KANSAS CITY, Kan., Friday, July 6, 2001 - Eddie Cheever Jr. and Robbie Buhl - the only Infiniti-powered drivers entered - turned the two fastest laps of the opening practice July 6 for the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 at Kansas Speedway. ...
KANSAS CITY, Kan., Friday, July 6, 2001 - Eddie Cheever Jr. and Robbie Buhl - the only Infiniti-powered drivers entered - turned the two fastest laps of the opening practice July 6 for the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 at Kansas Speedway.
1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Cheever was fastest at 216.973 mph in the #51 Cheever Indy Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. Buhl was second at 216.623 in the No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone. This is the first Indy Racing Northern Light Series event at the new 1.5-mile oval.
"We just came from a slow track (3/4-mile oval at Richmond), and we were fast," Cheever said. "And now we are at a fast track and were fast. We have been really strong with the Infiniti engine at the past five races, and Robbie and I are both plenty anxious that we haven't won one yet."
Both drivers turned their fastest lap late during the second practice, which took place in 98-degree air temperatures. Cheever and Buhl traded the top spot twice in the final session.
"It is going to be a factor in the race," Buhl said of the heat, which could reach triple digits Saturday. "From the driver standpoint, it's supposed to be hot July 4 in Kansas City. We didn't know it was going to be the hottest weekend so far. The biggest concern is how high the temperature is going to go, and how will it affect our tire management."
Mark Dismore was third fastest overall at 214.935 in the No. 28 Delphi Automotive Systems/Bryant Heating & Cooling Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. He turned his top lap in the first practice, which Cheever led at 215.600.
Northern Light Cup points leader Sam Hornish Jr. was seventh overall at 213.611 in the No. 4T Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Defending series champion Buddy Lazier, aiming for a record-tying third consecutive victory this weekend, was 11th overall at 212.475 in the No. 91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Delta Faucet Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone.
MBNA Pole Qualifying starts at 4:15 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The 200-lap, 300-mile race starts at 1 p.m. (EDT) Sunday and will be televised live on ABC.
1999 series champion Greg Ray and 1999 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year Robby McGehee returned to their cars after missing time due to injury.
Ray missed the SunTrust Indy Challenge on June 30 at Richmond International Raceway after suffering from back spasms caused by a practice crash June 29. McGehee missed the Radisson Indy 200 on June 17 and the SunTrust Indy Challenge in Richmond after suffering a broken lower left leg in a crash during the Casino Magic 500 on June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway.