Takagi fastest again at Indy; Ray gains speed Indianapolis, Thursday, May 15, 2003 -- Rookie Tora Takagi was the fastest driver in practice for the 87th Indianapolis 500 for the second consecutive day, and the third day overall this month, May...
Takagi fastest again at Indy; Ray gains speed
Indianapolis, Thursday, May 15, 2003 -- Rookie Tora Takagi was the fastest driver in practice for the 87th Indianapolis 500 for the second consecutive day, and the third day overall this month, May 15 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Takagi led at 39.2744 seconds, 229.157 mph in the No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. He was fastest Wednesday at 229.704 and on May 5 at 229.019.
"Our race setup is very good," Takagi said. "I got a chance to work with the car in traffic, and there were no big problems. I think we will come out and do one more long run tomorrow, and then that will be the end of our preparation at the track this week.
"The Pioneer team did a fantastic job all month long. I wish we could just keep driving until Race Day because I love this place so much. I will just save all of that enthusiasm and energy for the final practice and for Race Day."
2000 Indianapolis 500 MBNA Pole winner Greg Ray was second at 39.4084, 228.378 in the No. 13 TrimSpa Special Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone.
"We're still figuring out what makes a good car and what makes a bad car, and we've learned a lot of things," 1999 IRL IndyCarTM Series champion Ray said. "We know we had some problems in qualifying, and we've learned about two or three of those as the week has gone on. Today we're working purely on race setups, getting lots of miles and running of full tanks. I think we had a fantastic day working on race setups."
Takagi's teammate, Felipe Giaffone, was third at 39.4295, 228.255 in the No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone.
Rookie Scott Dixon was fourth at 39.4444, 228.169 in the No. 9T Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, while rookie Dan Wheldon rounded out the top five at 39.4515, 228.128 in the No. 26T Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone.
Alex Barron was the fastest non-qualified driver, 13th at 39.7826, 226.230 in the No. 20 Meijer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. It was Barron's first day in the car, as he replaced the injured Arie Luyendyk, who will not drive in the race May 25.
Bump Day, the final day of qualifying, is Sunday. Barron is confident of his chances to find the speed to make the 33-car field.
"I think overall it went fairly well," Barron said. "We got up to speed really quick. It's all the little things that you get with chemistry within the team, and that's what we're working on right now. There's not a lot of time to do that, but we have a really good package. We have Toyota engines and G Force chassis which I've driven with Team Penske. So, I think we're in pretty good shape there."
There were 29 cars on track today, turning a total of 1,870 incident-free laps. Practice resumes at 11:30 a.m. (EDT) Friday.
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.