KANSAS CITY, Kan., Saturday, July 7, 2001 - On one of the most torrid days in Indy Racing League history, Scott Sharp won the MBNA Pole for the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 on July 7 with a lap of 25.3128 seconds, 216.175 mph. It...
KANSAS CITY, Kan., Saturday, July 7, 2001 - On one of the most torrid days in Indy Racing League history, Scott Sharp won the MBNA Pole for the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 on July 7 with a lap of 25.3128 seconds, 216.175 mph.
It was the second pole of the season for Sharp in the No. 8 Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Sharp also started from the pole this year at the Indianapolis 500.
Eddie Cheever Jr., leader of the first three practices of the event, was second at 25.3234, 216.085 in the #51 Cheever Indy Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. It was the second closest qualifying margin by time in Indy Racing League history.
"I was surprised we ran as fast as we did," Sharp said. "I felt that Eddie and his package had a mile and hour on us. We weren't sure where the balance would be. We guessed perfect."
Said Cheever: "The Infiniti engine is strong, and we had a good balance. We were a little bit slower than we thought we were going to be. We hit the rev limiter going into Turn 2, which might have cost us a little bit."
Eliseo Salazar was third at 215.197 in the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing/Harrah's Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone, with Robbie Buhl fourth at 214.951 in the No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone.
Every driver was forced to cope with an air temperature that reached 100 degrees at the start of qualifying and a track temperature of 143 degrees.
The 200-lap, 300-mile race - the first for the Indy Racing Northern Light Series on the new 1.5-mile oval - starts at 1 p.m. (EDT) July 8 and is televised live on ABC.
"There are very few Boy Scouts in the first 10 cars, so you can expect an exciting race," Cheever said. "I can guarantee you that there will be an argument after the race."
1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Cheever was fastest Friday at 216.973 and tops in practice this morning at 216.627, appearing to be headed for his first career pole and the first Indy Racing League pole for an Infiniti-powered car.
But Sharp's team, led by chief mechanic Robert Perez, made adjustments before qualifying to generate more speed after turning a fast lap of 215.476 during practice this morning. The moves worked.
Sharp, the 10th driver to make a qualifying attempt, served notice immediately that he would be fast. Sharp's first lap on the clock was 215.496 - nearly 3 mph faster than the provisional pole - and he gained even more speed on his second and final lap.
Indy Racing Northern Light Series points leader Sam Hornish Jr. was fifth at 213.226. Defending series champion Buddy Lazier, winner of the last two races, was 12th at 212.008 in the No. 91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Delta Faucet Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone.