IRL: Indy 500Day 17 - Carbueration Day - May 22

11 a.m. -- ...

11 a.m. -- #21 Guerrero turned lap of 202.950, fastest of session. 11:22 a.m. -- #50 Roe to pit road. 11:24 a.m. -- #7 Salazar to pit road. 11:26 a.m. -- #1 Durant to pit road. 11:29 a.m. -- #90 St. James turned lap at 209.795, fastest of session. 11:30 a.m. -- #3 Buhl turned a lap at 209.624, second fastest of session. 11:31 a.m. -- YELLOW, debris on backstretch, north short chute. 11:35 a.m. -- GREEN. 11:37 a.m. -- YELLOW, #42 Gordon smoking, to pits, on fire, extinguished, crew reports blown engine. 11:50 a.m. -- GREEN. 11:52 a.m. -- #1 Durant on track for first time. 11:52 a.m. -- #44 Kinser on track for first time. #17 Giaffone turned lap at 209.922, fastest of session. 11:56 a.m. -- YELLOW, tow-in for #54 Vitolo. 12:05 p.m. -- YELLOW, debris. 12:12 p.m. -- GREEN. 12:14 p.m. -- #34 Zampedri turned a lap at 211.854, fastest of session. 12:15 p.m. -- #6 Goodyear turned a lap at 212.972, fastest of session. 12:16 p.m. -- YELLOW, #22 Greco tow-in, oil pressure problem. 12:23 p.m. -- YELLOW, #1 Durant tow-in from pit exit, water leak. 12:25 p.m. -- GREEN. 12:26 p.m. -- YELLOW, debris. 12:29 p.m. -- GREEN. 12:32 p.m. -- #4 Brack turned lap at 212.141, second fastest of session. 12:33 p.m. -- #2 Stewart turned lap at 212.359, third fastest of session. 12:40 p.m. -- #97 Ray turned lap at 214.807, fastest of session. =97 #2 Stewart turned lap at 215.502, fastest of session. 12:45 p.m. -- YELLOW, #51 slowed on backstretch. 12:49 p.m. -- GREEN. 1 p.m. =97 END OF SESSION.

Post Final Practice Quotes:

BILLY ROE: "The advice I've gotten from most of the drivers is if you're going to win it, you've got to take care of the equipment." (race strategy): "Antonio (Ferrari, team owner) is an endurance racer and we're going to go with his strategy. We're going to treat this like an endurance race and we're going to win it."

TONY STEWART: (about how speeds have changed since he changed helmets): "We changed a lot of things. We changed two or three things at a time, including the helmet and the padding around my head. We changed a lot of variables so we're not sure what made the difference But I'll be using that helmet for Race Day, that's for sure. The car was pretty close, not exactly the way we want it, but it's close. I feel really good about Race Day."

KENNY BRACK: "We are happy. Time today did not really mean that much. We are confident. We have a good car. I am very lucky, I feel, with the Galles family. I think we will do well. I just hope I just hope I don't screw this up for the team."

ALESSANDRO ZAMPEDRI: "I'm very happy with my race car. It's a good solid race car. I'm gonna have a long day in front of me. I feel good. I ran (the car) in traffic a bit. I picked (up) a little bit of push. Of course, that's pretty normal. I'm quite happy with how the car handles in traffic."

SCOTT GOODYEAR: "I don't feel well and I'm very pleased. I think everyone is out for the same thing after the cars are rebuilt. We'll wait and see what Race Day conditions bring." (about strep throat): "My wife and the newborn are the only two (in the family) to avoid it."

MIKE GROFF: "Just truckin' around, just feeling the car out. The chassis feels good like it always does. It's a long race. Hopefully, we'll be there at the end."

VINCENZO SOSPIRI: "We had some set(s) of tires to break in. The car feels very good. I'm very comfortable. I haven't been in traffic yet, although I'm sure it will push. Today felt like one of my greatest days in the race car this month. Getting back in the car is like getting back to reality. There's one thing no one's noticed: The last time a rookie won this competition was back in 1966 and that was the year I was born."

BUDDY LAZIER: "The car is okay. We were able to isolate some problems today. I just wish I felt a little more comfortable. I am sick. I am really sick. I have some viral thing and the flu, they think. But, the practice went better than it could have. We learned some things, but we're saving the equipment for race day."

