Patrick Racing Continues to Make Progress in Preparation for Qualifying at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indianapolis, Indiana - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 88th Indianapolis 500 - Day ...
Patrick Racing Continues to Make Progress in Preparation for Qualifying at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis, Indiana - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 88th Indianapolis 500 - Day #4 - Patrick Racing continued to make progress with the setup in preparation for Saturday's qualifying for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Al Unser Jr., who pilots the #20 Patrick Racing Chevrolet/Dallara/Firestone car, improved his time around the fabled 2.5-mile Brickyard oval for the fourth consecutive day notching a quick lap of 41.4376 seconds (217.194 mph).
"The Patrick Racing team went quicker again today. As long as we keep going in that direction it is a good day," Unser Jr. said. "We are still learning what the Patrick Racing Chevrolet/Dallara/Firestone car likes, but I am very happy with the job the engineering staff and crew are doing. We just have to keep at it and work through the process until everything comes together," he concluded.
Patrick Racing went out for their first practice promptly with the opening bell at 11:00 a.m. Picking up where they left off yesterday, the engineering staff immediately went to work making changes in an effort to find more speed. While the effects where not immediately apparent the work accomplished did set the stage for the afternoon practice session. Unser's fast time after a total of 43 laps in the early practice was 41.81 seconds (215.288 mph).
Following an extensive review that lasted through the mid-afternoon, the team was back on track late in the day. After running several laps in the high 214's Unser Jr. went back out with about 10 minutes of track time remaining and posted his fastest lap of the four days.
Patrick Racing has been one of the hardest working teams since the Speedway open on Sunday. The ran a total of 75 laps today, the fourth most of the day, to go along with 57 on opening day (fourth), 45 on day two (tenth) and 82 on day three (fourth). The hard work is paying dividends. The team, which has only been together a couple of weeks, is rapidly getting to know each other and the car. This has led to better communication all around, which has helped fuel the daily gains made with the car.
Patrick Racing, which is in its 32nd year of competition, and first in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, is making its 24th appearance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team, which will be making its and 45th start at the IMS, has earned 20 top-10 finishes including 14 in the top- five with three victories (Gordon Johncock - 1973 and1982; Emerson Fittipaldi - 1989) and three second place showings (Mario Andretti - 1982; Kevin Cogan - 1986 and Fittipaldi - 1988) at Indy. They have qualified in the top-10 a total of 26 times with 14 top-five starts and one pole (Johncock -1982). Patrick Racing is one of the most successful teams in the history of American open wheel racing with 45 victories and two national championships. The team, which is making its first IRL start at the 2004 Indianapolis 500, last competed at IMS in 1995.
Unser Jr., who is in his 22nd season at the premier level of American open wheel competition and fifth in the IRL, will be contesting his 17th Indy 500. The 42-year-old native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who earned 34 career wins (31 in CART and three in the IRL) and captured two national championships (1990 and 1994) during his career, has posted 10 top-10 finishes placing in the top-five seven times including victories in 1992 and 1994 at the Brickyard. Unser Jr. has qualified in the top-10 a total of eight times including four top-five starts with one pole (1994).
The Indianapolis 500 will be run on Sunday, May 30. It will be televised live on ABC at 12:00 p.m. (EDT). The pre-race show ill begin at 11:00 a.m. (EDT). Pole Day (qualifying) will be on Saturday, May 15. ESPN will begin broadcasting Pole Day at 12:00 p.m. (EDT) with ABC picking up the coverage beginning at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). ESPN will come back with coverage beginning at 5:00 p.m. (EDT)