DAY 13 THURSDAY, MAY 15 Rookie Sam Schmidt, not-yet qualified for the "500", was fastest of the day with a lap at 211.989 miles an hour. Rookie Claude Bourbonnais was named to the ...
DAY 13 THURSDAY, MAY 15
Rookie Sam Schmidt, not-yet qualified for the "500", was fastest of the day with a lap at 211.989 miles an hour. Rookie Claude Bourbonnais was named to the #27T Blueprint Racing entry as a teammate to Schmidt and the car number was changed to #72. Bourbonnais completed the first phase of his driver's test at 1:54 p.m., the second phase at 4:46 p.m., the third phase at 5:03 p.m. and the fourth phase at 5:45 p.m. SAM SCHMIDT: "I didn't think I would be (fastest today). I guess the wind bothered everyone else more. Every day I've run, it's been windy. I haven't had much time to run behind somebody. I ran behind Robby (Gordon) today and it was turbulent. If we still have something left (in the engine) Sunday, I would like to do that."
CLAUDE BOURBONNAIS: "I had to get used to the new car I'd never driven. The first time (out) was harder than the second time in the car. I came here three weeks ago and didn't have anything. I thought if I wasn't here, I wouldn't get anything. I've been walking the garage area every day talking to everyone. I wanted to get with Blueprint and I talked to them even before I got here."
Tyce Carlson and Mark Dismore took the track for the first time today in PDM Racing entries. Both got up to speeds of 209 miles an hour within three laps. Dismore's #28 Kelley Automotive Group machine was prepared in less than a week. Carlson's #18 Klipsch Tnemec Overhead Door Pyle V-Line Earl's entry was prepared in less than four days. The setups used by the team on the cars were race setups used by John Paul Jr. prior to his Friday accident. Carlson passed his 20-lap refresher test at 1:54 p.m. TYCE CARLSON: "(about the car's preparation): "It's all in being comfortable and trusting your crew. I was there every second they were putting the car together." (about how much work he did on it): "I bought breakfast yesterday. They said I'm a driver and I don't have to work on cars any more. Every bit of the setup goes back to John Paul Jr. He did all the testing." (About the wind): "It affected us quite a bit in the short chute between (Turns) 1 and 2."
MARK DISMORE: (about the car's preparation): "I was real comfortable with those guys. They took their time and if something wasn't right, they made it right." (about practice): "We found out what we needed to find out, got out of the cars and put 'em away."
Rookies Billy Boat, Kenny Brack, Affonso Giaffone, Robbie Groff, Billy Roe, Sam Schmidt and Vincenzo Sospiri attended the annual Bank One Rookie Breakfast today.
AFFONSO GIAFFONE: "I'm very happy to be here. This is a dream coming true for me. This is going to be my seventh oval race."
SAM SCHMIDT: "I took a different road to get here. I started running motocross at age five. My father was severely hurt when I was 10, so that put the brakes on my career. My mother made me go to school. I got my degree in finance (MBA in international finance from Pepperdine). I started racing again in 92. We made the leap this year, a pretty big leap. I'm just ecstatic to be here. I really appreciate the IRL and the opportunity it's given guys like me."
AL SMITH (president of Bank One and the "500" Festival): "This is my 50th race at Indianapolis. Fortunately for the fans and everyone else, I've never driven in a race. To the one we present the $10,000 check to, I would be glad to give you a deposit slip from Bank One."
The American Red Cross and the Indy Racing League today unveiled a new national partnership designed to enable the two organizations to reach out to families with messages about personal and family safety, emergency response and preparedness in communities around the country. The arrangement was announced at the start/finish line prior to practice. The IRL's marketing initiative will provide $500,000 in cash donations and promotional support to the American Red Cross this year. Of that amount, the majority will be used to fund a national effort to raise awareness of the importance of Red Cross key services through sponsorship of television advertising during racing events. The program will include grass roots activities between Red Cross chapters at IRL races and other sites around the country. MATT BRANAM (chief operating officer, American Red Cross): "Red Cross volunteers and staff everywhere are excited about our association with the Indy Racing League. With Indy Racing League's generous support, we can reach millions of Americans with our lifesaving message of preparedness for personal emergencies and community disasters."