ARIE LUYENDYK: "We only did two laps at real speed. We just wanted to check the systems to make sure there were no leaks or anything. So, we didn't do as many fast laps as we really wanted."

GREG RAY: "We were breaking in some new sets of tires. We've had limited laps here. It's comfortable. Our goal wasn't to go fast but to get comfortable. Ran in some traffic...not as much as we wanted to. Today's my son's (Winston) birthday. He's four years old. We're ready to throw the dice and go racing Sunday and see where they land."

Nissan Motorsports issued a table today showing that Infiniti Indy-powered machines ran 1,372 laps and 3,430 total miles during the month of May to date in nine cars. The leader was Dr. Jack Miller, who ran 219 laps of practice. Two Infiniti Indy engine failures were experienced during May practice and qualifying sessions.

At 11:05 a.m., the temperature was 59 degrees with winds out of the northeast at nine miles an hour. At 3:23 p.m., the temperature was 64 degrees with winds out of the northeast at seven miles an hour, gusting to 21 mph.

Galles Racing International captured the $40,000 top prize today in the $70,000 Coors Indy Pit Stop Challenge, posting a time of 14.284 seconds in the final. The victory marked the second straight for Galles, which has won the contest five times in the past nine years. In the final, the #4 Monsoon Galles Racing entry driven by Kenny Brack beat the #51 FirstPlus Team Cheever unit and driver Eddie Cheever Jr., which clocked in at 15.133 seconds. The winning Galles team was composed of Gary Armentrout (chief mechanic and right front), Darren Russell (right rear), Donnie Miller (left front), Paul Hennessey (left rear), Russ Marr (fueler) and Tim McCree (vent man). The FirstPlus Team Cheever crew got $10,000 for second. Based on comparative times in the final bracket reached, the #22 Team Scandia entry was third and collected $7,500; the #52 FirstPlus Team Cheever entry was fourth and received $5,000; #42 Team Sabco was fifth and received $2,500; #5 Treadway Racing was sixth and received $2,000; #44 Sinden Racing Services was seventh and received $1,500 and #27 Blueprint Racing also picked up $1,500 for eighth. The results: Quarter-final results: #22 Team Scandia, 16.863 seconds plus five-second penalty for a man over the wall too soon def. #44 Sinden Racing Services, which didn't start engine. #51 FirstPlus Team Cheever, 15.247 seconds def. #5 Treadway Racing, 17.521 seconds. #4 Galles Racing, 13.330 seconds def. #42 Team Sabco, 14.274 seconds. #52 FirstPlus Team Cheever advanced to semifinals over #27 Blueprint Racing, which didn't field a car because it didn't have an engine. Semifinals: #4 Galles Racing, 17.096 seconds def. #22 Team Scandia, 20.833 seconds. #51 First Plus Team Cheever, 17.305 seconds def. #52 FirstPlus Team Cheever, disqualified, didn't leave box. Final: #4 Galles Racing, 14.284 seconds def. #51 FirstPlus Team Cheever, 15.133 seconds. QUOTES: GARY ARMENTROUT: "We practice a lot (outside the shop in Albuquerque). Sometimes we draw a crowd. It's become a tradition. We expect to win. Mitch Davis, the crew chief on Cheever, won it for Galles last year. I was with Galles running the team in Michigan. We practice stops for the contest just carrying tires over the wall." (About concentrating on the contest): "When we got here, the backup car wasn't complete, so we concentrated on preparing that. We started concentrating for the pit contest on Monday morning. We set this as one of our goals. We've accomplished this. We set other goals to run good during the 500 miles. We want to be in the hunt at the end to go for the win." MITCH DAVIS (crew chief, #51 FirstPlus Team Cheever): "It came down to lane choice. The outside lane had more grip but they won the toss. It was THAT close. We're happy. It was good for us and we're that much more prepared for the race." (About being a new team): "Three of us worked at Galles (himself, Wayne Selman, Matt Demar). I won it before. I have won the pit stop competition with Patrick Racing in 1991 with Danny Sullivan, with Al (Unser) Jr. in '93 and (as crew chief) with Davy (Jones) in 1996. We're going to win this thing (the race)." EDDIE CHEEVER JR.: "It was real close. The crew did a great job but we got beaten a little bit by a team that's won a lot of times. That's okay. It was a good time." LUKE WETHINGTON (Manager, Team Scandia): "It was my fault because the right rear wheel nut wasn't tight and I didn't want to drop the car. As it turned out, the wheel was on. I blew it." MARCO GRECO: "I wish I could win. It was good. It was great to have different opportunities to make more money and to entertain the fans. It was fun. Unfortunately, so nothing happened with the wheel and the team manager didn't drop the car. That's all." JEFF WARD: (after semifinal): "I don't know what happened. We couldn't get the right rear on. It was my race car and race engine. I didn't want to drop the clutch when I saw Cheever was winning. He's in his backup car. It just wasn't worth the risk."

