Iracingone Replay: IRNLS 2000/I Brbuhl Avoids Traffic Jam

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At the last Indy Racing Northern Light Series race to be held at Walt Disney World Speedway on Jan. 29, a first-year team won the first race of the 2000 season.

Robbie Buhl powered the 11-day-old Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing entry to the Delphi Indy 200 win, 3.156 seconds ahead of eventual IRNLS champion Buddy Lazier. Eddie Cheever Jr. and Scott Goodyear finished third and fourth, with Eliseo Salazar claiming the final top-five finishing position. The victory was Buhl’s second of his career.

Buhl, who received 52 points for winning and leading the most laps, took the lead on the next to last lap when Lazier and Cheever had trouble getting around some lapped traffic. Buhl started the race 22nd, making his run to the front the greatest climb to victory in series history.

Lazier, Cheever and Goodyear began their season-long fight for the championship right out of the box, with Lazier leaving Walt Disney World second in the standings, Cheever third and Goodyear fourth. They would eventually finish the year first, third and second respectively.

Al Unser Jr. made his debut in the IRNLS after leaving the CART FedEx Championship Series at the end of 1999. Back with old friend and car owner Rick Galles, Unser Jr. had a disappointing day, finishing 25th after experiencing engine problems after 64 laps. Polesitter and defending series champion Greg Ray finished the race 17th, 20 laps off the pace.

Eventual rookie of the year Airton Dare came home 11th in his first IRNLS race. He was the only driver to finish one lap down.

The Delphi Indy 200 was slowed by eight caution flags that consumed 65 laps, with Jaques Lazier and Davey Hamilton being sent to the hospital with minor back fractures.

Stats:
  • Winner: Robbie Buhl
  • Pole winner: Greg Ray
  • Most laps lead: Robbie Buhl, 49
  • Cautions: Eight for 65 laps

    Point standings
    1) Robbie Buhl, 52
    2) Buddy Lazier, 40
    3) Eddie Cheever Jr. 35
    4) Scott Goodyear, 32
    5) Eliseo Salazar, 30
    6) Donnie Beechler, 28
    7) Jeff Ward, 26
    8) Buzz Calkins, 24
    9) Billy Boat, 22
    10) Robby McGehee, 20
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