Target Rookie Briscoe Sets His Place for the Indy 500 Indianapolis, IN, Saturday, May 21st-- Perfect conditions on and off the track greeted fans and teams at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the second day of qualifying to determine the ...
Target Rookie Briscoe Sets His Place for the Indy 500
Indianapolis, IN, Saturday, May 21st-- Perfect conditions on and off the track greeted fans and teams at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the second day of qualifying to determine the remaining 11 starting spots for the 89th Indianapolis 500. After missing his chance on Pole day, IndyCar rookie Target driver Ryan Briscoe was first in line to qualify and averaged 224.080 mph during his four-lap run in the No. 33T Target /Toyota/Panoz/Firestone and will start from the 24th spot on the starting grid for the May classic.
"It's a special feeling, said Briscoe of having qualified for his first Indianapolis 500. "Maybe not the position I'd like to be in, but it's better than on Pole Day when I lost the car during qualifying. The speed we had that day was pretty good, maybe a top 10. It's great to have qualified today, and we were a little concerned about it all, but we did what we had to do to get into the event. My run today wasn't bad. It could've been better. The track seems to have changed a bit since this morning's practice. I had a lot of push out there. We could've been a bit quicker, but we did some 24's out there and some 23's so that's what we needed to do, and we're pretty happy about it. It's a great feeling; the whole crew has been really supportive, and we're just going to have to keep pushing hard in the race right now."
Rookie Ryan Briscoe will make his first appearance at the Indianapolis 500 at the helm of the #33 Target Pioneer Toyota Panoz. Eight rookies have won the prestigious race including Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Juan Montoya in 2000. Briscoe hopes to be next on that list. He will also be the fourth Aussie to attempt to taste victory at the Indianapolis 500; Sir Jack Brabham (1961, 1964, 1969, 1970) whose best finish was ninth, Vern Schuppan (1976, 79, 81) who came closest with a third place finish at Indy in 1981, and Geoff Brabham (1981-1987; 1990, 1991, 1993) whose best was a fourth place in 1983.
Fastest of this qualifying session was Kenny Brack, who is the substitute driver for injured defending champion Buddy Rice, qualifying 23rd in the 33-car field -- the highest he could have started under the qualifying procedure -- with a four-lap average of 227.598 mph (2 minutes, 44.0866 seconds) over the 2.5-mile oval.
Brack's average speed in the No. 15 car was higher than pole sitter Tony Kanaan (227.566 mph) accomplished on May 15. The last time a second-day qualifier ran faster than the pole speed was in 1996. That driver was Arie Luyendyk who incidentally is driver coach for Target's Ryan Briscoe for this year's Indy 500.
Target teammate Scott Dixon also took to the track putting in 100 laps during breaks in the qualifying line in order to tweak his race set up after rain limited the track time during the past week.
"We did a couple of runs on full tanks to see how the car behaves, get it a bit more comfortable and spent some time on pits stop as well today," said Dixon, who qualified on Pole day with a four lap average speed of 225.215 mph to start from the 13th position on the starting grid . "I think we're as ready as we'll be for the race. We'll run the race car on CARB day but we'll be limited on miles. I think the no.9 Target Toyota is really decent and while we're kind of starting in the middle of the pack I'll be looking to keep up the momentum from the start of the race to that first pitstop. I think that'll be key. I'm looking forward to next Sunday."
Darren Manning and his no10 Target crew finished all their pre race preparations enabling him to take part in the 500 Festival Golf Tournament at the Brickyard Crossing. Manning will start his second Indianapolis 500 race from row seven (19th spot) after posting a four lap average speed of 223.943 mph on Pole day.
Reigning IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan is the polesitter for the prestigious race with a four-lap average of 227.566 mph (2 minutes, 38.1961 seconds). Sam Hornish Jr. and Scott Sharp round out the first row for the prestigious May event.
Final Practice for the Indianapolis 500 takes place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 27, CARB day.