IRL: Kansas: Chevy race report

Barron Brings Chevy Home in Tenth at Kansas Speedway KANSAS CITY, Kan., July 4, 2004 - The Fourth of July turned into Friday the 13th for Chevrolet teams today at Kansas Speedway as mechanical gremlins and general misfortune affected the ...

Barron Brings Chevy Home in Tenth at Kansas Speedway

KANSAS CITY, Kan., July 4, 2004 - The Fourth of July turned into Friday the 13th for Chevrolet teams today at Kansas Speedway as mechanical gremlins and general misfortune affected the front-running Chevy drivers. Alex Barron had a comparatively trouble-free run in the Argent Mortgage Indy 300 to bring Red Bull Cheever Racing's Chevrolet Dallara home in 10th, the top Chevy finisher in the 21-car field.

Moderate temperatures were a welcome change from previous IRL IndyCar Series races in Kansas, but a record 169 consecutive green-flag laps taxed both drivers and engines. Buddy Rice's margin of victory over his Rahal-Letterman Racing teammate Vitor Meira was .0051 seconds, the second closest finish in IRL history.

"It seemed like once the guys in the front broke the draft we struggled a little," said Barron. "We tried a different strategy today, the way we managed our fuel and did our pit stops, and I think it worked out. We're pretty happy with 10th, but obviously we want to win. We need to find more speed in the car, and we're going to test next week in Michigan to find it."

Tomas Scheckter started fifth in Panther Racing's Pennzoil Chevrolet Dallara and challenged for the lead throughout the first half of the 200-lap race. A problem with the car-to-pit telemetry left Scheckter's Panther Racing Chevrolet Dallara with a dry fuel tank on the 107th lap, causing him to lose precious time as he coasted around the track and into the pits. Scheckter finished 15th.

Townsend Bell was also competitive in his IRL debut with Panther Racing's Menards/Johns Manville Chevrolet Dallara until a fire extinguisher malfunctioned on Lap 50 and discharged its contents inside the cockpit.

"The fire extinguisher just went off in my face, and we're trying to figure out why," said Bell after his first IRL race. "I couldn't see anything. Then the radio button fell out. Even though we were laps down, my Chevy could hang right with the leaders."

Barron's Cheever Racing teammate Ed Carpenter finished 14th, his best result since the season-opening race in Homestead, Fla.

"It was a long day," said Carpenter. "We finished a race finally, but I really didn't feel like a race car driver. I was just riding around, but couldn't find the speed to keep up in the draft so we have to go back home and find it."

Felipe Giaffone was 16th in the Team Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold Chevrolet Dallara after a mechanical problem.

"It's pretty frustrating," he conceded. "We had a good car in the morning, but then put too much downforce on it. The car balance was really good, it was just stuck. Toward the end of the long yellow, we were finally able to take of the downforce off, but after two laps we lost the engine. It's a frustrating weekend, and not what we were expecting."

Jeff Simmons made his first start with Patrick Racing after Al Unser Jr.'s retirement. He was involved in an accident on the 175th lap with Kosuke Matsuura and finished 19th.

The IRL IndyCar Series will run its final night race of the season on Saturday, July 17 at Nashville Superspeedway. The Firestone Indy 200, the eighth round of the 16-race IndyCar Series, is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. EDT and will be televised live on ESPN.

-gm-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Felipe Giaffone , Alex Barron , Townsend Bell , Al Unser Sr. , Buddy Rice , Kosuke Matsuura , Jeff Simmons , Ed Carpenter , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing