IRL: Indy500: Scott Sharp gets edge on field in practice

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, May 16, 2000 - Scott Sharp, Juan Montoya and Jimmy Vasser added their names the lengthy list of Indianapolis 500 PPG Pole contenders today by taking the top-three positions in practice at the Indianapolis Motor ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, May 16, 2000 - Scott Sharp, Juan Montoya and Jimmy Vasser added their names the lengthy list of Indianapolis 500 PPG Pole contenders today by taking the top-three positions in practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sharp, driving the #8 Delphi Automotive Systems/MCI WorldCom Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone, nearly broke the 224-mph barrier with a lap of 223.936 during "Happy Hour," the final hour of practice when track conditions are most ideal for higher speeds. "The Delphi team has been working really hard," said Sharp. "It was great to be able to do that and get them pumped up for all the long nights they've been putting in. "The car's pretty good on the long run. Then we decided to see what the car could do. We took out a little wing thinking we could get in the 222s. Then, wow, I saw it pop up there (on the dash), and we decided to come in. It's only Tuesday, and you have to put four of those laps together." Montoya, the defending CART champion, sat atop the speed chart for most of the afternoon with a lap of 222.102 in the #9 Target G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone entered by Target/Chip Ganassi Racing. Vasser was third in the #10 Target G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone at 221.773. "The car is really good," said Montoya. "I am happy with the speed we got in the half day we ran. We made some changes but didn't get a chance to get back out again. So we'll see how they run tomorrow." Persistent showers halted practice in the early afternoon for nearly three hours. Greg Ray, the defending Indy Racing Northern Light Series champion, was fourth fastest in the #1 Team Conseco/Quaker State/Moen/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone at 221.740, and Stephan Gregoire was fifth at 221.397 in the #7 Mexmil/Tokheim/Viking Air Tools/Dick Simon Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone. 1996-97 Indy Racing champion Tony Stewart, who is part-owner of the Tri Star Motorsports team, turned 11 laps in the #6 Kroger-Tri Star Motorsports Inc. Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone normally driven by Jeret Schroeder. Stewart recorded a fast lap of 218.123. Two drivers were unhurt in accidents. At 4:51 p.m., the #98 Cahill Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone driven by Donnie Beechler hit the outside retaining wall in Turn 1 and Turn 2, incurring heavy damage to the left side of the car. At 5:20 p.m., the #93 Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone driven by Dan Drinan hit the outside retaining wall in Turn 1, causing heavy damage to the left side of the car. Thirty-four drivers were on the track today, completing 1,121 laps. Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi visited the Speedway as part of the weeklong Legends of the Speedway celebration. Fittipaldi, who won the "500" in 1989 and 1993, took several ceremonial laps in the 1993 Chevrolet Z28 Camaro Pace Car. Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears will be saluted Wednesday. Mears will drive the #9 Penske Racing Gould Charge for several ceremonial laps around the 2.5-mile oval. Mears won the 1979 Indianapolis 500 with the #9 Gould Charge, his first victory at Indianapolis. Mears repeated as winner in 1984, 1988 and 1991. Practice continues from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, with gates opening at 9 a.m. Admission is $5 for everyone age 6 and older, and free for children age 5 and younger. Pole Day qualifying takes place from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. May 20. The final day of qualifications, MBNA Bump Day, is from noon-6 p.m. May 21.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Greg Ray , Stephan Gregoire , Scott Sharp , Jimmy Vasser , Jeret Schroeder , Donnie Beechler , Rick Mears , Emerson Fittipaldi , Chip Ganassi , Dick Simon
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Team Penske