Barron puts ...
Barron puts #20 Meijer/Mo Nunn Toyota solidly in the show with 227.2 Bump Day qualifying average at Indy
INDIANAPOLIS (Sunday, May 18, 2003) -- Alex Barron, subbing for the injured Arie Luyendyk, clocked the fastest qualifying speed of the day today and put a third Mo Nunn Racing entry solidly in the field for next weekend's 87th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Barron and the #20 Meijer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force clocked a four-lap average speed of 227.274 mph around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway four-cornered oval. That performance was good for the inside-ninth-row starting position for next Sunday's 500-mile event with just one competitor (Vitor Meira) left to qualify today.
Barron's four laps in succession: 227.140 mph (39.6231 seconds), 227.153 mph (39.6208 seconds), 227.315 mph (39.5926 seconds), and 227.487 mph (39.5627 seconds).
Last Sunday's rain-delayed Pole Day qualifying session saw Tora Takagi put the #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force on the inside of the third row at 229.358 mph, while Felipe Giaffone and the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force qualified on the inside of the sixth row at 227.210 mph.
Luyendyk, the two-time Indy 500 winner and three-time polesitter, began the month in the Meijer/Mo Nunn Racing car but was not cleared to drive Wednesday due to lingering injuries suffered during a practice crash on May 9.
Final practice is set for Carburetion Day, Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CDT. Race time next Sunday is noon EDT with a live ABC-TV broadcast set to begin one hour prior to race time at 11 a.m. EDT.
"I think we're pretty happy with what we got. The most important thing is that we got the Meijer/Coca-Cola car solidly in the show. I only got into this car for the first time on Thursday, so it's been kind of a whirlwind four days for me, personally. But it's a tribute to this Mo Nunn Racing program, and to a racing legend like Arie Luyendyk, to hand me a car that I can qualify so easily. Today was the first time we actually ran the car in qualifying trim since we got rained out yesterday. We actually had a few little problems crop up in practice this morning because the track was so different than it had been on Thursday and Friday. So we pulled the car out of the qualifying line, made a few changes, and waited before we could run a few more practice laps before we got back in line. The car felt great, although we played it pretty conservatively. I know we could've gone faster, but there was no use taking any risks that we didn't have to today. That's the benefit of driving for a three-car team that's been hard at it all month. There was a pretty good-sized database of information on what we needed to do to make the car balanced under the conditions we ran under today. I'm really excited to be part of the show after riding that emotional roller coaster (not being able to land a ride) for two solid weeks. We definitely have a car that can win the race. All three of us (including Felipe Giaffone and Tora Takagi) are more than capable of doing it on race day. I can't wait."