Indianapolis, IN (June 21, 2004)--Things just continue to get faster for Red Bull Cheever Racing. That statement also could apply to this weekend's venue. Richmond International Raceway (RIR) will be faster than ever when the Indy Racing League...
Indianapolis, IN (June 21, 2004)--Things just continue to get faster for Red Bull Cheever Racing. That statement also could apply to this weekend's venue.
Richmond International Raceway (RIR) will be faster than ever when the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series visits the 0.75-mile oval for Saturday night's SunTrust Indy Challenge. The reason is a repaving project that has eliminated bumps and maximized grip.
The result is more speed for a team fresh from its best finish of the season. At the most recent IRL race, Alex Barron drove the Red Bull Cheever Racing No. 51 Chevrolet-powered Dallara to a third-place finish in the Bombardier 500k at Texas Motor Speedway. It was the best finish by a Red Bull Cheever Racing car since a 1-2 finish at Michigan in 2002.
"The Richmond race will be a much quicker pace than last year since they repaved the track surface," Barron said. "I was surprised to hear that lap times from some of the IRL drivers who tested on the new surface were under 16 seconds."
Last year's pole position was 16.0582 seconds. Even with the smaller 3.0-liter engines, IRL cars topped that while testing on the new surface at Richmond International Raceway.
"Since the surface is smoother now, it opens it up for more racing," said Ed Carpenter, driver of the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Chevy/Dallara. "It will be exciting and a lot better with the resurfacing."
The 14-degree banking and tight turning radii make for one of the most exciting races on the IndyCar Series schedule. Barron, the 34-year-old veteran, will race at Richmond for the second time; he finished 10th in the SunTrust Indy Challenge while competing for Blair Racing in 2002.
"Everything just happens so fast at Richmond because the track is a tight oval," Barron said. "There will be a lot of close racing."
Red Bull Cheever Racing teammate Ed Carpenter also is comfortable at RIR, having competed there in the USAC Silver Crown Series.
"I've raced at Richmond several times in Silver Crown cars and have finished in second and third there," Carpenter said. "I really like the track. I'm sure it will be a lot different in an IndyCar, but it's a fun track."
Action begins Friday at 1 a.m. EDT with practice sessions. Qualifying is set for 7:15 p.m. Friday, with the 250-lap race scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday. It will be televised live on ESPN2.