but to do it to your teammate, that's just asinine."