IRL: Indy 500: Opening Day summary

Dixon, Castroneves Lead Opening Day Of Practice At Indy INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, May 9, 2004 -- Reigning IRL IndyCar® Series champion Scott Dixon topped the speed chart on the opening day of practice for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 on...

Dixon, Castroneves Lead Opening Day Of Practice At Indy

INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, May 9, 2004 -- Reigning IRL IndyCar® Series champion Scott Dixon topped the speed chart on the opening day of practice for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Dixon lapped the famed 2.5-mile oval at 219.760 mph, 40.9537 seconds in his No. 1 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone.

"Today we were just getting both cars up to speed," Dixon said. "We didn't really do much with the T car. We trimmed it out a little, put a new set of tires on it, and I think that's where we got the time. It was pretty windy, but I think we were quite surprised at how much grip the car had, considering the last time we were here."

Helio Castroneves, a two-time Indianapolis 500 champion, was second fastest at 219.7529 mph, 40.9552 seconds in his No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone. Adrian Fernandez was third with a lap of 218.342 mph, 41.2197 seconds in the No. 5 Quaker State Telmex Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/ Firestone.

"We pretty much started the way we left off at the Open Test," Castroneves said. "The car seemed to be handling with no problems. The wind was a bit stronger than at the Open Test. We just need to wait and see once it gets closer to qualifying. Everyone knows that it's like two races: one is for qualifying, and the next one is the race. We just have to be patient and wait for the right time."

There were 33 cars on the track today, the most on a scheduled opening day since 1999, when 38 cars turned laps. A total of 43 cars are now at the Speedway, and 41 have passed technical inspection. There were 25 drivers on the track. Drivers completed 931 laps.

-ims-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Adrian Fernandez , Scott Dixon , Chip Ganassi
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing