IRL: Indianapolis 500 Final Practice Speedway, Indiana, May 21, 1998. All 33 teams with cars qualified for the 82nd running of the Indianapolis 500 took to the track today for "Carburetion Day", the traditional final practice session. As a...
IRL: Indianapolis 500 Final Practice
Speedway, Indiana, May 21, 1998.
All 33 teams with cars qualified for the 82nd running of the Indianapolis 500 took to the track today for "Carburetion Day", the traditional final practice session.
As a minimum, teams used the session as a final functional check. Larry Nash, Chief Mechanic for Sam Schmidt's second-row qualified #99, explained that they need to make sure that mechanicals are all working properly, test the pit speed limiter, and test the electronic control units and backups. Nash and Schmidt followed this plan, running 15 conservative laps with full fuel. Kenny Brack found a small brake fluid leak in his front-row qualififed #14. He commented "..that's what Carb Day is for". Other teams found minor glitches which were corrected for race day.
Various teams made more extensive use of the day. Some practiced pit stops. Many tested how their cars would perform in the "tow" when following another car. The two Team Menard cars were seen working on this, with Tony Stewart's #1 following closely behind Robbie Buhl's #3, then Buhl closely following Stewart. Single car teams were seen timing their pit exits so as to wind up right behind another car of similar speed.
Routine work such as scrubbing tires was performed by teams which were not able to accomplish that in this year's shortened Month of May. Second day qualifiers who had not had time to prepare their race setups used the two hour session for that purpose. Eleventh-row qualified Mike Groff ran 33 laps, the most of the session. Even first day qualifiers made extensive use of the session for setup or practice. Mark Dismore ran both his fourth-row qualified #28 and his #28T backup car.
Long standing Indianapolis 500 traditions of speed and psychology were also in full swing. A. J. Foyt's two drivers Kenny Brack and Billy Boat teased the rest of the field by turning up the wick and capturing the two fastest times of the session. Race day will show whether that had its intended imtimidating effect.
The session was briefly interrupted a few times for debris on the track, but no cars or drivers came to any harm. Drivers interviewed after the session all expressed confidence in their preparations for the race, which will take place this Sunday, May 24.
Ken Plotkin - Motorsport News International
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