IRL: Indy500: Infiniti ninth fastest qualifier

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 12, 2001) -- With only 150 miles on a brand new race car, Buhl stepped up his speed for qualifying placing Infiniti solidly in the Indianapolis 500 field in ninth place. The effort is Infiniti's best qualifying effort at...

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 12, 2001) -- With only 150 miles on a brand new race car, Buhl stepped up his speed for qualifying placing Infiniti solidly in the Indianapolis 500 field in ninth place. The effort is Infiniti's best qualifying effort at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since its debut in 1997.

The No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing GForce-Infiniti-Firestone entry was the eighth car to complete its four-lap, 10-mile qualifying run, only one hour after the track opened for pole qualifications. Buhl turned four of his fastest laps of the month at 223.596, 224.667, 224.605, and 223.989 mph, for an average speed of 224.213 mph.

Five hours later, and after waving off his first attempt because of electrical problems, Scott Goodyear qualified the No. 52 Thermos Grill2Go 16th with a four-lap average speed of 222.529 mph.

Eddie Cheever Jr. was the final driver of the day to qualify, getting into the field on his second attempt at 220.513 mph. Cheever qualified his backup No. 51T Excite@Home Infiniti after his primary car had an alternator fail in practice.

Pole day qualifications ended with 27 drivers earning a spot in the 33-car starting field for the Indianapolis 500 on May 27. Pole-winner Scott Sharp set the pace with a 226.037 mph average speed.

Activities for Sunday, May 13 include practice from 11 to 12:15 p.m. and second-day qualifying from 1 to 7 p.m. Live television coverage starts at Noon on ESPN, and then continues 2 to 7 p.m. on ESPN2 (all times EDT.)

Robbie Buhl, No. 24 Team Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force-Infiniti: "We didn't get out with this car until practice last night. The guys pulled an all-nighter to get it ready. There is a special bond that is built at 3 o'clock in the morning. The car is set up identical to the one we lost in Atlanta. We knew that it would be a better race car for this track than our back up car. When we tested here before Atlanta we had really windy conditions and I said: 'Wow. This will be a great race car for Indy.' But then we lost the car in Atlanta. I really like the race car I have. I think it can win this race. It has awesome driveability. We've been really happy with the Infiniti power. We're still on an incredibly steep learning curve with the Infiniti engines. Eddie (Cheever Jr.) and Scott (Goodyear) have logged a lot of miles and made incredible gains with the Infiniti engine. Whatever they learn is applied to us and vice versa. We're going to log a lot of miles on the new 35A next week."

Scott Goodyear, No. 52 Thermos Grill2Go Cheever Indy Racing Dallara-Infiniti: "We thought we'd get the #52 Thermos Grill2Go car up into the 223s, but when it gets to be 5:00pm, it's just nice to be in there. Indy is so special. It's funny - no matter how many times you've been here, it feels great to be qualified. Having to wait all day was a bit more than we anticipated, but we waved off our first attempt because of some electrical problems. It was nothing mechanically wrong with our Infiniti engine - it was just some auxiliary things - so the guys thought it would be best just to change the motor before our second attempt."

Eddie Cheever Jr., No. 51 Excite@Home Dallara-Infiniti: "There's not much to say. We took too long to do four laps. It's been a very long Saturday, but sometimes things like this happen. We had an electrical problem this morning, then we changed the engine and went back out but broke an alternator. Ninety minutes before we qualified, we decided to go to the T-car, which we hadn't run for a couple of days. I don't think we really did justice to our Infiniti engine, but I'm glad to see Buhl qualify well, and I'm relieved to see Scott (Goodyear) solidly in the field. I know Sunday will be hotter, but we are going to see what we can do. Today everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, but we'll get in the race car tomorrow and start all over."

-IM

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Scott Sharp , Scott Goodyear
Teams Dreyer & Reinbold Racing