IRL, Indy 500: Infiniti Insider Qualifying Report
23 May 1999Pole Day -- Saturday, May 22
The day started with thunderstorms but ended with a full grid of 33 cars in the provisional starting lineup for the Indianapolis 500. Three Infiniti Indy drivers made the provisional field during today's run for the pole position.
In his second attempt, Jeret Schroeder in the No. 96 Purity Farms CBR Cobb Racing car was the first Infiniti-powered entry to qualify. With a four-lap run of 220.794, 220.951, 220.767, and 220.475 mph, Schroeder's average speed was 220.747 mph. The day ended with Schroeder 21st on the grid.
Eddie Cheever Jr. sits 16th on the grid after his third qualifying attempt. After waving off the first two attempts in an effort to work on the setup and get a quicker time, Cheever qualified the No. 51 Team Cheever/The Children's Beverage Group Infiniti/Dallara/Goodyear at 4:42 p.m. with a four-lap average of 221.315 mph (221.899, 221.593, 221.168, and 220.604 mph laps).
The final Infiniti to make the provisional field was CBR Cobb Racing driver Roberto Guerrero on his second attempt. Qualifying in the final hour, Guerrero ran a streak of 220.340, 220.686, 220.507, and 220.383 mph laps, giving him a four-lap average of 220.479 mph. He is currently 25th on the grid.
Driver Robbie Buhl attempted to qualify at 1:03 p.m., but was stopped short when he did a half-spin in turn one hitting the outside retaining wall on his warm-up lap. Buhl is sixth in line to qualify with the backup No. 44 Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold car as a second-day qualifier tomorrow.
Harrington Motorsports driver Scott Harrington, who is 30th on the provisional grid, ran several laps during practice with the Infiniti powerplant this past week, but opted to use the Oldsmobile Aurora engine to qualify.
Qualifying continues tomorrow from 1 to 7 p.m. The day starts with practice at 11 a.m. The Indy 500 time trials will be televised live on ESPN2 from Noon to 4 p.m. and 6 to 7 p.m., and on ABC Sports from 4 to 6 p.m. (all times eastern).
Eddie Cheever Jr., No. 51 Team Cheever/The Children's Beverage Group Infiniti/Dallara/G Force (currently 16th): "I think we win the village idiot award of the day for not taking that first run. That was a car we ran 223 (mph) with all week. The engine in that car had a lot of miles on it, but it had our best setup. The conditions were incredibly different today. I am very relieved that we got two cars in the field (referring to himself and Wim Eyckmans). I'm not worried about starting in the middle of the pack. We won last year from 17th place."
Jeret Schroeder, No. 96 Purity Farms CBR Cobb Racing Infiniti/G Force/Firestone (currently 21st): "I was concerned when we had to wave off this morning. We misjudged the amount of wind and had the wrong gear ratios in the car. The Cobb Racing team had faith that we could do it and I have faith in the team. So we made a change to the wing and went out again, and did it. I finally made it to the Speedway."
Roberto Guerrero, No. 50 CBR Cobb Racing/Motor Trend Infiniti/G Force/Firestone (currently 25th): "It has been quite a day. We made a little mistake with the setup this morning. This is my 15th year here at Indy and if feels like my rookie year. Every year you come here is a different experience, but I have never had to wave off because I was too slow. I didn't like that experience too much. I am glad for Infiniti. They have worked very hard and have come a long way. The important think now is to do well in the race."
Provisional Starting Lineup Highlights
1. Arie Luyendyk, 225.179 (four-lap average speed) 2. Greg Ray, 225.073 3. Billy Boat, 223.469 4. Robby Gordon, 223.066 5. Mark Dismore, 222.963 6. Scott Sharp, 222.771 7. Sam Schmidt, 222.734 8. Kenny Brack, 222.659 9. Scott Goodyear, 222.387 10. Hideshi Matsuda, 222.065 16. Eddie Cheever Jr., 222.315 21. Jeret Schroeder, 220.747 25. Roberto Guerrero, 220.479 On the bubble: Lyn St. James, 218.979