IRL: Indy 500: Paul Dana opening day notes

DANA COMPLETES ROOKIE ORIENTATION AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY INDIANAPOLIS, IND., SUNDAY, May 8, 2005 -- Paul Dana, driver of the No. 91 Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone entry in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, today...

DANA COMPLETES ROOKIE ORIENTATION AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

INDIANAPOLIS, IND., SUNDAY, May 8, 2005 -- Paul Dana, driver of the No. 91 Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone entry in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, today completed the four-phase rookie orientation program at the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway during opening-day ceremonies for the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. All newcomers to the Speedway must complete a ten-lap run at each speed range of 195-200 mph; 200-205 mph; 205-210 mph; and 210 mph and above.

Dana's top speed was 211.786 mph around the 2.5-mile circuit. The top speed of the day was over 221 mph, and pole speed will likely be in the 226 mph range.

"Mission accomplished. We did it, and we did it real quick," Dana said. "We got through it pretty easily. I'm pretty sick actually, so we knew that as soon as we cleared the minimum we needed to do to get through the rookie day that we were going to park it. I need to get home and get to bed. We'll come back tomorrow and start taking some wing out of it and see how fast we can go.

"The Hemelgarn team has a lot of experience around here. They've won it. Tim Wardrop, our engineer, has won here several times, so they know what they're doing. The team just put a lot of downforce in the car and nailed it to the track, so it was pretty much as stable as it's ever going to be. When we start taking the wing out, it'll start getting touchy, but maybe I'll be a little sharper. I'm kind of knocked out right about now.

"It's a special day. It's something that you think about and work for your whole life. To do it is really cool. I really want to thank the ethanol industry and our other sponsors Remy and Life Fitness for giving me this opportunity. It's a long, long month, and we need to qualify for the race, and we need to finish the race, so today is a milestone, but there are much bigger ones to come this month, and I'm just focusing on those."

Practice continues all week and qualifying begins with MBNA Pole Day on Saturday, May 14. The race itself is Sunday, May 29 1:00 PM Eastern and is televised live on ABC Sports.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Dana