IRL: Indy 500 private testing update

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, April 16, 2001 - Indianapolis 500 winners Al Unser Jr., Buddy Lazier and Eddie Cheever Jr. turned laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today as private testing intensified in preparation for the 85th Indianapolis 500-Mile...

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, April 16, 2001 - Indianapolis 500 winners Al Unser Jr., Buddy Lazier and Eddie Cheever Jr. turned laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today as private testing intensified in preparation for the 85th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race on May 27.

Two-time "500" runner-up Scott Goodyear and rookie Casey Mears also participated in the session.

Speeds weren't announced, but Lazier said he ran a lap in the 220 mph range and Cheever said his #51 Excite@Home Indy Race Car Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone was "trimmed out to run 220," even though = air temperatures were in the mid-40 degree range and high winds were = prevalent around the 2.5-mile Speedway oval.

"Not bad at all," Lazier said about his morning run in the No. 91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/LifeFitness/Delta Faucet = Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone entry. "We have different weather conditions than the probable = conditions of May, but taking that into account, we believe we had a productive day. = We were probably at 218 or so right away and we're just going through the = list of things we're trying to do."

Cheever and Goodyear kept busy testing a new chassis and working with the new Infiniti 35A engine.

"I'm breaking in a new car, so we're just doing preliminary early runs on it," Cheever said. "Scott is doing some development work. We're trimmed out to do 220. I think good laps in May will be in the region = of 225."

"With the new (Infiniti) engine being smaller and 30 pounds lighter, the center of gravity has changed," said Goodyear. "We spent 20-30 laps = this morning just getting into the area and the times seemed to come down = quite well. We're able to try some things and get some answers with balance = and try these motors at this race track."

Unser and Mears were in the No. 3 Galles Racing Starz SuperPak=20 G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone and the No. 31 Galles Racing = SportsLine.com=20 G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone, respectively.

"The air's a little too cold for us to learn a whole lot," said Unser. "We're basically getting the feel for the new car, getting new = pieces on it. We've done some development with the aero(dynamics) and it's our first chance to get on a big track and see what the wind tunnel's done. Everything seems to be playing okay. What they did in the wind tunnel = has correlated to the race track. They got this one right so far."

Mears, son of "500" veteran Roger Mears and nephew of four-time winner Rick Mears, said the track and testing are "about what I = expected," after passing his driver's test a year ago.

Mears' second Galles Racing teammate, fellow rookie Didier Andr=E9, participated in the Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program last weekend. "I had the luxury of watching Didier go around with the same setup," = Mears said. "Right away I got the feeling of the limit of the car. These definitely aren't optimum conditions but I'm a rookie and every lap is important because the learning curve is so huge. Hopefully in May I can = run a lot of miles."

Private testing continues daily through April 24. Official practice for the 85th Indianapolis 500 begins with Opening Day on May 6.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Casey Mears , Buddy Lazier , Scott Goodyear , Roger Mears , Al Unser