Patrick Racing Continues Learning Process During Second Day Of Practice At Indianapolis Motor Speedway INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MONDAY, MAY 10, 2004 -- Day ...
Patrick Racing Continues Learning Process During Second Day Of Practice At Indianapolis Motor Speedway
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MONDAY, MAY 10, 2004 -- Day #2 - Patrick Racing continued the process of learning about the car during today's second day of practice for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Al Unser Jr., behind the wheel of the Patrick Racing Chevrolet/Dallara/Firestone entry finished 24th on the practice report with a quick lap of 41.8262 seconds (215.176 mph).
The day began with over cast skies and rain threatening. Patrick Racing was on the track shortly after the 11:00 a.m. official start of practice. Unser Jr. ran 30 laps during the morning turning a fast time of 41.98 seconds (214.392 mph), good for 20th on the speed charts when the rains hit. When the track finally dried the team went back out, but just a few laps into practice a mechanical problem sent the team back to the garage. The Patrick Racing crew did an outstanding job solving the problem and the team got back out on track late in the day. The team managed to run their fastest time on their final stint and finished the day having run a total of just 45 laps.
"The Patrick Racing team is learning a lot about the car every time we go out on the track," Unser Jr. began. "Unfortunately, this morning, just as we put on a new set of tires and were about to go for a quick lap, it rained. That delayed us," he said. "When the track dried out we went back out and learned some more about the car, but then we developed a mechanical problem. The problem we had was just one of those things that happen and it is no one's fault. The Patrick Racing crew really hustled and we got back out on the track toward the end of the day and got some more good data," Unser Jr. noted. "It is a process and we just have to keep plugging away. The Patrick Racing crew is doing a great job, the Chevrolet engine has performed flawlessly and the Firestone tires have been great. As long as we are learning about the car and making gains, I feel good," he concluded.
Now in its 32nd year of competition, and first in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, Patrick Racing will be making its 24th appearance and 45th start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team, which is making its first IRL start of the 2004 season at Indy, last competed at IMS in 1995. Patrick Racing, which is one of the most successful teams in the history of American open wheel racing with 45 wins, has earned 20 top-10 finishes including 14 in the top- five with three victories (Gordon Johncock - 1973 and1982; Emerson Fittipaldi - 1989) and three second place showings (Mario Andretti - 1982; Kevin Cogan - 1986 and Fittipaldi - 1988) at Indy. They have qualified in the top-10 a total of 26 times with 14 top-five starts and one pole (Johncock -1982).
Unser Jr., who is in his 22nd season at the premier level of American open wheel competition and fifth in the IRL, will be contesting his 17th Indy 500. The 42-year-old native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who earned 34 career wins (31 in CART and three in the IRL) and captured two national championships (1990 and 1994) during his career, has posted 10 top-10 finishes placing in the top-five seven times including victories in 1992 and 1994 at the Brickyard. Unser Jr. has qualified in the top-10 a total of eight times including four top-five starts with one pole (1994).
The Indianapolis 500 will be run on Sunday, May 30. It will be televised live on ABC at 12:00 p.m. (EDT). The pre-race show ill begin at 11:00 a.m. (EDT). Pole Day (qualifying) will be on Saturday, May 15. ESPN will begin broadcasting Pole Day at 12:00 p.m. (EDT) with ABC picking up the coverage beginning at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). ESPN will come back with coverage beginning at 5:00 p.m. (EDT)
For background, statistical information, releases, notes, quotes plus updates on race weekends, go to (www.patrickracing.com