IRL: Indy500: Robby Gordon Fastest Monday as Speeds Climb

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 15, 2000 - Teamwork put Robby Gordon on top of the speed chart in practice for the 84th Indianapolis 500 on May 15, with Gordon recording a fast lap of 223.120 mph around the 2.5-mile oval in the ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 15, 2000 - Teamwork put Robby Gordon on top of the speed chart in practice for the 84th Indianapolis 500 on May 15, with Gordon recording a fast lap of 223.120 mph around the 2.5-mile oval in the #32 Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone fielded by Team Menard. Gordon and teammate Greg Ray took turns driving each other’s cars throughout the day. Ray practiced in the #32 car for 50 laps today, while Gordon spent most of the morning and early afternoon in Ray’s #1T Team Conseco/Quaker State/Moen/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Each gained feedback from the other about how to best set up their cars, according to Gordon. “Tom Knapp (Team Menard team manager) has a very defined schedule that he wants to follow here,” Gordon said. “Greg is to work on qualifying setup the first two days, and I’m to work on race setup. I have to give credit to Greg (for the speed today). Ray was third fastest overall today in the #32 car at 221.735. Gordon is racing the Indianapolis 500 despite his status as a full-time driver on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Gordon ran out of fuel while leading with 1½ laps remaining in the Indianapolis 500 last year, eventually finishing fourth. “The cars were very nice to drive last year,” Gordon said. “They’re even nicer to drive this year. I’m fortunate that Tom is on his game. He’s working on the (Indianapolis) 500 all season long while working on all the other races.” For the second consecutive day, Al Unser Jr. was second fastest, at 221.861, in the #3 Galles ECR Racing Tickets.com Starz Encore Superpak G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Unser was fastest on the first day of testing Saturday. Eddie Cheever Jr., who was fastest Sunday, was fourth today in the #51 Excite@Home Indy Race Car Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone at 221.506, and Scott Harrington was fifth in the #17 Nienhouse Motorsports Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone at 221.397. Speeds have increased dramatically in the first three days of official practice for the Indianapolis 500, which takes place May 28. The top seven drivers were faster today than Cheever’s top speed for Sunday, 220.881. On Sunday, 12 drivers were faster than Unser’s top speed on Saturday. Target/Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Juan Montoya and Jimmy Vasser practiced briefly for the first time this month in their primary and backup cars. Vasser, driving the #10 Target G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone, ran 220.146 with only nine laps of practice, good for 13th fastest of the day. Montoya ran 219.213 with 12 laps of practice in the #9 Target G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone, 19th fastest of the day. “We just shook down the cars,” said Chip Ganassi, team owner. “They’ve all got new engines, so we wanted to see how they work. The crew isn’t here yet. They get in tomorrow so we’ll hit it hard then.” The Target/Chip Ganassi team competed in the CART series event at the Twin Ring Motegi oval Sunday in Japan. Thirty-six drivers were on the track today, completing 1,779 laps. Two drivers were unhurt in accidents. Just before 1:30 p.m., Dan Drinan, of Indianapolis, did a 180-degree spin in Turn 3 and made light contact with the outside retaining wall. The #93 Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone suffered only light damage to the right front wheel. At 4:14 p.m., Indy Racing Northern Light Series rookie Sam Hornish Jr. made contact with the Turn 4 outside retaining wall. The car suffered rear-end and right-side damage. Hubbard-Immke Racing announced today that Beck Motorsports driver Hideshi Matsuda will drive its entry at this event, substituting for the injured Tyce Carlson. Carlson was released Monday from Methodist Hospital after suffering a concussion and bruised foot in an accident Sunday. He has not been cleared to drive. Practice continues from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (EST) Tuesday, with gates opening at 9 a.m. Admission is $5 for everyone age 6 and older, and free for children age 5 and younger. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will salute two-time winner Emerson Fittipaldi at 3:45 p.m. as part of its Legends of the Speedway celebration. Fittipaldi, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1989 and 1993, will drive the 1993 Chevrolet Camaro Official Pace Car for several ceremonial laps. Pole Day qualifying takes place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 20. The final day of qualifications, MBNA Bump Day, is from noon-6 p.m. May 21.

-IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Jimmy Vasser , Tyce Carlson , Emerson Fittipaldi , Scott Harrington , Chip Ganassi , Dan Drinan , Sam Hornis , Matsuda Hideshi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing