IRL: Day 2 -- Indy 500 - May 4

DAY 2 -- SUNDAY, MAY 4 The first car to go from Gasoline Alley to pit road was the ...

DAY 2 -- SUNDAY, MAY 4

The first car to go from Gasoline Alley to pit road was the #4 Monsoon Galles Racing entry assigned to rookie Kenny Brack. The car was subsequently returned to the garage. Then the #30 Alfa Laval/McCormack Motorsports entry assigned to rookie Robbie Groff was taken to pit road, followed by the #40 AMS/Crest Racing entry of Dr. Jack Miller and Miller was the first driver in the pits. The #8 Scandia Royal Purple Alta Xcel entry for rookie Vincenzo Sospiri then went to the pits. At 11:22 a.m., Miller was first to climb into the cockpit, followed closely by Groff and Sospiri. At 11:30 a.m., Miller's car was first to fire, the engine started by crewman Terry Taylor, followed by Groff and Sospiri. At 11:36 a.m., the green light went on and Miller was first away and first on the track, followed by Groff and Sospiri. Miller was the first to complete a lap, Sospiri was second and Groff pulled in. 17th USAC Rookie Orientation Program chronology: 12:05 p.m. =97 #40 Miller completed first phase of driver's test. 12:48 p.m. =97 #8 Sospiri completed first phase. 1:25 p.m. =97 #30 Groff completed first phase. 1:27 p.m. =97 #8 Sospiri completed second phase. 1:36 p.m. =97 #8 Sospiri completed third phase. 1:55 p.m. =97 #8 Sospiri completed fourth phase. 3:47 p.m. =97 #4 Brack completed first phase. 4:00 p.m. =97 #4 Brack completed second phase. 4:37 p.m. =97 #4 Brack completed third phase. 5:06 p.m. =97 #4 Brack completed fourth phase. KENNY BRACK: "It's my first day on the track. It was really nice to run. The surface was fantastic...huge long straights, wide, quick corners. My only problem was with my helmet buffeting but they (the crew) fixed that with the windscreen." (About his speed today): "No, it isn't (the fastest). I ran 212 in Texas two weeks ago." (About his ride): "In November and December, I started coming to the U.S. In December, I met Galles Racing (group). I met them again in Orlando where I was asked to test the car after Davy's (Jones) accident." (About how long he's known about Indy): "I've always known about Indianapolis, I guess, since I was seven or 10 years old. I never knew how big it was until I got here. I'm glad to be with Galles, who's been here for 15 years." VINCENZO SOSPIRI: (about the Speedway): "Little scary, really, but I like it." (About today's fastest lap): "Well, luckily we did have the fastest lap and I'm happy about that. There's a lot more speed to catch out there and I think we can go even faster than today. Since I was 14 and I started to watch Formula One, I've dreamed of being world champion in Formula One and winning an Indy 500 as often as possible." (About driving in the U.S.): "In F-1, there are only one or two, possibly four, teams capable of winning. Here, any team is capable."

At a news conference this morning, Team Menard and Tony Stewart announced that Stewart would remain with the Indy Racing League team through the rest of the 1996-97 IRL season and continue through 1998. The team also announced a switch from Firestone to Goodyear tires. JOHN MENARD: "We were waiting for Tony's NASCAR negotiations to finalize his Indy Racing League deal. Tony has the best of both worlds. (About tires): "The agreement was strictly a performance decision. It was based on nothing to do with the NASCAR agreement. It took a long time to make the decision." TONY STEWART: "It should be easier to run two different series rather than 10 different cars in 10 different series. In any scheduling conflicts, the IRL will take top priority over NASCAR. Any scheduling conflicts, we'll work out. I'll probably be in a car six to seven days a week. It'll be like one big road trip." (About other open-wheel racing): "Yes, that's a possibility. Any additional events that I will run will need the permission of both John (Menard) and Joe Gibbs." (About his rookie year to this year): "It's easier to be more focused and concentrate on driving." (About being in demand): "To be a driver in heavy demand is flattering. It's nice to know your services are wanted by quality teams and owners." STEVE MYERS (Goodyear director, racing tire sales and marketing, from Akron, Ohio): "We're very pleased and proud to welcome Team Menard into the Goodyear family of IRL teams. We anticipate a great relationship that begins now with activities in preparation for the Indianapolis 500."

