IRL: Indy500: Greg Ray Sets Fastest Time of Month On Final PracticeDay

Ken Plotkin - motorsport.com Indianapolis, IN, May 19, 2000. Greg Ray set the fastest time thus far in pre-qualifying practice for the Indianapolis 500. His time of 223.948 mph made him the seventh different driver to lead the speed charts...

Ken Plotkin - motorsport.com

Indianapolis, IN, May 19, 2000. Greg Ray set the fastest time thus far in pre-qualifying practice for the Indianapolis 500. His time of 223.948 mph made him the seventh different driver to lead the speed charts in seven days.

Changing conditions and changing setup were what it's all about.

"If the weather is similar tomorrow to what it was today, I feel pretty good about tomorrow.

"The car is very close now. If conditions change, we'll go back to our notes. It's been windy and cool. The biggest problem with qualifying is you have to get it up in a hurry. We need to get the tires warm enough quick enough.

"Last year if the setup wasn't just right you could hustle the car, breathe the throttle and get back on it. With these 3.5 liter engines, if you breathe the throttle at all - for any reason - you pay a huge penalty."

While acknowledging that his time today will help him sleep better, Greg discounted the idea that he's got it made, or that everyone had shown what they had. He's not complacent about staying ahead of either A.J. Foyt Racing nor the Target Chip Ganassi invaders from CART.

"AJ is very crafty.  They haven't really been quick all week long, but take
today and look:  they're in the top five.  You should never underestimate
how smart that guy is.  He blows me away all the time.

"As far as the Target guys... What more compliment can you pay to a team than they've won four CART championships, four years in a row, with three different drivers. Let me tell you... that's not an accident, that's not luck."

Following Ray on today's speed chart were Foyt driver Jeff Ward and Kelley Racing's Scott Sharp, with identical times of 222.949 mph, then Foyt's Eliseo Salazar (222.921), and Ray's teammate Robby Gordon at 222.901 mph.

Two drivers were added to the field today.

Davy Jones returns to the Speedway, driving Team Coulson Racing's #40 1999 G-Force powered by NAC Oldsmobile. "I am extremely pleased to have Davy on our team," said team owner Corey Coulson. "His performance in the 1996 Indy 500 was outstanding and we want to give Davy another chance in the Indy Racing League." Jones finished second in the 1996 500, and might have won had he not been the victim of a controversial blocking incident late in the race. Jones has been out of Indy car racing since suffering a head injury in the 1997 Walt Disney World race.

Roberto Guerrero signed up with A.J. Foyt to drive the Harrah's #41 G-Force/Olds Aurora. "Roberto has always been quick and he has a lot of laps here so when I found out he was looking for a ride, I decided to put him in my third car," said Foyt. "I've hired Jeff (Sinden) and Joe (Kennedy) [Sinden Racing Services] to run the car." Roberto ran 40 laps today, with a best speed of 219.227 mph.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Greg Ray , Eliseo Salazar , Jeff Ward , Scott Sharp , Roberto Guerrero , Davy Jones , Chip Ganassi