DAY 5 WEDNESDAY, MAY 7 At 11:59 a.m., Tony Stewart in the ...
DAY 5 WEDNESDAY, MAY 7
At 11:59 a.m., Tony Stewart in the #2 Glidden/Menards/Special turned a lap at 213.554 miles an hour, fastest of the day. At 12:16 p.m., Arie Luyendyk in the #5 Treadway Racing WavePhore Miller Lite entry turned consecutive laps of 216.060 and 219.421, both fastest of the day. At 1:16 p.m., #5 Arie Luyendyk became the first driver to exceed 220 miles an hour at the Speedway with a new Indy Racing League car, turning a lap at 220.297. At 4:09 p.m., Scott Sharp in the #1 Conseco AJ Foyt Racing entry turned a lap at 217.402, second fastest of the day. At 4:10 p.m., Jim Guthrie in the #27 Jacuzzi/Blueprint Racing Dallara turned a lap at 216.076, third fastest of the day.
ARIE LUYENDYK: "It's always fun to be fast and the one that people are targeting. Last year in Las Vegas we didn't test in the summer because I said it was too hot to test and we were fast right out of the box." (About tires): "Firestone hasn't done anything different with the tires, nothing soft. It's the whole package, not just the tires." (Anxiety this year): "It helps to know the helmets and the drivers you're coming up on. Yes, a little more anxiety than years past."
SCOTT SHARP: "The car was exceptional in Turn 3 and 4 and in Turn 4 I felt it tighten up, a loud noise and it turned in. When it turned in, the car turned right around. I can't worry about future crashes. My job is to stand on the button and we'll pick up where we left off. We're getting there and did make progress today. I'm fine and it was fortunate the car turned in where it did when the motor seized and I just scraped the wall."
JIM GUTHRIE: "It feels great. It's like we made a big jump in only one day. We've come a long way with only six laps yesterday to 27 today. We knew we were going be doing our testing in front of the fans. We have the speed and there's a lot more left in the car...and myself. I predict that Luyendyk will probably reach 220-222 come pole weekend. I only have a few laps here where he's the expert here and you can tell he's got the laps in."
Borg-Warner Automotive, Inc. presented a personalized replica of its famous Borg-Warner Trophy to 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier today in the Speedway's Hall of Fame Museum. It was presented by William "Skip" Cline, Borg-Warner Automotive vice president and controller. The permanent trophy, standing almost five feet high, is in the museum and is moved to Victory Lane on Race Day. Lazier's likeness for the trophy was sculpted by artist William Behrends, who created it from studying three pictures of the winner. BUDDY LAZIER: "To be the 57th different face on the trophy is absolutely awesome. The sculptor did a great job. I paid him a lot of money to make me the best-looking guy on it. I suppose people, when they meet me now, will be disappointed but it was well worth it." (About this month of May): "It's going to be a fascinating month with the new cars and engines. Speeds did come down. You can see the enthusiasm with all the drivers and everybody in the pits. Slipstreaming is going to be real important. You'll always see a few guys that are able to get away, but slipstreaming is going to be crucial."
RON HEMELGARN (car owner): "In 1964, when I came to this race, I just wanted to get close to it (the trophy). When I came here as a sponsor in 1978, I wanted to touch it. Last year, I actually got to touch it without the yellow shirts yelling at me."
At 4:12 p.m., Scott Sharp in the #1 Conseco AJ Foyt Racing entry did a three-quarter spin 570 feet in Turn 4 to hit the wall with the left front, slid along the wall backward 410 feet, then came off the wall 120 feet to a stop on the front straightaway. Sharp had turned a lap three minutes earlier at 217.402 miles an hour, second fastest of the day at that point. The car sustained heavy left- side damage. Sharp suffered a bruised right knee and was released from Hanna Medical Center and cleared to drive.
Lyn St. James' 34 laps Tuesday in the #90 Lifetime TV/Cinergy entry were her first in a race car since the 1996 Indianapolis 500. The broken right wrist she suffered in the collision with Scott Harrington on Lap 162 last May 26 healed improperly. It was rebroken and reset on Dec. 30, when pins and a plate were inserted. According to Deb Turner of LSJ Racing, the wrist is completely healed "a bionic wrist and better than ever."