Twenty-one drivers joined Special Olympians for a basketball shootout and barbecue in the Speedway's Flag Lot at the 17th annual "Save Arnold" Barbecue for Special Olympics of Indiana. Drivers present were Robbie Buhl, Jim Guthrie, Stephan Gregoire, Mark Dismore, Lyn St. James, Johnny Parsons, Mike Mosley Jr., Mike Groff, Davey Hamilton, Arie Luyendyk, Roberto Guerrero, Billy Roe, Fermin Velez, Affonso Giaffone, Scott Harrington, Scott Goodyear, Dr. Jack Miller, Sam Schmidt, Buzz Calkins, Jeff Ward and Russ Wicks, along with media representative Dick Mittman, the latter for the 17th straight year. Dave Calabro served as master of ceremonies. John LeFere, representing Fast Lane shoes, donated 24 pairs of IRL shoes to the Special Olympians participating in the sports exhibition. Administrating the event were volunteers from the Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary, Championship Drivers Association, Indiana Gas and Conseco. Kroger and Jug's Catering provided the barbecue. The event was started in 1981 by Speedway Chairman Mari Hulman George, who presented a symbolic check today for $1,388,000, representing the amount raised through the fundraiser over its duration. "It was really hard to get it off the ground for the first couple of years," said Mrs. George. "After that, it just took off." Dennis Schmidt, executive director of Special Olympics of Indiana, said the turnout this year was more than 4,000 Special Olympians, their families and their guests. "It's our biggest one, the one everyone looks forward to," Schmidt said. "It's the indoctrination into spring and all our other events. It's an exciting time for everybody." Said Goodyear: "I'm pleased to participate in the Special Olympics event every year. I also support the Special Olympics here and in Toronto. They (the athletes) have the same dreams and aspirations and goals as we do. It's an event I really enjoy." Said Guerrero: "It's a nice cause that Mari does for the kids and it's fun for all. Too bad I'm not a better basketball player."

TREVOR HOSKINS (Bridgestone/Firestone Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, regarding the Team Menard tire switch): "We are surprised and obviously disappointed. Team Menard switched to Firestone tires just over a year ago and Tony Stewart has led many laps on our tires. He has not had any tire-related problems."

Chet Fillip won the 30-lap USAC sprint-car feature today at Winchester, Ind., followed by Brian Tyler, Dave Steele, Gary Fedewa and Jason McCord.

Robbie Buhl, Mark Dismore and Marco Greco have passed their driver physicals, raising the total to 25, according to Dr. Henry Bock, Speedway medical director.

6 cars were on the track today, running 256 laps. Cars on track today: #4 Kenny Brack, Monsoon Galles Racing; #8 Vincenzo Sospiri, Scandia Royal Purple Alta Xcel; #16 Sam Schmidt, Blueprint Racing; #30 Robbie Groff, Alfa Laval/McCormack Motorsports; #40 Dr. Jack Miller, AMS/Crest Racing; #51T Jeff Ward, FirstPlus Team Cheever.

A total of 23 cars are now at the Speedway, six have passed technical inspection and 12 are in the process. Six drivers have been on the track to date. There were six yellows for 24 minutes. Temperature at 6 p.m. was 63 degrees with winds from the west at 17 miles an hour.

PERFORMANCE HISTORY OF THE DAY FROM USAC ROOKIE ORIENTATION

Car        Driver                   Car                                Laps  Top        Phases
No.                                                              Speed        Comp
 8  Vincenzo Sospiri   Scandia Royal Purple Alta Xcel        78    211.964        4
51T Jeff Ward               FirstPlus Team Cheever                16    205.780        --
 4  Kenny Brack        Monsoon Galles Racing                67    204.997        4
40  Dr. Jack Miller    AMS/Crest Racing                        32
194.246        1
30  Robbie Groff       Alfa Laval/McCormack Motorsports        56    191.759        1
16  Sam Schmidt               Blueprint Racing                         7     180.386        --

--IMS--

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Buzz Calkins , Robbie Buhl , Stephan Gregoire , Jeff Ward , Davey Hamilton , Arie Luyendyk , Mark Dismore , Jim Guthrie , Kenny Brack , Billy Roe , Sam Schmidt , Lyn St. James , Dave Steele , Brian Tyler , Scott Harrington , Chet Fillip , Fermin Velez , Johnny Parsons , Jason McCord , Vincenzo Sospiri , Jack Miller