IRL: Texas Infiniti race notes

Infiniti-Powered Buhl Takes Third in Photo Finish at Texas FORT WORTH, Tex. (Oct. 6, 2001) -- In a spectacular photo finish, Robbie Buhl drove his Infiniti-powered machine to third place, in what was the closest podium finish ever in Indy Racing...

Infiniti-Powered Buhl Takes Third in Photo Finish at Texas

FORT WORTH, Tex. (Oct. 6, 2001) -- In a spectacular photo finish, Robbie Buhl drove his Infiniti-powered machine to third place, in what was the closest podium finish ever in Indy Racing League history.

Robbie led 31 laps in a race that featured more lead changes than ever before in the Indy Racing League. Racing side-by-side, and nose-to-tail, at speeds topping 217 miles per hour, Buhl drove the No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Infiniti in the lead pack for most of the race.

Buhl's third place finish is his best of the season, tying with his podium finish at Pikes Peak in June. He finished 12th in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series driver's championship.

Eddie Cheever Jr. was also a strong contender in the No. 51 Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti, racing in the top-six pack of cars early in the race. On the team's second pit stop, a small fire likely damaged the electrical wiring harness, causing the battery to die when Cheever returned to the track.

With one victory this season, at the Kansas Speedway in July, and four other top ten finishes with the Infiniti Indy 35A engine, Cheever finished eighth overall in the driver's championship.

A.J. Foyt Racing had a busy day preparing the backup car for Greg Ray, who damaged his primary car beyond repair in an accident during the morning practice. Starting from the back of the grid, he struggled with the No. 11 Harrah's/Foyt Racing Infiniti, but managed to finish eighth.

Jeff Ward, who was fastest in the morning practice session, retired on lap 20 when a brush with the wall damaged the suspension on the No. 35 Heritage Motorsports Infiniti.

The 2002 Indy Racing season kicks off at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 2.

Quotes

Robbie Buhl, No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing GForce-Infiniti-Firestone (Started 14th, Finished 3rd): "That's what the Indy Racing League is all about. What a way to end the year. It only adds to all the positive things that are going on now with the Indy Racing League. For us with the Purex car, it's nice to be on the podium. Unfortunately, we didn't win one this year, but the Infiniti power has been great. It's nice to be on the podium. Infiniti has worked really hard and it showed here today. We're looking forward to next year, it couldn't be here soon enough for us."

Greg Ray, No. 11 Harrah's/Foyt Racing Dallara-Infiniti-Firestone (Started 25th, Finished 8th): "This was absolutely amazing teamwork. When we looked at the car this morning, everyone thought we were done but A.J. He is magic, he just instills a lot of confidence in everyone and we had a bunch of David Copperfields working on this car. This car hasn't raced since Indy, it didn't have the narrow suspension so we were hurting with drag issues which probably cost us 3mph hour a lap. But the car was solid, the team was solid and they just showed what can be done. Donnie Beechler is a class act ; he worked on the car to get it ready and then he spotted for me during the race. It was just incredible."

Eddie Cheever Jr., No. 51 Cheever Indy Racing Dallara-Infiniti-Firestone (Started 8th, Finished 18th): "We didn't have the car running the way we wanted to today, but we had made some changes during the last pit stop to improve the handling. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to see how they worked. We had a problem during refueling, and some fuel spilled out and caught fire. It was an electrical problem that put us out of the race, but we're not sure if it was related to the incident. It is very possible that the fire damaged the wiring harness. The Infiniti engineers have done a great job this year. They had a very chaotic racing system when we started, but now they are as aggressive and strong as anyone out there. The Infiniti power is strong. It was one hell of a race out there."

Jeff Ward, No. 35 Heritage Motorsports GForce-Infiniti-Firestone (Started 10th, Finished 24th): "I don't know exactly what happened. The car floated up the track going through the turn. I was trying to stay high behind Eddie, and I just lost it. We had a slight push early, but not enough to put me in the wall. It's unfortunate, because the car has been good all year. We were a real contender to finish in the front today. Our car has always handled well. The Infiniti motor has some good torque that's really helped it out."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Jeff Ward , Donnie Beechler , A.J. Foyt
Teams Dreyer & Reinbold Racing