INDIANAPOLIS (May 18, 2002) - Nine starting positions remain for the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500 with final qualifications getting underway at noon tomorrow. It should come as no surprise drivers who have yet to qualify turned todays top...
INDIANAPOLIS (May 18, 2002) - Nine starting positions remain for the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500 with final qualifications getting underway at noon tomorrow. It should come as no surprise drivers who have yet to qualify turned todays top ten practice speeds.
Topping the speed charts today was Airton Dare, whose lap at 227.015 mph was very close to his best of the event, set May 15 at 228.628 mph.
Dare's Foyt Racing teammate Greg Ray was second fastest with Team Green teammates Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy third and fourth fastest, respectively.
"For the conditions today, I think we are okay," said Tracy after lapping the Speedway at 226.483 mph. "There are nine spots left in the field, and I think we are comfortably within the top-nine guys trying to get in, but we'll have to wait and see tomorrow.
"Our last practice run today simulated a qualifying run, and we were able to turn our fastest lap of the day."
Oriol Servia was fifth fastest after moving to Laurent Radon's backup car today. Servia, who struggled with Walker Racing's No. 15 car, which is powered by a Menard-prepared Chevrolet engine, recorded a lap at 226.359 mph, nearly a full mile per hour faster than his best in the Walker car.
"We wanted to try the other car to and see the differences in setups," Servia said. "We have a very good relationship with (Conquest Racing owner) Eric Bachelart, and he let us drive the car. We did this run to check how the car was, and now we'll sit down and see if we can make this car as quick as the other one."
Word in the garage area is that Walker may lease the No. 34 T car, giving Servia a better chance of making the race. Servia was 11th fastest today in the Walker No. 15 car.
Donnie Beechler continued to improve in the third A.J. Foyt entry, turning a lap at 225.531 mph, his best of the event. "My setup and Airton's setup are almost identical, and he's running 227 (mph). I'm apparently pinching the car somewhere I shouldn't be. We'll work on it in the morning, see if we can't find something."
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, who has yet to qualify, did not take to the circuit today, citing adverse weather conditions. "It seems like the wind direction has changed every day for the last three days. I don't see value in running today and tuning the car to these conditions. It's more important to practice Sunday morning and tune the car to the conditions then."
Arie may have a valid point as Bruno Junqueira captured the pole position after taking the first qualifying run of the day last Saturday. Luyendyk's No. 55T is scheduled to take the first qualifying run tomorrow.
Depending on weather conditions, all the bumping on Bump Day may take place between drivers attempting to qualify tomorrow. Slowest speed in the field right now is Billy Boat at 226.589 mph. During the seven hours of practice held today, only three drivers managed single laps faster than Boat's qualifying speed.
Notes from the 86th Indianapolis 500:
Bobby Rahal was not at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today as he is racing his vintage Lola 360 Formula Atlantic car this weekend at the Jefferson 500, a vintage sports car race at Summit Point Raceway in Summit Point, West Virginia.
Scott Harrington has been named as the driver of the No. 37 car entered by Brayton Racing.