IRL: Motegi: Robbie Buhl qualifying report

Buhl to Start Outside of Row 10 for Motegi (Motegi, Japan) Dreyer & Reinbold driver Robbie Buhl will start on the outside of Row 10 for tomorrow's Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 at Motegi, Japan. Buhl's speed of 195.358 mph placed his Team Purex...

Buhl to Start Outside of Row 10 for Motegi

(Motegi, Japan) Dreyer & Reinbold driver Robbie Buhl will start on the outside of Row 10 for tomorrow's Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 at Motegi, Japan. Buhl's speed of 195.358 mph placed his Team Purex Dallara/Chevy entry in the 21st starting position in the 22-car field, but a late night engine change in Alex Barron's Team Cheever car will place Barron at the end of the starting field.

"I'm not at all happy with the run. I had a lot of movement in the car in 1 and 2, and really in 3 and 4 as well, " said Buhl. "Now we have to focus on having a good race car with a set-up we can drive all day. We haven't been at the front, so we have to concentrate on being a good race pace."

Buhl was high off the white line coming out of turn two, with his lap speed more than three miles per hour slower than his speed in the early morning practice session. Increasing track temperature and higher wind gusts also slowed the majority of cars from the earlier practice sessions.

"The crew made some changes late in final practice before qualifying, and they lowered the car," explained team co-owner Dennis Reinbold.  "Robbie said the car bottomed out between Turns 1-2, so the crew was trying to make changes to bring car back when the session was checkered. He basically qualified with a car he wasn't comfortable in, but we know where we need to go to get it back up to speed."

Motegi's wide track features a flat out driving approach through Turns 1 and 2, with a tightening of Turns 3 & 4 causing drivers to downshift during their entry off the backstretch. Four drivers crashed during the earlier practice sessions, as they continue to contend with the changing rule packages placing more control in the drivers' hands with less downforce on the car. Last year's race saw several cars exit due to accidents, and Buhl is hoping to improve on his previous 10th place finish at the track

Friday was the second day on track at Motegi for the Indy Racing League, after opening with two practice sessions on Thursday, and a morning session earlier today. Pleasant spring temperatures in the 70's have matched seasonal temperatures in the US, and enhanced the visit to the remarkable facility essentially cut into the mountaintop nearly two hours north of Tokyo.

Given the geographical 14-hour time difference, Saturday's race will actually air on Friday night on ESPN 2, with a 11:30 pm EDT start time. Live radio coverage on the IMS Radio Network begins at 11 pm eastern (10 pm Indianapolis time) and will also be available via the Internet at indyracing.com.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robbie Buhl , Alex Barron