IRL: Wheldon leads rain-shortened Mother's Day at Indy

Pole Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been postponed to Saturday, May 20, after rains continued to hamper on track activity at the historic oval. Light rain greeted crews as they arrived at the Speedway early this morning but an...

Pole Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been postponed to Saturday, May 20, after rains continued to hamper on track activity at the historic oval. Light rain greeted crews as they arrived at the Speedway early this morning but an appearance by the sun at 9:30 was a cause for optimism. With a dry circuit and track temperatures hovering at 70 degrees, crews were told the speedway would open at 12:30.

Most of the cars had been towed from the garage area to the pit lane when light showers started two minutes before the green flag. Delayed until 1:18 p.m., the track opened under a running yellow for three minutes.

Once the track went green it didn't take Scott Dixon long to post the fastest speed of the month at 226.946 mph. Dixon quickly pushed the speed to 227.274 mph but it was Dixon's Ganassi Racing teammate Dan Wheldon who ended the day atop the speed chart. Just like his teammate, it took Wheldon less than three minutes to post a big number on the speed chart.

Wheldon, who was testing a new aerodynamic helmet today, turned a lap at 228.663 mph before rain closed the track for the day at 2:15 p.m.

With the first weekend of qualifying washed out, teams must use their remaining track time wisely. At Indianapolis, qualifying trim can be a lot different than the race set up.

"The thing you've got to remember is that people remember the race winner of life," said Wheldon. "They remember the pole winner for as long as the guy's on the pole, until the race starts. With qualifying being pushed back a whole week, you've got to focus on the race car. That's all that counts."

Dixon's lap held up for fourth fastest on the day, with Sam Hornish and Helio Castroneves earning the second and third spots on the speed chart. Hornish was the only other driver to top 228 with a lap at 228.220 mph.

The top nine drivers improved upon their previous best with Kosuke Matsuura tenth on the combined speed chart with a lap at 225.140 mph set on May 10.

Dario Franchitti was the fastest of the five-car Andretti Green regime, leading his teammate Tony Kanaan by a tenth of a second today, after recording a lap at 226.960 mph.

"We got one run and I was trying to get a clear lap," said Franchitti, after turning a total of six laps. "We just need one clear lap on the track to know exactly where we are."

After improving his speed, Franchitti said he's "a lot happier than I was a couple of days ago."

Ed Carpenter led the three-car Vision Racing team after turning a total of ten laps today. His best, on his fifth tour of the circuit, averaged 225.262 mph. Carpenter's teammates both improved today. Tomas Scheckter is currently 11th on the combined speed chart while Townsend Bell is 15th.

Fernandez Racing teammates Scott Sharp and Matsuura are currently ninth and tenth on the combined chart.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Townsend Bell , Ed Carpenter , Sam Hornis
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing