IRL: Indy 500: Day nine practice report

FOyt drivers 1-2 as search for Bump Day speed continues. INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 15, 2002 -- A.J. Foyt might be breathing a bit easier today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Foyt's primary drivers, Airton Dare and Greg Ray, took the...

FOyt drivers 1-2 as search for Bump Day speed continues.

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 15, 2002 -- A.J. Foyt might be breathing a bit easier today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Foyt's primary drivers, Airton Dare and Greg Ray, took the top two spots on the speed chart May 15 during practice for the 86th Indianapolis 500. Dare led with a top lap of 39.3652 seconds, 228.628 mph in the No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Ray was second at 39.4895, 227.909 in the No. 11 A.J. Foyt Racing/Harrah's Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.

It was the first day of track activity since Pole Day on May 11, as second-day qualifying was rained out May 12, and no track activity was scheduled May 13-14. Neither Dare nor Ray was fast enough to qualify on Pole Day and must try to earn a spot in the 33-car field on Bump Day this Sunday.

Billy Boat holds the slowest speed among the 24 qualified drivers, at 226.589 in the No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Dare's best speed in one aborted qualifying attempt on was 225.357; Ray's best in one aborted attempt was 225.916.

Based on today's speeds, Ray and Dare appear to be in good shape to continue Foyt's streak of putting at least one car in the field every year at Indy since his debut as a driver in 1958.

"After Pole Day, we were a little bit disappointed because we've got a great team with great mechanics, and I have confidence in myself so we couldn't be that slow the way we were on Pole Day," 2000 Indy Racing League Rookie of the Year Dare said. "A.J. went over the car and found some stuff that was not the way that he liked, and we fixed it and went out there, and everything was good again."

Said 1999 Indy Racing League champion Ray: "Today we went back to a practice motor, really nothing special. We've gone all over the gamut as far as setups, and the car was very comfortable. When we did our 227.7 mph, I kind of pinpointed that we could to a (2)28.5, and at the end of the day that's what Airton did. I think we can have a good solid qualifying run in the high (2)27s or low-to-mid (2)28s."

Rookie Tony Kanaan was third fastest today at 39.5327, 227.660 in the No. 21T Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone. Kanaan qualified fifth on Pole Day.

Kanaan's teammate, 2001 IRL Rookie of the Year Felipe Giaffone, was fourth fastest at 39.5860, 227.353 in the No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone, with defending Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr. rounding out the top five at 39.6191, 227.163 in the No. 4T Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Both Giaffone and Hornish qualified for the field on Pole Day.

Shigeaki Hattori was third fastest among drivers not qualified for the field at 39.6266, 227.120 in the No. 12T EPSON Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, good for sixth overall.

Practice ended six minutes early when rookie George Mack tapped the outside wall exiting Turn 2. Mack climbed from the car without assistance. He was evaluated at Clarian Emergency Medical Center at the track, released and cleared to drive by Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League and Indianapolis Motor Speedway director of medical services.

Mack's accident was the only incident of the day.

This was the busiest day of practice so far, with 38 drivers in 40 cars turning 2,647 laps, nearly 1,000 laps more than the next-busiest day, May 10.

The 86th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for 11 a.m. (EST) Sunday, May 26.

-ims-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Felipe Giaffone , Shigeaki Hattori , Billy Boat , Airton Daré , Tony Kanaan , George Mack , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mo Nunn