IRL: Greg Ray Reaches 227 mph at Indy 500 Open Test

RAY LEADS FAST DAY AT INDY; ROOKIE HOLLANSWORTH SHINES INDIANAPOLIS, April 12, 1999 - It wasn't Pole Day, but unofficial speeds from the Pep Boys Indy Racing League's third day of open testing for the Indianapolis 500 produced a speed chart ...

RAY LEADS FAST DAY AT INDY; ROOKIE HOLLANSWORTH SHINES

INDIANAPOLIS, April 12, 1999 - It wasn't Pole Day, but unofficial speeds from the Pep Boys Indy Racing League's third day of open testing for the Indianapolis 500 produced a speed chart worthy of May.

Team Menard's Greg Ray topped the speed chart for the third consecutive day, leading Monday with an unofficial lap of 227.072 mph (39.635 seconds) around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Ray's speed was nearly 4 mph faster than Billy Boat's 1998 pole speed of 223.503 mph.

Ray ran the fast lap of the day at 2:13 p.m. in his primary Glidden-Menards Dallara/Aurora/Firestone car. He also practiced in his backup car for five laps and quickly pushed it to a lap of 222.151 mph.

"We ran two different cars and three different suspensions, and we did pretty good," said Ray, of Plano, Texas. "We still have not put the car anywhere near qualifying trim. The conditions were just really good today. When you go out and scrub (tires) at 225, you know the conditions are great."

Boat again followed Ray on the speed chart. Boat ran a lap of 224.456 mph. Arie Luyendyk (224.215), Scott Sharp (223.547) and Eddie Cheever Jr. (223.292) rounded out the top five.

Cheever, the defending Indianapolis 500 winner, has quickly adapted to the Nissan Infiniti Indy engine after switching from the Aurora powerplant last week. Cheever ran more than 40 laps in today's test.

The first incident of the Open Test happened at 11:22 a.m. when John Paul Jr. hit the Turn 2 wall after his engine seized. He was taken to Methodist Hospital for an examination but was not admitted.

"I was going to come in the next lap to reset the gauges," said Paul, after returning to Gasoline Alley. "As I started into (Turn) 2, I could feel it trying to seize. I tried to get the clutch in, but everything happened too fast, and it did a 360. I got the wall with the right side."

Twenty-three drivers used the track today for testing, including rookies John Hollansworth Jr., Robby McGehee and Jeret Schroeder.

Under the guidance of Indy veteran Gary Bettenhausen, Hollansworth continues to impress. The Texas rookie turned in a lap of 221.408 mph. The final day of the Open Test is tomorrow. Testing begins at 9 a.m. and will conclude at 5 p.m. The public is welcome to view testing from the South Terrace grandstands free of charge.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby McGehee , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Jeret Schroeder , John Paul