Richmond notebook: Ray has to watch

Instead of seeing the race from inside the cockpit of his race car, Greg Ray watched Saturday night's Sun Trust Indy Challenge from the spotters stand atop the grandstands after he did not get medical clearance to compete in the race.

Richmond notebook: Ray has to watch

Ray suffered a lower back injury when he crashed in practice on Friday and was examined twice that day by Dr. Henry Bock, the director of medical services for the IRL.

Ray was re-examined by Dr. Bock on Saturday and it was determined that he should sit this one out.

"It's disappointing for Team Menard," Ray said. "We had a good car here. We knew we had a good shot at the pole and a good shot at the race. I'm a little stiff. That was a straight-on impact Friday and the doctors haven't given me clearance to drive. We'll pack up our ponies and go to Kansas City."

Ray is expected to return to action in next Sunday's Ameristar Casino Indy 500 at Kansas Speedway.

"I feel like I could drive right now," he said. "They ran some tests and just decided if something went wrong today, it wouldn't be good to have a compound accident on top of what's here. I feel good, just disappointed for the team. I think we had a great car. It's just one of those things."


Eliseo Salazar was released from Memorial Regional Medical Center in Richmond after he was involved in a crash with Eddie Cheever while leading Saturday night's race. Salazar's X-rays were negative.


Buddy Lazier is the fifth driver in IRL history to win consecutive races. The others are Arie Luyendyk, Kenny Brack, Greg Ray and Sam Hornish.


Al Unser Jr. raved about Indy car racing on a track under one-mile in length. It was the first IRL race in history at a short track, as Richmond International Raceway measures 0.75-miles in length.

"I had a great time out there," said Unser after finishing a season-high third. "This is a really fun race for us. This is the tightest race track I've been on in years, and it's the smallest race track, I've been on in a single-seat, open-wheel car. I had a great time. I don't know how many times I had to come from the back tonight and had just a great time.

"We could run high, we could run low. We could run just about anywhere we wanted. I don't know how much patience everyone had out there, because I was driving my ass off all night."

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