As most of you probably have already heard, the biggest stories today took place off the track. Al Unser Sr's retirement came as a bit of a surprise when I heard it was coming, but not totally. He has said all along that he wouldn't run if he or his car wasn't competitive and it was obvious last week that one of them wasn't. He seems to think that it was the driver. While he may not have gotten the job done this month, anyone who has seen him drive will testify that he is one of the sharpest drivers that ever took to the track. He seemed to have a real knack for understanding what it took to win races. He would let the race come to him, and it often did. His retirement announcement was a very emotional one. I'm sure watching Al Jr race from the Pole this year will make things seem a little sweeter on Race Day....The other big news was the Rahal/Hogan team's aquisition of Penske/Ilmor machines to cover themselves with since their qualifying times were so poor in the Honda powered Lolas that they've been running. Bobby was up to 222+ right away in his new machine and said that he hadn't even scratched it's performance level. He expects to exceed 225....In other news: Scott Goodyear, a little sore from his weekend crash, returned to the oval. He ran a 216.5...Geoff Brabham has signed to drive for Team Menard. Roberto Moreno has filled the seat vacated by Al Unser Sr and Jeff Andretti has put together a deal to drive for Burns-Adcox Motor Sports...Indy legend Rodger Ward, who suffered a heart attack last week, has been released from the hospital and says he will be at the track next week...There were 26 cars on the track today running just over 1,000 laps. None of the non-qualified drivers broke the 220 MPH level. Mark Smith was close at 219.9 in the car that is Robby Gordon's Backup. Mark smoked an engine or a turbo in the car in the mid afternoon. Quite a spectacular cloud trailed the car as he brought it to a stop....Today's Fast Five: 1-Fittipaldi-(3T)-228.717, 2-R Gordon-225.564, 3-Tracy-225.135, 4-Michael Andretti- 224.221, 5-Fittipaldi-(2T)-224.025...All of the top 5 speeds were turned in backup machines....The Buick drivers have been heard complaining almost constantly that they are having trouble with their popoff valves. This doesn't sit too well with their teams since they are paying $1300 to lease each of the valves. In years past, the teams were given the use of the valves. This year, USAC has introduced a new valve and they are trying to recoup some of their cost. Not everybody is happy with the new valves, in fact the team radios were full of complaints this weekend. On the other hand, there were plenty of complaints about the old valves too....The weather forecast for the rest of the week is very favorable. Sunshine and temps in the 70's are predicted for the next several days. I can't remember when the weather has been better than it has been this month. (except for Saturday, of course)...Al Jr was away from the track today. He was reported to be under the weather...Jim Crawford found 7 MPH today getting up to 217 MPH. This has been a tough month for Crawford, who seems to have been hurt more than anybody with the installation of the rumble strips. He lived under the white line until last year....Things will probably start getting a bit hairy the next couple of days as the unqualified drivers start getting desperate to find speed. Hopefully things will remain under control. It has been nice to see such a safe month....Dave in Turn 4