IRL: Greg Ray atop speed charts in day ten at Speedway

INDIANAPOLIS (May 16, 2002) - Practice continued for the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500 with Greg Ray setting the fastest lap of the day at 227.291 mph. Ray and his A.J. Foyt Racing teammate Airton Dare, who was third fastest, have yet to ...

INDIANAPOLIS (May 16, 2002) - Practice continued for the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500 with Greg Ray setting the fastest lap of the day at 227.291 mph. Ray and his A.J. Foyt Racing teammate Airton Dare, who was third fastest, have yet to qualify for the race.

"We made some small changes," said Ray, who was second fastest yesterday. "The speed wasn't much faster but the improvement in feel and confidence was huge. We've been a little more conservative in our approach. With the small changes we made this morning, the car came right, so a little more of that and we'll be good for qualifying."

While the Foyt drivers continued their search for speed, others worked to find the best setup for race day. Team Cheever drivers, Eddie Cheever, Tomas Scheckter and Max Papis spent much of the day sharing the team's No. 51T and No. 53, evaluating each other's setup.

Team owner Eddie Cheever was the fastest of the trio when he lapped the Speedway at 224.294 mph in the No. 53. Papis and Scheckter both tried their hand in the No. 53, posting best laps of 222.263 mph and 222.120, respectively.

Cheever's best lap put him on the speed charts as 15th fastest driver of the day.

"I had the best setup yet for a race car," said Cheever. "I wanted Tomas and Max to try it out. I was interested in their input."

Papis drove three different cars for the team recording laps at 223.251 mph in the No. 53T and 223.235 mph in the No. 52T.

"Eddie's setup is a strong base to work from," said Papis. "I was pleased to have a chance to jump in his car. It's a good solid car. I would just like to make a few small adjustments for my style of driving."

In addition to playing musical chairs with the Red Bull cars, each driver made a long run, simulating race conditions.

"We were working on tuning the engine and gathering data for our fuel strategy," said Cheever. "We think we have settled into what the race pace is going to be. All we are doing is accumulating data so that at the end of the day the engineers can sit down and sift through it. We hear it's going to rain tomorrow, so we are trying to get through our work list today."

Donnie Beechler continued to improve in A.J, Foyt's third entry. Beechler, who was 7th fastest overall, was the third fastest non-qualified driver on the day.

"We weren't shooting for any speeds yesterday, just to get familiar with the track again, and get a confidence level back in the car," Beechler said. "Today we went out there and picked up a mile per hour. We're worried about the weather naturally, but I think we'll be okay for the weekend."

After two days of practice, Beechler's best lap of the event was set today at 225.431 mph.

Practice continues on Friday and Saturday with final qualifying on Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m. EST. Just prior to final qualifying, a practice session will be held Sunday morning from 10:00 to 11:15 a.m. EST.

Notes from the 86th Indianapolis 500:

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host Pepsi Fun Day on Saturday, May 18, the final day of practice before Bump Day. The day will feature an extreme motocross exhibition and music by Johnny Socko. The first 5,000 fans through the gates will receive a free Al Unser Sr. bobblehead doll.

***

Despite a light sprinkle of rain at 10:00 a.m., the track opened for practice on time at 11:00 a.m. EST. Threatening skies opened just after 2:00 p.m. forcing practice to be delayed by one hour and nineteen minutes.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Airton Daré , Donnie Beechler , Max Papis , Al Unser Sr. , A.J. Foyt