IRL: Day 12 - Indy 500 - May 14

DAY 12 WEDNESDAY, MAY 14 Buddy Lazier was fastest of the day with a lap at 216.570 miles an hour in the ...

DAY 12 WEDNESDAY, MAY 14

Buddy Lazier was fastest of the day with a lap at 216.570 miles an hour in the #91T Delta Faucet-Montana- Hemelgarn Racing. Billy Boat was the fastest of the day among not-yet qualified drivers with a lap at 215.151. LYN ST. JAMES: (about practice today): "The runs today are great. My engine is so smooth (that) I could do my knitting down the backstretch...but I don't knit."

Over the last two days, speeds have increased for many competitors. In some cases, drivers have turned laps with race setups faster than they qualified last weekend. Here are what some had to say on the subject: A.J. FOYT: "The biggest reason is he (Davey Hamilton) balloon-footed on the qualifying run. He ran (the) fastest lap first of the qualifying run. We haven't changed too much. We're just trying to catch up."

BUZZ CALKINS: "Blew up the engine in the morning (of Saturday qualifying). The first time we got out with the new engine was when we qualified. We threw in an old engine that was down on horsepower and did the best with what we had." (About running race setups): "We're trying to get more downforce. We're running with more fuel. We're just trying to get comfortable."

STEPHAN GREGOIRE: "I don't fell like we're going faster. We aren't trying to get the fastest lap. We're trying different things. We're trying to know the car. We('re) trying to concentrate on setup for the race. We know we can try bigger stagger, in which we could go faster. We have a push right now. We're trying to work with this push without changing stagger." (about running with traffic): "Usually I do that on Carb Day. We'll find that out on Carb Day. I know we need some more downforce for the race." (about race speeds): "I would say 210, 211. I'm going to use a sixth gear and take it easy. If they (other drivers) want to run fast(er), that's their problem. I want to be (there) at the end of the race."

BUDDY LAZIER: "We had to cram a month's worth of work into one qualifying morning. We had to put a lot of band- aids on the car for qualifying. Now we've had the time to go back and that's why we're going faster. We still have a lot of work to do. The guys are working hard and we're catching up." (If he qualified today): "I'd guarantee you we'd be in the 218s." (about running in traffic): "I think that's very smart (to do it now). These are very aerodynamic creatures. You need to have a car that will run with air displacement. Every time we run we get a whole catalog of new things to review. We're working on it all." (about the race): "We're five positions back from where you'd like to be. We're going to have to take our time and I'm going to have to use my head. Just when you think you're going to have to run 203, guys will run 216 and finish. Just when you think it's going to take 216, guys will run 203 and finish. It's a long race. Certainly we're feeling better and better about it."

STEVE KINSER: "We were not planning on qualifying last weekend, but we thought a 210 would make the race. Now I think we could run in the (2)14s. Today, we weren't going for speed. We've been running full loads of fuel and working on race setups. We're checking out different combinations for different weather conditions so we will know what to go with."

Stefan Johansson Motorsports Managing Director Vern Schuppan said today that the team's change to an Infiniti motor has taken place. It has taken four days to rework the car, assigned to veteran Scott Harrington. The team leased an Infiniti from Hemelgarn Racing in order to plumb its race car and prepare it for competition, according to a team release. "We have worked so hard this month to make our program come together and we have funds tied up in a motor program that never came to fruition," Schuppan said. "The change has really put us behind and there have been a lot of obstacles we didn't think we'd have to deal with."

The 24th annual Art Pollard Memorial Picnic to benefit Larue Carter Hospital Youth Service is scheduled for 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. in Tent #1 behind the Speedway's flag lot.

Winners in the 31st annual STP/American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association writing, photography and broadcasting competitions will be announced May 24 at the annual AARWBA breakfast before the running of the "500." The annual contest has been funded by STP since its inception in 1967. Competitions are held in 13 categories.

Steve Kinser would be the second from his family to make an Indianapolis 500 field. His cousin, the late Sheldon Kinser, made six "500" starts with a best finish of sixth in 1981.

Nine drivers are scheduled to appear on Thursday night's "Indy Live" radio show from the restaurant at Brickyard Crossing Inn and Golf Resort. Vincenzo Sospiri, Billy Boat and Arie Luyendyk, plus Indy Racing League executive director Leo Mehl and Galles team representative Jamie Galles, are set for 8-8:30 p.m. Scott Goodyear, Roberto Guerrero, Kenny Brack, Tony Stewart, Johnny O'Connell and Jim Guthrie are scheduled for 8:30-9 p.m. The show is produced by the IMS Radio Network.

The American Red Cross and Indy Racing League will announce a national charitable relationship at 10 a.m. Thursday at the start/finish line. Scheduled to be present are Speedway Chairman Mari Hulman George, Speedway President Tony George, IRL executive director Leo Mehl, American Red Cross Chief Operating Officer Matt Branam and 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier and the #91 Delta Faucet-Montana-Hemelgarn Racing entry.

The winner of the 1997 Louis Schwitzer Award, which is an annual honor for engineering and excellence in racing presented by the Indiana Chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers, will be announced at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the Trackside Conference Room.

15 cars were on the track today, running 533 laps. Cars on track today: #2T Stewart; #3T Buhl; #4T Brack; #11 Boat; #12 Calkins; #14 Hamilton; #30 R. Groff; #40 Miller, #42 Gordon; #44 Kinser; #50 Roe; #51 Ward; #77 Gregoire; #90 St. James; #91T Lazier.

A total of 44 cars are now at the Speedway, 40 have passed technical inspection and four are in the process. 32 drivers have been on the track to date. There were eight yellows for one hour. At 1:39 p.m., the temperature was 67 degrees with winds variable at six miles an hour, gusting to 18 mph. At 5:50 p.m., the temperature was 65 degrees and winds were out of the west at 25 miles an hour gusting to 33 mph.

TOP NOT-YET QUALIFIED DRIVERS OF THE DAY

1 11        Billy Boat        AJ Foyt Enterprises                                D/A/G        215.151
2 50        Billy Roe        Sega/Progressive Electronics/Eurointernational        D/A/F        210.669

--IMS--

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Stefan Johansson , Buddy Lazier , Davey Hamilton , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Jim Guthrie , Scott Goodyear , Roberto Guerrero , Kenny Brack , Johnny O'Connell , Billy Roe , Steve Kinser , Vern Schuppan , Scott Harrington , Tony George