IRL: Richmond race day notes

By Ken Plotkin - Motorsport.com Greg Ray, injured during practice yesterday, was not cleared to drive. Team Menard withdrew their entry from the race. This is the first Indy Racing League event that did not have at least one Team Menard ...

By Ken Plotkin - Motorsport.com

Greg Ray, injured during practice yesterday, was not cleared to drive. Team Menard withdrew their entry from the race. This is the first Indy Racing League event that did not have at least one Team Menard car.

"It's disappointing for Team Menard," said Ray. "We had a good car here. We knew we had a good shot at the pole and a good shot for the race. I'm a little stiff. That was a straight-on-in impact yesterday, and the doctors haven't given me clearance to drive. We'll pack up our ponies and go to Kansas City."

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Billy Roe, whose qualifying speed entitled him to 18th place on the grid, elected to start the race at the back of the field.

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The Indy Racing League announced a 14 race schedule for 2002. There will be inaugural Indy Racing events at Michigan International Speedway and Nazareth Speedway, both of which have long traditions of Indy-style racing.

"The diversity of the racetracks represented on the 2002 schedule will provide challenges to the teams and drives, and the end result will be something racing fans will enjoy," said Tony George, president and CEO of the IRL.

All fourteen races will be televised live, ten on ABC and four on ESPN.

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In pre-race ceremonies, honorary starter Alan Webb, the sub-four minute miler from Reston, VA, carried the green flag for a running lap around the speedway. He was timed at 3:15.05.

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Pre-race ceremonies included a ramp-to-ramp jump by stunt performer Mark Hager of Dangerous Movements.

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An extra Indy Racing practice session was held after the conclusion of today's Silver Crown race. The session was part of track-cleaning activities to minimize issues of rubber differences between Silver Crown and Indy tires.

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Track temperature at the start of the 3 pm final practice was 144 degrees. Track temperature during the 6:15 pm warm-up was 121 degrees. The track tempearture at the race start was 109 degrees.

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IRL Vice President of Operations Brian Barnhart celebrated his 40th birthday today. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. presented Brian with a birthday cake as "Happy Birthday" was played on bagpipes.

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The National Anthem was performed by David Lowery and Johhny Hickman of the popular rock group Cracker. During the rendition, an oversize American flag was unfurled on the backstretch. The presentation was punctuated by fireworks and climaxed by a flyover of two F-18 fighters.

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With six career victories, Buddy Lazier is now tied with Scott Sharp for most wins in Indy Racing League history.

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Buddy Lazier led lap 75, which was the 10,000th lap of Indy Racing League competition. Lazier also led the very first lap of Indy Racing League competition in January 1996 at Walt Disney World Speedway, leading the first 28 laps of that event.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Al Unser Jr. , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Billy Roe , Tony George , Brian Barnhart