Notes, Quotes from Trackside Conference Room:

ALESSANDRO ZAMPEDRI: (About recovering from last year's accident:) "As far as normal life, I'm 75 percent, 70 percent. As far as driving, I'm very close, 99.9 percent, because you're never 100 percent. The ankle doesn't hurt. The joint movements are fine for driving. Driving's probably the easiest thing for me." (Have you talked to Roberto Guerrero since the incident?) "Yes, it happened the other night on the radio live, for the first time. He tried to call me in the hospital a number of times and I was not able to talk to anyone at that time. He apologized. I really appreciate that. He admitted he made a mistake. He said he didn't know that he was one or two laps down. He didn't have the radio with his crew. For sure, if that is true, he was in a tough position. He apologized. We shook hands. And we try to move over. You can't rewind it and try to change it." (How did you feel when you drove through that turn again for the first time since the accident?) "I would be lying to say I completely forgot about it. As soon as you get up to speed, everything goes away. You have to be tough. The more laps you go, the more you forget about it." (About the surgeries performed to repair his injuries:) "I had nine surgeries. The first surgeries were to put everything back. Then I had bone grafts and then a skin graft...one blood vessel got damaged and wasn't producing enough blood to my foot. They took a vessel from my arm and put it into my leg and then it was able to produce enough blood. That fixed it. They did a wonderful job." (How much of this race is mental and how much is physical?) ""80 percent is mental and 20 percent is physical. This place is unbelievable. This place can bite you. That's why it's very important to stay very focused 'til the checkered flag. It's a lot of mental stress."

LYN ST. JAMES: (On race strategy) "The thing about this race, the strategy, is to stay clear. You can lose this race on the first lap. It's paramount to have a clean start. The key to me is to be clean and safe. (On field being expanded) "It's a tremendous amount of relief for my sponsor, my team, my crew. Even if I hadn't been involved in the stress of the decision, I would have concurred for the integrity of the race.

BUDDY LAZIER: (What changes since winning Indy?) "Now that I've won the Indy 500 my fiancee is going to marry me. No, really, it justified a year of mad passion of racing It hasn't changed my outlook on life. . . but there is a backlash to things. You're viewed differently by the racing community. (Feelings as returning champion) When you come back you feel like you know what you need to have to win. It toys with you. But you have to take the pressure off yourself. (On the start of the race) "My biggest concern of the start is the greater air displacement. Catching the slipstream will be more important. Getting within the broken down air is going to help you a lot. (What will race be like?) "Either it'll go to the luckiest one or the smartest one. There's going to be a lot of oil on the track, it'll get slippery. There will be not as much attrition as expected. . . . Since the track was narrowed a few years ago it's difficult to pass. Slipstreaming will be crucial.

JOHNNY UNSER: (Top on your mind for race) "I'm going to be watching the oil pressure gauge. You have to take care of things and be there at the end.

RON HEMELGARN: (car owner for Lazier, St. James, and Johnny Unser) (Engine reliability a major concern?) "Both engine manufacturers have made great strides in reliability. There have been few engine blowups. . . . We've lost one engine all month and put on a lot of miles.