The car/engine package assigned to Steve Kinser has had an interesting odyssey to the Speedway. The Dallara was purchased in February by Sinden Racing Services from A.J. Foyt Enterprises in February and has not previously run. AMS/Crest Racing, which fields cars for Dr. Jack Miller, needed an engine for the Phoenix 200 in March because its Infiniti had not arrived. Enter Matt Haggens, owner of Eagle Creek Aviation. "I met him with Nelson Piquet when Nelson was running here," said Jeff Sinden, co- owner of SRS who also fields Miller's equipment. "He's been getting more and more interested in racing and the IRL series offered an opportunity to be a part of the team. Once I got an okay from John Menard (for an available Aurora), I called Matt and he helped pay for it. That helped us with Jack and the Crest car at Phoenix. $75,000 buys the motor and gets a guy involved...that's getting the price down so people can be a part of it." As Haggens watched the SRS crew, led by Owen Snyder, prepare the car this afternoon, he offered his thoughts. "Before, small companies like ours, guys like me, couldn't get in," Haggens said. "It was just too expensive. Before the IRL, you wouldn't have had any opportunity to be competitive. Nobody's come up with a whole lot of money but everyone's helped just a little bit. We have a quality effort, a quality car, a quality driver and we're out there to make it happen." Others, like Tom Godby of Godby Brothers, a heating and air conditioning firm who supplied a trailer, have also helped. Haggens was asked how he would feel when Kinser took "his engine" on to the track for the first time. "This is the biggest sporting event in the world," Haggens said, "and to know I had a part in putting this together, it's going to be real special for me."
Sam Schmidt's seven laps today in the #16 Blueprint Racing entry raised the total for USAC's Rookie Orientation Program to 699 laps for the month.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has started a free fax on demand service for updated entry lists and Trackside Reports. To use it, dial 303/804-1883, make selections and leave a fax number when prompted. The selections will be faxed promptly.
Racin Gardner, Joe Gosek, Andy Michner and Dennis Vitolo passed driver physicals today, raising the total number to 41, according to Dr. Henry Bock, Speedway medical director.
20 cars were on the track today, running 611 laps. Cars on track today: #1 Sharp, #2 Stewart, #3 Buhl, #4 Brack, #5 Luyendyk, # 6 Goodyear, #7 Salazar, #8 Sospiri, #10 M. Groff, #12 Calkins, #14 Hamilton, #17 Giaffone, #18 Paul Jr., #21T Roberto Guerrero, Pennzoil-Pagan Racing Dallara Infiniti, #27 Guthrie, #30 R. Groff, #33 Velez, #42 Gordon, #90 St. James.
The track was closed at 5:50 p.m. because of light rain. A total of 41 cars are now at the Speedway, 29 have passed technical inspection and three are in the process. 26 drivers have been on the track to date. There were six yellows for one hour, 45 minutes.
At 11:04 a.m., the temperature was 64 degrees with winds out of the west at eight miles an hour. At 5:14 p.m., the temperature was 67 degrees with winds out of the east at nine miles an hour.
TOP 10 DRIVERS OF THE DAY
1 5 Arie Luyendyk Treadway Racing Wavephore Miller Lite 220.297
2 1 Scott Sharp Conseco AJ Foyt Racing 217.402 3 27 Jim Guthrie Jacuzzi/Blueprint Racing Dallara 216.076 4 42 Robby Gordon Coors Light 215.993 5 2 Tony Stewart Glidden/Menards/Special 215.750 6 33 Fermin Velez Old Navy Scandia Royal Purple Altz Xcel 214.174 7 6 Scott Goodyear Treadway Racing Nortel 214.123 8 12 Buzz Calkins Bradley Food Marts 213.792 9 4 Kenny Brack Monsoon Galles Racing 212.821 10 7 Eliseo Salazar Copec/Cristal/Scandia 212.465