Rice Reigns at Indy Buddy Rice and his ...
Rice Reigns at Indy
Buddy Rice and his #15 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz G Force/Honda team led the 88th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race today at the two times it counted: the start and finish, en route to giving the only American designed-and-built Indy Racing League IndyCar Series chassis its second consecutive Indy 500 victory. Serving as a substitute driver for the injured Kenny Brack, 28-year-old Arizonian Rice and his team overcame rain delays, a stall on his second pit stop and outstanding competition in the 33-car field to gain the first victory for Rice, his team and for Honda. He led the most laps, 91 of the 180-lap contest.
"We knew the weather would be a problem," Rice noted after his 180-lap day was done 20 laps early due to a third bout of inclement weather. The race started more than two hours late, was suspended midway due to rain storms and ended 20 laps early for the same reason. "We told Buddy the rain was 30 minutes away and he just went," remarked Rahal Letterman team manager Scott Roembke. Rice acknowledged all month that he had the best package with Panoz G Force, Honda and Firestone and credited his team for making all of the pieces work to his advantage. By staying out later than his competition prior to making his final pit stop, Rice was able to work his car hard to build a gap.
Bruno Junqueira, finishing fifth in the #36 PacifiCare Panoz G Force/Honda today came back from mid-pack. "We had to add downforce and were on a different strategy from the leaders. When I got the lead (on lap 135) the car was pretty fast and I could pull away. The rain came too late for me, but I'm happy with fifth today."
Vitor Meira brought the Rahal Letterman Racing #17 Team CENTRIX Panoz G Force/Honda home in sixth place, followed by Adrian Fernandez, sixth in the #5 Quaker State/Telmex Panoz G Force/Honda and by reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon in the #1 Target Panoz G Force/Toyota. Roger Yasukawa's 10th place finish in the #16 Sammy Panoz G Force/Honda gave Rahal Letterman Racing all three cars in the top ten and Panoz G Force six of the ten highest places in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
The Indy Racing League IndyCar Series takes a weekend breather and reconvenes on Saturday, June 12th at Texas Motor Speedway for the Bombardier 500K, race #5 in the 16-event campaign.