INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, April 11, 2000 -- Colombian rookie Juan Montoya ran faster than all but one driver in the Indianapolis 500 Open Test on April 10, turning a fast lap of 219.780 mph. It was as if he had brought the storied Indianapolis Motor Speedway to its knees in the first few laps he ever drove there. Indiana native Mark Dismore, 19 years older at 43, turned the third-fastest lap Monday, 219.473 mph. Dismore has been fast at the Speedway like Montoya, but he also knows the tough side of the world's most famous racetrack. "He's never went here 200 mph backward," Dismore said of Montoya. "I have. It's two whole different situations for him and me. "He's young and fearless, and I'm older and wiser. And it isn't going to change anything if him and me are running for first place at the end of the race. I'll become old and dumb real quick." Dismore is happy to see Montoya and Target/Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Jimmy Vasser participating in the Indianapolis 500 this year. Montoya and Vasser are the only full-time CART drivers scheduled to race at Indy this year. "There's a lot of interest being generated because the Target team is here," Dismore said. "It's great.
"And Montoya obviously is the best guy in CART. There's no question about that. No one over there seems able to beat him, so I'm glad he's here. It's good for the series."
Dismore grew up and still lives only 30 miles east of the Speedway, in Greenfield, Ind., and has sopped up the history of the Indianapolis 500 since he was young.
Dismore wanted to become a part of the Indy experience so badly that when he was 28 years old he sold his wife's Buick Rivera to purchase what he called an obsolete Super Vee. He spent that money and borrowed more to make about seven races.
"It just makes me appreciate when good things do happen that much more," Dismore said.
That's why tears rolled down his face in Victory Lane when he scored his first Indy Racing victory last Oct. 17 at Texas Motor Speedway, five days after his 43rd birthday.
"There'll be more, hopefully," he said. "I just hope they don't slip around every 30 races."
Dismore called the test session at the Speedway a learning curve for all teams as they break in their new chassis, learn how the 3.5-liter engine performs and, for some, adjust to the Firestone tires. Indy Racing defending champion Greg Ray turned the top speed Monday of 220.713 mph.
The Indy pole speed should be 222 mph or faster, Dismore said. Ray said he might be able to turn at least one qualifying lap at 225.
The second round of the IROC series at Talladega Superspeedway is next up for Dismore, Ray and Eddie Cheever Jr. on Saturday. Dismore will start on the pole since he finished last in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in February. It was first experience with stock-car drafting.
"That was part of my master plan so I could start on the pole," he said with a laugh.
"I'm still learning. I hope I don't finish last again learning. The cars are easy to drive; it's a matter of understanding that draft. You can't even put a foot of daylight between you and the car in front of you. "I'm going to try to be a little more aggressive but not do anything foolish either."