Takagi takes control of Indy practice at 229 mph INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 5, 2003 -- Tora Takagi may be a rookie at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but you'd never know it by looking at the speed chart. Takagi led practice May 5 for the 87th...
Takagi takes control of Indy practice at 229 mph
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 5, 2003 -- Tora Takagi may be a rookie at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but you'd never know it by looking at the speed chart.
Takagi led practice May 5 for the 87th Indianapolis 500 with a lap of 39.2980 seconds, 229.019 mph in the No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. He turned his top lap during the "Happy Hour" final hour of practice on a sunny, windy day at the historic 2.5-mile oval.
That was the fastest lap of the event after two days of practice. And it also continued an impressive display so far by Formula One and CART veteran Takagi, who was third fastest on Opening Day at 39.4937, 227.884.
"I was very conservative today," Takagi said. "The weather was much hotter today, and the track was slick. When I went out just after noon, my car wasn't so good. It was very slippery because of the track. We made many changes to the car, and when I went back out after four o'clock, the car was much, much better.
"I'm very happy to be the fastest today, but its only practice. We will have to make many changes to get ready for qualifying this weekend."
Practice continues from noon-7 p.m. (EDT) Tuesday. MBNA Pole Day is Saturday. Race Day is Sunday, May 25.
IRL IndyCarTM Series points leader Scott Sharp was second today at 39.3415, 228.766 in the No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone. He continued to click like a metronome during the first two days of practice, as he was fastest on Opening Day with a nearly identical lap, 39.3419, 228.764.
Indy rookie Scott Dixon was third at 39.3999, 228.427 in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. It was a strong showing for Dixon, who is recovering from a broken wrist suffered in a two-car accident in the Indy Japan 300 on April 13 at Motegi, Japan.
"I get more and more comfortable with each lap that I make here," Dixon said. "Today we worked on trying to find more speed. We turned our fast lap during the heat of the day, which is a good sign for us. My hand is feeling better, and I'm excited to be here."
Gil de Ferran ended up fourth at 39.4016, 228.417 in the No. 6T Marlboro Team Penske Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. Rookie Dan Wheldon rounded out the top five at 39.4334, 228.233 in the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone, the only car in the top five not powered by a Toyota engine.
It also was a strong day for the Panoz G Force chassis, as drivers in that car turned three of the top four speeds.
Wet track conditions forced the start of practice to be delayed one hour, 31 minutes. The track stayed busy once practice opened, as 1,438 incident-free laps were turned.
Rookie A.J. Foyt IV, grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, turned his first high-speed laps of the event today. His best lap was 39.8215, 226.009 in the No. 14 Conseco A.J. Foyt Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone.
Off the track, IndyCar Series standout Tony Kanaan was cleared to drive in this event. Kanaan suffered a broken left arm in a crash with Dixon during the Indy Japan 300. Kanaan, winner in March at Phoenix, drives the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone.
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.