FOUNTAIN, Colo., Saturday, June 17, 2000 - Defending Indy Racing Northern Light Series champion Greg Ray captured the MBNA Pole Award today for Sunday's Radisson Indy 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway with a record run of 179.874...
FOUNTAIN, Colo., Saturday, June 17, 2000 - Defending Indy Racing Northern Light Series champion Greg Ray captured the MBNA Pole Award today for Sunday's Radisson Indy 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway with a record run of 179.874 mph. Ray, driving the #1T Conseco/Quaker State/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone, wiped out the previous one-mile PPIR track record of 178.571 set by Billy Boat on Aug. 15, 1998. Boat's record was done with the old 4.0-liter engine formula, while Ray turned his speed with the new 3.5-liter engine. Ray's time was 20.014 seconds compared to the 20.529 recorded by Robbie Buhl, driver of the #24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold G Force/Infiniti/Firestone. Buhl will start next to Ray when the Radisson Indy 200 gets the green flag Sunday at 4 p.m. (EDT). "I'd be the first to tell you, we were blown away," Ray said. "We made a lot of changes and didn't know how they would work. My guys deserve a win. It would give us good momentum going into the summer." This was Ray's third MBNA Pole of the year, including the Indianapolis 500, and seventh of his career. He now is one short of tying Boat for the most poles in Indy Racing history. He is currently tied with Tony Stewart for second. This also will be the 13th front row start for the Plano, Tex., driver. It was at this race last year that Ray started his drive to the championship with the first of three victories. Ray has experienced nothing but bad luck this season and was only 18th in the standings prior to qualifying. The three points he collected for winning the pole advanced him one spot. This is the second consecutive race that Buhl starts second, and the third time in his career. "It was a pretty stout run," said Buhl about Ray's run. "We knew Greg would have something. Team Menard always does. They are a great organization." Buhl held the top spot through 13 drivers before Ray's record run. Because it was cool and overcast, drivers were allowed four warmup laps before taking the green flag. "I'm real happy with the new motor," said Buhl, who switched to the Infiniti engine after the Indianapolis 500. "I'd be really surprised if you didn't see an Infiniti win before the end of the year." Following Ray and Buhl were Kelley Racing teammates Mark Dismore, who qualified third at 175.055 in the #28T OnStar/GM BuyPower Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone, and Scott Sharp, who recorded a lap of 174.953 in the #8 Delphi Automotive Systems/MCI WorldCom Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone for fourth. Rookie Jeret Schroeder will start fifth after a lap of 174.216 in the #6 Kroger/Tristarmall.com Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Eddie Cheever Jr., who had been fast in the morning practice, qualified 10th at 172.944 in his #51 Excite@Home Indy Racing Car Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. Vail, Colo.'s Buddy Lazier, 1996 Indy 500 winner and current Northern Light Series points leader, qualified 13th at 171.928. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. qualified 18th in his first qualifying run at PPIR with a lap of 170.358.
RADISSON INDY 200 NOTEBOOK:
Schedule: The Radisson Indy 200 starts at 2 p.m. (MDT) Sunday.
The USAC MCI WorldCom National/Western Midget Car Series will conduct a race at PPIR Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
Tickets: Tickets for the Radisson Indy 200 are available by calling (888) 306-RACE.
*** On the air: The Radisson Indy 200 will be televised live on ABC at 4 p.m. (EDT) Sunday. "Indy Racing 2Day" will be televised live at 11 a.m. Sunday on ESPN2. The Indy Racing Radio Network will broadcast a 30-minute pre-race show at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) Sunday, followed by the live race broadcast at 4 p.m. The IRRN race broadcast also will be available live on the Internet at www.indyracing.com as part of a partnership between Indy Racing Online and Yahoo!/broadcast.com, the world's leading Web broadcast site.
Timing and scoring: Live timing and scoring reports from the Radisson Indy 200 will be available on the Internet at www.indyracing.com.