1996 Indianapolis 500 Daily Reports DAY 6 -- THURSDAY, MAY 9
At 11:25 a.m., Arie Luyendyk became the first driver of the day to clear the 230 mile-per-hour barrier with successive laps of 231.071 and 232.007, his sixth and seventh laps of the day in the #5 Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria/Bryant Heating & Cooling entry. At 12:04 p.m., Buddy Lazier became the second to exceed 230 with a lap of 230.409 in the #91 Hemelgarn Racing-Delta Faucet entry, second fastest of the day at the time and seventh of the month to exceed 230. Luyendyk boosted the day's top speed to 232.174 at 12:28 p.m., 232.895 at 12:30 p.m. and 233.143 at 1:11 p.m. Eddie Cheever in the #3 Quaker State Menards Special turned laps of 230.373 miles per hour at 3:11 p.m., 231.238 at 3:12 p.m., and 233.004 and 234.034 at 3:13 p.m., the last being the fastest of the day. At 3:51 p.m., Scott Sharp ran a lap at 231.440 in the #11 Conseco AJ Foyt Racing entry, third fastest of the day. At 3:52 p.m., #91 Lazier reached 231.941, third fastest of the day and 233.161 at 3:53 p.m., second fastest of the day. At 4:03 p.m., Luyendyk turned a lap at 235.337 in the #35 Treadway Racing entry, fastest of the day, becoming the first driver in Speedway history to exceed 230 in two cars in one day in successive years. He also achieved it on May 12, 1995. At 4:20, #35 Luyendyk turned a lap at 237.505, fastest practice lap in Speedway history, and followed it with laps of 237.712 at 4:21 p.m. and 237.774 at 4:22 p.m., successively the fastest practice laps in Speedway history. At 4:37 p.m., Scott Brayton in the #2 Glidden Menards Special turned a lap at 231.083, sixth fastest of the day. At 4:38 p.m., Tony Stewart in the #20 Menards/Glidden/Quaker State Special (234.754) and Davy Jones in the #70 Delco Electronics High Tech Team Galles entry (230.014) became the seventh and eighth cars of the day to exceed 230, Stewart becoming second fastest of the day. At 4:40 p.m., #20 Stewart turned a lap at 235.812, second fastest of the day. At 4:49 p.m., Richie Hearn in the #4 Della Penna Motorsports Ralph's Food 4 Less Fuji Film entry turned laps of 231.196 and, at 4:50 p.m., 231.607 to become seventh fastest of the day. At 4:53 p.m., #2 Brayton reached 233.457, fourth fastest of the day. At 5:03 p.m., #20 Stewart reached 237.029, second fastest of the day. At 5:58 p.m., #2 Brayton reached 234.070, third fastest of the day.
Excluding Sunday, when speed limits were in effect for USAC's Rookie Orientation Program, Team Menard cars had led the speed chart on the last nine consecutive days of practice before Pole Day over the last two years until today.
ARIE LUYENDYK: "I was a little surprised going that quickly. I went 233 in my primary car, then jumped four miles an hour in this one. It wasn't flat all the way around. Turn 3 and 4 aren't much of a problem but Turn 1 and 2 are problems today. I had to turn a lot because of the wind. It wasn't comfortable or an easy ride but this car handles really well. It has the same setup as the other one and I don't know why it goes faster. This car is freer in the corners. It doesn't scrub off as much. We haven't given up on our primary car, but there's a definite possibility that we will use this one. I think 240 is quite possible. All you need is an engine with 10 more horsepower and one-tenth of an inch of boost and of course, the weather helps, too. We'll have to wait and see." (about another driver in a second car): "They (the owners) really won't do it unless I'm for it. We could do it at the last moment but the guy would need to be a veteran, not someone you need to school. We really haven't discussed it fully yet but we'd like to help out the IRL in terms of putting another car in the field. In any way we can help the IRL, we'll be happy to do it."
Robbie Buhl and Tyce Carlson each passed four phases of his driver's test and Joe Gosek passed the first two phases today. Billy Boat passed his physical today, bringing the total to 50 drivers, according to Dr. Henry Bock, Speedway medical director.
Speedway President Tony George was available for a general information national teleconference this morning in the Trackside Conference Room. His comments: (About the sport): "Certainly, the sport itself is in transition. There are a lot of new names. There are a lot of new names in CART. There's been a very warm reception in this community for the drivers who are here. I feel very strongly that this is a unique year, an unusual year in all respects." (About the size of the field): "We have 45 cars on the grounds so far and 40 have been through technical inspection. All indications are that the equipment is capable of attaining acceptable speeds. I don't believe the traditional 33 starting spots will be a problem to fill. The question is, will we consider expanding it in trying to show appreciation for the support of IRL teams? Our minds are open to any number of things. The possibility is always there to expand beyond 33. We started 35 in recent history (1979)." Expanded notes from the news conference are available from the press room office. The entire teleconference can be accessed in audio form starting Friday on the IMS Internet website (http://www.brickyard.com) from the 1996 Indianapolis 500 page.
32 cars were on the track today, running 1,444 laps. Cars on track today: #3 Cheever;#4 Hearn; #5 Luyendyk; #7 Salazar; #8 Zampedri, #9 Stephan Gregoire, Hemelgarn Racing; ; #10 Murphey; #11 Sharp; #12 Calkins; #14 Hamilton; #15 Bell; #16 Johnny Parsons, Team Blueprint Racing, Inc.; #18 Paul Jr.; #20 Stewart; #21 Guerrero; #22 Jourdain Jr.; #25 Gosek; #33 Alboreto; #35 Arie Luyendyk, Treadway Racing; #36 Tyce Carlson, Loop Hole Racing; #36 Drinan; #41 Greco; #45 Lyn St. James, Spirit of San Antonio; #54 Robbie Buhl, Beck Motorsports; #60 Groff, #64 Unser; #70 Jones; #72 Davy Jones, Delco Electronics High Tech Team Galles; #84 Scott Sharp, AJ Foyt Enterprises; #91 Buddy Lazier, Hemelgarn Racing-Delta Faucet; #96 Durant.
A total of 45 cars are now at the Speedway, 40 have passed technical inspection and none are in the process. 33 drivers have been on the track to date. There were 13 yellows for 52 minutes. At 11:30 a.m., the temperature was 77 degrees with winds SW at 17 miles per hour. Track temperature from Goodyear tire engineers was 98 degrees at 10 a.m. and 132 degrees at 1 p.m. Track temperature from Firestone tire engineers was 116 degrees at 4 p.m. At 6 p.m., the temperature was 80 degrees with winds SW at 18 mph.