TONY GEORGE (president of the Speedway and founder of the IRL): "It is important for all of us to realize that we are part of a larger community. Motorsports is sports, entertainment and business. It is also an opportunity for us to be involved in helping others. This partnership will do that and we are pleased to be involved."
Ed Keating and Roger Allen of GM Motorsports were honored with the 31st annual Louis Schwitzer Award for their design of the Indy Aurora V8 engine. The award was presented by Steve Roby, the award committee chairman for the Indiana Section, Society of Automotive Engineers, in the Trackside Conference Room. The award recognizes excellence and innovation in race car design and development. The IRL engine program was approved Jan. 4, 1996, the first engine was run on Sept. 13, 1996, an engine was first tested in a new IRL car with Arie Luyendyk driving on Nov. 14, 1996 at Phoenix and engines were provided for 16 cars for the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World on Jan. 25, 1997. STEVE ROBY: "The first tooling for this engine was done March 1 (1996). They really didn't have a lot of time. They had to supply a new product for a new series. And they had a commitment on what the series was based. The committee found that people like Ilmor and Cosworth do most of their work in-house. At GM, there's a core group, then there was a cadre of vendors. There are a lot of people involved."
ED KEATING: "This program represented several opportunities and challenges. First, we were working on the engine on a very strict cost target $75,000. The amount of technology had to be thought out beforehand. There was that overriding consideration that the tendency to take risk was very low. The whole intent of this series was to be an open formula. Nothing controls cost like the marketplace. We're already seeing it. They (engine builders and vendors) are all going to come in and compete with lower cost or superior product. All of our cutoff dates were based on supplying half the field. We found ourselves in the very fortunate situation that we had more demand for our engine." (For the "500"): "We have had a significant number of engines that have gone significantly over 500 miles in the week-and-a-half of testing here. There're a lot of smart people out there. Our sense from the teams which have been here for many, many years is very positive."
ROGER ALLEN: "I started on the project the first of the year (1996). We put the overall architecture together in the first two months. March 1 (1996) was the date we made the drawings to pattern the parts. Because parts are all available, everyone knows what you have. All of our past experience with NASCAR, even our pro stock drag racing all of our years in those series went into these engines. What you find is the weight factor, size and horsepower...all three are significant reasons why competitors have chosen our engine."
17 cars were on the track today, running 668 laps. Cars on track today: #1 Johnny O'Connell, Conseco AJ Foyt Racing; #2T Stewart; #3T Buhl; #4T Brack; #12 Calkins; #14T Hamilton; #16 Schmidt; #18 Tyce Carlson, Klipsch Tnemec Overhead Door Pyle V-Line Earl's; #21T Guerrero; #28 Mark Dismore, Kelley Automotive Group; #30 R. Groff; #40 Miller; #42 Gordon; #44 Kinser; #54 Vitolo; #72 Claude Bourbonnais, Blueprint Racing; #91 Johnny Unser, Delta Faucet-Montana-Hemelgarn Racing and #91 Lazier.
A total of 46 cars are now at the Speedway, 44 have passed technical inspection and one is in the process. 37 drivers have been on the track to date. There were 10 yellows for 42 minutes.
TOP NOT-YET QUALIFIED DRIVERS OF THE DAY 1 16 Sam Schmidt HOPE Prepaid Fuel Card D/A/F 211.989 2 18 Tyce Carlson Klipsch Tnemec Overhead Door Pyle V-Line Earl's D/A/G 210.590 3 28 Mark Dismore Kelley Automotive Group D/A/G 210.389 4 91 Johnny Unser Delta Faucet-Montana-Hemelgarn Racing D/I/F 208.497 5 1 Johnny O'Connell Conseco AJ Foyt Racing G/A/G 207.054 6 72 Claude Bourbonnais Blueprint Racing D/A/F 203.841 7 54 Dennis Vitolo SmithKline Beecham/Kroger/Beck Motorsports D/I/F 200.615