Chevy Powers Barron and Giaffone into Indy 500 Field INDIANAPOLIS, May 16, 2004 - On a perfect spring day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, two more Chevrolet-powered entries earned starting spots for the Indianapolis 500. Alex Barron...
Chevy Powers Barron and Giaffone into Indy 500 Field
INDIANAPOLIS, May 16, 2004 - On a perfect spring day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, two more Chevrolet-powered entries earned starting spots for the Indianapolis 500. Alex Barron rebounded from an accident on MBNA Pole Day and qualified Red Bull Cheever Racing's Chevrolet Dallara 24th on the grid at 218.836 mph. Felipe Giaffone also bounced back from an encounter with the SAFER wall and put the Team Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet Dallara in the 25th spot on the grid at 216.259 mph.
The second day of qualifying was warm and sunny, a stark contrast to the cold and windy conditions on Pole Day. Barron made his qualifying run just after 1 p.m., recording lap speeds that ranged from 218.761 to 218.952 mph over his four-lap, 10-mile qualifying run. Under the complex Indy 500 qualifying procedure, Barron will start 24th on the grid even though his speed was faster than seven first-day qualifiers.
"I didn't get much sleep last night, that's for sure," Barron said. "I'm glad today is over with. We wanted to get the car in solid, and I'm happy with our lap times.
"We had more to lose than to gain by waiting until late in the day," he explained. "Yesterday was very cool, so we needed a different setup today. Now we just have to work on our race setup through the next week."
The gun signaling the end of the day's activities at 6 p.m. sounded as Giaffone made his successful qualifying run.
"It was a very long 24 hours after yesterday's crash," Giaffone said. "We thought we would have an easy day, but things happened. That's typical at Indianapolis; when you think you have too much time it's not enough. We made it by a couple of minutes, and we were all pretty nervous trying to get the car together, qualify and get it over with.
Giaffone increased his speed with each successive circuit of the 2.5-mile oval.
"The car wasn't handling as I really wanted it to, but I went out and said, 'This is it,'" he recalled. "My biggest concern was that I didn't know what kind of car I would have. The car was pushing a little bit to start with, I was working with my bars in the car, and that made it better. We had more downforce and the balance was close enough that we could do 216s - that's all we needed."
With seven Chevrolet-powered Dallaras now qualified in the Indy 500 field, GM Racing IRL program manager Joe Negri reflected on the first weekend of qualifying for the Indy 500.
"We want the Chevy Indy V-8 engine program to peak on race day," said Negri. "We've told our teams that their race engines will be the best engines of the month.
"Every Chevrolet engine used in qualifying was built to a specification that has been validated for 500 miles, so the Chevy-powered cars essentially qualified with their race engines," Negri noted. "Consequently we don't foresee a significant decline in the performance of our engines between qualifying and the race. In fact, we will continue to develop and improve the Chevy Indy V-8 over the next two weeks. Engine reliability has been excellent and we expect that to continue.
"Several of the planned improvements could not be track tested before qualifying because of the rain, but we have tested and validated them on the dyno," Negri explained. "The IRL IndyCar Series is extremely competitive, and if we can continue to make gains, we will implement them in our race engines. The pedal's to the metal and we're working hard."
Qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 will conclude on May 23. The Indianapolis 500 will start at noon Eastern time (11 a.m. local time) on Sunday, May 30. The 200-lap, 500-mile race will be televised live on ABC.
<pre> INDY 500 SECOND DAY QUALIFYING SUMMARY: Pos. Driver Engine Speed 23. Bryan Herta Honda 219.871 24. Alex Barron Chevrolet 218.836 25. Felipe Giaffone Chevrolet 216.259 26. Tora Takagi Toyota 214.364