IRL: Indy500: Practice Report 2001 May 10

David Reininger - motorsport.com Indianapolis, IN (May 10, 2001) - Greg Ray was back atop the speed charts today after turning a lap at 224.542 mph, impressive speed for a lap taken during the heat of early afternoon. Ray's best lap of the day...

David Reininger - motorsport.com

Indianapolis, IN (May 10, 2001) - Greg Ray was back atop the speed charts today after turning a lap at 224.542 mph, impressive speed for a lap taken during the heat of early afternoon.

Ray's best lap of the day came in his backup car, the Johns Manville Menard No. 2T, since he is not completely happy with the primary car. After turning 11 laps in the backup car, Ray focused his attention on his primary car, which after 20 laps had attained a speed of 219.251 mph.

"We're happy with our T car, but we really think our primary car might be a little better, but I'm not happy with it yet," said Ray. "The balance isn't there yet. We're tweaking on it. We went back to the garage and made a lot of changes. I hate making a lot of changes when you're doing 225 mph around a race track."

"We found out a little bit about the primary car, but we're still not happy with it."

Gil de Ferran gained nearly four miles per hour in his primary car, the Oldsmobile-powered Marlboro Team Penske Dallara, recording a lap at 223.579 mph, to end the day second on the speed charts.

De Ferran and his teammate, Helio Castroneves, will miss practice next week when they race in the CART series at Motegi, Japan. Limited practice at the Speedway has forced the Penske team to work on their qualifying and race setups this week.

"We're continuing to go through our plan for the week, working on both qualifying and race setup," said de Ferran. "We're taking baby steps and today we were able to post our fastest lap. We'll continue to search for more speed tomorrow, but overall the Marlboro car is handling well, and I feel we're in good shape."

Helio Castroneves, who celebrated his birthday today, was eighth fastest after turning a lap at 221.996 mph. "All in all, I had a good birthday today. I brushed the wall but was able to save it and not hit the wall, so that's probably the best birthday gift yet."

Jeff Ward was third fastest in the Heritage Motorsports entry. Ward, whose car is powered by an Oldsmobile engine prepared in the shops of Team Menard, recorded a lap at 223.432 mph. "Everything went fine today," said Ward. "We had the new car out today, shook it down and got 50-plus laps. We put on some suspension parts from the old car after lunch and made it better."

Tony Stewart has to be pleased after posting the fourth and fifth fastest times of the day in two different cars. "We got a big left yesterday and so we are fine tuning," said Stewart, who set the second fastest lap yesterday (225.004-mph). "If I thought the car was perfect, I would be bored, but we have a lot of work to do."

Stewart's speeds today were nearly identical, 223.188 mph in his primary car and 223.186 mph in the backup car.

Arie Luyendyk remained in the top-five for the fourth consecutive day with a lap at 223.009 mph. Luyendyk turned 19 laps today in the Meijer sponsored Treadway-Hubbard Racing entry, setting his best lap on his 18th time around the circuit.

Michael Andretti made his first appearance in the top-ten, recording a lap at 222.927 mph, making him the sixth fastest driver on the day's speed chart. "We are going to pound it real hard tomorrow," said Andretti. "The race setup is good, but we would like to find some more speed for qualifying."

Eddie Cheever was seventh fastest today, followed by Castroneves and Jimmy Vasser. Eliseo Salazar, driving A.J. Foyt's No. 14 rounded out the top ten.

Notes:

The logistical nightmare posed by Tony Stewart's attempt to race in the Indianapolis 500 and a 600 mile stock car race at Charlotte in the same day means he won't have much time to celebrate should he win the Indy 500. "They get about sixty seconds and I'm gone," said Stewart. "I can take a drink of milk, put a wreath on, and hold one finger up so they can take a couple of pictures, and I'm leaving."

Stewart promised he'd be back on Monday and "we'll invite everybody that was here on Sunday back on Monday and we'll have a big party."

***

Roberto Guerrero will take a ride in Stephan Gregoire's Dick Simon entry tomorrow in an attempt to sort out the No. 7 Yellow Freight G Force. If Gregoire can get his car up to speed and qualified for the race, expect Guerrero to find a ride in Dick Simon's second car.

***

Steve Knapp, who is entered in the No. 37 Brayton Engineering car, is still waiting for his car to be finished and has yet to spend any time on track. Knapp will get some seat time in Memo Gidley's car tomorrow in attempt to find speed in that car. Knapp and Gidley are teammates at Brayton Engineering.

***

Indy Racing Online, the official website of the Indy Racing Northern Light Series, registered over ten million hits on Wednesday, far surpassing the previous single day record of 5.3 million hits set on race day last year.

***

Casey Mears has been cleared to drive by IMS Medical Director, Dr. Henry Bock.

***

Scott Goodyear's No. 52 Infiniti-powered Dallara is now sporting sponsorship from Grill 2 Go on its sidepods. Goodyear's car is now officially entered as the Thermos Grill2Go Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti.

***

A total of 67 cars are now at the Speedway, 60 of which have passed technical inspection.

***

According to Dr. Henry Bock, 51 drivers have passed their physical examination. Thirty-eight drivers have been on track to date.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Casey Mears , Eliseo Salazar , Stephan Gregoire , Jeff Ward , Arie Luyendyk , Scott Goodyear , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Memo Gidley , Roberto Guerrero , Steve Knapp , Dick Simon , A.J. Foyt
Teams Team Penske