BRACK BLITZES WAY PAST POLE SPEED AT INDIANAPOLIS
INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, May 21, 2005 -- Third Day Qualifying was a homecoming for the 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner Kenny Brack -- and a shot across the bow of the 32 other drivers in the May 29 classic.
Nineteen months removed from a racing accident that left him with several serious injuries, Brack answered team co-owner Bobby Rahal's call and returned to the Speedway May 18 as the substitute driver for injured reigning race champion Buddy Rice.
Three days and 13 hours of available practice time later, Brack had the fastest qualifying speed in the 33-car field. Brack recorded a four-lap average speed of 227.598 mph, which was faster than the pole-winning speed of Tony Kanaan (227.566) recorded May 15. But Brack, because of the qualifying procedure, will start 23rd.
In all, 10 spots were filled for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Arie Luyendyk Jr. will make a qualifying attempt May 22 to complete the 33-car field. The last time a second-day qualifier ran faster than the pole speed was in 1996 (Arie Luyendyk).
"I am just relieved that we are in the field," said Brack, the 1998 IndyCar Series champion. "I am also glad for the team obviously. They have had a real tough month. I guess they had faith in that I could do the job. And I am just thanking them for doing all of these things because it was a lot of fun to put the car in the eighth row."
In his five previous Indianapolis 500 starts, Brack's highest starting spot was third (1998). He was in the middle of Row 3 when he won the 500-Mile Race in 1999.
"I am confident in the car," he said. "Although I have to say the car has changed a lot since I've been gone. You see less out of them at the sides. And that is something that I have to get more used to in traffic situations. On my own, I guess I am pretty confident."
Other qualifiers on May 22 were IndyCar Series rookie Ryan Briscoe, who averaged 224.080 mph in the No. 33T Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone and will complete Row 8. His speed would have placed him 18th on the grid if posted on May 15.
Others currently in the field include (in order) Patrick Carpentier (222.803), Ed Carpenter (221.439), Jaques Lazier (221.228), A.J. Foyt IV (220.442), Marty Roth (219.497), Larry Foyt (219.396), Jeff Ward (218.714) and Jimmy Kite (218.565).
Luyendyk completed the Rookie Orientation Program and is eligible to put his Beck Motorsports-prepared No. 98 CURB Records Panoz/Chevrolet/Firestone in the qualifying line. Plans of making a qualifying attempt were squashed late in the day when the car brushed the SAFER Barrier in Turn 4 during practice.
The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast by ABC at 1 p.m. (EDT) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The race also will be available on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 "XM Extreme." The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Futaba Freedom 100 on May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast by ESPN2 at 2 p.m. (EDT) on May 27.