MARK DISMORE: (This May different for you?) "We got a late start. I've never worked with a team that so jelled so good. I've never been with anybody where everyone got along so well. It's really neat. (Accident in 1991) "I'll never forget it but I don't dwell on it. It's part of my life. It looked like a plane crash on wheels. It shows the safety gains in racing now. If it was ten years before, I wouldn't be here now. (Success since then) "The Atlantic (series) is very competitive and my win record there is second to no one. I won 4 out of 5 there after the accident and won midget races. I had a good year after the accident. I won Laguna Seca and had success at Long Beach. (Comfort level since accident) "It's not better, but I'm not in the dark. I ask more questions. For example, turn 1 is like being in a hurricane. You're wrestling for control of the car. I hope the rookies, everyone that hasn't been through it (on a start) goes with a certain amount of caution. (What is first turn like to a rookie?) "I think a certain arrogance goes along with being a rookie. You think you have the answers but you don't. I got crossed up there last year. This place demands respect. (On his team) "Tom Kelley and I seem to have something special. Tom has tough business experience. I believe we can win the thing. I don't want to just run the Indianapolis 500, I want to win the thing. (On race schedule) "We don't have spare equipment. We need to come out unscathed and finish. I want to do a good job for sponsors. If everyone happens like I want it to, Texas won't be a big deal. (Other plans) "No, just focusing on this. I may get to do some testing for John Paul, Jr if the car's ready before he is. I can use the seat time. I'm looking forward to doing testing. Right now, me and the car need to be one, and I hope to be there by Sunday."

TYCE CARLSON: (On driving Silver Crown after 500) "I'm concentrating on IRL right now. That's what's important. (On race schedule) "I'm used to doing 90 races a year. I usually get back from the track, see if the car needs work, and get ready for the next ride."

STEPHAN GREGOIRE: (about advice for rookies on turbulence at the start): "The IRL is doing a lot of meetings for drivers who haven't raced here before. Drivers like Johnny Rutherford and Al Unser are here to explain to those drivers who have never been here how to anticipate this problem. Everybody is asking me, 'Do you think it is a problem to have so many rookies?' and I say, 'No, it's not a problem because I think the rookies are very cautious.' I remember last year everyone was very careful. When I was a rookie in 1993, I was very, very careful. You didn't want to do any mistake because everybody was telling that it was very dangerous to do the start, which is true." (About getting his ride): "Last year, Tom (Chastain) was sponsoring a team which was called ABF and someone was working for this team, a mechanic. His name was Yves (Chappaz). I met Yves last year in Phoenix and he wanted me to meet them. He said, "I would like to introduce you to Chastain because Tom would like to do something in racing next year with the Indy Racing League.' But I didn't know exactly if Tom wanted to be a sponsor or if Tom wanted to have a team. So then I went to Tom's house with this French mechanic and we met for the first time. And Tom thought I was Michel Jourdain and I said, "Nope, I'm Stephan Gregoire.' He thought that I was someone else. So then he said, "Oh, yes, I remember.' We got along very well and I like Tom because Tom is a very honest person and I think that is very important for me especially because I want to be with good people."

TOM CHASTAIN (owner, Chastain Motorsports, about becoming an owner): "The whole involvement started last year. I liked the fact that we were putting the cars back in the hands of the mechanics, where they can really work on the cars. I liked the fact that the cost of racing had been lowered to the point where somebody could enter into the program that is not wealthy. I called the IRL office and I said, "I'd like to sponsor a car.' They gave me a selection of four cars and I chose a team and from that, I helped sponsor them at Indy and a couple of other places. That really kindled back a desire that I had as a youth when I was here in Indianapolis. I think the first race I saw was 1957. I remember the old garage where the mechanics were working on the cars and actually rebuilding the engines in the garage area. Because the garage area was so small, they were outside. People used to line the fence and just watch them work. It brought it back to a point where I thought that if it was ever gonna be possible for me to be involved, it had to be this year."

ARIE LUYENDYK: (Confident as polesitter): "To a degree, because the team does a good job, the car is handling well all month, and Tim Wardrop and I are in our third year together, so we have a pretty good handle on what it takes to make a car fast here. (On race strategy): "When I won the race in 1990 I ran hard all day. Last year, the approach was to go easy on the engine and then go hard at the end. You might as well take it easy on the equipment and stay in the hunt. . . . If you're leading and you can go as slow as possible, that's probably the way to go. I think you're going to see a lot of good, competitive racing because the speeds are pretty level. (On start) "I'd rather see a fast start. I think it's safer than a slow one. I think we're going to see something in the middle. You can usually expect 180, maybe 170, at the start/finish line. I've been asked to bring the field down relatively slow. I'm in the pole position so I guess I'm in charge, and try to take charge in a positive way. "

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Stephan Gregoire , Roberto Guerrero , Kenny Brack , Danny Sullivan , Johnny Unser , Johnny Rutherford , Al Unser , Michel Jourdain , Jack Miller