IRL: Nashville practice notes

LEBANON, Tenn., Thursday, July 19, 2001 - Robbie Buhl saved his best for last by turning the fastest lap of the day, 199.933 mph, with five minutes remaining in the evening practice July 19 for the Harrah's Indy 200 at Nashville ...

LEBANON, Tenn., Thursday, July 19, 2001 - Robbie Buhl saved his best for last by turning the fastest lap of the day, 199.933 mph, with five minutes remaining in the evening practice July 19 for the Harrah's Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway.

Buhl, from Cleveland, was 11th overall after the afternoon practice, turning a top lap of 195.915 in the No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone. But he found more speed in the evening session on the unique, 1.33-mile concrete oval.

This is only the third Indy Racing event on a concrete track. The series competed on the 1-mile concrete oval at Dover (Del.) Downs International Speedway in 1998-99.

"We just improved on a couple of things today in terms of aerodynamic packages in the car," Buhl said. "We're really focusing on our tire wear now. It's a race of surface, and we need our tires to last. If we only go 30 laps on a set of tires, we're cooked. We knew we had a good balance in the car, and we went with fresher tires, and this is what we get. It's rewarding.

Buhl is aiming for his first victory of the season. His best finish is third at the Radisson Indy 200 on June 17 at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

"I am happy with the car, and the Infiniti power is excellent," Buhl said. "We just have to keep working for that victory. You would never know that this team is capable of winning if you just look at our black-and-white results. We have the right package, we just have to get it done."

Indy Racing Northern Light Series points leader Sam Hornish Jr. was second fastest overall at 199.832 in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. He also turned his top lap during the cooler evening session.

Billy Boat was third fastest overall at 199.622 in the No. 98T CURB Records Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone, but his best lap was turned during the afternoon session.

Boat also turned a lap of 199.469 in the evening practice in his backup car.

Defending Northern Light Series champion Buddy Lazier was fourth at 199.391 in the No. 91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Delta Faucet Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. 1999 series champion Greg Ray was fifth at 199.337 in the No. 2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone.

Six drivers exceeded 199 mph during practice today, as the race for the MBNA Pole should be tight Friday. Qualifying starts at 4:45 p.m. (CDT), with practice at 2:30 and 8 p.m. Friday.

The Harrah's Indy 200 - the first Indy Racing event in Tennessee - starts at 7 p.m. (CDT) Saturday. The race is sold out.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Robbie Buhl , Buddy Lazier , Billy Boat , Sam Hornish Jr.