IRL: Indy 500: Day 11 practice report

Dixon climbs to top of Indy practice charts INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, May 16, 2003 -- Rookie Scott Dixon turned two of the three fastest speeds May 16 during practice for the 87th Indianapolis 500 as the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team continues ...

Dixon climbs to top of Indy practice charts

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, May 16, 2003 -- Rookie Scott Dixon turned two of the three fastest speeds May 16 during practice for the 87th Indianapolis 500 as the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team continues to hone its Race Day setups.

Dixon, who qualified fourth, turned the fastest lap of the day, 39.1363 seconds, 229.966 mph, in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. He also turned the third-fastest speed of the day, 39.3953, 228.454, in his No. 9T backup car. He completed 92 laps overall on the historic, 2.5-mile oval.

"I didn't really want to do this many laps," Dixon said. "We had to mileage out an engine for Toyota. Basically we just worked on the car a little, not too much. We just changed the balance. The car was great all day. Then toward the end of the day, we were just running miles on the engine, and we went through five or six sets of old tires just to wear them out, as well."

Sandwiched between Dixon's two speeds was rookie Tora Takagi, second overall at 39.3603, 228.657 in the No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone.

Jimmy Vasser was the fastest non-qualified driver, fourth at 39.4261, 228.275 in the No. 19 Argent Rahal/Letterman Dallara/Honda/Firestone. That speed is more than 4 mph faster than the slowest of the 24 drivers who already qualified for the field on Pole Day last Sunday.

1996 CART champion Vasser will attempt to qualify on Bump Day this . Sunday "We made some very good gains today," Vasser said. "The race car. feels very good. We were 227 in race trim .

"Now we'll go and get ready for qualifying on Sunday. I'm pretty pumped up right now. This team is very good."

MBNA Pole winner Helio Castroneves was fifth overall at 39.4374, 228.210 in the No. 3T Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone. Castroneves will try to become the first driver to win three consecutive Indianapolis 500s on Race Day, May 25.

Among other non-qualified drivers in the top 10, Vitor Meira was seventh at 39.4878, 227.918 in the No. 2T Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Alex Barron, another non-qualified driver, was ninth at 39.5232, 227.714 in the No. 20 Meijer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone.

Rookie A.J. Foyt IV was unhurt and cleared to drive after hitting the SAFER Barrier along the outside of Turn 1 this afternoon in his qualified No. 14T Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone.

"I made a stupid mistake and went into Turn 1 too low," Foyt said. "I just made a stupid mistake. It was my qualified car; we need to see how bad the damage is."

But Foyt's grandfather and team owner, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, said the crash wasn't the younger Foyt's fault.

"When it first happened, and I saw he was OK, I got on him pretty hard," Foyt said. "Then when I came back to the garage and saw the setup sheet, there was so much nose-weight on the front end that there was no way he couldn't have wrecked. I apologized to him, because it was a mistake on the crew's part and mine for not catching it."

There were 26 cars on track today, turning a total of 1,653 laps. Practice resumes at 11 a.m. (EDT) Saturday, the last full day of practice before Bump Day.

A limited number of reserved-seat Race Day tickets for the Indianapolis 500 remain available. General admission and reserved tickets for practice, qualifications and Race Day can be purchased on the World Wide Web via www.imstix.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700.

-ims-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Jimmy Vasser , A.J. Foyt IV , Scott Dixon , Tora Takagi , Alex Barron , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Mo Nunn , Vitor Meira
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing