IRL: Indy 500: Day 12 practice summary

Drivers Make Final Run at Indianapolis 500 Field INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, May 22, 2004 -- Last call. There are seven vacancies in the 33-car field for the 88th Indianapolis 500. The final opportunity to make four-lap qualification runs is ...

Drivers Make Final Run at Indianapolis 500 Field

INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, May 22, 2004 -- Last call.

There are seven vacancies in the 33-car field for the 88th Indianapolis 500. The final opportunity to make four-lap qualification runs is from 1-7 p.m. (EDT) on May 23.

In addition to four drivers introduced by teams late last week, Mo Nunn Racing announced May 22 that Jeff Simmons will be in the group attempting to make the field for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Simmons is one of the Indy Racing League's founding principles in microcosm -- to provide opportunities for new sponsors, teams and drivers to enter the sport at the highest level.

Simmons, who finished second in the Futaba Freedom 100 on May 22 for A.J. Foyt Racing, will climb in the Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Toyota/ Firestone in an attempt to qualify for his first 500-Mile Race. He turned 21 laps late in the afternoon practice to get some seat time.

"This is just great," said Simmons, who will join Tora Takagi (qualified 26th) with Mo Nunn Racing. "I'm getting the opportunity of a lifetime and I'm thankful to Mo Nunn, (team manager) Peter Parrott and everyone at the IRL that has helped put this together for me."

Others scheduled to make qualifying runs will be Richie Hearn (No. 33 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone), Robby McGehee (No. 18 PDM Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone), Buddy Lazier (No. 91 Lifefitness DRR/Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone) and PJ Jones (No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone), and Marty Roth (No. 25 Roth Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone).

IndyCar Series regular Greg Ray, owner-driver of the No. 13 Access Motorsports Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone, also is expected on the track. Twenty-six driver-car combinations totaled 1,414 laps in two practice sessions on May 22 without incident. Two-time 500-Mile Race winner Al Unser Jr. (128) recorded the most laps.

Adrian Fernandez, in the No. 5 Quaker State Telmex Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone, was fastest for the second day in a row at 218.495 mph. Matsuura, a rookie who will start the 500-Mile Race from the outside of Row 3, was second quick (218.300). Sam Hornish Jr. had a busy day in the Marlboro Team Penske No. 6T Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, recording 103 laps with a fast lap of 218.096 mph. Andretti Green Racing teammates Tony Kanaan (218.066) and Dan Wheldon (217.916) rounded out the top five on the speed chart..

<pre> FASTEST DRIVERS OF INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE Pos. Car Name C/E/T Speed 1 5 Adrian Fernandez G/H/F 218.495 mph 2 55T Kosuke Matsuura. D/T/F 218.300 mph 3 6T Sam Hornish Jr. D/H/F 218.096 mph 4 11T Tony Kanaan D/H/F 218.066 mph 5 26T Dan Wheldon G/H/F 217.916 mph

FASTEST NON-QUALIFIED INDIANAPOLIS 500 DRIVERS Pos. Car Name C/E/T Speed 1 91 Buddy Lazier D/C/F 214.414 mph 2 25 Marty Roth D/T/F 213.097 mph 3 33 Richie Hearn G/T/F 212.617 mph 4 12T Jeff Simmons D/T/F 209.820 mph 5 98 PJ Jones D/C/F 208.342 mph 6 18 Robby McGehee D/C/F 175.934 mph

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby McGehee , Greg Ray , Al Unser Jr. , Buddy Lazier , Adrian Fernandez , Tony Kanaan , Tora Takagi , Richie Hearn , Dan Wheldon , Sam Schmidt , Marty Roth , Kosuke Matsuura , Jeff Simmons , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske