9 April 2001
Hornish domination continues at Miami.
Cheever, who did not gain many friends in the Kelley Racing camp during the race, eventually finished ninth, two laps down and just behind Dismore's team-mate Scott Sharp while rookie Didier Andre was a pleasant addition to the top ten in the second of the Galles Racing entries, albeit four laps down on the inner.
Casey Mears completed a good day for the Galles team, who did plenty of head-scratching after an almost embarrassing start to the year in Phoenix with eleventh place ahead of the disappointing trio Robbie McGehee, Billy Boat and Jeret Schroeder all of whom produced less than expected while Shigeaki Hattori led home the real tail-enders, all of whom were at least seven laps adrift.
Sunday's event was one of very little attrition with eighteen of the 26 starters running at the end, Davey Hamilton the last man to fall by the wayside on lap 185 to join Lazier, Ray, Stephan Gregoire, Airton Dare, Robbie Buhl, Jon Herb and Stan Wattles on the retirement list.
Of the DNF's, Wattles was first out as Hemelgarn Racing's day got off to a bad start when he looped the Dallara-Aurora into the pit-wall at the completion of lap one while both Herb and Buhl were spectating before ten laps had been completed after mechanical problems ended their afternoon's racing. Dare's luck continued to desert him as he retired the Team Xtreme G Force with an engine failure while Gregoire failed to show the same speed he did at Phoenix as his Dick Simon Racing Dallara was blighted with engine and electrical related niggles almost from the word go before the Frenchman finally called it a day on lap 69.
Team Menard were left shaking their heads after another promising, yet eventually fruitless run by the perennially unlucky Ray who ran inside the top five all day until a series of unscheduled stops to try and cure a fuel pressure problem dropped him from contention on lap 130. Seemingly in an effort to make up for lost time, Ray overcooked things coming out of Turn To on lap 166 with inevitable consequences.
So, two races into the biggest IRNLS Championship yet and thus far, no one has been able to touch Sam Hornish Jr and the Panther Racing squad. Team Menard may have the answer in qualifying but when it comes to actual racing, Hornish has literally been laps ahead of the opposition.
The battle for the lead in the closing laps had every man, woman and child standing on their seats at the pleasantly full, Homestead-Miami Speedway and although this is said after nearly every IRNLS event, once again the teams and drivers did their series proud with a fast, clean, action filled race that saw a total of nine lead changes amongst five drivers.
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