RICHMOND, Va. (June 30, 2001) -- It was another spectacular day for the new Infiniti Indy 35A engine, with Eddie Cheever Jr. knocking on the door of victory at Richmond International Raceway and Robbie Buhl bringing his Infiniti-powered car home...
RICHMOND, Va. (June 30, 2001) -- It was another spectacular day for the new Infiniti Indy 35A engine, with Eddie Cheever Jr. knocking on the door of victory at Richmond International Raceway and Robbie Buhl bringing his Infiniti-powered car home in ninth place.
Starting third in the No. 51 Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti, Cheever kept his eye on the front of the pack for the first three-quarters of the 250-lap SunTrust Indy Challenge, moving into second place on lap 185.
Cheever closely followed Eliseo Salazar for the next stint of the race, looking for his opportunity to pass on the tight .75-mile Richmond oval. His attempt to pass for the lead on lap 214 turned disastrous when the left side of Salazar's car made contact with the right-front wheel of Cheever's car. Cheever finished 13th in the final race standings.
Robbie Buhl maintained a steady pace throughout the thrilling event which had nine caution periods. Starting ninth in the No. 24 Team Purex Infiniti, Buhl ran as high as seventh, but was setback when the front wing of his car was damaged by contact from another car on lap 150. The Dreyer & Reinbold Racing crew was able to repair the wing on the next pit stop and Buhl returned to finish ninth.
The Indy Racing Northern Light Series heads to another new venue for the 2001 season next weekend -- the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. The Ameristar Casino Indy 200 on July 8 will be televised live on ABC.
Robbie Buhl, No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing GForce-Infiniti (Finished 9th): "I guess I'm happy we finished. We had a car that in the beginning was loose. We couldn't put the power down until we got straight in the corner and that just killed us. Then later on Beechler came down and rammed us and we had to come in to do a wing change. That lost us a couple laps. There at the end things were better, but by that time it was too late. Richmond is a fun place, you've just got to work for it."
Eddie Cheever Jr., No. 51 Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti (Finished 13th): "I love this track. It's great. There's no room for error at all. My spotter did a great job, and the race was ours to win. It's very unfortunate what happened. I was racing Salazar for the lead. He had older tires than I did, he got up very high out of Turn 2, and I got a run on him. There was enough room for him to stay high and for me to stay low. He came down, and there was no place for me to go. I want to look at the tape, but from my perspective I had more than enough room. I was completely inside. Maybe Salazar's spotter didn't tell him - I don't know."