INDIANAPOLIS, May 22 - Rookie Buddy Rice got a leg up on Sunday's Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by winning the Checkers/Rally's pit stop contest on Thursday in his Red Bull Cheever Racing car, defeating Helio Castroneves and...
INDIANAPOLIS, May 22 - Rookie Buddy Rice got a leg up on Sunday's Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by winning the Checkers/Rally's pit stop contest on Thursday in his Red Bull Cheever Racing car, defeating Helio Castroneves and the Marlboro Team Penske car in the final.
"My confidence in the car comes from the people sitting here with me," Rice said after his crew won the pit stop competition. "I've been super-comfortable in the car all month. I think we have a very strong car for Sunday, and I think this is the momentum we need."
Rice and veteran Billy Boat pronounced their respective race cars ready for Sunday following the Miller Lite Carburetion Day practice session.
Rice, who ran only 11 laps, had a fast lap of 223.640 miles per hour in the Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet. Boat, in the Pedigo Chevrolet Dallara/Chevrolet, went 20 laps with a fast circuit of 222.027.
Rice, who will start 19th, put his few laps to good use.
"We did a systems check and a leak check, and after that we scrubbed some tires," he said. "We ran a couple laps just to feel out the car - it hasn't been on the track in quite a while, since qualifying. We wanted to make sure it was the same as the other car, and we got up to speed well and ran in traffic a little bit. We're pretty pleased with it."
Boat was also pleased with his brief shakedown effort in the final on-track activity before Sunday's "500."
"This gives us an opportunity to baseline the race car on a race track that has a little more grip than the last time we did our full-tank running last week," said Boat, who will start 29th in the 33-car field. "We have a good, solid race car and a lot of it is going to depend on what the pace of this race is going to be.
"We know what we can run and we think we know what (the Toyotas and Hondas) can run."
Former winner Kenny Brack posted the day's top speed, a lap of 228.707 in the Rahal/Letterman/Miller Lite/Pioneer Dallara/Honda. NASCAR regular Robby Gordon was second at 227.850 in the Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola Dallarta/Honda, and Gil de Ferran in the Marlboro Team Penske Panoz G Force/Toyota was third fastest at 227.812.
Miller Lite Carburetion Day ended on-track activity until the green flag drops on the 87th running of the "500" at noon (EDT) Sunday, televised by ABC.