Rice qualifies new Gen IV Chevy 11th at Gateway MADISON, Ill., Aug. 9, 2003 - Buddy Rice, the only driver using the Gen IV Chevy Indy V8 in Sunday's Emerson Indy 250 at Gateway International Raceway, qualified the new engine 11th in the 21-car...
Rice qualifies new Gen IV Chevy 11th at Gateway
MADISON, Ill., Aug. 9, 2003 - Buddy Rice, the only driver using the Gen IV Chevy Indy V8 in Sunday's Emerson Indy 250 at Gateway International Raceway, qualified the new engine 11th in the 21-car field. Rice ran a fast lap of 172.100 mph on the 1.25-mile oval to post his best qualifying performance of the year for Red Bull Cheever Racing.
"This engine is a totally different animal in the way it works," said Rice. "With all of the teams going into Kentucky with the new engine, I think it's going to be a big boost for Chevy and all the teams who have been working so hard under the Chevy banner this season."
Rice was the final driver in the qualifying order, and the cool conditions produced a solid improvement over his 170-mph pace in practice.
"We made some pretty big headway during qualifying compared to our last session," Rice reported. "I'm pleased with how we did today; this is our best qualifying performance of the year. I think it's going to be an exciting day tomorrow.
"The engine is running really well and we turned very competitive lap times," he noted. "The Red Bull Cheever Racing team is excited about the potential we have to finish at the front."
Sam Hornish Jr. was the top driver using the Gen III version of the Chevy Indy V8. Hornish, runner-up at he preceding race at Michigan International Speedway, qualified the Pennzoil Panther Racing Chevrolet Dallara 14th on the grid at 171.309 mph - more than 2 mph faster than his best speed in practice.
"Qualifying doesn't pay any points, so we were working hard on our race setup," Hornish said. "This track is a tough little place to get around because the corners are so tight. We want to use the draft to our advantage because you can get a good tow with the big wings that we use here. If the outside line is working, we'll be there."
Under the IRL guidelines for introduction of the Gen IV engine, Chevy teams are using the Gen III engine for the final time at Gateway International Raceway. All of the full-time Chevy teams are slated to have the Gen IV engine package for the next event on Aug. 17 at Kentucky Speedway.
"We're really excited about the rest of the year," said Hornish. "We knew the Gen IV Chevy was going to be good, and we had a great initial race with it. Our goal is to stay out of trouble and get a top-five finish here. We're close enough in the points that if we have some good races, we can give them a run for the championship."
The Emerson Indy 250 will start at 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Aug. 10. The 200-lap, 250-mile race will be televised live on ABC and broadcast on the IMS Radio Network.
EMERSON INDY 250 QUALIFYING SUMMARY:
1. Helio Castroneves, Toyota, 175.965 mph
2. Kenny Brack/Honda, 175.777
3. Tony Kanaan/Honda, 175.674
4. Gil de Ferran/Toyota, 175.586
5. Scott Dixon, Toyota, 175.376
11. Buddy Rice, Chevrolet, 172.100
14. Sam Hornish Jr., Chevrolet, 171.309
15. Vitor Meira, Chevrolet, 171.211
18. Sarah Fisher, Chevrolet, 168.438
19. Robbie Buhl, Chevrolet, 168.207
21. Buddy Lazier, Chevrolet, 165.438
CHEVY DRIVER QUOTES:
VITOR MEIRA, Johns Manville Team Menard Chevrolet Dallara, qualified 15th at 171.211 mph:
"We are still learning about everything this year. We are still off our pace because we didn't test here last week and we had some electrical problems in the practice session. Now we have to learn for next year, learn about the new Chevrolet engine that's coming. We are really looking forward to the next race."
SARAH FISHER, GMAC Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet Dallara, qualified 18th at 168.438 mph:
"Our plan for tomorrow is to be consistent and get to the end. We're setting our sights on next weekend. We made a big change in the team with a new engineer on my car. That's a huge step, and we're looking for positive things. With the new Chevy engine coming for the next race in Kentucky, we're looking for our best finish all year."
BUDDY LAZIER, Hemelgarn Racing Delta Faucet/Life Fitness Chevrolet Dallara, qualified 21st at 165.438 mph:
"I don't know why it wasn't a little quicker. We've always been fast on the short race tracks, but for some reason this year we've not been able to make time. The harder I drive, the slower it goes. On the qualifying run we were wide open through Turn 3 and Turn 4, and maybe left just a little on the table in 1 and 2. This is a very unique circuit in oval track racing. It's disappointing to be down that far, but our eyes are focused on the future."