IRL: Greg Ray Fastest in Opening Phoenix Practice

RAY ZEROING IN ON PHOENIX POLE AFTER LEADING PRACTICE By Beth Agan indyracingleague.com PHOENIX, March 26, 1999 -- Greg Ray is aiming for the PPG Pole Award for the MCI WorldCom 200 after posting the fastest speed in practice Friday at Phoenix...

RAY ZEROING IN ON PHOENIX POLE AFTER LEADING PRACTICE

By Beth Agan indyracingleague.com

PHOENIX, March 26, 1999 -- Greg Ray is aiming for the PPG Pole Award for the MCI WorldCom 200 after posting the fastest speed in practice Friday at Phoenix International Raceway, 173.653 mph.

Ray covered the 1-mile oval at PIR in 20.731 seconds on his best lap in the Glidden-Menards Dallara/Aurora/Firestone.

"It would be really nice," Ray said about winning the pole. "We've knocked on the door. We should have been on the pole at Orlando (season opener). We got second on one lap. It would be a nice thing for the team and a good personal thing for me."

Defending event champion Scott Sharp was second fastest overall in practice Friday at 20.806, 173.027 in the Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear.

Ray and Sharp both were faster than the track record, 20.839, 172.753, set by Jeff Ward during PPG Pole qualifying at this event last year. Qualifying for the MCI WorldCom 200, the second event on the 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League schedule, starts at 11:20 a.m. (MST) Saturday. Pep Boys Indy Racing League competitors will be vying for the 28 starting positions in Sunday's race, which starts at 2 p.m.

Scott Goodyear posted the third-best lap of the day, 20.934, 171.969, during the morning practice session in his Pennzoil Panther G Force/Aurora/Goodyear. Goodyear and nearly every other driver were slowed by gusty winds during the afternoon practice. The six fastest speeds of the day were posted during the more tranquil morning session.

"The wind was shifting the car around a bit, so handling was difficult," Goodyear said of the afternoon practice. "The car did feel good this morning, and I'm looking forward to qualifications."

Rookie John Hollansworth continued to adapt quickly to the Pep Boys Indy Racing League cars. Hollansworth drove the pcsave.com-Lycos-Feed the Children Dallara/Aurora/Firestone to the fourth-best lap of the day, 20. 990, 171.510.

Sam Schmidt was fifth-fastest at 21.005, 171.388 in the Sprint PCS G Force/Aurora/Firestone.

Points leader Eddie Cheever Jr. was ninth-fastest at 21.114, 170.503 in the Rachel's Gourmet Potato Chips-Children's Beverage Group Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Defending series champion Kenny Brack was 21st on the speed chart at 21.719, 165.753 in the A.J. Foyt Power Team Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear.

MCI WORLDCOM 200 FRIDAY PRACTICE LEADERS

Pos        Car #        Driver                C/E/T        Time        Speed
1        2        Greg Ray        D/A/F        20.731         173.653 
2        8        Scott Sharp        D/A/G        20.806        173.027
3        4        Scott Goodyear        G/A/G        20.934        171.969
4        42    John Hollansworth        D/A/F        20.990        171.510
5        99        Sam Schmidt        G/A/F        21.005        171.388

Source: IRL/IMS

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Jeff Ward , Scott Sharp , Scott Goodyear , Kenny Brack , Sam Schmidt , A.J. Foyt